- Published on Thursday, 30 May 2013 16:58
First wins, new dragsters and decades of fun hit the lanes.
NORWALK, Ohio – Darlene Ouellette steered her canary yellow 2012 special edition transformer Camaro to her first victory in the Mickey Thompson High School class on a red light gift Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
In fact, golden gifts from red lights and breakouts decided all six Mickey Thompson $7 Fun Night final round contests.
A Tahoe ruled when Renee Buckley, Rossford, Ohio accepted a red light gift from Chris Kern, Norwalk, in the Mickey Thompson Truck and Van class.
In Mickey Thompson Mod Stock, Bryan Pendleton, Green Springs, Ohio left a little
early in his 1986 Mercury Grand Prix, handing the win to number 966.
Number ZX14 clutched the Mickey Thompson Motorcycle prize on a -0.002 red light by John Weisz, Bellevue, Ohio.
For Mickey Thompson Super Stock, Chuck Powell, Wadsworth, Ohio netted a solid set of stats in his 1987 Cutlass, but in the end Paul Dotson, Willard, Ohio broke out in his Malibu.
Not to be outdone, C.J. Yaeger, Lodi, Ohio claimed a double breakout victory in a 1976 Omega in Mickey Thompson Stock over Shannon Lawson, Sandusky, Ohio in a classy black 1998 Trans Am.
Staging lane stories arched from the unusual to the golden, but they’re all about fun.
Ray Clayton, Canfield, Ohio retired from tool and die making and poured extra energy into building a unique dragster for a National Hot Rod Association class.
“There isn’t another one like this,” Ray Clayton said. “It’s the only one of its kind. This car is supposed to run in e-econo dragster. It’s a Corvair engine, 190 cu. in. It’s supposed to make 390 horsepower. Right now I’m trying to get my license in the NHRA.”
The Corvair engine runs on gas and a carburetor, no turbo or nitrous, Ray Clayton said.
“So far the car is running 8.80s,” Ray Clayton said. “We’re hoping to do better than that. It should run 8.20 to 8.30 when everything is tuned right.”
The ten-year project threw a few curves along the way.
“I’ve been working on the engine forever,” Ray Clayton said. “It’s hard to get the engine to make enough power and be reliable.”
For the dragster chassis and body work Ray Clayton turned to Kenny Bowers at Advanced Chassis in Antwerp, Ohio.
And for a crew chief, friend and tool and die maker Mike Semchee, Austintown, Ohio stepped in for the evening.
“I used to do bracket racing a long time ago,” Ray Clayton said. “But this is about it. It was in a 1964 Volkswagon Bug. It used to go about 11 flat. It had a Corvair motor similar to this one.
A sweet little 1963 Plymouth Valiant led to a tale of two cousins with fun-loving marriages – they drag race together.
Jerry and Bonnie Lentz, from Bascom, Ohio near Tiffin, tooled the track at about 23 seconds in the white Valiant they’ve owned since 1989.
Married for 46 years, the Lentzes chose the Valiant for another sentimental reason.
“This is the year I graduated from high school,” Jerry Lentz said. “It’s really great.”
Jerry Lentz restored the little six cylinder to a stock condition.
“It was in pretty bad shape when I got it,” Jerry Lentz said. “I did all the work on it. Rebuilt the suspension, paint, change the head, did a little work on the motor, but didn’t modify it too much.”
Jerry Lentz pointed to a black 2011 Silverado in the next lane, where Bonnie Lentz’s cousin, Wade Sharlow, Martin, Ohio, and his wife, Jean Ann, waited for a time trial in their tow vehicle.
“Her cousin got me started in this racing,” Jerry Lentz said. “It’s all his fault.”
Wade Sharlow accepted the accusation in staging lane stride, by showing he and Summit Motorsports Park enjoy equally deep drag racing roots.
“We used to race here 50 years ago,” said Wade Sharlow, 72, adding he’s a “plant manager,” also known as a farmer. “We still have the same car, but it’s not up here tonight.”
The red 1964 Chevy II rumbled down the track last year, Wade Sharlow said.
“It sat in our garage for almost 40 years,” Wade Sharlow said. “We brought it back last year. We’re going to race it this year, but we don’t have it out yet.
“When we came here 50 years ago, there was no pavement. Everything was grass,” Wade Sharlow said. “The toilets were gross. You couldn’t stand to go in them. And now look at it.
“We used to be here every Friday and Sunday,” Wade Sharlow said. “That was back before we were married. You don’t find that too many times these days: Same wife and same car for this long.
"I’ve got a whole room full of trophies.”
Phil Derise, Avon, Ohio cherishes memories from racing a white 1983 Monte Carlo.
“I won the High School Nationals with this 11 years ago,” Phil Derise said. “It was my first car. It’s a super charged 383. I’ve been racing about 13 years.”
Phil Derise takes to the track on Wednesdays because his job as a manager of Monroe Muffler and Brake in Avon Lake, Ohio occupies his Saturdays.
Perhaps some of the people enjoying the most fun at Mickey Thompson $7 Fun Night this week lined up on the Summit side to celebrate Bud Thacker's birthday with a family race!
For RACE RESULTS from Mickey Thompson $7 Fun Night on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, click on: Fun is under the rainbow!