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Two Iowans nab pole

Two Iowa drag racers took provisional pole positions in their Top Alcohol classes Friday in the first round of qualifying for the NHRA Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series West Central Divisional at Brainerd International Raceway.
/ Source: The Brainerd Daily Dispatch

Two Iowa drag racers took provisional pole positions in their Top Alcohol classes Friday in the first round of qualifying for the NHRA Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series West Central Divisional at Brainerd International Raceway.Two Iowa drag racers took provisional pole positions in their Top Alcohol classes Friday in the first round of qualifying for the NHRA Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series West Central Divisional at Brainerd International Raceway.

Defending Top Alcohol Dragster event and division champion Richard Putz of Earlville, Iowa, was the first and veteran Top Alcohol Funny Car pilot Vern Moats of Des Moines followed.

Putz, also the current points leader in the division, clicked off a pass in 5.471 seconds at 259.36 mph. He was followed by Scott Murray, 5.506, and Diana Harker, 5.551.

Moats, who has been drag racing for the last 45 years and at BIR since it opened, on the final run of the class posted an elapsed time of 5.713 seconds at 255.53 mph in his Kendall Oil-backed Ford Mustang.

Canadian Roger Bateman, also in a Mustang, was the only other racer to run under 5.8 seconds at 5.765.

For Putz, who won three events last season en route to his points title, he was racing a new engine combination for the first time.

And, he could go faster. He said he had the tune up set conservatively and guessed on the clutch settings.

Putz said he was happy that his engine stayed in one piece. In earlier races, he had an engine throw its connecting rods.

"We could have went faster ... if we work on the tuneup but we wanted to be safe and not hurt a motor," said Putz whose career bests are 5.36 and 264 mph, was at the BIR national NHRA event in 2005. "It looks real good, it looks real decent."

That was the case for Moats, a 15-time division champion in the class and the No. 1 qualifier for the event in 2006. He lost to Cy Chesterman, a 16-time series national event champion and five-time division points champion, in the final that year.

Moats said he put new tires on his car and they spun for a little bit at his launch. It was only the third race for this car.

"Usually they need a little breaking in and they spun quite a bit when it left the starting line," he said.

Moats said he was happy with his car's speed.

"That thing should run, I mean it has here before," he said.

Last year he had speeds of 253, 254 and 256 mph. The year before he had speeds of 255, 252 and 253 mph.

"The last three years we've made some of our more consistent runs," he said.

Moats said he didn't think his time would hold up after the two rounds of qualifying Saturday.

"It needs to go down in the 60s," he said.

And his car can. In 2006, he nailed down times of 5.67, 5.71 and 5.67.

NHRA Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series

Division 5 second round

First round of qualifying

Brainerd International Raceway

Top Alcohol Dragster

1. Richard Putz, 2. Scott Murray, 3. Diana Harker, 4. Jeff Hamelink, 5. Jared Dreher, 6. Edwin Schmeeckle.

Top Alcohol Funny Car

1.Vern Moats, Ford; 2. Roger Bateman (Ford); 3. Cy Chesterman (Ford); 4.Hank Coolidge (Firebird); 5. Bruce Carlson (Corvette); 6. Kirk Williams (Camaro); 7. Scott McVeigh (Avenger)

COMP ELIMINATOR

1-Bruno Massel, 2-Matt Harris, 3-Brian Antony, 4-Clint Sallee, 5-Bill Riemenapp, 6-Doug Engels, 7-Shaun Vincent, 8-Bruce Schmiedl, 9-Bub Miller, 10-Travis Gusso

SUPER STOCK

1-Michael Mans, 2-Tom Meyer, 3-Randall Klein, 4-Gary Stinnett, 5-Jim Langer, 6-Terry Johnson, 7-Brian Ebert, 8-Brian Zenzen, 9-Todd Curtis, 10-Jason DeForrest

STOCK ELIMINATOR

1-Stan Kopejtka, 2-Ron Glowa, 3-Al Corda, 4-Randy Shepard, 5-Charles Blossom, 6-Scott Dugdale, 7-Kelly Petterson, 8-Dirk Olson, 9-Lance Line, 10-Nick Seibert

SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE

1-Mark Gode, 2-Brian Johnson, 3-Dave Kieffer, 4-Ken Niesen, 5-Alex Barmettler, 6-Jason Clampitt, 7-Curtis Spracklin, 8-Craig Vogt, 9-Bruce Meagher, 10-Bruce Sampson

TOP SPORTSMAN

1-Jim White, Haysville, 2-Jamie Schwartzkopf, 3-J.J. Heber, 4-Charley Whittenburg, 5-Bill Goldhammer, 6-Michael Freischel, 7-Larry Demers, 8-Michael Chitty, 9-Joshua Vettel, 10-Matt Braun

TOP DRAGSTER

1-Cliff Bakx, Grunthal, 2-Dean Dubbin, 3-Les Feist, 4-Martin Schmidt, 5-Darin Long, 6-Jeremy Siffring, 7-Clarence Mayo, 8-Jeff Riegger, 9-Jami Stoen, 10-Ray Wilson

clint wood, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at clint.wood@brainerddispatch.com or at 855-5869.