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ROCKINGHAM DRAGWAY OPTS TO GO ‘OLD SCHOOL’ JUNE 4
‘Arm Drop’ Starts, No Scoreboards Among Options in a Street Racing Format

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood is hoping to show that everything old is new again when he opens his racetrack for an “old school” event on June 4 that will scrap all the electronic gadgetry that has become so commonplace in drag racing.

No “Christmas Tree” starting system, no incremental times and speeds, no digital scoreboards. ​ Instead of all the complexities of the modern sport, Rockingham will offer heads up, run-what-you-brung-and-hope-yo​u-brung-enough street-style drag racing in a manageable environment. The electronic timing will be offered to those who wish to record their times, upon request.

“We had a lightning issue at one of our “Fun Run” test and tune events,” Earwood said, “and in desperation, we kind of told everyone what was going on and offered them the option of running without timing equipment. ​ Surprisingly, many of them preferred the simple ‘arm drop’ start to the complexities of the Christmas Tree and really didn’t care about timing.

“That goes back to the beginnings of the National Hot Rod Association,” Earwood said. ​ “They started with ‘arm drop’ starts, then flagmen, then electronics. ​ Obviously, if you’re looking for precision, you have to have electronic timing but, if you’re just looking to have some fun with like-minded friends, I can see how simpler might be better.”

The NHRA originally was founded to address the perils of street racing by providing a controlled environment in which Americans could feed their inherent need for speed without fear of unnecessarily endangering their lives or the lives of others.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, leading law enforcement to partner with local car clubs and track promoters across the country to direct young gearheads off the street and onto the dragstrip.

Flash forward 70 years and, thanks to movie franchises like “The Fast and the Furious” and reality TV shows like American Outlaws, street racing once again has become a major concern for civic leaders, law enforcement and safety-minded racing enthusiasts like Earwood.

So, while others are looking ahead for “new solutions” to an old problem, Rockingham’s owner has decided that the future may lie in the past.

“We’ll see,” said the 2016 winner of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame’s Founder’s Award. ​ “We’re not trying to re-invent the wheel. ​ We’re just trying to provide alternatives. ​ For those who prefer electronic timing and scoreboards, we’ll make allowances for them, too. ​ It’s all just about having fun. ​ Twenty-five dollars for car-and-driver or motorcycle-and-rider for unlimited runs down the quarter mile starting at 6 p.m. ​ If people like it, sure, it could become something we do on a regular basis.”

​Admission to watch is $10, children twelve and under are free.
OVER 11,000 MANIACS at THE ROCK

Over 11,000 participants and spectators attended Saturday’s Rugged Maniac Series event at Rockingham Dragway.

25 obstacles were erected over a 3.5 mile course that included a narrow plank walk way over water -- while dodging 25-pound hanging sandbags -- a climb over 14-foot walls and a crawl through water under barbed wire, including a jump over flaming logs.

The final obstacle was a climb, and subsequent slide, up and down a 20-foot wall. The Rugged Maniac Series will return to The Rock on October 8.

ROBERTS DOUBLES UP IN SRI SPRING SPORTSMAN WARS
Porter Claims Carolina Gassers Feature; Myers Wins a Dead Heat in 7.0 Index Final

- VIEW SRI SPRING SPORTSMAN WARS Online Photo Gallery

ROCKINGHAM – Kenny Roberts of Gallivants Ferry, S.C., drove his 1978 Chevy Nova to victories in both the Open Comp and Footbrake classes Saturday and Danny Porter of Anderson, S.C., directed his 1939 Dodge into the winners’ circle in the Carolina Gassers feature at the 21st annual SRI Spring Sportsman Wars at Rockingham Dragway.

Porter was perfect in three rounds of nostalgia racing among some the sport’s most iconic vehicles. He won a showdown with J.R. Ward of Goode, Va., whose 1934 Willys sedan was the top performer in the field but had to settle for second place with a 2-1 record in head-to-head competition.

Roberts, a Rockingham regular, beat Charlotte’s Frank Estro in a double-breakout final in Open Comp and then stopped Craig Aull of Cayce, S.C., in the Footbrake final.

