Champions crowned at JEGS Northern SPORTSnationals
HEBRON, Sept 27, 2010: Moonlighting Pro Stock drivers Dave Connolly and Ryan Ondrejko were among the winners crowned during the sixth annual JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals held today at National Trail Raceway. Connolly, who made a return to the NHRA Pro Stock class at last week’s Charlotte event, drove to the title in Super Gas, while Ondrejko, who spent much of last season driving the Pro Stock car of two-time NHRA champ Jim Yates, collected his second win of the season in the Top Sportsman class.
In addition to Connolly and Ondrejko, other drivers who earned coveted NHRA Wally trophies in Columbus were Charlie Greco (Comp), Craig Marshall (Super Stock), David Ficacci (Stock), Steve Hoyt (Super Comp), Ron Steiner (Super Street), and Jeff Brown (Top Dragster).
Connolly, of Elyria, Ohio, drove to the Super Gas title following a 9.88 to 9.85 double breakout win over Billy Smith. For Connolly, the win was his 24th in NHRA national event competition. Ondrejko, of Roslindale, Mass., drove his Pontiac GTO to a 6.86 on his 6.84 dial-in to win the final round against Ronnie Proctor who was close behind with a 6.98 on his 6.96 dial-in.
Greco, of Paoli, Pa., earned the title in Comp Eliminator in his L/AA Cobalt after the similarly classed ’93 Cutlass of David Billingsley red-lighted in the final round.
Columbus resident Craig Marshall scored a win at his home track by driving his Pontiac Grand Am to an 8.94 on his 8.92 dial top stop final round opponent Jeremy Duncan.
Stock winner Ficacci, who hails from Whippany, N.J., defeated former national champion Tex Miller in the final round. Both drivers matched their respective dial-in times but Ficacci had the quicker reaction time, which allowed him to cross the finish line first.
Ft. Wayne, Ind., based Hoyt drove to an 8.91 in the final round of super Comp to trailer Dave Dahlem, who broke out by running one thousandth of a second under the 8.90 index with an 8.899-second run. Super Street champion Steiner, of Hamden, Conn., took his vintage ’55 Chevy to a 10.91 to 10.93 win over Joey Shipp in the final.
Finally, Brown, of Marysville, Ohio, won the Top Dragster championship by driving to a narrow win over Jamie Bridge in the final. Brown posted a 6.78 on his 6.73 dial in for the win while Bridge ran a 56.84 on his 6.77 dial.
In other developments, the results of Saturday’s Mopar Hemi Challenge were overturned when NHRA Officials discovered a technical infraction during a post-race inspection of Jim Pancake’s Dodge Dart. Pancake was disqualified and runner-up Jim Daniels was named the winner. Daniels has now won the last two Mopar Hemi Challenge events as he also won the recent Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.
It was a short day for the JEGS Mail Order team as John Coughlin posted a round three finish in Top Dragster and a round two finish in Comp Eliminator. Mike Coughlin, in his long-awaited return to the Top Sportsman class following a lengthy hiatus, broke in the opening round of Top Sportsman eliminations and third-generation racer Troy Coughlin Jr., was defeated in round two of Super Comp eliminations.
The JEGS Crown trophy also went unclaimed for another year as none of the previous winners of the two previous 2010 JEGS SPORTSnationals events in Belle Rose, La., or Fontana, Calif., was able to repeat the feat in Columbus. The JEGS Crown remains one of the most elusive trophies in motorsports as it has been claimed just once since 2005, by Pro Mod racer Mike Ashley.