Savage, Padilla, Gledhill repeat at NAPA Auto Parts Nitro Jam
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT – Apparently that lesson didn’t stick for some.
Despite enough Ironman trophies to go around, a few competitors took it upon themselves to hoard the stash as Mike Savage (AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car), Tom Padilla (Fuel Altered) and Ron Gledhill swept the weekend in the professional categories with only Don St. Arnaud in Pro Fuel breaking through in front of a jam-packed house during the NAPA Auto Parts Nitro Jam presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports and Cricket Wireless finale Saturday at Rocky Mountain Raceways.
Sportsman winners were also crowned Saturday night in front of the standing room only crowd, earning their way into the Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions presented by AMSOIL in the process. Those winners were Kenneth Covington (Grand Junction, Colo.) in Top Sportsman, Paul Snell (Sandy, Utah) in Top Dragster, Carroll Warling (Brighton, Colo.) in Super Stock, Jesse Sanderson (West Jordan, Utah) in Stock, Russ Stevenson (South Jordan, Utah) in Quick Rod and Ed Olpin (Pleasant Grove, Utah) in Super Rod.
Other winners from Saturday night included James Shepherd (Springville, Utah) in Top ET, Travis Gaylord (Sandy, Utah) in Mod ET, Mike Cragun (Sandy, Utah) in Motorcycle and Kyle Anderson (Sandy, Utah) in Junior Dragster.
Savage had the biggest showing over the weekend with a pair of victories in arguably the toughest AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car competition ever assembled in Nitro Jam competition. After dispatching of Bob Godfrey and the “Burn N’ Money” entry on Friday, Savage had another big night on Saturday, setting low elapsed time for the weekend and taking down Jason Rupert in the “Mert Littlefield” tribute machine on his way to his third career Nitro Jam victory.
“It felt great right from the start of the run. The track improved considerably from the first run to the final and once we hit the throttle it felt awesome,” Savage said. “It was incredible to take two wins here this weekend against such a tough group of racers. Now I have two trophies to show for my trip here. I can’t wait to get them home.”
In continuing his winning streak, Savage opened the night with low elapsed time of round one in a win over Tim Boychuk. Despite the hindrance of nearly 7,000 feet of adjusted air, Savage drove the “Candies & Hughes” Barracuda to a 6.151/228.25 in the opening stanza.
In the final Savage had to wait a bit longer than normal after Steven Densham flamed up on the top end, but the Tucson, Ariz. native showed that he had a bit more left in the tank with a three hundredths holeshot at the green followed by a tremendous 6.007/236.22 to take the win. Rupert echoed his opponent with an equally solid 6.150/231.18, but he couldn’t catch him at the top end.
In the consolation round Dale Pulde drove the “War Eagle” to a win over Roger Garten, Tim Boychuk took a round win over Bob Godfrey and Steven Densham made a solo pass.
Tom Padilla and the “Nasty Benjamin” also claimed a double on Saturday night in Nostalgia Fuel Altered, defeating Ron Hope and the “Rat Trap” in his big return to the strip following an accident in New Zealand earlier this year.
After downing Kyle Hough in Friday’s final, the Arlington, Wash. native set his sights on Hope on Saturday, blasting to a .164 reaction time and thundering down the quarter-mile with a 6.528/214.43 to Hope’s 6.873/195.73. Padilla reached the final with low ET of the night, a quick 6.528/214.43.
In the consolation round Kyle Hough kept the candles lit the length of the track in the “Nanook” machine in a big win over Randy Bradford.
Saturday’s other repeat winner was Ron Gledhill who went four-for-four in Nitro Harley to pick up his first Ironman trophies. Gledhill capped his tremendous weekend with a weekend-best 6.752/208.28 Saturday in defeating Tony Ruggiero.
Canadian Don St. Arnaud was the only winner to break the mold in professional competition, claiming his first career Ironman trophy in Pro Fuel Dragster over Friday winner Casey Grisel.
Grisel had low elapsed time of round one with a solid 5.913/233.76 to take lane choice in the final, but it mattered little as St. Arnaud led from green to beams in taking the win. St. Arnaud had a .046 reaction time and ran a 5.791/242.00 in the closest final of the evening as Grisel nearly matched him step-for-step with a 5.801/247.11 in taking runner-up honors.
In the consolation round Johnny Ahten defeated Kristen Dennis.
In the sportsman competition all six touring IHRA class winners earned a spot in the 2012 Summit Racing Equipment Tournament of Champions at Memphis International Raceway in October. The evening concluded with another win by Grave Digger in the “world’s biggest drag race” and the excitement of four jets, the Jelly Belly wheelstander and Brent Harris’ “Nitro Thunder” nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster brought the capacity crowd to its feet.
Next up for the Nitro Jam tour is a stop in Canada at the famed Castrol Raceway for the 10th running of the MOPAR Rocky Mountain Nitro Jam Nationals July 6-8 in Edmonton, Alberta.