Making their first appearance in the race formerly known as the Spring Civil Wars, the Carolina Gassers shared top billing with the more familiar Classic Gear Jammers whose membership is restricted to American-built cars with four-or-five speed manual transmissions.

In a throwback to a bygone era, Matthew Wilson of Aberdeen beat David Satterfield of Roxboro in the final. Wilson’s El Camino ran a 6.929 elapsed in the final on a 6.91 dail-in as Satterfield.s 1986 Mustang ran too quick and broke out with a 6.999 time on his 7.02 dial-in.

Other winners included Clay Smith of Wilmington, who beat Rockingham’s Will McKay to win in the PTRA Pro Tree Doorslammer class, Bill Ritts of Danbury who rode to victory in the 6.0 Index class and Kenny Myers of Clemmons who won a virtual dead-heat final round for the 7.0 Index title.

Racing against Charlotte’s Kurt Flanagan, Myers 7.003 against the 7.00 target was just good enough for the win. Flanagan used a starting line advantage to give himself a chance but his 1970 Camaro got to the line second by a margin not discernible without the electronic judge.

Both drivers had .064 “packages,” meaning they were .064 of a second away from perfect against their respective targets.

Rockingham’s Michael Broadway won the trophy class in his 2007 Ford Mustang thanks to a .004 of a second reaction time in his final round race with Ted Frazier. Marty Campbell, Kannapolis, won the 5.30 Index class and Hayden Lambert of Albermarle won Pro Jr. Dragster over Kristen Brady of Carthage.

ROCKINGHAM – Results from Saturday’s 21st annual SRI Spring Sportsman Wars event at Rockingham Dragway. All hometowns North Carolina unless otherwise indicated. Statistical data includes reaction time, track time, target time (when applicable) and finish line speed:

CAROLINA GASSERS
Round 1 – J.R. Ward, Goode, Va., 1934 Willis sedan, 4.937, 143.41 mph, def. Justus Daniel, Charlotte, 1952 Henry J, 5.769, 111.83 mph; Danny Porter, Anderson, S.C., 1939 Dodge sedan, 5.222, 136.59 mph, def. Derek Childress, Pickens, S.C., 1933 Willys, 6.144, 90.95 mph; Thomas Fritz, Brasdell, N.Y., 1941 Willys truck, 5.216, 134.86 mph, def. Al Niespodzinksy, Cowlesville, N.Y., 1933 Willys, 7.524, 76.59 mph.
Round 2 – Childress, 5.332, 134.24 mph, def. Niespodzinsky, 7.340, 78.00 mph; Ward, 5.046, 144.27 mph, def. Fritz, 5.305, 130.87 mph; Porter, 5.039, 138.76 mph, def. Daniel, 5.554, 99.70 mph.
Round 3 – Fritz, 5.545, l103.83 mph, def. Childress, 5.676, 127.45 mph; Niespodzinsky, 7.202, 78.13 mph, def. Daniel, 8.650, 50.97 mph; Porter, 6.045, 137.02 mph, def. Ward, 5.149, 132.63 mph.
Overall winner – Danny Porter, Anderson, S.C., 1939 Dodge sedan, 3-0; Runner-up – J.R. Ward, Goode, Va., 1934 Willys sedan, 2-1.

