(Photos by Bob Snyder) – IHRA’s Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson hosted the Western Fuel Altereds at the Old Tucson Dragway Reunion over the past weekend. All of the altereds ran during two qualifying sessions In a Chicago-style Shootout, and then the two quickest altereds returned to decide the final round elimination winner.
All twelve teams were in the lanes and ready to run for the first evening session as first pair of altereds showed that the well prepped quarter mile was ready as Ed Middlebrook (far lane) did a big wheel stand getting all four tires off the ground in his flamed Fiat Coupe.
Then Mitch Bowen driving the “Rust Bucket” Bantam (near lane) confirmed how good the track was with a 6.646 at 207 mph for the #4 qualifying spot with Mike Boettcher’s green altered in the other lane. Kevin Knowles was #3 just a couple of ticks quicker with a 6.642 at a booming 216 mph that eclipsed the WFA speed record.
Lyle Greenberg ran a 6.629 at 209 mph for the #2 position. Eric Gates in the near lane laid down the pass of the event with an incredible 6.476 at 206 mph for the provisional #1 position and the first leg of a new WFA ET record.
After seeing the potential records set in session 1, all the teams tried to step up their game to take advantage of the great conditions. This resulted in several runs that didn’t go as planned. The #4 spot in this session was Rob Winefsky (above) with a burst panel popping 7.08 at 189 mph. Winefsky would also win the Monster Mikes “Monster Burnout” special award.
#3 was Jim Maroney in his nitro-powered “Family Legacy” altered at a 7.06 at 199 mph.
New Mexico’s Lyle Greenberg was the picture of consistency improving to 6.61 at 208 mph for the #2 position of the round. The #1 spot in this session belonged to Greg Holman in his Chevy powered mount at a stellar 6.583 at 206 mph. unfortunately; neither Gates nor Knowles were able to back up their potential records.
The two quickest cars of the evening, Eric Gates and Greg Holman moved into the final round with Holman’s Chevy truck motor-powered altered (near lane) seen as the underdog to Gates’ big bad Hemi, the first Western Fuel Altereds car to ever run in the 6.40’s. When the tree counted down Gates pulled off a big holeshot advantage and appeared to be heading for another big number when the car made a move to the centerline and slowed with traction problems.
Greg Holman’s Chevy collected his second WFA win and took the trophy back home to Kingman, AZ with a stout 6.64 at 205 mph.
Final Qualifying Order:
- Eric Gates 6.476 @ 206.20
- Greg Holman 6.583 @ 206.57
- Lyle Greenberg 6.613 @ 209.43
- Kevin Knowles 6.642 @ 216.79
- Mitch Bowen 6.646 @ 207.82
- Jim Maroney 6.858 @ 202.91
- Rob Winefsky 7.080 @ 189.76
- Sheldon Lofgreen 7.259 @ 181.01
- Jerry Hall 7.373 @ 185.51
- Pat Neal 7.568 @ 196.50
- Mike Boettcher 7.654 @ 180.38
- Ed Middlebrook 12.382 @ 99.91
WFA Special awards included:
Torco Lubricants “Slick Willie” for best reaction time – Lyle Greenberg @ .059
RBS Superchargers Low Qualifier – Eric Gates @ 6.476 (above)
Cornwell Tools “Need a Tool” Hard Luck – Pat Neal/David Sharp broke a transmission