Division 1 team three-peats in Jegs Allstars competition
by Kevin McKenna, NHRA.com
Led by an impressive victory by Super Gas racer Michael Sawyer and a runner-up finish by Top Alcohol Funny Car kingpin Frank Manzo, the team from the Northeast Division held on to win its third straight overall team title in the Jegs Allstars event, held during the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
Heading into the final rounds, the Division 1 team had 800 points and held a slim lead over the teams from Division 2 and 3, which were tied for second with 700 points apiece. Sawyer defeated Division 3 runner Carl Root to give the Northeast Division squad a seemingly insurmountable 200-point cushion, but the Southeast Division rallied late to tie the score following a Super Stock win by Anthony Bertozzi, who defeated defending event winner Michael Iacono, and a Stock victory by Brenda Grubbs, who stopped Russ "Bubba" Linke. The Division 1 team had a chance to win the title outright if Manzo could claim his record seventh straight Top Alcohol Funny Car title, but the Division 1 ace was upset by Division 7's Doug Gordon in the final round.
Following a lengthy debate, the Division 1 team was awarded the championship via a tiebreaker, and its members will split the $20,000 bonus from Jegs Mail Order. The tiebreaker system awards nine points to each event winner, seven to each runner-up, and five to each semifinal finisher. Using that system, the Division 1 team emerged victorious with 36 points to 30 for the Division 2 team.
Defending champions, who were inserted into the field as blockers, had a field day as Sal Biondo (Comp), Ron Erks (Super Comp), and Craig Abbott (Super Street) again emerged victorious. Biondo, who arrived late and made just one qualifying run, defeated low qualifier Craig Bourgeois in the final round via a holeshot. Erks won an 8.87 to 8.83 double-breakout contest against Sherman Adcock Jr. in the Super Comp final, and Abbott stopped Dwight Downing, 10.89 to 10.80, in a rematch of last year's Super Street final. Gordon scored a win for Division 7 and became the first second-generation racer to win the Jegs Allstars when he upset Manzo, 5.62 to 5.65, in the Top Alcohol Funny Car final. Gordon's father, Mike, won the Jegs Allstars in 1992. Thomas Bayer scored the lone win for the Division 6 team when he drove his Toyo Tires dragster to a 5.40 to 5.47 win over Brandon Pierce in the TAD final.
|Final points standings|
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