CLASSIC GEAR JAMMERS
Round 3 – Wilson Hannibal, Gastonia, .043, 7.051 on a 6.880, 97.48 mph, def. Josh Barczy, Walnut Cove, 1966 Chevy Nova, foul; Tom Talmon, Lexington, 1955 Chevy Bel Air, .039, 6.116 on a 6.120, 110.41 mph, def. Jeff Smith, Providence, .059, 5.952 breakout on a 5.960, 117.13 mph; Matthew Wilson, Aberdeen, .030, 6.917 on a 6.910, 97.99 mph, def. Gary Templeton, Winston-Salem, 1966 Chevy II, .011, 6.461 on a 6.430, 107.54 mph; Jeff Conner, Halifax, Va., 1968 Ford Mustang, .432, 6.030 on a 6.010, 115.25 mph, def. Ron Silvey, Sumter, S.C., 1969 Ford Mustang, foul; Kenny Regenthal, Lewisville, .094, 6.441 on a 6.420, 106.45 mph, def. Bobby Smith, Siler City, 1988 Chevy S-10 truck, .115, 5.862 on a 5.790, 119.17 mph; David Satterfield, Roxboro, 1986 Ford Mustang, .124, 5.810 on a 5.800, 118.38 mph, def. Donnie Benfield, Morganton, 1970 Chevy Camaro, .095, 6.274 on a 6.140, 109.76 mph.
Round 4 – Wilson, .060, 6.916 on a 6.920, 97.99 mph, def. Talmon, foul; Hannibal, bye; Satterfield, .032, 5.843 on a 5.800, 118.34 mph, def. Regenthal, foul; Conner, bye.
Semifinals – Wilson, .080, 6.929 on a 6.910, 97.42 mph, def. Hannibal, .150, 6.999 breakout on a 7.020, 98.38 mph; Satterfield, .070, 5.815 on a 5.810, 118.73 mph, def. Conner, .038, 6.097 on a 6.010, 114.87 mph.
FINAL – Matthew Wilson, Aberdeen, versus David Satterfield, Roxboro, 1986 Ford Mustang.

OPEN COMP
Round 3 – Jeff Wells, Asheboro, 1983 Ford Mustang, .083, 12.473 on a 13.580, 97.33 mph, def. Will McKay, Rockingham, 1985 Ford Thunderbird, .067, 11.384 breakout on an 11.520, 113.01 mph; Frank Estro, Charlotte, 1987 Chevy Camaro, .127, 12.130 on a 12.220, 110.31 mph, def. Trey Sikes, Hamlet, 2007 Ford Mustang, .167, 14.035 breakout on a 14.170, 96.46 mph; Kenny Roberts, Galivants Ferry, S.C., 1978 Chevy Nova, .084, 9.774 on a 9.760, 138.16 mph, def. David Satterfield, Roxboro, 1986 Ford Mustang, .120, 9.142 on a 9.140, 145.31 mph; Brandon Williams, Eagle Springs, .123, 14.669 on a 14.770, 97.52 mph, def. Clee Guin, Four Oaks, 1969 Chevy Nova, .060, 11.949 breakout on a 12.060, 99.40 mph.
Semifinals – Estro, .180, 12.186 on a 12.220, 109.78 mph, def. Wells, .306, 13.496 breakout on a 13.580, 96.67 mph; Roberts, .149, 9.965 on a 9.760, 116.34 mph, def. Williams, .071, 15.387 on a 14.770, 92.56 mph.
FINAL – Kenny Roberts, Galivants Ferry, S.C., 1978 Chevy Nova, .115, 9.714 on a 9.760, 138.37 mph, def. Frank Estro, Charlotte, 1987 Chevy Camaro, .162, 12.149 breakout on a 12.220, 110.97 mph.

PRO TREE DOORSLAMMERS
Round 4 – Will McKay, Rockingham, 1985 Ford Thunderbird, .055, 7.279 on a 7.240, 95.11 mph, def. Tony Moon, Kannapolis, 1981 Chevy Malibu, .128, 6.055 breakout on a 6.060, 112.72 mph; Ron Williams, Eagle Springs, .109, 6.588 on a 6.540, 97.05 mph, def. Joe York, Supply, .199, 5.944 on a 5.830, 118.31 mph; Clay Smith, Wilmington, 1972 Dodge Demon, .075, 7.133 on a 7.110, 91.77 mph, def. Trey Sikes, Hamlet, 2007 Ford Mustang, .108, 9.156 breakout on a 9.160, 80.29 mph; Mark Soles, Delco, bye,
Semifinals – Smith, .053, 7.146 on a 7.110, 94.83 mph, def. Williams, .129, 6.544 on a 6.540, 106.41 mph; McKay, .050, 7.263 on a 7.240, 95.51 mph, def. Soles, .108, 5.579 on a 5.560, 126.83 mph.
FINAL – Clay Smith, Wilmington, 1972 Dodge Demon, .029, 7.161 on a 7.110, 90.65 mph, def. Will McKay, Rockingham, 1985 Ford Thunderbird, .056, 7.274 on a 7.240, 95.56 mph.

