At the end of a long day, it was Chris Crawford who was standing on top of the world.

He and his 1978 Camaro proved to be the best of a 323-car field and the Falling Waters, W.Va., resident took home $10,000 as the winner of the 10K Footbrake Nationals that ended Saturday night at Maple Grove Raceway.

He beat Maple Grove regular Paul Thimm Jr. for the championship.

With fall-like weather conditions in the evening, racing was shortened to eighth-mile for the final rounds.

In the final, Crawford ran 6.580 seconds at 105.26 mph that was .01 over his dial-in. Thimm (Mohnton, Pa.), in his ’27 Roadster, went 5.770 at 116.29 that was also. 01 over. However, Crawford got a slightly better reaction time – .049 to .053 – that made a difference.

Like any race with a huge field, Crawford needed a bit of skill and luck to make his way through the field. The race started in the morning with a single time trial and first-round losers were invited to buy back, so it was a long day all around for racers, fans and the Maple Grove track crew.

In the quarterfinals, Crawford faced Jody Ames (Elverson, Pa.) and his ’98 Mustang.  Ames had the better reaction time, but ended up slowing down while Crawford passed him for the win. In the semifinals, Crawford beat Robert Pare (Union Bridge, Md.) when his opponent drew a red light on the start.

Meanwhile, Thimm – who was Maple Grove’s season champion in Pro Eliminator – racked up an impressive quarterfinal win over veteran Tom Harhart (Elysburg, Pa.) with a pass of 5.760 at 116.43 that was a perfect his on his dial-in.

Thimm then faced himself in the semifinals. He had double-entered his car and was having such a great evening, that he was getting through each round twice. He finally ran into himself with four cars left and was forced to take one entry to the final.

For his runner-up finish, Thimm took home $2,000.

This weekend, Maple Grove will have its annual Fall Flea Market on Saturday – gates open at 7 a.m. – followed by the Ghosts and Goblins at The Grove race on Sunday. Ghosts and Goblins is a bracket race featuring the Junior Dragster Challenge and the King of the Track. Gates open for that race at 8 a.m.

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