It’s been two and a half years since the last Nastjet Nationals were held. That doesn’t mean the cars and drivers have been sitting idle. These boys have been burning up the asphalt at Thompson Speedway and River City Raceway on the Crash and Burn circuit. Eleven drivers from Wisconsin, Minnesota and California made the trip to the 2 ½ mile Ames Memorial Super Speedway trioval for 2 rounds of side by side rubbing racing.
At the scales Tom Lange’s Lowe’s Chevy once again grabbed the lead sled award with a weight of 30.52 grams, up 5.62 from 2009! Tipping the scale the other way was Old Milwaukee Chevy driver Jake Killer Shimshak with a 23.50.
Qualifying consisted of each driver touring the track for 5 laps with the best lap counting as the driver’s official time. Wilton Wisconsin driver Bob Talley was the first up where he set the pace in his DuPont #24 with a 3:335 knocking off over 3 tenths of a second for a personal best. After Bob the track got faster. Second out was LaValle Wisconsin driver Tom Lange who was the first to lower the track record with a 3:147. The third driver out was Californian driver Richard Phillis. NoCal Rich managed a 3:289 with his FRAY legal Aurora chassis under the Aflac Ford Fusion.
Driving the only Mopar in the field, the Budweiser #9 Charger, Mark Swingle was the next driver to lower the track record with a 3:130 knocking off over 2 tenths of a second for a
personal best. That stood up till the next driver Paul Gilbertson lowered it to 3:120. Next out were Pat Schroeder and Jake Shimshak whose attempts landed them 9th and 8th on the grid.The 8th driver out was Paul Shimshak who was making his 2nd start in this event. Driving the #17 DeWalt Ford Fusion Shimmy turned the trioval in 3:032 on his third lap. Would this hold up for a new track record? Three more drivers were yet to take their stab at the track record, all heavy hitters. First up was Rich CrazyHo Hohlfeld who was still looking for his first ever pole award in this event. He toured the track in 3:117 which placed him 3rd on the starting grid. Next up was Madison’s Dr.Noise. Martin came away with a disappointing 3:145 for a 6th place start. The last driver out was Mr. Full Throttle Drew Kreibich in Johnny G’s FedEx Toyota. Drew’s best lap was a 3:108 which placed him on the outside of row one. Shimmy’s time stood up giving the #17 its 3rd pole with 3 different drivers in the 7 years of Nastjet National racing. “I like this driving for someone else, just show up and race” said Shimmy. All in all 7 drivers eclipsed the track record of 3:187.
This year’s events were run using the Crash and Burn rotation with a randomized driver line up. Eleven drivers equals 11 heats with the top 5 plus ties moving on to round 2’s 90 second segments were the driver with the most laps and furthest distance wins.
In round 1 five different drivers won segments led by Bill Martin with 4. Others with segment wins were Drew, Tom and Jake with 2 each while Rich managed 1 win. Point wise Tom lead the way to the Round 2 Main with 68 followed by Bill and Rich with 67. Drew, Shimmy and Jake collected 66 points and also advance to Round 2. Since NoCal Rich was next with 65 he was added to Round 2 as a promoter’s option giving us 7 racers all vying for the Nastjet Nationals Title.
Rich started off Round 2 racing strong with a win and 27 laps. Hanging tough was Bill and NoCal Rich with the all important 27 laps. Martin pushed the envelope in heat 2 with 28 laps while Tom, NoCal Rich, and Shim came away with 27. Tom ran strong in heat 3 winning with 28 while Shim, NoCal Rich and Jake turned 27. Another win and 28 more laps for Tom in heat 4 while Rich and Jake could only muster 26. Rich pulled out his 2nd win with a 28 lap segment win while Jake placed 2nd also with 28. Bill got his 2nd win in heat 6 with 27 laps followed by Rich and NoCal Rich with 26.
Entering the final segment Bill and Tom held a 1 lap lead (108) over Rich and NoCal Rich (107). Jake’s segment racing was over and his total was 133 meaning the above 4 drivers needed 25 to 26 laps to become the overall winner. Rich pulled out the win, his 3rd, with 28 laps but Martin also was able to complete 28 laps to become the overall winner by 3/4s of a lap. Martin ended up with a total of 136 laps followed by Rich with 135 and NoCal Rich with 134. Martin became the 4th different Nastjet National Champion coming in his 2nd start. NoCal Rich placed 3rd in all 5 of his Round 2 segments.