Lucas Oil Super Gas champ: Sherman Adcock Jr.

by John Jodauga, National DRAGSTER

Until this year, Sheldon Gecker was the only racer to have won the Super Gas national title more than once (1987 and 1999) since Steve Eckard won the inaugural Super Gas title 25 years ago. Now Sherman Adcock Jr. has joined Gecker, adding the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series title in 2007 to his 1990 triumph.

Adcock clinched the title at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals when his closest opponent, Val Torres Jr., was eliminated in the second round by none other than Gecker. Adcock went on to make it to the semifinals before losing to eventual event winner Steve Parsons, and after the race he said, "I was beginning to wonder if I would ever be the champion again. I always thought that I had the capability of repeating the title, but there is just so much parity now that it's a lot harder to win than when I got my first title 17 years ago. For anyone to win the championship these days, a lot of things have to fall into place. It happens to someone every year, and this season it just happened to be me."

The 2007 campaign began like most in the past for Adcock as he entered the fray with cautious optimism behind the wheel of car owner Mark Horton's '02 Trans Am roadster. "All I wanted to do was just stay in the hunt so that if a lucky break came my way, I could take advantage of it," said Adcock.

He managed to hover near the top for most of the season, then moved into first place after he won the Atlanta Division 2 race with a borrowed car. Said Adcock, "I lost my Super Gas engine in the first time-trial run of the race, and it initially appeared that my only option was to run the motor out of my Super Comp dragster. But then David Watson, who wasn't racing that weekend, offered to let me drive his '66 Chevy II." Adcock took Watson's offer, and, after driving from Commerce to Atlanta to pick up the car, he got back in time for a Friday evening session and ran a 9.77. Said Adcock, "That gave us enough data to slow it up for the next round on Saturday morning, which he also won. The toughest race of the event was getting past Mike Ruff in the fifth round. Looking back, that was perhaps the key race of the year."

Adcock had used up the races in which he could earn points, but there were still five racers who had a shot at winning the title at the two final races of the year in Las Vegas and Pomona. Said Adcock, "Ed Olpin, Rodney Lee, Robert Naybor, Mike Coltrin, and Val Torres all were still in contention, but after Las Vegas, only Val was left. I was able to run the Finals with one of Jim Hughes' Corvettes, which I thought was a great gesture on his part. Val was defeated in the second round, which was the final round of competition on Friday evening, so that gave us a chance to do a little bit of celebrating." But Adcock had his race face back on for the remainder of the weekend, as shown by his semifinal-round finish.

Adcock readily acknowledged that his second title could not have been won without the help of many key individuals. Said Adcock, "I need to thank Valvoline, Pyroil, Zerex, and Eagle One, who were my major sponsors, along with Hoosier Tires, Hughes Performance, APD Carburetors, Dart, Wilkerson Racing Engines, CBI, Applied Racing Technology, Hedman Hedders, Nitro Plate, K&N, Ben worthy, and American Race Cars.

"On a more personal note," said Adcock, "I want to thank my father Sherman, brother Woody, sister Melodi, and especially my wife Michele. I also want to express my appreciation to David Tatum III, David Watson, Jerry Dooley, John Kyle, Jeff Wilkerson, my car owners Mark Horton and Tim Lunceford, Hugh Meeks III, and my good friend Gary Stinnett. I dedicate this year to my friends Wayne Shaw, who recently died of cancer, and Don Hill, who has cancer now but is in remission. I also want to thank Lucas Oil for putting on this tremendous racing series and Jegs for sponsoring the Allstars program and the SPORTSnationals events."

Adcock's 2007 track record: 631 points
Gainesville Raceway (Div. 2) Runner-up
South Georgia Motorsports Park (Div. 2) Won event
Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals Fourth round
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Third round
O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Runner-up
National Trail Raceway (Div. 3) Fourth round
Beech Bend Raceway Park (Div. 3) Fourth round
Atlanta Dragway (Div. 2) Won event

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