Wife beats hubby in Boertman family final
Reprinted from the July 31, 1971, issue of National DRAGSTER
Judi Boertman, near lane, earned her first and only national event Wally when husband Dave red-lighted in the Summernationals final.
NHRA SUMMERNATIONALS — We’ve seen many brother teams, father and son entries, and even entire clans, such as "Big John" Mazmanian’s "Armenian Army", but the newest and wildest yet is the Boertman husband and wife team, which methodically picked the Stock Eliminator field apart bit by bit until they achieved the ultimate in domination by meeting each other in the final. Whether he was suffering from the pressure of facing his wife in the final or being just plain courteous we don’t know, but defending champion Dave Boertman red-lighted in the final, letting his talented spouse Judi win Stock Eliminator! It is only the second time that a woman has won a major NHRA Eliminator title, but for the Boertmans, it was just another day at the races. As you probably already know, Dave had already won five previous Stock crowns.
It was no easy task for the duo as the field was flooded with "name" competitors. After dumping Bruce Haverland in the first round, Judi opened the second stanza with a win over super tough Jerry Stein when the latter broke out. Joe Kenney got past a red-lighting George Cureton, and Dave stopped Thomas Wilson with a 12.57. Loyed Woodland’s 12.12 got to Larry Lombardo, while Richard Feldman stopped Bob Beckert and Bobby Warren nipped Frank Cattone with a 12.87. Jim Kronenbitter’s 15.07 stopped Bob Pazos and Lyle Dokken dumped Frank Katie. Mark Mazzotti closed out the round with a win over Jim Waibel, who broke out.
Round three saw Judi lead off with a 12.75 win over Dokken, who ran out of his bracket, and husband Dave followed with a 13.16 pasting of Kronenbitter. Woodland’s 12.10 stopped Feldman and Warren hit a 12.76 to get past Kenney, Mazzotti singled for a bye, ending the round.
The fourth round began with Dave holding off Woodland’s 11.96 with a 12.52. Mazzotti got past the Springnationals Champions, Warren & Register, when the duo’s Chevy II broke out, and Judi singled with a 12.70.
In the semi’s, Judi hit another consistent 12.72, but it was not really needed as Mazzotti broke. Dave got the bye run, and produced an all-out 12.40, his quickest run of the day.
In the final, it was two Rod Shop cars, driven by two Boertmans coming up to the line. Judi had driven the Winternationals-winning station wagon all day long while Dave was in the Gatornationals-winning Charger. As mentioned earlier, Dave red-lighted, giving Judi the win.
It was not the first time that two cars from the same team had met in the final, as Candies & Hughes had pulled the same trick off at the 1970 Gatornationals with Larry Reyes driving the second car. But as mentioned before, it was the first time that a husband and wife had faced each other. And how about the Rod Shop team? With two finalists in Stock Eliminator and Mike Fons’ runner-up performance in Pro Stock, the enterprising group made their best showing yet.
But back to the husband/wife phenomenon. This performance shows best the unique benefits of drag racing, NHRA style. After all, there are few other motorsports in the country which permit your wife to work alongside you in the pits. And then when she gets to face you in the final of a national event, well that’s gotta be something else!
As part of the ongoing celebrations surrounding NHRA’s 60th anniversary, each Thursday, NHRA.com will reach back into the pages of National DRAGSTER and republish interesting and historic articles from past issues.