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Drags' Jr. Dragster Randi Teed makes history at 2012 IHRA
CENTER, N.Y. -- Skyview Drags in Tioga Center, N.Y. opened
mid-season in 2004 as the culmination of a dream that owner
George Swansbrough had of putting a drag strip on top of
a mountain in the heart of beautiful upstate New York. The
track sent its first racing team to the IHRA Division 3
Bracket Finals in 2005 and every year since. This year,
the largest team ever, 39 of the track’s best racers,
made their way south to Pittsburgh Raceway Park to represent
Team Skyview at their eighth Bracket Finals. It would be
a historical weekend for the track. On Thursday, Sept. 20,
the day began with two time trials for all classes. An Early
Bird Gamblers Race was then held and Team Skyview came out
strong with Sled Racer Randy Teed from Friendsville, Pa.
taking the runner-up spot on his Arctic Cat in the Bike/Sled
class, and his 16-year old daughter Haley Teed taking the
win in the Junior Dragster class. On Friday, Sept. 21, the
racers from all ten Division 3 tracks racked up some more
seat time with an additional time trial before the Summit
Super Series took over the track. Each team had their own
Summit Super Series runoffs at their respective tracks.
The racer in Box, No Box, and for the first time in the
history of the IHRA Junior Dragster classes who earned the
most points in their first 30 rounds of racing earned the
Summit Super Series championship for their track. These
racers were then pitted against each other, by class, for
the Division 3 championship and the right to represent the
division at the World Championships in Memphis, Tenn. In
the Box class, Don Kiekel from Binghamton, N.Y. raced for
Team Skyview for the third time in five years. In the No
Box class, Tim Zyla from Sayre, Pa. raced for Team Skyview
for the second consecutive year. And in the Junior Dragster
class, 15-year old Randi Teed from Friendsville, Pa. was
the inaugural Skyview Drags Summit Super Series champion
and would race for Team Skyview.
taking the track, Teed spoke with 2008 Summit Super Series
Division 3 Box Champion Don Kiekel who assured her that
she was just as good if not better than every other racer
on the track. Teed would take those words to heart and repeat
them to herself over and over again during the racing weekend.
Round 1 was unkind to the team's Box and No Box champions,
but Randi Teed won her first round and now the hopes and
dreams of an entire track rested on the shoulders of a 15-year
old girl with only a couple of years of competition racing
under her belt. Round after round, Teed took out the best
of the best as she continued to dominate the field until
there were only three Junior Dragster racers remaining.
Wortman from Thompson Raceway Park earned the bye run into
the finals. Teed would have to face the young racer from
Oxford Dragway who traveled 12 hours from Maine to represent
her track. Just a few seconds later, Teed secured her spot
in the World Championship when she won the semi-finals of
the Summit Super Series. Teed would now face Wortman for
the finals and the rights to being the first ever IHRA Junior
Dragster Summit Super Series Division 3 Champion. For the
final round, both racers left cleanly in a nearly heads
up race. Teed had the advantage off the starting line, and
approximately 7.9 seconds later she watched her win light
come on and history was made.“When
I saw my light come on,” said Teed, “I screamed!”
So did all of her Skyview Team who knew exactly what Teed
had just accomplished.
is the third time in eight years that Skyview Drags has
won the IHRA Division 3 Summit Super Series. Don Kiekel
was the first to win when he did it in 2008 for the Box
class and traveled to Rockingham, N.C. where he made it
all the way to the final round of the World Championships.
Ray Thurston IV from Towanda, Pa. won it in 2010 for the
No Box class and traveled to Virginia Motorsports Park for
his shot at the World Championships. Teed and her family
will now make the trip to Memphis, Tenn. for her shot at
the first ever World Championship title in Junior Dragster
class. Following completion of the Summit Super Series pictures
and awards, the High Dollar Gamblers Race got its start.
