One could say this weekend is for all the marbles. In one aspect it is, given the 2018 Sunoco Race Fuels ET Series Championships will be decided this Saturday. Others may say this weekend is just the icing on a very eventful season for Maple Grove’s points racers. From the Juniors trips to Bristol, Tennessee for the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League Eastern Conference Finals to Numidia, Pennsylvania where a couple juniors stole the show. All of the juniors who participated in the NHRA Division One Summit Racing Jr. Dragster Championship worked extremely hard. However, three in particular were able to come home with some major bragging rights. CJ Ketterer won the 15 to 17 year old category, Braylon Kuhn won the 13 to 14 year old category and Dillon Taylor won the Race of Champions.
Next mission for Maple Grove’s ET Series points racers was in September at Atco Dragway for the 2018 Northeast Division NHRA Summit Racing ET Bracket Finals. Overall the weekend was a success seeing as Team Maple was very consistent going back and forth for first place for Team Points. Team Maple Grove did not make it easy for Atco Dragway to win Team Points. Maple Grove Raceway finished second overall in Team Points just three points behind Atco Dragway.
Lady Luck was with Team Maple Grove on Friday of Bracket Finals for the Race of Champions. In Street Eliminator, Thomas Harhart made it all the way to the semi-finals. Maple Grove Raceway 2017 Pro Track Champion, Rich Pennington, was runner up in Pro Eliminator. 2017 Bike/ Sled Bracket Finals winner, Austin Youndt, won the consolation race and was runner up for the Race of Champions in the Bike/Sled categories.
When the time came to get down to official business at the Bracket Finals, Team Maple Grove gave it all they had to try and get the job done. Six of Maple Grove’s finest bike/ sled racers went into round one hungry for a win. 2017 Track Champion, Jeff Santin and Joe Steubner were still hanging strong in the quarter-finals. Joe was able to advance to the semi-finals where he faced Island Dragway’s Barry Stephens, Sr.
The Street Eliminator class was also stacked with very talented racers from the Northeast Division. While 12 Team Maple Grove qualifies entered round one, only a few were able to advance to the next rounds. The Pro Eliminator class was tough for Team Maple Grove. 14 representatives went into to round one guns blazing. However, there were two lone soldiers left to fight in round four for Team MG.
In the Super Pro class is where Team Maple Grove made its mark on Bracket Finals as 13 Team MG qualifiers took the tree in round one. After some intense match-ups, two qualifiers made it to the semi-finals. 2017 ET Golf Cart Shootout Winner, Shayne Beck was able to beat two Atco Dragway qualifiers, Mark Orlowski in the semi-finals and Mark Kelley in the quarter-finals. After turning on the win light for six rounds against some tough competition, Shayne found himself sitting in the lanes ready for the final round. This Narvon native came face to face with New Jersey resident, Jim Larro. Jim, a Christmas tree and a quarter mile were the only obstacles left for Shayne to conquer. He was able to defeat them all with the finesse of a champion. Shayne Beck’s victory secured him a spot to represent Team Maple Grove at the Summit National Championships out in Pomona, California.
All of these successful racers and then some will be here this Saturday to fight for more than just money, trophies or prizes. They will be out here at Maple Grove Raceway to do what they love and with a group of people they call their racing family. Taking pride in a job well done and a tough season completed. So this takes us back to the question of this weekend being for all the marbles or not? I guess the only answer is, it depends on who you ask when the day is done and championships are decided.