At a track in faraway Princeton, West Virginia, long ago, two men became friends and competitors. Last season at Piedmont Dragway, the “DoorSlammer Capital of the World”, West Virginia native Tim Lawrence won the 2017 points title with his longtime friend Brian Shrader in third. Though Shrader now calls Mooresville, North Carolina home, the two families have remained close friends and competitors. At the end of the year, a resurging Brett Nesbitt spoiled the party by finishing second in points. But with the 2018 season upon us, there are no points and everyone is equal. But it was no surprise to see the two longtime friends take up where they left off last season.
This season, Piedmont Dragway is recognizing the accomplishment of a driver running in the 3-second zone, so it was no surprise to see Lawrence and Shrader both turning on the scoreboard in qualifying with Shrader first at 3.976 then Lawrence at 3.992. They were followed closely by Nesbitt at 4.007. Jason Harris was the next closest at a 4.086. Due to Mike Graham’s crash and Bubba Turner’s car owner Jimmy Greene falling ill, the field was limited to seven cars with Shannon Wilson, Justin Wall and Cam Clark filling the field. New cars are on the way, but are not ready so the rest of the year should provide the fans with at least 12 cars at all the events.
Eliminations went as follows: Harris over Wilson, Nesbitt over Wall, Lawrence over Clark, and low qualifier Shrader got a bye. This set up the semis with Lawrence defeating Nesbitt and Shrader defeating Harris. In the finals, the two friends lined up to do battle as they had done so many times in the past with Lawrence winning when Schrader rolled out of the beams and went red.
Other winners for the night included Ken Myrick defeating Corey Manuel in Outlaw Door Slammers, Jason Marshall over Mike Sigmon in 6.00 eliminator, and Myrick almost doing the double with a runner-up finish in the 7.49 ET class.
The April Big Dog race was still a chilly night, but the action heats up in May and please don’t forget that the Big Dog Shootout has been moved to the third Thursday of the month. See you there.
Story and photo by Greg Burrow