MYERS, BRANCH CASH IN AT RAIN-DELAYED NHRA DIV. 7 FINALS

By Jerrie Foss, NHRA Communications

Although it took a day longer than expected because of rain, the Short Line Express Markets Las Vegas Gambler Shootout at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway concluded Monday night. The event, the last of 45 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events on the 2004 calendar, featured a record 980 cars, including Top Alcohol Dragsters and Top Alcohol Funny Cars.

The Top Alcohol Dragster final was a duel between two of the three drivers vying for the national championship in the class. Mitch Myers of Hermiston, Ore., took the win over Owosso, Mich., racer Bill Reichert. In the final, Myers ran 6.997 seconds at 265.90 mph while Reichert ran 9.032 seconds at 202.03 mph. Reichert in currently leading in the point standings over Myers and Randy Meyer of Spring Hill, Kan. The fight for the crown won't be over until the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., this weekend.

In Top Alcohol Funny Car, Tate Branch of Artesia, N.M., took the win over defending division champion Doug Gordon of Paso Robles, Calif.

Branch's 5.674-second, 250.55 mph effort was more than enough to get the stripe over Gordon who slowed to a 10.214-second, 86.95 mph pass.

Houston's Brian Self won in Comp Eliminator and Riverside, Calif., racer Ken Etter was the Super Stock champ. In Stock Eliminator Chad Loge, Pleasanton, Calif., came out on top as did Steve Johnson, Arvada, Colo., in Super Comp, and Larry Bradshaw of Danville, Calif., in Super Gas. Acton, Mass., Super Street racer Michael Sawyer joined the others in the winner's circle along with Robert Tevis, Fontana, Calif., in Korbel Super E; Blu Hayball, fort Hall, Idaho, in Top Comp; and Brian Johnson, Anoka, Minn., in Kerker Motorcycle. On Saturday, Johnson also won the Kerker King of the Coast competition, an invitational race within a race where the top points-earning drivers go head-to-head.

NHRA Lucas Oil Series racers may head to Pomona Raceway in California for the Auto Club NHRA Finals where they will compete along side their professional racing brothers Nov. 11-14.

The following are the final results from Short Line Express Market Las Vegas Gambler Shootout at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER

Round 1

4) Morgan Lucas, Riverside, Calif., 5.357, 263.72 def. 5) David Wells, Lemars, Iowa, foul

2) Bill Reichert, Owosso, Mich., 5.326, 275.62 def. 7) Chris Demke, Sunland, Calif., 5.472, 259.91

1) Mitch Myers, Hermiston, Ore., 5.256, 273.77 def. 9) Steve Federlin, Oregon City, Ore., foul

3) Ashley Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., 5.387, 263.87 def. 6) Robert Perkins, Bluffdale, Utah, 5.654, 245.72

Semifinals

Reichert, 5.300, 273.83 def. Force, 5.487, 267.22 Myers, 5.266, 273.44 def. Lucas, 5.620, 258.22

Final

Myers, 6.997, 265.90 def. Reichert, 9.032, 202.03

TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR

Round 1

5) Tate Branch, Artesia, N.M., '02 Camaro, 5.693, 246.44 def. 4) Hank Coolidge, Sunburst, Mont., '02 Firebird, 6.156, 243.15

2) Mert Littlefield, Garden Grove, Calif., '01 Camaro, 5.763, 244.29 def.

7) Bret Williamson, Campbell, Calif., '01 Corvette, 7.241, 148.62

8) Steve Gasparrelli, West Covina, Calif., '02 Firebird, 5.728, 251.86 def.

1) Bucky Austin, Fife, Wash., '02 Firebird, 5.749, 248.89

6) Doug Gordon, Paso Robles, Calif., '02 Camaro, 5.740, 248.93 def. 10) Dennis Taylor, Anaheim, Calif., '02 Camaro, 6.213, 173.70

Semifinals

Gordon, 5.735, 248.57 def. Littlefield, 5.960, 210.08 Branch, 5.716, 250.37 def. Gasparrelli, 10.603, 78.38

Final

Branch, 5.674, 250.55 def. Gordon, 10.214, 86.95

COMP ELIMINATOR

Brian Self, Houston, '02 S-10, PST, 7.570, 177.49 def. Bo Butner, Floyds Knobs, Ind., '02 Grand Am, G/SMA, 9.085, 145.56

SUPER STOCK

Ken Etter, Riverside, Calif., '00 Chrysler, GT/IA, 10.675, 124.44 def. Joe Kohorst, Grand Terrace, Calif., '92 Camaro, GT/AA, 9.732, 138.44

STOCK ELIMINATOR

Chad Loge, Pleasanton, Calif., '70 Plymouth, C/SA, 10.964, 114.92 def.

Scott Dugdale, Circle Pines, Minn., '67 Chevelle, I/SA, 12.180, 108.26

SUPER COMP

Steve Johnson, Arvada, Colo., dragster, 9.059, 170.36 def. Shawn Langdon, Mira Loma, Calif., dragster, 9.038, 161.81

SUPER GAS

Larry Bradshaw, Danville, Calif., '89 Beretta, 10.079, 139.82 def. Tim Landis, Glendale, Ariz., '03 Corvette, 10.033, 155.78

SUPER STREET

Michael Sawyer, Acton, Mass., '67 Camaro, 11.113, 141.59 def. Mike Decarolis, Chandler, Ariz., '72 Nova, 11.119, 121.45

KORBEL SUPER ELIMINATOR

Robert Tevis, Fontana, Calif., dragster, 7.999, 171.38 def. Terry White, Half Moon Bay, Calif., dragster, 7.980, 167.74

TOP COMP

Blu Hayball, Fort Hall, Idaho, dragster, 7.470, 174.44 def. Greg Lair, Canyon, Texas, '04 Grand Am, 7.295, 190.65

KERKER MOTORCYCLE

Brian Johnson, Anoka, Minn., '04 Suzuki, 9.128, 138.22 def. Craig Treble, Hensley, Ark., '02 Suzuki, 9.020, 135.84

KERKER KING OF THE COAST

Brian Johnson, Anoka, Minn., '04 Suzuki, 9.185, 138.70 def. Curtis Spracklin, Omaha, Neb., '78 Kawasaki, 9.806, 129.59