Phelps Wins Big In Desperado Drag Racing Series
On Saturday night Chris Cox of Speed Oasis sponsored the first of a three series race ~ The Speed Oasis Desperado Series and car show. With trophies and a raised purse Drag racers waited in line to enter the gates at Northeast Dragway hoping to get their hands on the top prize and a trip to the winners circle.
Young or old, Rookie or Veteran, a first place win can feel like winning the lottery. Although most bracket racers will tell you it’s not a get rich kind of sport, the first place trophy and a trip to the winners circle usually means the most.
Nineteen year old Dylan Phelps of Roper, N.C. felt exactly this way on Saturday night when he took home first place honors in the Modified Class after beating Oscar Brookins Sr. Brookins ran to far off his dial and Phelps ran dead on his dial giving him the win light. Phelps started his racing career in the Jr Dragster Division and moved into the Modified class four years ago. “This win is long overdue. I haven’t won a race all year. I’ve suffered some sort of mechanical failure almost every week. I didn’t have any mechanical break downs tonight but I just could not seem to get the car were it needed to be. I took a chance when I bought back in during the first two rounds. I honestly had no idea that I would see the winners circle tonight. I love drag racing. My dad and I have been racing together a long time. I couldn’t come out here and do any of this without my dad’s support.”
Larry Gilliam of Portsmouth, VA claimed his first win at Northeast Dragway beating Donald Wiggins. Gilliam in his 1978 Ford Fairmont met Donald Wiggins in the finals of TOP Eliminator. Wiggins’ dragster was the faster of the two and would have to run down Gilliam on the top end, meaning that Wiggins would have to be patient as he waited on the tree to come down. Tonight Wiggins would push the tree just a little too much in order to catch Gilliam and Wiggins went red giving the win to Gilliam.
“I’m 61 years old and have been racing most of my life, said Gilliam. I ran my first race back in the early 70’s, one time down a drag strip and I was hooked. I am happy to add a win at Northeast to my list of accomplishments. It’s just such a great feeling. Every win feels like a first.
Julie Ainsley of Chesapeake, VA didn’t show 9 year old rookie Austin Nutwell, also of Chesapeake any mercy in the final round of the Jr Dragster Class. Ainsley with a total of eight wins, a Wally and most recently a track title this season showed the crowd why she is the 2013 Northeast Jr Dragster Track Champion, winning yet another race this season beating Nutwell in the finals. Although Nutwell and Ainsley are good friends and are usually glued to each other’s hip, as Julie’s father Tim would say. Friendship ends at the tree and is embraced again at the finish line. At the tower the two young girls hugged and high fived. Each other wanted nothing more than for the other to win.
Earlier in the year racers had a chance to be a part of a points series. These participants would have a chance to compete at the Team Finals according to where they finished at, at the end of the twelve race series. Finalist were named at the last race and a team of 40 drivers made up of Modified, TOP Eliminator, and Jr Dragsters will compete next week in the IHRA Division One Team Bracket Finals at Piedmont Dragway in Julian, NC. Curtis Trueblood, track owner and operator of Northeast Dragway along with his family and staff would like to wish all his drivers the very best of luck.
Northeast Dragway will run the “Battle of the Big Guns” along with “Rambo’s Grudge Fest” and “Last Man Standing” next Saturday October 5th. Gates will open at 1 pm with racing starting at 3 pm. For more information log onto www.northeastdragway.net