- Wednesday 14 August, 2013
Marathon event stokes the fun all night.
NORWALK, Ohio – The mega honor of winning the Golden Anniversary celebration Auto Plus Night Under Fire presented by Kelly Services set brother against brother, father versus son on the dragstrip August 10-11, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Only four Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series racers claimed a National Dragster Challenge Wally at the event, a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.
Those who withstood the rigors of the race, which began with time trials at 9 a.m. on Saturday and wrapped up with final rounds about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, proved they're refined by the Night Under Fire.
At a point when racing induced insomnia prompted musings about track prep equipment on nitrous, about 11:30 a.m. Sunday at the start of the fourth round, Bill Bader Jr. restated a noble purpose.
“Get your second wind,” said Bill Bader Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park, “and etch your name in the history books off a Night Under Fire win.”
Joe Oswald, Akron, Ohio, responded in a huge way to a Golden Anniversary opportunity.
During round four, Joe Oswald lit the scoreboard with a perfect run at both ends of the track against Matt Obertanec, Brackenridge, Pa., in Mr. Gasket Pro.
This means Joe Oswald's orange 1969 Dart launched in 0.000 seconds – a perfect light – and landed on the finish line stripe exactly on his 9.720-second dial, completing a perfect run.
Just how sweet is a perfect run? It depends on the date of the last one.
Gene Lampshire, owner of TFC Transportation, a trucking company in Lorain, Ohio, that specializes in shorter business-to-business deliveries, offered perfect run bonus money for Mr. Gasket Pro and Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation competitors.
With every Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series race, TFC Transportation offers $100 for each of those two classes. If no one claims a perfect run at that race, the money rolls over to the next race, jacking up the reward to $100 plus what remained unclaimed.
So Joe Oswald won $1,000 from the TFC Transportation perfect run bonus, in addition to his round money, in the Mr. Gasket Pro class.
“I'm just beaming,” Gene Lampshire said. “Sportsman guys, this award is real. Go out there and get it.”
At the next Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series event on Sept. 7, 2013 at Summit Motorsports Park, the TFC Transportation perfect run bonus for the Mr. Gasket Pro class starts over at $100. But for Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation racers, the bonus increases to $1,100.
Some wonder if preparation leading up to such a marathon race involves new parenthood, or parenting a large brood? After all, sleepless nights plague new families even when they're not wrenching out a problem on a race car.
In Mallory Super Pro, Jason Hill, 39, Shiloh, Ohio, won a door car final round when Justin Vickers, Alliance, Ohio, broke out.
A salesman for Chemsearch Lubricants and a father of five, Jason Hill said he broke through for his first Mallory Super Pro win at the Auto Plus Night Under Fire presented by Kelly Services.
“This is my first time in the Winner's Circle,” Jason Hill said. “Fifteen years ago on the first time I came here, I rode a stock motorcycle and won.
“I've been coming. I've been getting robbed,” Jason Hill said. “Someone's been doing something.”
Married for 20 years to Beth Hill, three years ago Jason Hill bought the winning teal, white and pink car.
“I've run dragsters, a Pinto, a Lumina, a Monza,” said Jason Hill. “I like to work on them. We turn wrenches. We build our own motors, my father-in-law, Walter Hout, and my brother-in-law, Raymond Hout, and me.”
And along the way to the win, Jason Hill overcame obstacles with the help of friends.
“With nine cars to go, my battery completely died,” Jason Hill said. “With three cars to go, my starter button fell out. Jimmy Powers started the car from underneath the hood. Mike Jewell helped with a battery.
“When it's your day, it's your day.”
Two months ago, Phil and Courtney Hurst welcomed their first child into the extensive Hurst drag racing family.
Phil Hurst added another first - winning a Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series event - at the Auto Plus Night Under Fire presented by Kelly Services.
Along the way, Phil Hurst, Milan, Ohio, lived many racers' dream: He lined up against his dad!
Phil Hurst usually mashes gas in a red 1972 Nova, running in the 12s in Mr. Gasket Pro.
But in an impromptu change of pace, Phil Hurst filled out an entry for the family grocery getter, a white 2006 Pontiac G6, in the Accel Sportsman delivered on time by TFC Transportation class.
With a dial set in the 16s, an aim for about 80 mph, and two time trials in the car, Phil Hurst climbed the rounds to the semi finals, where he met his father, Blaine Hurst, Greenwich, Ohio, piloting a 1977 Nova.
Phil Hurst launched the Pontiac in 0.009 second, and landed on the finish line on his 16.40 dial with a six. Charging hard and strong behind Phil, Blaine Hurst broke out.
“It felt good to get that far in this marathon race,” Blaine Hurst said, grinning and adding the key to going rounds included “a whole lot of luck.”
In the final round, Phil Hurst held the G6 steady toward the dial, while seasoned racer James Ring, Sandusky, Ohio, broke out by 0.010 second in his 1972 Nova.
So on little Alyson Hurst's two month birthday, her daddy Phil hauled home his first Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series event win and his first National Dragster Challenge Wally.
All of this during the Golden Anniversary celebration of Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, the Hurst family home track.
But wait! Night Under Fire family racing drama continued. The brotherhood of motorcycle riders battled it out at the track in the Wiseco, Cycle Tech Super Bike class.
In the quarter finals, Kevin Adams, Brunswick, Ohio, tooled to the waterbox on his black Suzuki and nodded to his brother, Craig Adams, Brunswick, Ohio, ready on a Kawasaki.
In a double breakout sizzler, Kevin Adams won the lane contest by 0.003 second.
Then the semi finals, a second brother-to-brother match up, followed Clayton McGowan, Toledo, Ohio, to the starting line on his blue 1990 Ninja, across from his brother, Tom McGowan, Genoa, Ohio, on a 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa.
Tom McGowan tossed the win light to Clayton on a breakout by 0.030 second.
Then the final round of Wiseco, Cycle Tech Super Bike, between Kevin Adams and Clayton McGowan, lifted Kevin Adams to the Wally win by 0.030 seconds.
The final round of Mr. Gasket Pro matched up two sweet 1967 Camaros.
Mickey Adams, Ypsilanti, Mich., in a red Canton Hustler 1967 Camaro with black stripes, billowed the smokey burnouts next to Brian Cireddu, Brunswick, Ohio, in a dark blue 1967 Camaro with white stripes.
But the Wally quest ended at the tree, when Mickey Adams hit a red light by -0.010 second. Mickey Adams popped a huge wheelie when the win light flipped to Brian Cireddu's lane. At the top end, Brian Cireddu cruised the quarter mile on his 10.32-second dial with a one.
While savoring the uniqueness of winning the 2013 Auto Plus Night Under Fire presented by Kelly Services, Brian Cireddu, a four-time track champion, said he won at the Night Under Fire before, as well as finishing runner-up once.
For a man who won back-to-back Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series championships in Mr. Gasket Pro in 2011 and 2012, the 2013 season staged a series of frustrations, until the Night Under Fire.
“My car's been broken for six weeks,” Brian Cireddu said. “It's been running really slow. I finally figured out what the problem was. It wasn't bad before, but it was really consistent today, really consistent.”