In just his second event behind the wheel of Dave Pierce’s new screw-blown M&M Transmission 2010 Mustang, Ron Muenks scored a season-ending win in Stroud Safety Pro Mod Saturday night at the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series (MWDRS) presented by J&A Service Xtreme Texas World Finals at Xtreme Raceway Park. He defeated fellow past MWDRS Pro Mod champion and series founder Keith Haney in the final round.
Jim Whiteley, a three-time NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world champion, picked up his first win in J&A Service Top Alcohol Funny Car, defeating wife Annie in an all-YNot Racing final round.
Additional winners at the Xtreme Texas World Finals include Tommy Cunningham in Pro Mod Slammers, Chad Broom in Race Star Wheels Top Dragster, Kyle Baker in Pat Musi Racing Engines Top Sportsman, Graeme Rufenacht in B&C Trailers Pro Jr. Dragster, Tyler Wells in Zimmerman Properties Sportsman Jr. Dragster, and B. Vann in Jr. Dragster Slammers.
Pro Mod driver Tony “Sandman” Williams was awarded the Aryan Rochon Hardest Working Crew award. Major rig issues left Williams stranded on the side of the road on his way to the race. He was able to get his rig fixed and made it to the track just in time for the second qualifying session, where he made a solid 3.72-second run.
Xtreme Texas World Finals also included a $50,000 grudge race between YNot Racing drivers Steven Whiteley in Pro Mod and Anita Strasburg in Top Dragster. Whiteley took the win, adding to the family’s successful weekend.
The series officially crowned its 2022 season champions over the weekend. The champions are Dustin Nesloney in Pro Mod, Chris Marshall in Top Alcohol Funny Car, Anita Strasburg in Top Dragster, Rod Moore in Top Sportsman, Alexis Kesterson in Pro Jr. Dragster, Tyler Wells in Sportsman Jr. Dragster, and Sam Wills in Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle.
After many years of campaigning a nitrous-assisted ’68 Camaro known as the “Purple Gorilla,” Ron Muenks and car owner Dave Pierce decided to debut a screw-blown Mustang just weeks before the Xtreme Texas World Finals. That move paid off Saturday night when Muenks and tuner Jeff Pierce took the Mustang to the winner’s circle following a final-round battle with past series champion Keith Haney. Haney was first off the starting line, but Muenks threw down a 3.618 at 208.62 to drive around Haney and his 3.676 at 204.36 in his nitrous-fed “Black Mamba” Camaro.
“Hat’s off to Jeff, Dave, Ryan [Sadler] and Jeff Holloway,” Muenks said. “Those guys work their butts off. We worked like clockwork this weekend. Sometimes you have little bumps and things that go on, but this weekend, just like in 2020 when we won the championship, everything worked like clockwork. Everything just worked out perfect this weekend. The track was awesome, the track prep was awesome, the track facility, the employees, the staff at MWDRS was great, and the crew, you can’t say anything more about them. They’re the best.”
After qualifying third, Muenks set low E.T. of all four rounds of eliminations, starting with a 3.693 at 205.20 to knock out Robert Costa in the first round. He dipped further into the 3.60s in the next two rounds, using a 3.635 at 207.18 to beat Mike Labbate’s 3.796 and a 3.632 at 206.80 to beat Brian Lewis. Lewis reached the semis after running a career-best 3.696 in the second round, though he had to change engines with the help of crew members from eight different teams to prepare for the semis.
“Jeff had a pretty good baseline from testing on Thursday – I think we popped off a 3.65 at 206,” Muenks said. “From there, we sat out to get ready for first round of qualifying. Jeff kept tuning on the thing and making it go faster and faster every round.”
On the other side of the ladder, Haney was having his best performance of the season. The No. 5 qualifier, Haney started race day with a 3.739 at 202.61 over Keith Goolsby, followed by a 3.713 at 203.16 over Tony Strachan’s 3.869. The Oklahoma native then used a holeshot advantage and 3.669 at 204.17 to defeat newly crowned champion Dustin Nesloney and his 3.673.
TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR
With three NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster world championships and success in both quarter-mile and eighth-mile Pro Modified competition, Jim Whiteley has a lengthy racing résumé. Now he can add a MWDRS Top Alcohol Funny Car win to that list, as he defeated his wife and teammate, Annie Whiteley, in the final round at XRP. Jim recorded a 3.685 at 209.79 in his white J&A Service Camaro, while Annie had to lift to a 7.624 at 58.90 in her blue J&A Service Camaro.
The husband-wife duo’s success started in qualifying, as Annie and Jim both set 3.63-second passes to qualify No. 1 and 2, respectively. Jim won a side-by-side race with Steve Macklyn in the first round of eliminations, with Whiteley running a 3.701 at 207.47 to Macklyn’s 3.715. He then posted a 3.671 at 210.38 on a single in the semifinals.
Annie’s No. 1 qualifying effort earned her a first-round bye run, which she used to run a 3.669 at 211.27. She repeated that run almost down to the ten-thousandth with a 3.669 at 211.96 to get the semifinal win over 2022 series champion Chris Marshall, who red-lit away his best run of the weekend, a 3.637.
The Top Dragster final round featured an all-Texas throwdown between Chad Broom and Jessica Ogden, who won the MWDRS season opener at XRP. Broom’s .001 reaction time and 4.776 on a 4.73 dial-in allowed him to hold off Ogden and her solid 4.411 on a 4.41 dial-in.
Fresh off a runner-up finish at the Great Bend make-up race held at Tulsa, Kyle Baker turned on the final-round win light in Top Sportsman. Driving his boosted J&A Service ’08 Cobalt, Baker won with a 4.137 on a 4.12 dial-in. Opponent Bob Gulitti followed with a 4.073 on a 4.03 dial-in in his nitrous-fed NTG ’67 Mustang. Baker and Gulitti had nearly identical reaction times – .014 for Baker and .015 for Gulitti.
Graeme Rufenacht scored the Pro Jr. Dragster win, thanks in part to a quicker reaction time in the final round. Rufenacht ran an 8.191 on an 8.14 dial-in to defeat Maddy Poplawski and her 7.935 on a 7.90 dial-in.
Sportsman Jr. Dragster season champion Tyler Wells added one more win to close out his stellar season. The Oklahoma driver beat Makenzie Roberts in the final round, with Wells’ 8.932 on an 8.90 dial-in topping Roberts’ 8.985 on an 8.94 dial-in.
The MWDRS will hold a special awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, in Claremore, Okla., to celebrate the 2022 champions.