A group of Jr. Dragster racers representing the Texas Motorplex outlasted 12 other teams from several different tracks June 22, to capture top honors at the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Western Conference Finals (WCF) at Oklahoma’s Tulsa Raceway Park. Each of 10 members on the winning Motorplex Team 1 received NHRA “Wally” trophies, the much-sought-after symbol of excellence for drag racers modeled after NHRA founder Wally Parks.
“Everybody was ecstatic. Two years ago we lost the team championship by just one point and a lot of these kids were on that team, too, so it was really special for them,” said Motorplex team captain Tim Owen, whose 14-year-old daughter, Addyson, was among those making space on her trophy shelf. “We’ll all be remembering this for a long time.”
Two teams from the Texas Motorplex made up of racers aged 8-17 in three age groups participated in the WCF. The make up for each team was determined primarily by final standings after last season’s Jr. Dragster races at the Motorplex, with consideration also given to each driver’s experience at bigger events.
Owen explained the teams actually started racing in preliminary events the Sunday prior to the WCF, lasting through Wednesday. Two time trials for the main event were held on Thursday, with a final time trial the next morning before all eliminations were completed by Friday evening.
“As we got down to the quarter-finals and the semis, we had an all-Motorplex quarter final, then one of our Motorplex kids got the bye in the semis and we won the other semi, so we had an all-Motorplex final in the 14-year-olds with Braden Bettis and Trent Augustyn. We actually had three kids from Team 1 go to the finals,” Owen said.
With one point earned for each round won, the victorious Texas Motorplex crew finished ahead of their closest competition by three points, finishing the day with 19 overall. Members of the winning team included Augustyn, Bettis, Jordan Eperjesi, Aaron Jordan, Keaton Mawhee, Addyson Owen, Lori Rhinefort, Mia Rhodes, Graeme Rufuenacht and Brody Tigue.
Team 2 for the Motorplex consisted of Justine Atkins, Logan Atkins, Hannah Brown, Savannah Bryant, Tyler Janousek, Evan Mawhee, Parker Mawhee, Jonathan McClain, Hunter Millican, Rusty Price and Jason Rhodes.
“We want to give special thanks to the Texas Motorplex for letting us represent them,” Owen said. “We also had a couple of t-shirt sponsors, our race-day shirt was from Scotty’s Racing Transmissions, and we had another shirt sponsored by Advanced Mobile Services.”
The Texas Motorplex Jr. Dragster teams will be back in action Sep. 7-9, when the Motorplex will play host to the NHRA Division 4 Jr. Dragster E.T. Finals, featuring young drivers from tracks all across Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico.