With a somber mood still prevalent at the track, due to the recent events at the PDRA event in Rockingham, racers assembled at Piedmont Dragway to attempt to win the first Big Dog trophy of the 2016 season. It is very ironic that most of these competitors were competing in Top Sportsman the previous week. It cannot be said enough the contribution that Ronnie Davis made to the class, nor how much he will be missed. We also cannot forget the contributions to promote our sport by Ian Tocher, a miracle man if there ever was one. Our thoughts and prayers go out many times a day for both families, each dealing with the aftermath of this terrible tragic event in our sport.
With 11 cars trying to qualify for eight spots, the qualifying was intense as some drivers tried to shake the cobwebs out and get down to business. So it was to no one’s surprise that last year’s points champ, Brett Nesbitt, would possibly have a shot at the number one spot and he did not disappoint. Brett used a 4.01 blast to secure the spot with employee, John Lassiter, second at a 4.08. Next came Danny Perry at a 4.10 in the B&D Racing entry. Larry Pearce was fourth at a 4.19 with David Lambert’s Nova at 4.26, Charles Richards at 4.38, Ronnie Gardner in Jack Gaddy’s Camaro at 4.41 and Bubba Turner eighth at 4.49. Failing to make the show were Brian Schrader, Cam Clark, and Andy Street in his small-block Lenco Pontiac GXP.
With first round complete the remaining drivers lined up like this: Lassiter used a 4.30 to defeat Charles Richards, who could only muster a 7.28. Then Larry Pearce laid down a 4.14 to defeat Nesbitt with a .016 light. Larry would come up with another great light as he used a .007 light coupled with a 4.19 et to defeat Lassiter’s 4.27 for the win. With this turnout of competitors, the “Original” Big Dog Shootout should be in for a highly competitive season.
Other winners included Robert Richardson in 6.00, Jeff Stutts in Outlaw Doorslammer, and Willie Morgan in 7.49 Real Street. The May event will be on the regular first Thursday of the month so we hope to see all of you there.
Story and photos by Greg Burrow