Wilkins rallies to win NHRA Top Sportsman Title

By: For the Daily Journal

ROCKINGHAM — Sandy Wilkins’ bid for a Lucas Oil national championship will have to wait another year, but he was able to salvage a measure of satisfaction Sunday afternoon at Rockingham Dragway. The Mount Ulla driver drove his 1969 Chevy Camaro to a Top Sportsman victory that earned him a second straight Division 2 championship.

The satisfaction came from the fact that the man he beat for the division title, Jeffrey Barker (Kathleen, Ga.) will wear the No. 1 next season as the national champion. Wilkins trailed Barker by eight division points coming into the Sunday’s final Lucas Series race in the Southeast.

Wilkins wasn’t the only driver to grab a come-from-behind championship on the final day of the season’s final race. Ray Miller (Spring City, Tenn.) and Matt Weston (Hendersonville) did the same, although Miller’s Super Gas title can’t be ratified until NHRA officials confirm his record against Rusty Cook (Cynthiana, Ky.) — for tiebreaker purposes.

Weston drove his 1970 Chevy Camaro to a Sunday victory in Super Street that enabled him to pass defending division champion Jonathan Anderson (Griffin, Ga.) for the title.

Former national and division champion Steven Furr (Harrisburg) was the weekend’s big-money winner with his win over Kevin Brannon (Boiling Springs, S.C.) in the final round of the Moser Sportsman Shootout.

The Moser Shootout is a special competition involving drivers from every sportsman discipline from Stock and Super Street all the way up to Top Sportsman and Top Dragster. Nevertheless, the last two cars in competition Sunday represented Sportsman racing’s fastest class, Top Dragster, with Furr winning by .004 of a second.

In addition to Wilkins, Miller and Cook, the other race wins Sunday went to Brannon in Super Comp, Robert Houston (Newland) in Top Dragster, Randy Daniels (Grantsboro) in Competition, Brandon White (Hillsville, Va.) in Super Stock and 2016 national champion Jeff Strickland (Red Bay, Ala.) in Stock.

Houston beat Mooresville’s Lauren Freer in the final round but his biggest win came in round three, where he used a perfect .000 reaction time to upset Strickland — who despite the loss still managed to win another division title.

The Junior Dragster winners were Morgan Wilson (Laurens, S.C.), Budd Trammell II (Aynor, S.C) and Dyland MacNicol (North Port, Fla).

Results from the final Southeast Division race in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series contested Sunday at Rockingham Dragway. Results include reaction time, track time in relation to target time where applicable and finish line speed:

MOSER SHOOTOUT FINAL – Steven Furr (.026, 4.111 on a 4.100, 167.88 mph) def. Kevin Brannon (.025, 4.436 on a 4.420, 155.31 mph).

TOP DRAGSTER FINAL – Robert Houston (.012, 6.297 on a 6.280, 209.04 mph) def. Lauren Freer (.012, 6.825 breakout on a 6.840, 196.16 mph).

TOP SPORTSMAN FINAL – Sandy Wilkins (.013, 6.716 on a 6.700, 199.49 mph) def. Matthew Buck (.055, 6.698 on a 6.680, 197.36 mph).

COMPETITION ELIMINATOR FINAL – Randy Daniels (.058, 8.222 on an 8.800, 153.81 mph) def. Larry Pritchett (.019, 7.914 on a 8.420, 147.49 mph).

SUPER STOCK FINAL – Brandon White (.023, 10.128 on a 10.130, 126.91 mph) def. Nicholas Chiles (.025, 9.085 breakout on a 9.100, 141.67 mph).

STOCK FINAL – Jeff Strickland (.039, 9.483 on a 9.470, 135.76 mph) def. Jeff Hairrington (.055, 10.218 on a 10.210, 127k.79 mph).

SUPER COMP (8.90 target) FINAL – Kevin Brannon (.009, 8.841, 185.59 mph) def. Frank Altilio (foul).

SUPER GAS (9.90 target) FINAL – Ray Miller (.027, 9.919, 162.08 mph) def. Joe Eckel (.027, 9.927, 169.70 mph).

SUPER STREET (10.90 target) FINAL – Matt Weston (.026, 10.895, 142.79 mph) def. Stan Coleman (.017, 10.888 breakout, 139.01 mph).

JUNIOR DRAGSTER (13-17) FINAL – Morgan Wilson (.031, 8.039 on an 8.010, 79.84 mph) def. Baylee Mize (.054, 8.094 breakout on an 8.100, 78.75 mph).

JUNIOR DRAGSTER (10-12) FINAL – Budd Trammell II (.025, 8.963 on an 8.900, 72.93 mph) def. Logan Westmoreland (foul).

JUNIOR DRAGSTER (6-9) FINAL – Dyland MacNicol (11.967 on an 11.900, 54.06 mph) def. Aaron Kennedy (foul).


For the Daily Journal