Photos by Chris Simmons – Courtesy of IHRA Communications
IHRA was forced to postpone qualifying for the Nitro Jam Mardi Gras Nationals due to rain and wet condition and, with continued rainfall the State Capitol Dragway, could not be adequately prepared for the pro classes. The entire show, with two rounds of qualifying and three rounds of eliminations, was run on Saturday.
Three-time IHRA Champion Paul Romine in his Man O’ War Mustang led AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car class, presented by Aeromotive with a 5.734 second pass at 244.23 mph over 2014 IHRA Funny Car Champ Jason Rupert’s 5.822 seconds at 250.62 mph.
In U.S. Bounty Hunters Mountain-motored Pro Stock, New Yorker John Montecalvo nailed the #1 position with his 6.235 sec./224.94 mph, earned in the first qualifying round.
Jay Turner earned No. 1 Qualifier status in the Nitro Harley class after the second round was completed.
QUALIFYING RESULTS, AFTER TWO ROUNDS:
AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car presented by Aeromotive – Racers elected not to conduct a second round of qualifying.
- Paul Romine (Fishers, Indiana) 5.734 sec./244.23 mph.
- Jason Rupert (Yorba Linda, California) 5.822 sec./250.62 mph.
- Mark Sanders (Maple Valley, Washington) 5.985 sec./225.22 mph.
- Steve Nichols (Newark, Delaware) 6.189 sec./236.59 mph.
- Ronny Young (Wylie, Texas) 6.332 sec./209.20 mph.
- Tim Boychuk (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) 9.611 sec./86.67 mph.
U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock
- John Montecalvo (Center Moriches, New York) 6.235 sec./224.94 mph.
- Cary Goforth (Holdenville, Oklahoma) 6.270 sec./223.49 mph.
- Dean Goforth (Holdenville, Oklahoma) 6.290 sec./223.65 mph.
- J.R. Carr (Pasco, Washington) 6.305 sec./221.83 mph.
- Scott Hintz (Odessa, Texas) 6.320 sec./225.05 mph.
- John DeFlorian Jr. (Arnold, Missouri) 6.339 sec./222.88 mph.
- Kevin Bealko (Bridgeport, West Virginia) 7.134 sec./142.15 mph.
- Trevor Eman (Pos Chiquito, Aruba) 6.390 sec./222.44 mph.
- Scott Beham (Conroe, Texas) 6.554 sec./192.06 mph.
- John Konigshofer (Otterville, Ontario, Canada) 10.846 sec./99.74 mph.
- Jay Turner (Julian, North Carolina) 6.476 sec./209.25 mph.
- Alvin Kobernusz (Manly, Iowa) 6.778 sec./203.20 mph.
- Tracy Kile (Asheville, North Carolina) 6.974 sec./170.03 mph.
- Brian Jernigan (Cypress, Texas) 7.015 sec./209.64 mph.
- Jim Fagan (Valley City, Ohio) 7.092 sec./200.04 mph.
- Rocky Jackson (Youngsville, Louisiana) 7.421 sec./174.92 mph.
- Randal Andras (Amelia, Louisiana) 7.759 sec./204.59 mph.
- Rickey House (Humble, Texas) 7.874 sec./198.32 mph.
AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car presented by Aeromotive Eliminations
Boychuk, of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, faced defending IHRA AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car champion Jason Rupert in the final round of eliminations. Boychuk outran Rupert to the finish line, 5.867 sec./235.72 mph to 5.993 sec./245.43 mph.
Boychuk defeated No. 1 Qualifier and past IHRA champion Paul Romine in first round, then scored a bye run in the second to meet Rupert in the final.
“This is big for us,” Boychuk explained. “We struggled for the last year-and-a-half or so and it’s been really painful. We started off winning a lot, then it kind of all went away on us. Now it’s back – the car’s back. I can feel the car is back and it’s really working the way we want it to work. We changed a few things. I bought out my partner, Ron Hodgson. We had a great relationship – we still do – he didn’t want to race as much as I did. Now we got Twig (legendary driver Twig Zeigler of 1970s Pizza Haven Funny Car fame) and Roland (revered ‘60s-‘70s “Hawaiian” Funny Car owner Roland Leong) both working on the car and they’ve got it back again. I’ve got two great guys looking after the car. The team – we’ve got the same crew working on the car – has so much consistency.”
Nitro Harley Eliminations
Tracy Kile, of Asheville, North Carolina, faced Brian Jernigan in the Nitro Harley final. After Jernigan crossed the finish line, he became separated from his motorcycle and crashed. He was transported to a local medical center for evaluation. Kile qualified third and defeated Rocky Jackson in the opening round and Alvin Kobernusz in the second.
“It’s the second race of the year, and a very big win,” said Kile. “We come to every race knowing we can win. The IHRA Nitro Harley field is gonna be tough all year long. We’re just going to get used to it and run ‘em round by round.”
