With his sixth win in a row at the West Central divisional/regional at Denver’s Bandimere Speedway, defending national champion Jim Whiteley reclaimed the Top Alcohol Dragster points lead. “What can I say?” he asked. “I love racing here.”
Hands down, it’s the J&A Service/YNot Racing team’s most dominant performance to date at Bandimere: Whiteley had the entire field covered by the unheard of margin of a full quarter-second.
In qualifying, the Norm Grimes-tuned dragster ran between 5.44 and 5.46 in all three sessions while no one else in the field ran better than 5.70s. “I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much of an advantage on the field before,” Whiteley said. “It’s almost more pressure than when a bunch of other people are running right with you.”
After the opening round, it was more of the same in eliminations. Free to use his first-round run as another test run when opponent Kevin Wayman was unable to repair breakage suffered in qualifying, Whiteley smoked the tires and shut off. “It didn’t go three inches,” he said.
Against Dean Dubbin, who disqualified himself with a foul start in the semifinals, Whiteley advanced with an on-and-off-the-gas 5.69 that was still quicker than any other driver ran all weekend. “I had it at half-throttle at one point and it was still spinning the tires,” he said. “We took some gear ratio out and some timing out for the final, and the car ran better than we expected it to.”
A 5.47 in the money round knocked out No. 2 qualifier Greg Hunter, who was in a Lucas Oil Series final for the first time in his career, and put the J&A Service/YNot Racing driver back on top in the back-and-forth battle for the national championship. “We needed a weekend like this,” Whiteley said. “Nobody is running away with it this year, and it might go right down to the finals at Pomona.”