The FuelTech Shakedown Nationals XXI saw a number of changes leading up to race week, then the popular event was staring eye-to-eye with a less than desirable weather forecast on Saturday, originally scheduled as the main elimination day. The rain-stricken forecast put a dent into the racer turnout and the affects were seen through the pit area as testing began on Thursday morning. Event officials made the tough decision to advance the elimination rounds into Friday evening after completing qualifying to try and complete the event for the racers and teams who attended the 2023 edition of the popular event that has seen primetime performances for so many years.
Menscer Motorsports Pro Street lead the way with the quickest and fastest runs of the weekend through the eighth mile. Ty Kasper piloted his twin turbocharged Ford Mustang to the number two qualifying position with a 4.012 elapsed time and top speed of 202 miles per hour. Ty then defeated Frank Mewshaw in the opening round of eliminations, then faced the Michigan based Camaro of Bill Riddle. Riddle had transmission issues and left before the tree activated while Kasper laid down his best run of the weekend with a 3.987 shot at over 200 miles per hour to earn the ladder bye-run to the finals. Chris Cadotto ran through the opposite side of the ladder in his freshly rebuilt screw-blown Dodge Ram to face Kasper in the finals. Kasper took the reaction time in the finals and never looked back running a 4.01 in the finals as Cadotto expired an engine right at midtrack.
UPR Products Super Street rolled into the Shakedown on the 28-inch-tall bias-ply slicks that are a struggle to get a hold of the racetrack at times. One driver that did not have any trouble all weekend long was Blake Denton. Denton qualified #1, won the event and did it all without aborting a run all week long. The nitrous oxide assisted Chevrolet Camaro qualified #1 with a 4.720 second blast and lead the charge into eliminations on a bye run and laying down low elapsed time each round of eliminations, including the finals, defeating Shawn Pevlor, driving the John Kolivas-owned Ford Mustang out of the KBX Performance camp. Denton’s consistent performance earned him his first small tire of his young career that has seen wins in other classes through the ranks of the sport.
Precision Turbo & Engine Xtreme Front Wheel Drive, presented by: JBR Engines and 3:16 Speed brought import racing back to the Shakedown Nationals for the first time in over 10 seasons. The class saw nearly 20 entrants with Juan Famania from Smithfield, NC taking the top qualifying honors with a 7.95 at 183 miles per hour, running through the quarter mile. Juan and the Ramey Racing team pulled off the complete weekend sweep with a victory as well, taking a bye run in the finals after defeating Yerral Vargos-Lopez in the semi-finals.
4.60 Bike was another new category for this season’s Shakedown Nationals and yielded a full field of motorcycles battling it out to run right on the 4.60 elapsed time number without going too fast. Category kingpin, Boo Brown, took home the #1 Qualifying honors with a dead-on 4.600 run to lead the 20-bike field into eliminations. North Carolina’s Michael Thyen was the last man standing when the day came to a close, taking down Florida’s Spencer Allen in an ultra-tight final round, with the margin of victory being only .008 of a second at the finish line. Boo Brown was the lone semi-finalist.
Maryland Performance Center Real Street saw Justin Bowmaker run wild on the field with a 4.902 number one qualifying effort giving his turbocharged ’85 Ford Mustang the jumpstart it needed to also pull the weekend sweep by defeating Charlie Barnes in the finals. Bowmaker put down another 4.90 elapsed time in the finals to defeat Barnes who slowed to a 5.27. Stephen Norris and Chris Hamby were the semi-finalists for the class.
Richie Allen laid claim to the Hoosier Tire Top Dragster win in his ’23 Racetech, defeating Patrick McMath’s Racetech in the final round. Allen took a reaction time advantage and never looked back. Kenny Young was the lone semi-finalist.
Richie Allen doubled up the weekend with his ’70 Mustang laying claim to the 5.49 Index win over Dean Williams in his Cavalier. Allen led from the starting line in his second consecutive final round of the day and never looked back. Ronnie Stogsdill was the lone semi-finalist in the 5.49 category. George Williams took his ’67 Chevy II to the winner’s circle in 5.90 Index, taking down Warrenton, Virginia’s own Quentin Metheny, Jr. in the finals. Todd Haskell and Whitey Metheny were the semi-finalists for the competitive 5.90 Index class.