There were many story lines going into the final event of the 2019 Big Dog Shootout season. A betting man would have probably given a slight advantage to Brian Shrader going in, as he has won the August event in convincing fashion. But, as they say, “we don’t race on paper.”
With that said, it was game on during qualifying as the first four qualified cars ran in the 3-second zone with Travis Harvey on the pole at 3.964, then came Cam Clark at 3.972 and Shrader with a 3.976 and Mike Graham in at a 3.982. Top speed was Shrader at 184 mph, with Clark following closely with 183 mph. The final four were Dane Wood at 4.029, Justin Wall at 4.044, Tommy Payne at 4.556 and Tommy Hurley at 4.596. Failing to qualify were a returning Robbie Keziah at 4.74. The 2017 season champion, Tim Lawrence, suffered a burned piston and Brett Nesbitt a broken trans.
Eliminations were just as close with the draw resulting in Harvey, needing to win the race and Shrader to go out first round, go his wish as he would run Shrader and defeat the Robert Hayes-built, Gene Fulton-powered Corvette with a holeshot .031 to Shrader’s .064. The ETs were close as Harvey’s Camaro ran a 3.967 and Shrader ran a 3.955. Wall ran a 4.05 to defeat Graham’s 4.10. Hurley survived when Wood popped the hood scoop in a ball of flame. Then it was Clark defeating Payne with a 4.001 at 183.07.
The semis resulted in Clark surviving Hurley’s foul and Harvey blew the tires off, allowing Wall to go to his first final.
The final was all H&H Camaro with Clark powering ahead with a .047 light at 4.002 and another 183.27 to defeat a .057 by Wall with a 4.057.
In the end, the top 8 in points ended as follows: Brian Shrader, Travis Harvey, Cam Clark, Brett Nesbitt, Jason Harris, Justin Wall and Tim Lawrence.
Other winners of the NHRA-sponsored “King of the Track” event, which included a Wally, were Michael Paschal over Arthur Whitley in Outlaw DoorSlammers presented by OReilly Auto Parts. The 6.00 class, presented by Carolina Classic Car Restoration, had Charles Wright defeating Bill Ritts. Wright also won the points for the season. Deep Creek Motors 7.49 Rico’s Real Street was won by Kyle Shipmon with Melvin Watlington winning the season points.
Along with the Wally, Cam Clark will receive a custom-painted Big Dog for his efforts. Piedmont Dragway, “the DoorSlammer Capital of the World,” would like to thank all the competitors for their efforts over the 2019 season, as well as Super Clean degreasers for sponsoring the Big Dog Shootout. The 2019 season seems to be over before it began, but we all look forward to the 2020 season with many new cars in the works that could push the car count to the 20-car mark. See you then.
Story and photos by Greg Burrow