The Central States Superchargers kicked off their 2017 racing season at Kansas International Dragway in Wichita, Kansas on Saturday, May 13th. Four inches of rain drenched the facility on Thursday night leaving less than favorable conditions for the main event on Saturday, but the race must go on right? Yes! 11 cars made the tow to Wichita including the first funny car to run with the series, Russell Ballew's new "Ballew Thunder" Nova bodied flopper. In the pits before qualifying got underway, Bill Seals discovered flywheel issues that sidelined his team as ten cars were ready to hit the track for their one and only qualifying shot.
Don Wilcox - Adam Smith
2016 Championship runner up Adam Smith and his "Adam Bomb" blown slingshot dragster shot to the number one qualifying position with a 4.54 at 153 mph and would lead the field into eliminations. 2016 CSS Champion Don Wilcox posted a 4.74 at 145 mph to qualify second and Anthony Whitfield's "Mighty Mouse" nitro fuel altered took the third spot with a 4.79 at 163 mph. The quickest eight cars advanced to the first round of eliminations with Russell Ballew on the bump spot. Brett Henry's "Iron Mistress" nitro fuel altered broke during the qualifying round and Lee Loveall took his place as the first alternate.
FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER:
1. Adam Smith - 4.54 @ 153
2. Don Wilcox - 4.74 @ 145
3. Anthony Whitfield - 4.79 @ 163
4. Dave Gallegos - 4.88 @ 149
5. Brett Henry - 5.10 @ 121
6. Darren Inman - 5.15 @ 137
7. Howard Knowles - 5.48 @ 114
8. Russell Ballew - 5.71 @ 134
9. Lee Loveall - 5.78 @ 103
10. Cory Holcomb - No Time
11. Bill Seals - No Time
The first pair out featured top qualifier Smith lined up with the "Time Warp" blown Ford powered altered of Paula Doggett, driven by Darren Inman. Smith clicked off a clean 4.58 at 152 mph to take the win over Inman's 4.88 at 143 mph, not bad for Inman who had only a few passes in the car to this point after assuming driving duties for the late John Tappan who we lost in 2016. Howard Knowles was out next in the "Psycho Therapy" nitro fuel altered against the "Show Me Thunder" blown alcohol entry of Don Wilcox. Wilcox took a huge starting line advantage, but Knowles quickly closed the gap and ripped off a great 4.25 at 137 mph to advance over Wilcox's 4.63 at 148 mph.
Anthony Whitfield (Low Et Top Speed Slip) - Russell Ballew
Next out Anthony Whitfield's nitro pumping fuel altered lined up with Russell Ballew's beautiful new blown alcohol Funny Car. Ballew, still shaking out his new ride, struggled to a 5.42 while Whitfield set the pace with a stellar 4.00 at 184 mph to move into the semi-finals. In the final pair, a pair of blown alcohol altereds took the stage with Dave Gallegos taking on Lee Loveall. Gallegos used a holeshot and a 4.75 at 144 mph to take out Loveall's quicker but losing 4.62 at 137 mph.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Adam Smith (.174 rt) 4.58 @ 152 -vs- (L) Darren Inman (.162 rt) 4.88 @ 143
(W) Howard Knowles (.253 rt) 4.25 @ 137 -vs- (L) Don Wilcox (.103 rt) 4.63 @ 148
(W) Anthony Whitfield (.129 rt) 4.00 @ 184 -vs- (L) Russell Ballew (.247 rt) 5.42 @ 130
(W) Dave Gallegos (.153 rt) 4.75 @ 144 -vs- (L) Lee Loveall (.300 rt) 4.62 @ 137
Howard Knowles and top qualifier Adam Smith kicked off semi-final round action as Smith went -.048 red at the starting line and had the best seat in the house to watch Knowles post a winning 4.40 at 139 mph to move into the finals. Dave Gallegos was up next alongside Anthony Whitfield who posted low elapsed time and top speed of the meet in the previous round. Whitfield was unable to repeat as tire shake and smoking tires ended his run, while Gallegos clicked off a 4.93 at 133 mph to move into the final to take on Knowles.
SEMI-FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Howard Knowles (.258 rt) 4.40 @ 139 -vs- (L) Adam Smith (-.048 rt) 5.54 @ 148
(W) Dave Gallegos (.123 rt) 4.93 @ 133 -vs- (L) Anthony Whitfield (.100 rt) 7.65 @ 63
The final round guaranteed us one happy winner as Gallegos was looking for his first career CSS event win, while Knowles and tuner Dale "Lurch" Wilkens were hoping to put their car in the winners circle since debuting their new nitro burner. Unfortunately for Knowles, severe tire shake in the semi-finals destroyed some timing equipment and he was unable to fire up for the final. Gallegos would have a solo shot to the winners circle and his 4.97 at 119 mph took the first win for the "Nitro Clown" team and first CSS event win of 2017!
FINAL ROUND RESULTS:
(W) Dave Gallegos (.333 rt) 4.97 @ 119 -vs- (L) Howard Knowles (No Time - Broke)
Winner - Dave Gallegos
Congratulations to Gallegos and the team out of St. Mary's, Kansas on their win in Wichita! The next points race for the Central States Superchargers will be held September 2nd at the historic Mo-Kan Dragway in Asbury, Missouri.
NOSTALGIA DRAG WORLD - Text by Chris Graves - File photos