Words and Photos Phil Hutchison
Second generation racer Steve Comella from Webster NY, drove the Chuck Comella SS/AH ’68 Dodge Dart to his first ever NHRA win in Super Stock at the Lucas Oil Divisional held at Cecil Country Dragway in Northeast MD. The Hemi Dart, one of the original 50 built by Hurst Shifters and Chrysler in 1968, had been close to a win before with a runner up in Virginia a few years ago, took the win at Cecil with a final round over George Taylor driving the Alco Hauler SS/EM ’67 Camaro. Comella ran a 8.81 on his 8.79 dial while Taylor was right on his 9.36 dial but his slower reaction time (0.082 to Comella’s better 0.034) made the difference at the stripe.
Lee Zane from Elmer NJ, driving the Al Ackerman owned F/DA beat a red lighting Richard Preiser from Jackson NJ in the finals of Competition Eliminator. Preiser had upset #1 qualifier Frank Aragona Jr in the semifinals and was looking to avenge his final round loss at Atco earlier in the month. Zane, who qualified #2, had defeated the E/SM Pontiac of Division Two racer Randy Daniels and the two Schonberger cars to get to the final.
Stock Eliminator went down to Allison Doll from Douglas MA driving the Porta Tree B/SA Firebird against the C/S Camaro of Jerry MacNeish from Eldersburg MD. MacNeish, who was having a career day in his manual shifted small block Chevy, cut the tree too close and left 0.057 early giving Doll the win.
Arizona racer Jeff Taylor and Fredericksburg VA racer Jeff Brooks won Top Dragster and Top Sportsman respectively, which were both running 1/8 mile for the event. Taylor beat the dragster of Gary Koebbe in the finals running a right on 4.642 on a 4.64 dial to Koebbe’s close 4.602 on a 4.59 dial.
Brooks, who was #4 in the World in 2018, put his beautiful Henry J in the winner’s circle with a win over the turbo car of Mark Payne as Brooks ran a 4.231 on his 4.21 dial as Payne’s ’06 Cavalier was right there running a 4.406 on his 4.37 dial.
Long time NHRA racer Thomas Stalba and his family had a double of sorts at Cecil as he took his Super Comp dragster to a win over a red lighting Chris DePascale in the finals, and his son Paul, won the 10-12 age group in Junior Dragster. Earlier in the season, Stalba won the Super Comp title at Maple Grove as his daughter, Emily, won the 6-9 age group making both Stalba children winners in 2019.
Other winners at Cecil County were:
Super Gas: Charlie Kenopic from Renfrew Ontario over Oscar Olt from Medford NJ. 9.95 to a 9.973.
Super Street: Tom Amorosi Belleview NJ over Jason Lawrence Hamilton NJ. 10.904 to Lawrence’s breaking out 10.896.
Junior Dragster 6-9 Paisley Anderson over brother Logan Anderson
Junior Dragster 13-17 Lynda Preiser over Matt Witkowski