When Mother Nature decided to wreak havoc on the traditional July 4th celebration at Piedmont Dragway, July 18th ended up being the day for the ZDD Plus Big Dog Shootout.
There was a buzz in the air as 12 Big Dog cars showed up to qualify for the $5,000 monthly prize, including Travis “Carolina Kid” Harvey (above) in Dobbs’ Racing’s former Al-Anabi Camaro, “tuned up” by chassis builder Russ Farmer.
Qualifying was a game of skill, as drivers tried to hook up to an extremely hot track on a day when the humidity was so thick you could cut it with a knife. The low qualifier was Danny Perry’s Bickel-built 2012 Camaro at a 4.005 seconds, with Ed Hoover second at 4.014, and Harvey third at 4.015.
Fourth place went to Matt Giangrande’s 2013 Rick Jones Camaro at 4.017, with Jeff Blasi fifth at 4.052, while Brian Teachman nailed down the sixth spot with the Gotham City 70 ½ Camaro at 4.065 seconds. “Pink Floyd” followed in the blown Camaro at 4.086 and Jason Harris rounded out the eight-car Big Dog field at 4.099 with top speed in qualifying with his Pat Musi-tuned “Warbird” at a whopping 192.10 mph.
Non qualifiers were J.R. Ward, Chris Rini in a borrowed Nova, “Long Haul” award winner Jim Bell, who arrived from Alberta, Canada, with his beautiful Proline twin-turbo-powered 2013 Mustang Pro Mod, and the very patriotic S-10 of Dave Leonardo.
To get to the finals, the “Carolina Kid” used a 3.955 in the first round to defeat Teachman and a 3.962 to get past Floyd. Meanwhile, Perry used a 3.946 to defeat Jason Harris 3.948 in the first round with his usual .009 light. Perry’s semi-final victim was Blasi as he ran a 3.935 to set the final against Travis.
The final was anti-climactic, however, as Perry drew a red light and threw away a 3.953 at 190.62 to give the win to Harvey, Russ Farmer and all the gang from Race Tech.
Wildside Customs Renegade featured number-one qualifier Tim Lawrence and his beautiful Rick Jones-built 2013 Camaro at 4.167 seconds, with Charles Terrell in Art Jones’ equally beautiful ’63 Corvette second at 4.168. Third was Jay Cox, with Brett Nesbitt, Wayne Hawkins, Billy Albert, Dennis Bennett, and Larry Pearce rounding out the eight-car field.
Lawrence used a string of 4-teens to dispose of Pearce and Hawkins to go to the final where he met Cox, where Lawrence ran another 4.158 to defeat the 4.20 run by Cox.
Other winners included Chris Plott in O’Reilly Auto Parts Outlaw Doorslammer, Billy Baker in Mickey Thompson 6.00 eliminator, and Ken Myrick in Deep Creek Motors 749.
After four events the ZDD Plus Big Dog Shootout points stacks up with Perry leading Harvey by 32 points, with Harris third, Giangrande fourth and Rini still in fifth.
The next ZDD Plus Big Dog Shootout at historic Piedmont Dragway is this Thursday, Aug. 1, with spectator gates open at 4 p.m. and on-track action scheduled to start an hour later.
(Photos courtesy Greg Burrow)