By Bob Johnson Auto Club Dragway Fontana, Calif. May 24-25, 2019
Andy Schmall and Dustin Wurtz made an 850 mile trip to the 5th Annual Silver State Commercial Refrigeration West Coast Classic bracket races well worth the travel time, as they dominated the racing action by winning three of the six major events at Auto Club Dragway. Idaho racers Andy Schmall won three “big checks” over the weekend, and Dustin Wurtz—a double entry in Super Pro—left the event with a win and runner-up in the $20,000 Meziere Enterprises/Racepak Data Systems Super Pro race.
Weather uncharacteristically was a factor in getting the races completed over the Memorial Day weekend, as rainy conditions wiped out most of the first day of time trials and the run-for-the-money race. Friday and Saturday featured near-perfect racing weather, but the promise of a wet Sunday forced race promoter Chris Forsyth and the Auto Club management to combine the final two days of racing into one—doubling the Racepak Data Systems and Meziere Enterprises purse.
Andy Schmall, Thomas Bayer, and Jeff LaSalle took home the big checks on the first day of racing. Andy Schmall defeated Glendale, Ariz., racer Seth Polvadore and Jeff LaSalle stopped David Myhre in the seventh round of the Specialty Fasteners West Coast Pro. Schmall, of Idaho Falls, picked up his first win of the weekend when he beat LaSalle in the final. Thomas Bayer won the Specialty Fasteners West Coast Super Pro final round with a .010 reaction time running .001 off his 4.85 dial, defeating 2016 NHRA Pacific Division Super Street champion Greg Ventura in the final round. In the semifinals, Ventura used a .002 light running .004 off his 5.64 dial to defeat Linzi Meserve while Bayer got a bye.
Jeff LaSalle went to three finals over the two days of competition, finishing second in two of them but winning the big R&B Auto Pro-64 Shootout. LaSalle beat Ricky Deuschle in a double-breakout semifinal contest, and footbrake Jack Swanson drove his ’67 Camaro past Dylan Oliveira’s Jr Comp dragster. Swanson and LaSalle both broke-out in the final round, with LaSalle’s ’67 Dodge Coronet R/T getting the win at 6.458, 106.03 (6.46 dial) to Swanson’s too quick 7.641, 86.56 (7.68 dial) effort.
The West Coast Classic Saturday and Sunday events sponsored by Racepak Data Systems and Meziere Enterprises were combined, with the Super Pro class now paying $20,000, and the Pro winner taking home $9,000. The eighth and final round of the Racepak/Meziere Pro class paired the same two racers that were in the Specialty Fasteners Pro final on Friday, with the same result. Andy Schmall drove his ’88 Beretta to the winner’s circle as LaSalle drew a .004 red-light. Schmall ran 6.096 on his 6.12 dial, while LaSalle was .001 quick on his 6.45 dial.
Dustin Wurtz of Nampa, Idaho, had a day that he will never forget at the Classic. He double-entered his Undercover dragster in the Racepak/Meziere Super Pro class and finished as the event winner and runner-up! In the sixth round he beat Ryan Herem, Val Torres Jr defeated brother Gabe Torres, and Wurtz came back around again to defeat Moe Trujillo with a .013 package. In the semifinal, Wurtz did a stage and shut-off on a bye run, then matched up with 2017 WCC champ Val Torres Jr. Torres and Wurtz left the line with .003 and .004 reaction times, respectively, and Wurtz got the win light with a 4.639 (4.63 dial) to Torres 4.628 (4.61 dial). Wurtz capped a great weekend of racing with something that rarely—if ever—happens in modern day bracket racing, with one driver and one car going to the final of a huge event and capturing the win and runner-up honor and a cool $24,000. Congratulations, Dustin Wurtz.
The Kidd Performance Super Pro-64 Shootout was won by DJ Houmard driving the Deuschle family ’63 Corvette. Houmard, the 2017 SoCal Super Street series champion, defeated Linzi Meserve of St. George, Utah in the semifinal and ’18 K&N 890 Series champ Greg Hicks of Las Vegas got bye Casey Compton of Boise, Idaho in their semifinal match. In the final Houmard used a .010 light and 5.164 (5.15 dial) for the win as Hicks was .004 too quick at the stripe. Houmard earned $20,000 for the win.
A new feature to the final day of racing at the Silver State West Coast Classic, as an 8-car Jr Dragster Invitational race was added. The 6-9 year-old class was won by Corona, Calif., racer Blaine DeNunzio as he defeated Chance Sullivan in their final match. A Las Vegas, Nev., brother and sister team shared the winner’s circle of the other two classes, with Jacob Taylor winning the 10-12 year-old title when he beat Reese Poe in their final, and Taylor Lee Taylor took home the 13 and older class win when she defeated DeAndre Fitzgerald of Sacramento in their final. Each winner earned $1000 for their efforts.