Drivers claim big money at ‘The Rock’

Contributed Photo Tim Thomas, center, celebrates with his family after winning Sunday’s Top ET class over Shawn Carpenter.

Special to the Daily Journal

ROCKINGHAM — Tim Thomas of Lumberton, William Roberts of Benson and Raleigh’s Richard Alford claimed the biggest shares of the cash purse at the rescheduled Spring Bracket Nationals completed Sunday at Rockingham Dragway.

Each of those Top ET drivers snatched up a $10,000 share of the prize money posted by track owner Steve Earwood and co-promoters Tony and Angela Saraceni with Thomas claiming the last big check on Sunday.

Other winners in the three-day event that was rescheduled after being postponed by weather on its original date, were Kevin Locklear of Sanford and Cody Phillips of Lumberton in Footbrake; Tyler Duff of Holly Ridge and Chase Wagner of Willow Springs in Jr. Dragster. David Brown of Vantress, Louisiana, won Friday night’s special Gamblers’ Race.

One of the closest individual races of the entire weekend was Sunday’s Jr. Dragster final in which Duff ran dead-on his 8.700 target and needed every bit of that to best Maxton’s Brittney Dial by a mere .003 of a second at the finish.

It was a close-but-no-cigar effort for long-time Rockingham campaigner Staten Nichols who had to settle for a runner-up finish to Locklear on Sunday. As a Rockingham resident, Nichols was playing a home game on the track on which he reigned as the original Street ET Champion in 1993.

Alford, another regular and frequent winner at “The Rock,” needed all his starting line skills get past Tom Phipps of Kenansville and earn Saturday’s big money. Phipps actually ran closer to his target — 5.163 on a 5.160, but it was Alford’s .013-.039 advantage at the starting line that made the difference.

Earwood will collaborate with the Saracenis in another big money bracket race, the Powerfest, this fall (Oct. 23 to 25).