Wrap-Up: Neva Wray Becomes First Woman to Take American DRAGCAR Win

Text and photos: Jeff Sefranek / American DRAGCAR

American DRAGCAR entered the 2nd half of its Season IV Arizona Differential Specialists Central State Championship Series schedule at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with Race #4 on Saturday May 30th and what an event it was to behold. The Arizona weather was hot to start the day but it actually cooled off comfortably after the sun went down. And though the air temperature cooled, the action heated up as DRAGCAR was not only featuring the CSCS DragCar/DragSport Eliminator combo at this event, but also the very first outing of the Arizona Race Company StreetCar Showdown Series as well. See more on the Showdown in a separate story that will be published in an upcoming edition.

Willie Wray did manage to get his Camaro back together in time for this race after the match race’s broken crankshaft episode and all looks to be in order as he again qualified #1 as the top DragCar Eliminator competitor with a .15 under performance while Jeff Sefranek could only settle for #2 with his .14 under performance. Looks like there’s going to be another “showdown” between these two at an upcoming race.

With 20 cars entered, DragSport Eliminator’s #1 qualifier was once again Austyn Downing in the famed Bustin’ Loose Team dragster with an 8.818. Geanine Ballard again took #2 with a 9.228 while Mark Ballard repeated a 3rd place positioning with his 9.243 performance. Willie Wray moved into the 4th qualifier spot for DragSport with his 10.045 while Ron Shelly again rounded out the Fast Five with his 10.102 sprint.

First round DragSport eliminations excitement started out with Steffen Schulte taking the upset win over defending DRAGSTAR, Jeff Sefranek. Both racers had nearly identical reaction times but as they crossed the finish line it was Shulte’s ’64 Falcon ahead by a half a car as he ran a 12.744 on his 12.85 over Sefranek’s 11.054 on an 11.05 adjusted index. Neva Wray took out Mick Sramek with an 11.898 on an 11.90 adjusted index in her ’55 Nash Rambler over a 13.049 on a 13.05 attempt, and A.J. Crader then beat Mark Ballard in the upset of the round, and the closest race of the night as he put an impressive hole-shot on the wagon with his .02 light, but Ballard ran an incredible 9.147 on his 9.25 adjusted index only to fall short by a mere 19 thousandths of a second to Crader’s 13.772 on a 13.75 adjusted index. Next up it was Rick Lagno doing virtually the same job in his ’75 Monza as he hammered out a .034 reaction time and ran 10.379 on his 10.40 adjusted index to fend off the 12.743 on a 12.90 under-index attempt of Michael Porter. Third place points positioned Ron Shelly continued his winning streak as he took out the #2 positioned Bill Matchette with a trademark .022 light coupled to a 10.126 on a 10.10 over a 13.091 on a 13.10 adjusted index. And Eddie McDaniel in his ’07 Mercedes did a number on Chris Holbrook with a 14.446 on a 14.50 over an 11.663 on an 11.65 adjusted index battle.

Second round of eliminations opened with Neva Wray getting another win when Matt Ballard lit the red-light in giving chase, and Rick Lagno took out Eddie McDaniel with an O25 light and a 10.378 on his 10.40 over another under-index 14.351 on a 14.40 struggle. Ron Shelly closed out the round with a 10.058 on a 10.10 win over A.J. Crader running 13.773 on his 13.75 adjusted index while having a slight 8 thousandths reaction time advantage from the tree.

First up for third round was Neva Wray again going to the line against Austyn Downing in his 8 second dragster, and it was the closest race of the round as Neva took an ever so slight 5 thousandths reaction time advantage from the tree and stretched it out to 3 hundredths as she held off the 152 mph charging Downing with an 11.883 on her 11.90 for the win over an outstanding 8.808 on an 8.80 adjusted index pursuit. Rick Lagno followed by putting up another solid reaction time and running 10.389 on his 10.40 to hold off the late leaving 9.937 on a 10.05 charge of Willie Wray in his Camaro.

For the semis, Neva Wray took the bye-run as Rick Lagno would face Ron Shelly for another one of their spectacular wheels up battles. But this time, Shelly fell victim to troubles as he clocked a 10.702 on his 10.00 adjusted index while Lagno’s 10.420 on a 10.40 would continue his march ahead of the field in the points chase.

So, going into the final, Rick Lagno appeared to hold a small 2 hundredths advantage as he had previously run 2 hundredths under his 10.40 adjusted index while Neva Wray was now indexed dead on the 11.85 that she had run in the previous round. Neva managed to take a decisive lead off the tree with a substantial reaction time advantage over Rick and it was enough to hold on as she took the stripe with an 11.890 on her 11.85 over Lagno’s 10.446 on a 10.40 attempt.

With her first DRAGCAR win, Neva Wray also becomes DRAGCAR’s First Winning Woman after its three and a half seasons of DRAGCAR racing, and we congratulate her on breaking that milestone for us.

Rick Lagno’s Runner-Up finish still stretches out his lead on the field by over 1300 points ahead of Ron Shelly who takes over the #2 spot, and with only 3 races left of the CSCS season, it’s already starting to look grim for anybody lower than 8th in the chase at this point, but you still never know.

The Kenny Speed’s Tire & Performance Center Best Losing Package $50 award goes to A.J. Crader for his .050 2nd round defeat and the Kenny Speed’s Best RT of Eliminations $50 award goes to Ron Shelly with his .022 first round performance.

Next up on the DRAGCAR Full Power schedule is the Micro Import Service Inc. Southwestern Championship Series Race #3 at Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson, Arizona this coming June 20th.

Results - American DRAGCAR, Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, AZ / May 30, 2015

Quarter Finals:

W: Neva Wray, Glendale, AZ., '55 Nash Rambler, Index: 11.90, RT: .103, ET: 11.883
L: Austyn Downing, Glendale, AZ., RED Dragster, Index: 8.80, RT: .108, ET: 8.808

W: Rick Lagno, Scottsdale, AZ., '75 Monza, Index: 10.40, RT: .047, ET: 10.389
L: Willie Wray, Glendale, AZ., '69 Camaro, Index: 10.05, RT: .297, ET: 9.937

W: Ron Shelly, Phoenix, AZ., '74 Vega, Index: 10.00, RT: .915, ET: 18.495
L: Bye

Semi Finals:

W: Rick Lagno, Index: 10.40, RT: .027, ET: 10.420
L: Ron Shelly, Index: 10.00, RT: .138, ET: 10.702

W: Neva Wray, Index: 11.90, RT: .052, ET: 11.855
L: Bye


W: Neva Wray, Index: 11.85, RT: .153, ET: 11.890
L: Rick Lagno, Index: 10.40, RT: .293, ET: 10.446

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