ROCKINGHAM — An overnight exodus of racers concerned about a potential washout of the final day of Rockingham Dragway’s Summer Sizzler Bracket Shootout compelled track owner Steve Earwood to cut his losses and cancel Sunday’s program.
“It was a danged-if-you-do, danged-if-you-don’t situation,” Earwood said. “Weather is always an issue. I try not to make decisions based on the forecast but when the racers react to it, there’s not much you can do.
“In the end, I met with my core racers, those I was trying to accommodate when I put this event together,” he added, “and made the best decision I could.”
Before the weather issue arose, Rowland native Buddy Dial and Lexington native Shannon Justice picked up the biggest shares of the purse as the Top Eliminator winners on Saturday and Friday, respectively.
Dial used a .014 package to beat Tim Phipps in the Saturday final for the win. Justice won the main event on Friday over Tim Thomas (Lumberton) and then applied an exclamation point by beating T.G. Paschal in the Gamblers Race.
Richard Charnock won the Saturday gambler’s race driving the Dukes Auto Salvage Chevy over the dragster of Dial.
The Footbrake titles went to veteran Steve Alford (Raleigh) and Lauren Edwards (Mayesville) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Both benefitted from final-round foul starts from their respective opponents.
The next major bracket race at The Rock will be the Carolina Powerfest (Aug. 24-26), which features the “blue light special.” In the interim, the track will play host the next three Saturdays to the Mass Acceleration Motorsports Street Drags featuring unlimited time trial runs and the MXA Street Car Shootout.
The track will host the “Smoke Out at The Rock” BBQ Cook-off on August 18.
Final-round results from the Summer Sizzler Bracket Shootout at Rockingham Dragway:
SATURDAY GAMBLERS RACE — Richard Charnock def. Buddy Dial
FRIDAY GAMBLERS RACE — Shannon Justice def. T.G. Paschal
SATURDAY TOP ET FINAL — Buddy Dial (.006, 4.798 on 4.790, 142.48 mph) def. Tim Phipps (.021, 5.140 on a 5.120, 135.92 mph)
FRIDAY TOP ET FINAL — Shannon Justice (.012, 4.906 on a 4.880, 135.67 mph) def. Tim Thomas (.008, 4.833 on a 4.800, 142.78 mph)
SATURDAY FOOTBRAKE FINAL — Lauren Edwards (.033, 6.604 on a 6.560, 102.77 mph) def. Austin Welch (foul)
FRIDAY FOOTBRAKE FINAL — Steve Alford (.033, 6.767 on a 6.790, 100.66 mph) def. Ricky Bullock (foul)