Bracket racers collect Wallys
Denny Renninger saved his best for last. The Leesport, Pa., racer was the Pro class winner Sunday as Maple Grove Raceway presented its annual National Dragster Challenge.
Even though the Sunoco Race Fuels Money Trail E.T. Series wrapped up its season on Labor Day weekend, several racers returned to The Grove for a chance to win a prestigious Wally trophy that features the likeness of NHRA founder Wally Parks. For just about any drag racer, earning one can be considered a career highlight.
Wallys were also handed out to Derrick Fox (Super), Tom Harhart (Street) and John Lippincott (Top Bike).
The Race 4 Ronald’s House charity race was also held, and nearly 60 drivers took part. The annual event put together by Denny Parisan from County Corvette of West Chester, Pa., benefits the Ronald McDonald House of Philadelphia.
Another charity event kicked off the weekend. The Humane Society of Berks County held its annual Walk for the Animals and Walktoberfest on Saturday, drawing thousands of animal lovers and their dogs.
Renninger had a tall order in the Pro final. He was facing Martin Flegal (Ephrata, Pa.) and his ’98 S-10, who was runner-up in the season points. Renninger got a great reaction time of .008 and then used it to survive a double-breakout run in which both drivers crossed the finish line with an elapsed time that was quicker than their dial-in.
Renninger was .024 under, while Flegal was .016, but the RT made a difference. Todd Thoman (York, Pa.) lost to Flegal in the semifinals.
Reaction was also key in the Super final as Fox (Malvern, Pa.) defeated Brian Crump (Gap, Pa.) in an all-dragster final. Fox had a perfect light and was .006 over his dial, running 7.436 at 178.02. Crump was .011 over with a pass of 7.621 at 175.91. Richard Rogge (East Norriton, Pa.) was a semifinalist.
A veteran racer, Harhart (Elysburg, Pa.) took Street in his ’62 Impala. Calm and cool on the line throughout the day, he defeated Dave Raser (Oxford, Pa.) in the final with a pass that .022 over his dial, 14.222 at 89.20. Raser also had a slower reaction time and was .020 over. Tim Rubendall (Pottstown, Pa.) was in the semifinals.
In Top Bike, Lippincott (Adamstown, Pa.) was the winner with his Suzuki-powered machine. He went 10.533 at 130.35 that was .143 over his dial, but had good luck when runner-up Tony Stokes (Middletown, Del.) broke out. Derek Cesari (Warminster, Pa.) and Christopher Olejar (Conshohocken, Pa.) were the semifinalists.
A race was also held in Trophy class. Al Schultz Jr. (Quakertown, Pa.) took the win in a ’69 Chevelle with Richard Smolenski (Perkasie, Pa.) the runner-up.
In the Race 4 Ronald’s House, Phil Feger (Red Lion, Pa.) won the beginners’ class, while Paul Melhado (Blue Point, N.Y.) took the experienced class.