In the Box class, John Cooper from Binghamton, N.Y. powered
his dragster to the quarter finals and Tom Frank from Webster,
N.Y. campaigned his Beretta to the semi-finals. In the Junior
Dragster class, Dunham Hall from Syracuse, N.Y. chopped
down the tree round after round and made it to the finals
where he earned the runner-up spot for his efforts.
track hosted a pizza party for Team Skyview in the evening
and everyone enjoyed spending time together and relaxing
after a great day of racing. Saturday, Sept, 22 would bring
the start of the 2012 Bracket Finals for Team Skyview. With
a 50 percent chance of rain on and off for the entire race
day, every competitor got one time trial before taking the
race track in the Top, Modified, Bike/Sled, Street and Junior
National Anthem was once again performed by Skyview Drags'
very own Haley Teed. Her pitch perfect voice earned rave
reviews for the second year in a row and as a result, IHRA
officials asked Teed to perform the National Anthem at the
IHRA World Championships in Memphis, Tenn. this year. Rain
delays in the morning gave the team a late start to the
Big Show, but once underway the IHRA staff and Pittsburgh
Raceway Park crew got the show moving at a fast pace. Team
Skyview fared well during Round 1 eliminations with most
of the racers making their way through. Rain interrupted
Round 2 eliminations with only the Street and Junior Dragster
classes completing their round.
the imminent threat of severe weather, the IHRA called it
a day and sent the teams scurrying for cover before rain
showers, winds and cold temperatures settled into the area.
Undaunted by the turn in the weather, the Teed family hosted
a racers party in the evening where everyone enjoyed fabulous
food and a relaxing time together.
Sept. 23 was a cool but beautiful race day. Everyone still
in competition got one time trial before racing resumed
with the Modified class. Competition was fierce with all
classes, and the field was slowly halved round after round.
By the semi-finals, only Don Kiekel remained in Top and
Randi Teed and Dunham Hall remained in Junior Dragsters.
Unfortunately, Kiekel lost his round but was happy to have
made it to the final four. “A win would have been
better, obviously,” said Kiekel “but my dragster
ran well and I was hitting the tree good all day.”
the Junior Dragster semi-finals, Hall earned a bye run into
the finals. Teed would once again have to race in order
to earn her spot in the finals. And earn it she did! The
Junior Dragster Bracket Finals would now be all Team Skyview
for 2012. “I am so proud of our team,” said
Skyview Director Amy Culver, who was unable to join her
racers at the Bracket Finals due to family obligations.
This is the third time in Skyview’s eight years of
Bracket Finals that a final has been all Team Skyview. In
2011, Kathy Kiekel from Binghamton, N.Y. won the Top ET
class against Jesse Alberts from Fleetwood, Pa. And in 2009,
Team Skyview dominated in the Bike/Sled class when Skippy
Tamburino from Westernville, N.Y. defeated Lynn Major from
Tioga Center, N.Y. With Teed and Hall ready to face each
other in the finals, both young racers made their way onto
the track. With Teed already securing her place in history
with the Summit Super Series win earlier in the Bracket
Finals, she would now attempt to make history again by being
the first ever Junior Dragster racer to win the Summit Super
Series and the Bracket Finals in the same year. Like the
Summit Super Series, the Bracket Finals race would be nearly
racers left cleanly, but at the 1/8-mile finish line the
large “W” shone brightly for Teed. The only
thing shining brighter than her win light was Teed’s
smile as she gathered with family and friends to once again
celebrate her amazing 2012 Bracket Finals accomplishments
and her history making events. Many will come after Teed,
but none will ever be first. That honor belongs completely
to Teed and she earned both wins with sportsmanship and
the Bracket Finals were drawing to conclusion on Sunday,
a final Gamblers race was also being run at the track. Congratulations
to Junior Dragster racers Abby Hacker from Bainbridge, N.Y.
and Morgan Burgess from Minnequa, Pa. who both made it to
the semi-finals of this consolation race.
Junior Dragster racers carried Team Skyview,” said
Skyview’s Junior Dragster sponsor Don Kiekel, owner
and operator of Precision Crankworks in Kirkwood, N.Y. “They
were the best of the best in every race.” Moved
to tears when Randi Teed won both events, Kathy Kiekel added,
“I couldn’t be more proud of her and of all
of our racers. Four years ago, my husband and I decided
that we wanted to grow the Junior Dragster program at Skyview.
We worked tirelessly with Amy Culver to put together a really
solid program that would encourage young racers to join
the sport and to hone their skills.” Both
Don and Kathy saw the culmination of all of the hard work
come out in this year’s Bracket Finals. “It
was a dream come true for us”.
written and photos submitted by Amy Culver / Skyview Drags