ROCKINGHAM — All three championships will be in play this weekend when many of the Southeast’s premier bracket racers descend on Rockingham Dragway for the final event in the 2018 Hoosier Tires Carolina Coalition Series.
While Brandon Hutchens (Yadkinville), Ernie Humes (Troutman) and Michael Hypes (Blacksburg, Va.) begin the two-day event as the Top ET point leaders, Footbrake and Jr. Dragster, respectively, neither has a lock on his particular title.
In fact, Hutchens and Hypes will start racing Saturday just one-point ahead of their closest pursuers: McLeansville native T.G. Paschal and Dallas native Cam Whisnant, respectively.
By contrast, Humes’ three-point advantage over Rickey Greer (Advance) could be considered massive.
Drivers get one point for each round won in events on Saturday and Sunday — each of which pays $5,000 to the winner in Top ET and $2,000 to the Footbrake winner. Jr. Dragster drivers race each day for a $200 top prize.
The Carolina Coalition Series, one of the longest-running bracket championships in the Carolinas, comprises events at Mooresville Dragway, Farmington Dragway and Piedmont Dragway as well as Rockingham. The overall champions in Top ET and Footbrake will win a set of Hoosier tires provided they race on Hoosiers throughout the series.
Another element of the weekend competition will be the Jr. Dragster “Run for the Wally,” which was postponed from the “Big John” Memorial Day Bracket Championships in May. Two rounds of racing involving the most successful Jr. Dragster drivers at the May event will determine ownership of one of the highly-coveted “Wally” trophies awarded to champions at events in the NHRA’s Mello Yello national series.
Those who earned their way into the four-driver shootout are Rowland’s Hayden Dial, Angier’s Lane Morgan, St. Pauls’ Conner Caulder and Selma’s Cale Pittman. Dial will race Morgan and Caulder will oppose Pittman in the semifinal round, with the winners then engaging in a one-run, winner-take-all final.
Points earned over the two days also will determine Rockingham Dragway track champions in Top ET, Footbrake and Jr. Dragster and the makeup of the team “The Rock” will send to the NHRA Summit Series ET Finals.
Carolina Coalition Series Point Leaders
TOP ET — Brandon Hutchens, Yadkinville (40); T.G. Paschal, McLeansville (39); Robert Hefti, Concord (37); Mitchell Harkey, Chine Grove (35); Robert Vogler III, Lewisville (33)
FOOTBRAKE — Ernie Humes, Troutman (43); Rickey Greer, Advance (40); Kelly Stevens #1, Hudson (37); Kelly Stevens #2, Hudson (36); Gray Kimble, Mount Pleasant (32)
JR. DRAGSTER — Michael Hypes, Blacksburg, Va. (34); Cam Whisnant, Dallas (33); Gavin Whisnant, Dallas (29); Skylar Bustle, Sherrill’s Ford (25); Dani Snuffer, Mount Holly, and Branson Hutchens, Yadkinville (22 each)
Jr. Dragster ‘Run for the Wally’ (Postponed from Memorial Day Weekend):
SEMIFINAL — Hayden Dial, Rowland, vs. Lane Morgan, Angier; Conner Caulder, St. Pauls, vs. Cale Pittman, Selma.