FOOTBRAKE
Round 4 – Mark Soles, Delco, .041, 5.595 on a 5.560, 118.86 mph, def. Chris Williams, Irmo, S.C., .062, 6.749 on a 6.700, 98.85 mph; Kenny Roberts, Galivants Ferry, S.C., .030, 6.240 on a 6.220, 105.90 mph, def. Norman Williams, Cayce, S.C., 1970 Ford Mustang, .028, 6.425 breakout on a 6.450, 105.90 mph; Craig Aul, Cayce, S.C., 1970 Ford Maverick, bye.
Semifinals – Roberts, bye; Aull, .072, 6.719 on a 6.510, 89.37 mph, def. Soles, foul.
FINAL – Kenny Roberts, Gallivants Ferry, S.C., 1978 Chevy Nova, .009, 6.249 on a 6.200, 107.24 mph, def. Craig Aull, Cayce, S.C., 1970 Ford Maverick, .032, 6.571 on a 6.510, 105.81 mph.

5.30 INDEX
FINAL – Marty Campbell, NA, .063, 5.449, 115.00 mph, def. Tracey Watkins, Statesville, 1988 Ford Thunderbird, .150, 5.660, 104.89 mph.

6.0 INDEX
Round 2 – Roger Lester, Mt. Holly, 1972 Chevy Nova, .070, 6.009, 111.82 mph, def. Ricky Clark, Jamestown, 1992 Ford Mustang, .065, 6.045, 118.82 mph; Jeremy McSwain, NA, .076, 6.005, 116.47 mph, def. Mike Sigmon, Newton, 1980 Chevy Monza, .059, 5.999 breakout, 115.77 mph; Jeff Alston, Murrells Inlet, S.C., .062, 6.008, 115.37 mph, def. Rodney Perry, Woodruff, S.C., .084, 6.168, 112.59 mph; Bill Ritts, Danbury, bye.
Semifinals – Ritts, .025, 6.066, 116.48 mph, def. Lester, .066, 5.994 breakout, 112.12 mph; McSwain, .040, 6.049, 108.39 mph, def. Alston, .091, 6.046, 113.66 mph.
FINAL – Bill Ritts, Danbury, .028, 6.033, 110.13 mph, def. Jeremy McSwain, NA, .054, 6.037, 114.84 mph.

7.0 INDEX
Round 1 – Kurt Flanagan, Charlotte, 1970 Chevy Camaro, .049, 7.079, 92.58 mph, def. Brian Allen, Climax, .246, 6.988 breakout, 93.60 mph; Kenny Myers, Clemmons, .036, 7.012, 94.74 mph, def. David Lester, Mt. Holly, 1969 Chevy Nova, .083, 6.929 breakout, 91.68 mph; Ron Williams, Eagle Springs, .087, 7.045, 93.06 mph, def. Mike Hager, China Grove, 1971 Chevy Nova, .098, 7.062, 92.72 mph; Jamie Yelton, Belmont, 1964 Pontiac GTO, bye.
Semifinals – Flanagan, .049, 6.987, 98.66 mph, def. Williams, .125, 6.908 breakout, 98.30 mph; Myers, .053, 6.962, 98.33 mph, def. Yelton, .039, 7.025, 98.23 mph.
FINAL – Kenny Meyers, Clemmons, .061, 7.003, 97.26 mph, def. Kurt Flanagan, Charlotte, 1970 Chevy Camaro, .039, 7.025, 98.23 mph.

TROPHY
Round 2 – Michael Broadway, Rockingham, 2007 Ford Mustang, .058, 12.941 on a 13.820, 93.83 mph, def. Gene Burton, Eagle Springs, .263, 13.939 on a 13.750, 102.22 mph; Ted Frasier, NA, 2015 Ford Mustang, bye.
FINAL -- Michael Broadway, Rockingham, 2007 Ford Mustang, .004, 13.988 on a 13.820, 98.97 mph, def. Ted Frazier, NA, 2015 Ford Mustang, .093, 12.966 on a 12.850, 109.03 mph.
 
 
 
 
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