The Sun Sets on Beech Bend
The first stop of 2016 for the Modern Street Hemi Shootout took the competitors to the Bluegrass State and the first shot at the thousands in cash and prizes lined up for this season. It was an up and down start for the series as two days of racing each cut short by Mother Nature. Day one had racing in conjunction with Challengerfest and was eventually halted by hail and poor weather conditions. Day two saw lots of action, but that too would eventually come to an end as darkness fell and put an end to the first of five stops on the 2016 Paramount Performance and The Driveshaft Shop sponsored MSHS series.
While not every division had a chance to finish, winners were awarded in each class and some of the prize money is being carried over to the True Street Performance Spring event at Virginia Motorsports Park on May 20th, including carry overs for the Stell Sav Twin Win award and $2,000 going to the winner of the Stage 6 King of the Hill shootout!
2016 looks to be a year of huge gains as some of the series heavy hitters have really come to play. Harrison Zauke took the Orthopedic Spine Care of Long Island best ET award with a blistering 8.79 in “The Brick,” with a few compromised suspension components. Look for lots of competition to show up for that coveted plaque come May 20th. Sal Iovino proved he is a force to be reckoned with by taking out some of the big guns and placing firsts in the Demon Performance Super Pro class. Iovino edged out John Lewis by running a 9.25 to a 9.34 and would follow up that performance with a 9.13 in the finals against Harrison Zauke, who proved to be a little quick on the trigger with a red light disqualification, handing the Cumming, Georgia resident the victory.
While many of the classes had new winners, the ThiTek Pro class had a very familiar face in the winner’s circle with reigning champion Marcus Hughes from Suffolk, Virginia. His domination of the class continued with consistent 9.6 runs all day, including a hole shot victory in the finals when he was pitted against the bad man from Birmingham, Kent Irwin. Hughes used an .073 light to overcome Irwin’s 9.58 ET. Hughes saved his best run for last and laid down a 9.60 in the finals for the victory. The ThiTek Pro class is filling up with formidable competition though, so don’t expect at cake walk for Hughes at VMP! Veterans like Brian Brunt, Chris Harrigan and the Hellcat of Linda Tout all ran great times and should be ready to make a run at the title in Virginia.
In what looks to be one of the most competitive class in the series, the True Street Modified class has some amazing racers and a great mix of new and old who are looking to vie for the class championship. Ohio resident Ron Polidora became the early favorite when he bested the stacked field at Beech Bend by overtaking fellow Ohioan Wendy Robertson down the lane with a 10.92 to the “Broomstik’s” 11.44 run. Neither had their best run as the track was going away as the sun began to set behind the grandstand. We are in for a treat come May though, as past series champion Justin Skudder and Team BT driver John Burleson will be looking to exact revenge at the Spring event.
While the Modifed class came away with a couple of Ohio residents in the final, the LegMaker Intakes Super Stock class saw a rare victory by a Mid-West competitor in Alan Pederson. The Omaha, Nebraska denizen made the trip and took home the second hole shot victory of the event with an 11.60 to Greg Green’s 11.54 ET. He would make his almost one tenth advantage at the line stand up on the top end in an exciting finally. Pederson would later follow up that performance with a solid fourth place finish in the East Coast Moparts bracket class.
The always thrilling Hemituner Performance Street class had a large field of 22 cars competing for the crown on Saturday and the races didn’t disappoint. While the racing wasn’t fully completed, the top finishers were Trey Myers got the 11 points for first place, while Rich Sprinzl and Tom Bohannon each took home 7 valuable championship points and some money in their pocket as they left Kentucky.
For the East Coast Moparts Bracket class, 35 cars joined the fray and a bunch of the top competitors from the two days of racing picked up the prize pool. The semi-finals featured past series champions and finalists from other classes throughout the weekend. The final four consisted of the reigning Hemituner Performance Street class series champion John Govenettio, LegMaker Intakes Super Stock winner Alan Pederson, Tom Bohannon who finished on the podium in the Hemituner Street class and one of the most consistent performers of the whole weekend Kate Tout. Tout took her Challenger to top finishes in both Challengerfest and the East Coast Moparts bracket class with some of the biggest burnouts at the event. When it was all said and done and there was absolutely no more light in the sky, Tout and Govenettio walked away with 9 championship points a piece, Bohannon tallied 8 points and Pederson chalked up 7 points for their efforts. Each will look to continue the effort at VMP and try to pull away from the field in hopes of winning the sought-after class championship.
It’s important to note the last winner of the weekend at Beech Bend, Team Tommy! If you don’t know the back story on Tommy Boegler, please hit the link on the MSHS website! Harrison Zauke started a GoFundMe page for Tommy and his parents to help lessen the financial burden that Tommy’s treatments will generate. The page has gotten over $35,000 in donations, many coming from the pockets of MSHS racers. Thank you to all who generously donated and we can’t wait to see Tommy at that finish line and cancer-free!!