U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock Eliminations
Kevin Bealko, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, qualified seventh in an eight-car field. He defeated Cary Goforth in the first round of eliminations, then faced teammate John DeFlorian Jr. in the second. Bealko defeated J.R. Carr in the final, 6.272 sec./224.71 mph to 13.602 sec./62.20 mph, to collect the coveted IHRA Ironman trophy.
“It was a big win for us,” said Bealko. “Having to race my teammate, John, in the semi-finals is never our best-case scenario. To be able to get by him, then run J.R. Carr, who’s been stellar all day. I just got switched up on the lights and got an awful long light before I left. But the car went right down there and the whole way there I was just thinking of my crew they’re gonna kill me if I don’t get in front of him. I was able, by the grace of God, to get in front of him and we had a nice win.”
Jet Dragster Eliminations
Kat Moller, a 19-year old University of Florida student, faced Elaine Larsen in the Jet Dragster final. It was a repeat of the season-opener in Tucson, Arizona, last month, where the pair faced each other in Jet Dragster finale. This time, Moller prevailed.
“I’m super excited about it,” admitted Moller. “Last race I had Elaine in the final and she beat me to the finish line so this race I’m glad I got to beat her. So we’re even and we’ll see who wins next time.”
Outlaw Pro Mod Eliminations
The local 1/8-mile Outlaw Pro Modified final was won by Bill Doucet of Lawtell, Louisiana, over Bill Banaka of Brandon, Mississippi, 3.80 sec./193.09 mph to 4.604 sec./123.79 mph.
Street Outlaws racer Tina Pierce and Alex Taylor staged an exhibition race in their street-legal cars during the Mardi Gras Nationals. Pierce’s S-10 made a hard left turn and crashed during the race. She was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and released. The IHRA’s rigid safety standards prevented her from suffering serious injury.
The next IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series national event: April 17-18 IHRA Nitro Jam Southern Nationals, Bradenton Motorsports Park – Bradenton, Fla. Nitro Jam classes include: Crower Pro Mod, AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car, U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock, Nitro Harley-Davidson, Jet Dragster.
ROUND BY ROUND ELIMINATIONS:
AMSOIL Nitro Funny Car presented by Aeromotive
Tim Boychuk defeated No. 1 Qualifier Paul Romine, 5.773 sec./245.36 mph to 6.822 sec./176.50 mph.
Jason Rupert defeated Ronny Young, 5.897 sec./245.83 mph to 16.255 sec./68.56 mph.
Mark Sanders defeated Steve Nichols, 5.840 sec./250.97 mph to 8.278 sec./105.94 mph.
Boychuk (bye) 11.768 sec./68.28 mph.
Jason Rupert defeated Mark Sanders, 5.979 sec./247.32 mph to 6.129 sec./231.30 mph.
Tim Boychuk defeated Jason Rupert, 5.867 sec./235.72 mph to 5.993 sec./245.43 mph.
U.S. Bounty Hunters Pro Stock
John DeFlorian Jr. defeated Dean Goforth, Goforth fouled and DeFlorian ran 215.51 mph (E.T. was ruled invalid).
J.R. Carr defeated Scott Hintz, 6.305 sec./224.10 mph to 6.339 sec./223.15 mph.
Trevor Eman defeated No. 1 Qualifier John Montecalvo, 6.326 sec./222.05 mph to 7.913 sec./115.57 mph.
Kevin Bealko defeated Cary Goforth, 6.275 sec./223.99 mph to 6.397 sec./221.72 mph.
J.R. Carr defeated Trevor Eman, 6.314 sec./223.71 mph to 7.554 sec./162.07 mph.
Kevin Bealko defeated John DeFlorian Jr., 6.379 sec./222.88 mph to 11.035 sec./77.68 mph.
Kevin Bealko defeated J.R. Carr, 6.272 sec./224.71 mph to 13.602 sec./62.20 mph.
Rickey House defeated No. 1 Qualifier Jay Turner, 6.394 sec./217.18 mph to 6.372 sec./214.54 mph.
Brian Jernigan defeated Jim Fagan, 7.056 sec./206.61 mph to 7.642 sec./141.15 mph.
Alvin Kobernusz defeated Randal Andras, 6.914 sec./177.65 mph to 13.568 sec./72.93 mph.
Tracy Kile defeated Rocky Jackson, 6.488 sec./212.51 mph to 7.444 sec./170.16 mph.
Brian Jernigan defeated Rickey House, 7.116 sec./199.73 mph to 7.100 sec./211.91 mph.
Tracy Kile defeated Alvin Kobernusz, 6.541 sec./195.56 mph to 6.809 sec./204.08 mph.
Tracy Kile defeated Brian Jernigan, 6.568 sec./205.66 mph to 6.962 sec./210.03 mph.
Kat Moller defeated Elaine Larsen, 5.584 sec./286.53 mph to 5.801 sec./277.00 mph.