Sunday, April 17th was the first Money Trail Series race of the season here at Maple Grove Raceway. Gates opened at 8 am and the staging lanes were full of racers ready to race at 9 am. Team Maple Grove fundraising also started yesterday with a 50/50 drawing and a bogey race.
What a beautiful day it was to go racing! And racing was what we did, with over 200 entries and 30 plus total rounds of competition. In the Junior Street class, the semi final round consisted of Ian Bechtel, from Reading, PA facing Samantha Hess from Mountville, PA. Samantha Hess had the speed to beat going 69.56 MPH with a 9.44 dial in and an E.T. of 9.598. However, it was all over right off the line with a red light start. That gave Ian Bechtel’s .046 reaction time along with a 11.06 dial in and E.T. of 11.119 the automatic win. While Luke Karol, from Mohnton, PA on the other hand did a single run, which automatically sent him into the finals.That left Ian Bechtel’s Pontiac to face Luke Karol’s 2008 Jeep Wrangler in the finals. It looked as if Karol was the stronger competitor with his consistency regarding speed, dial in and E.T., especially, when he ran almost five MPH faster than Bechtel. However, with a reaction time of .129 compared to Bechtel’s .003 reaction time, it was Bechtel who drove to Victory Lane in the Jr. Street class.
Jeff Kashuba from Stroudsburg, PA and Jake Karol from Mohnton, PA were front runners in disguise yesterday in the Trophy class. The semi finals were made up of three cars to battle for the finals. First up, was Jake Karol facing off against Kevin Fitzgerald from Millersville, PA. Fitzgerald left it all on the line going 99.11 MPH with his 2003 Mustang. But between Karol’s .060 reaction time and a speed of 104.15 MPH, it was the 1969 Camaro to secure a spot in the finals. Jeff Kashuba’s 2010 Dodge ran 101.08 MPH with a reaction time of .078 during his single semi final run. That left Kashuba to face Karol in the finals. Kashuba ran 102.54 MPH compared to Karol’s slower speed of 95.23 MPH. Ultimately, it came down to reaction time as a factor to be named as the victor. Karol’s .021 reaction time landed him as the Trophy class winner.
After seven rounds of tough competition in the Pro Eliminator class, 70 racers dwindled down to just three in the semi finals. 2016 Money Trail Pro class advisory board member Robert Smith from West Chester, PA faced Kyle Harrell from Harleysville, PA. Even though Harrell ran 135.50 MPH his .075 reaction time was just not enough to beat Smith’s reaction time of .005 running 118.94 MPH. Stephen Curtis from Malvern, PA ran 129.75 MPH with a reaction time of .019 during his single run. Which meant Smith’s 1967 Camaro ran against Curtis’s 1966 Chevy in the finals. The speeds were fast and the reaction times were quick with both competitors, but it was Stephen Curtis who brought home the win.
In the Super Pro Eliminator class, the semi final round action consisted of three racers looking for the chance to advance to the finals. First up was a single run by Alan Robinson from Honeybrook, PA. He advanced into the finals with a bye run to face the winner of the next pairing. Jack Grater from Perkiomenville, PA faced off against Scott Thompson from Douglasville, PA. Grater was the winner with a reaction time of .017 and a speed of 154.47 MPH. Thompson pushed his S&W dragster to the max, reaching a speed of 174.53 MPH and a reaction time of .040. The finals came down to Grater’s 1988 Thunderbird and Robinson’s 2001 Robinson Digger. While Robinson’s 173.99 MPH run was dialed in at 7.73 with an E.T. of 7.744 it was no match for Grater. His almost perfect reaction time is what set his 156.59 MPH run apart from the competition. Ultimately, naming Jack Grater as the Super Pro class winner.
The Top Bike Class had a first time Maple Grove Raceway entrant from Swedesboro, NJ racing his 2013 Suzuki Hayabusa straight into the finals. Jeffrey Santin went up against Money Trail Series veteran Kyle Gockley from Mohnton, PA. By the looks of it, Gockley’s 2003 Suzuki Hayabusa was the front runner in the finals with a 8.83 dial in, and an 8.871 E.T. by running a fast 151.99 MPH. However, it all came down to reaction time for this final. Santin’s bright yellow bike ran 138 MPH with a 9.55 dial in and an E.T. of 9.579. Gockley’s reaction time was .102 compared to Santin’s slightly quicker .095 time. This was not only Jeffrey Santin’s first time racing at Maple Grove Raceway but also his first time in victory lane.
The Street Eliminator class saw 46 cars lay it on the line all day in hopes of making it to the finals. Semi finals came down to Thomas Harhart from Elysburg, PA against 2016 Money Trail Street advisory board member Paul Werner from Sinking Spring, PA. Harhart and Werner were similar on reaction times but it was that slight difference that pushed Harhart into the finals. David Sciarritta from Oxford, PA automatically advanced to the finals after his single run. Even though he ran 113.78 MPH with a quick reaction time of .004. Scarritta’s 1970 GTO went up against Harhart’s 1962 Chevy Impala in the finals. Harhart had a quick reaction time of .028 in comparison to Sciarritta’s .034 time. However, Sciarritta’s 113.81 MPH run won him the Street Eliminator class with a dial in of 11.63 and an E.T. of 11.645.
In addition to all the excitement the day brought, it was the Junior Dragster class that was the most memorable. We had 23 junior dragsters participate yesterday, all with the hopes of walking away holding the large trophy. The semi final round consisted of three very talented young racers with their sights set on the finish line. First paring to the line was siblings CJ Ketterer against Jeremy Ketterer both from Sellersville, PA. Their E.Ts along with the speed were very similar and their dial ins were identical. However, it was CJ’s .045 reaction time that advanced him into the finals over Jeremy’s .035 reaction time. Ryan Wruble, automatically advanced to the finals with his single run going 73.95 MPH. In the finals, it was CJ Ketterer who claimed the win over Wruble with a .026 reaction time while going 78.67 MPH.