Archive for August, 2011

Bolton makes history with Moser Axle-Mania win

Monday, August 15th, 2011

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Lisa Bolton knew that it was her against the world.

Bolton knew that in the long, prestigious history of the Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Showdown no footbrake racer had ever won IHRA’s richest sportsman race. She knew no woman had ever won it either. Add in the fact that Bolton’s final round opponent was Cameron Manuel, one of the hottest drivers in sportsman racing today, and Bolton knew it was going to be a tough task.

But it isn’t always what you know, it is what you do.

Bolton stunned the Moser Axle-Mania field on Sunday, racing her way to a victory in one of the richest sportsman races in the country over Manuel and pocketing a cool $22,500 in the process at the IHRA Northern Nitro Jam at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.

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“I never thought this would be possible. This is just an incredible moment,” said a teary-eyed Bolton moments after climbing from her car. “We always hoped, but you just never know in a race like this. I was up against a lot of tough competitors and I had some wonderful races, but to actually win a race like this is just unthinkable. I am speechless.”

After a long and trying weekend, Bolton finally saw her hard work pay off with a trip to the final against reigning Super Rod champion Cameron Manuel. With the biggest victory of either drivers career on the line, both drivers left with identical .012 lights, but it was Bolton out of the Stock ranks running closest to the numbers in the unique eighth-mile competition with a 7.186 lap on a 7.17 dial at 93.49 mph. In the other lane Manuel gave it his all, but came up just shy running a 6.699 on a 6.67 dial at 112.10 mph, a difference of roughly two feet at the line.

“I was very, very nervous about racing him. I knew he was going to be extremely tough and I only hoped I could keep doing what I was doing and give him a decent race,” Bolton said. “I knew throughout the run that it was close, but when I saw the (win) lights I was in disbelief.

“When I saw that win light come on I screamed. I just screamed as loud as I could. I couldn’t believe it.”

Bolton’s victory came after an interesting weekend that included rain, storms and lots of waiting for her chance to claim her share of the $51,000 purse. Thankfully, Bolton got two rounds out of the way first thing on Friday, but the rest had to wait for nearly two full days.

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“Rain delays are good in the morning because you get to sleep in, but it also gives you a chance to think about things and it can really make you crazy,” Bolton said. “I was also frustrated with all the weather because I was supposed to go home and spend some time with my family. But I will tell you, this makes up for it.”

Bolton’s run to the final began on Friday with a bye win over Brain Rowe, setting up a battle for the Stock crown against veteran Nick Folk. Bolton nailed the tree against Folk and ran a solid race while Folk broke out.

After that, the rains moved in.

Saturday’s finale was washed out by heavy rains and storms that damaged the tower and forced the finish of the Moser Axle-Mania race and the remainder of the Northern Nitro Jam to Sunday. More rain washed away the start on Sunday and pushed the finale of the Northern Nitro Jam to mid-afternoon where Bolton finally got back on track – both figuratively and literally.

In the quarters Bolton met up with Quick Rod competitor Tony Elrod and once again claimed a breakout win, running .022 off her dial while Elrod ran a tad too quick. Bolton finally put the entire package together in the semifinals against Nick Karas as Bolton nailed the tree with a .010 reaction time and ran the same .010 off her dial.

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In the other semifinal Manuel eliminated Jeff Gardiner to move on to face Bolton.

“I have to thank Moser and IHRA. I have to thank my husband and all my family. I wish they could have been here this weekend,” Bolton said. “All of our friends here at the track, I have to thank them along with Nick Karas and his family for a great semifinal run and Cameron for a great final. This is a wonderful event and it is something you look forward to every year.”

So with a unique trophy and a much, much fatter wallet, what is next for Bolton, her husband Eddie and the rest of the gang?

“We are ready to go home,” Bolton said with a laugh. “Then we are going to pay off the stacker trailer we just bought. I just have to say, wow.”

Axlemania Pressure Culminates This Weekend!

Monday, August 1st, 2011

This weekend 32 of the best sportsman racers in the country are waiting  to hoist the prestigious axle trophy and claim their portion of the $51,000 prize that comes with winning the Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Showdown.

A grand total of 32 drivers, four from each regular IHRA Summit Pro-am class and one wild card group, will do battle Friday and Saturday night at the Northern Nitro Jam at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park this weekend to take their piece of the $51,000 pie - a cool $22,500 and bragging rights for the entire year. The runner-up collects $7,500.
 The Moser Axle-Mania Sportsman Showdown is one of the biggest sportsman races of the year
The final 32 is determined by Summit Pro-Am points among all eligible racers, with the top four in each class and four “wild card” entries earning their way into the field. The bracket is determined by random draw, with drivers first competing within their own class and then branching out to face drivers in other classes.
 
The competition will be contested in the eighth-mile with a special set of rules to help level the playing field. And when all is said and done only one driver will remain and that person will take home the $22,500 grand prize and the title of Moser Axle-Mania champion.
 
In 2010 it was Quick Rod racer Bo Upton surviving the grueling two-day competition, defeating Stock racer Myron Piatek in the final. This year’s competition also features some heavy hitters vying for the top prize with multiple divisional and national champions among the group.
 
As always, the first two rounds of competition will narrow the field down to the best in each Summit Pro-Am class and the one wild card group. From there the competition will pit the Top Sportsman champion against the Super Rod winner and the Wild Card winner versus the Top Dragster champion on the left side of the bracket, while the right side will feature Super Stock versus Hot Rod in round three and Quick Rod versus Stock.
 
 
Time trials and the first two rounds of eliminations will take place on Friday, while the final three rounds of competition will take place Saturday night under the lights in front of the huge Martin crowd during the Northern Nitro Jam “Night of Fire.”
 
The complete list of drivers competing in this year’s competition and their first round matchups can be found below:
 

 

LEFT BRACKET
 
TOP SPORTSMAN
1. Norm Williams vs. 3. Dave Dins
2. Bob Gulitti vs. 4. Mike Sowards
 
SUPER ROD
1. Billy Smith vs. 3. Jon Jablonski
2. Cameron Manuel vs. 4. John Taylor
 
WILD CARD
1. Jeffrey Gardiner (STK) vs. 3. Steve Furr (SR)
2. Kevin McLamb (HR) vs. 4. Jacob Elrod (QR)
 
TOP DRAGSTER
1. Steve Furr vs. 3. Joe Gary
2. Dave Elrod vs. 4. Mike Kalin
 
RIGHT BRACKET
 
SUPER STOCK
1. Larry Cummings vs. 3. Clay Bullard
2. Brandon Peterson vs. 4. Gil Carty Jr.
 
HOT ROD
1. John Dustin vs. 3. Donald Webb
2. Chris Dean vs. 4. Nick Karas
 
QUICK ROD
1. Anthony Elrod vs. 3. Greg Slack
2. Michael Pennington vs. 4. Richard Preiser
 
STOCK
1. Michael Beard vs. 3. Nick Folk
2. Lisa Bolton vs. 4. Brian Rowe