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AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals Sportsman Highlights

Comp ace David Rampy moved a step closer to the magic 100-win mark, and Greg Stanfield and Drew Skillman, best known for their careers in Pro Stock, earned titles in Super Stock and Stock, respectively, at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
02 Oct 2018
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
David Rampy

Comp ace David Rampy moved a step closer to the magic 100-win mark, and Greg Stanfield and Drew Skillman, best known for their careers in Pro Stock, earned titles in Super Stock and Stock, respectively, at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. Rampy, Stanfield, and Skillman were joined in the winner’s circle by Rick Hughes (Super Comp), Tim Nicholson (Super Gas), Jennifer White (Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs), and Glenn Butcher (Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs).

Rampy, who won his first title in 1983, drove his Skillman Auto Group A/EA Bantam to the Comp title after beating Allen Wilson in the final round. Rampy drove to a (-.560) 7.240 to secure the title while Wilson, who had a quicker light, ran a (-.472) 8.238 in his G/AA GTO. Rampy entered the final round with .02-second in Competition Index Control penalties, and Wilson had lost .06-second off his index. Rampy also defeated Keith Mawhee, Travis Gusso, Chase Williams, and Duane Robison on his way to the final round. [video]

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Stevie “Fast” Jackson won his second race in a row to jump back into the championship hunt with his supercharged Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro. Jackson, who also won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, took an easy final-round win when Topeka runner-up Chad Green left too soon and fouled out. Pro Mod racing in St. Louis was sponsored by the Real Pro Mod Association. [video

After winning the last two races in the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, Leah Pritchett is now in a prime position to be crowned the series champ in the special event, which features factory-built race cars from Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet. After driving to a semifinal finish in her Papa John’s Pizza Top Fuel dragster, Pritchett quickly buckled into the seat of her Kevin Helms-tuned Drag Pak Challenger to take on fellow championship contender Stephen Bell in the Factory Stock final. Pritchett turned on the win light with an 8.00, 172.36 mph after Bell’s COPO Camaro stalled on the starting line. [video]

Stanfield, who last won a Pro Stock race in 2011 and has spent the last few seasons helping to launch the career of his son, Aaron, returned to his original stomping grounds in Super Stock and earned his 13th national event title. Stanfield faced off with the manually shifted Camaro of Brad Zaskowski in the final round and won with a 9.937 on his 9.93 dial. Zaskowski gave up the finish line with a 10.075 on his 10.04 prediction. Stanfield, who also builds the engines for School of Automotive Machinists & Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown championship contenders Arthur Kohn and Stephen Bell, overcame a perfect .000 light by round-two opponent Slate Cummings, and he also won a heads-up match against Korey Mawhee, who got an early lead with a .004 light. Stanfield reached the final by stopping former world champion Ricky Decker in the semi’s. [video]

Skillman’s runner-up finish in Pro Stock was made somewhat less disappointing after he earned his second title of the year in Stock. Wheeling his Cobra Jet Mustang, Skillman defeated Daryl Bureski in the final round to claim the 14th national event win of his career. Skillman was on time in the final with a .007 light and survived the double-breakout battle with an 8.864 on his 8.88 dial. Bureski, in his classic ’70 Cutlass 442, drove to an 11.421 on his 11.44 dial. Skillman defeated Lyn Smith and Brett Candies on his way to the final round. [video]

The Super Comp class featured a first-time winner in Hughes, who turned on the win light in the final with an 8.921 after Don Higgins broke out at 8.884. Hughes left first against all six of his opponents in eliminations, including nearly perfect lights against Eddie Cook and Scott Cook in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. Hughes, coming off a quarterfinal finish at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indy, also logged wins against Doug Wegner and Chuck Ridenhour. Higgins reached the final following an 8.908 effort in the semifinals against third-generation racer Cole Cummings. [video]

Nicholson’s ’67 Camaro is a unique Super Gas car in that it features a manually shifted four-speed Lenco transmission. The car is also equipped with a “reverse throttle stop” that limits it to top speeds of around 100 mph while still running the 9.90 index. That approach yielded big results for Nicholson, who defeated Mitch Withers in the Super Gas final round, 9.904 to a 9.856 breakout. [video]

Two years ago, White reached the final round of Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs in Brainerd, and she was turned away by Angie Travis. White landed in another all-female final in St. Louis, and this time, she won the Wally with a win against Afton Swanson. White did not have an easy time reaching the final with races against world champion Jeff Strickland, JB Strassweg, No. 3 qualifier Jim Thorp, and reigning champion Lynn Ellison. White’s best performance came against Ellison with a .019 light and a 6.172 on her 6.17 dial. [video]

Driving his six-second Camaro, Butcher defeated Bill Yates to win the title in Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs. The No. 5 qualifier in the quick field, Butcher drove to a 6.534 on his 6.51 dial in the final round to hold off Yates, who had a quicker light but missed his 6.65 dial with a 6.717. Butcher had a tough path to the final with competitive races against Kyle Dumke, Tommy Turner, 2017 JEGS Allstars champ Mark McDonald, and multitime national event winner Phil Unruh. [video]