Good morning from Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, where we are going into the final day of the final race of the 2014 LSX Challenge series. Last night we finished heads-up qualifying, and this morning the LSX Rumble cars are already into eliminations.
With rain originally in the forecast for today, the pressure was on last night to get as much of the program completed as possible. That led to some interesting passes on the steadily chilling track as the sun set, including this wobbly Q2 run from Mark Carlyle in LSX Drag Radial:
Today’s actual weather, though, is picture-perfect with clear skies, cool temperatures, and a sun-kissed stretch of asphalt to race upon. While we wait for the heads-up LSX eliminations to begin, here’s a few photos from yesterday’s action.
ERL Performance All Motor
By virtue of the three-car field, the first round in All Motor was also the de-facto semi-finals. Don Baskin and Jud Massingill paired off first , and when the ambers dropped, there was essentially no difference in reaction time, with Baskin cutting a .080 and Massingill clocking a .079. From there, though, their fate differed significantly – Baskin was away cleanly, but the 4th gen Camaro briefly spun the tires at the hit. Though Massingill carried almost six miles an hour more speed through the traps, he simply ran out of track before catching up to Baskin, and lost 8.583 to 8.355.
Robert Strong, earning the top-qualifier single into the finals, took advantage of the freebie to see how much power the track would hold at the starting line. The answer? “Less than he applied,” with the Monte blowing off the tires hard at the hit. Strong clocked a .019 light but coasted the run out to an 11.825 at 84.21 miles an hour.
The All Motor final put Baskin in the left lane, and Strong in the right. Staged up, the reaction advantage went to Strong, .011 to .089, but the slight advantage would be short-lived. By half-track, Baskin had edged past, and though he rode the left edge of the groove close to the wall, he extended that lead through to the stripe. Baskin earned All Motor honors with his quickest run of the weekend, an 8.316 at 161.15 MPH to Strong’s 8.626 at 157.80.
JE Pistons Drag Radial
Drag Radial also had a three car field, with number two and three qualifiers Mike Brown and Anthony Manna pairing up first to determine who would challenge Mark Carlyle for the event win. Lining up, Brown was in first, and Manna bounced a bit in the beams before settling in just as the tree dropped. Giving up a huge .103-.034 reaction time advantage, Manna had some ground to make up and not much time to do it over the short 1/8th mile track, but he did just that, clawing back to a 4.475 win to Brown’s losing 4.666.
For his part, Carlyle also decided to test traction on his single pass, and was rewarded with a heap of tirespin and a leisurely 9-second timeslip that nonetheless took him straight to the money round to face Manna.
When it was time to sort the winners from the runners-up, Carlyle pulled into the beams first in the left lane, while Manna bounced again, flickering the beams. Again, Manna gave up the holeshot to his opponent, .095 to .045, but those five hundredths of a second would become inconsequential in the long run when Carlyle had to pedal hard just past the tree, and could only watch Manna surge past to the eighth-mile finish line for the win.
Holley EFI Real Street
To kick things off in RS, number two qualifier Filippides and ninth-seeded Pratt squared off. The reaction time went to Filippides, and he never looked back, with the 5th Gen Camaro running another seven to Pratt’s 8.498. Next up, Toll and Harmon took the beams. Close on reaction time, the race was over before the 60-foot mark as Harmon spun the tires while Toll ran his pass out to an 8.14, his quickest pass so far this weekend.
Falcon and Belcher were next, and in a clean race, Falcon drove around a holeshot to move on to the next round, 8.089 to 8.630. Fourth qualified Litz and number 11 Massengale followed. Massengale got the job done at the tree with a .066 to .134 holeshot, but the COPO didn’t have the kick to keep up down-track and Litz advanced with a 7.994 to Massengale’s 8.723.
As Preston and Schaeffer staged up for their pairing, Schaeffer’s crew didn’t like how he was lined up and moved him over to better square up with the groove. Turns out it wasn’t enough – after losing the leave, .153 to .071, Schaeffer drifted left towards the wall and lost even more time, while Preston powered to the win with his first seven of the weekend. Coulter and Polly were next, and when the ambers flashed, Coulter posted an absolutely somnolent .203 reaction time to Polly’s .092. Polley went wheels-up, though, and Coulter drove around the holeshotting to find his first seven of the weekend as well, clocking a 7.958 to Polly’s 8.140.
Delaney and Bulach made up the last pair of cars in first round competition, or would have if Bulach could have made the call. As it turned out, it was a surprise single for Delaney, and he ran it out to a lifting 8.400. That left only top qualifier Rounsavall to take the beams, and he bested his qualifying performance with a clean 7.879.
Round two kicked off with Litz and Toll facing each other – after winning the reaction time battle, a puff of smoke and a flash of fire down-track at the thousand foot mark punctuated the end of Toll’s day, with him going down 8.648 to 8.023 to Litz. Preston and Rounsavall were next, and the upset of the day occurred when the number one qualifier left .130 early, giving a free ride into the semis for Preston.
Just before the water box, Falcon exercised his lane choice and swapped sides with Delaney, then turned a minor holeshotting and a close race into a ticket to the semis, coming out ahead 8.208 to Delaney’s 8.226. The final scheduled pair was determined by another no-show – this time Filippides was the beneficiary of Coulter’s no-show, but still ran the pass out to 7.874 at 176.24.
The semis paired Preston and Falcon, and once again Preston advanced on an opponent’s redlight; a heartbreakingly close -.008 on Falcon’s side of the tree. On the other half of the ladder, both Filippides and Litz flirted with death-by-red-bulb themselves, with a .007 and .008 respectively. Down track, it was a clean race, with Filippides just outrunning Litz, clicking off another bracket-like 7.834 to Litz’ 8.049.
With the final pairing set, both Filippides and Preston pulled out all the stops. Filippides clipped a .011 light, and Preston was right there with him, cutting a .030. Though Preston ran his best pass of the weekend at 7.945, it wasn’t enough to cover Filippides’ eighties pace, and he would have to settle for Real Street runner up.