Garrett Bateman, last year’s seventh-ranked Top Alcohol Dragster driver, powered to a 5.384 in the final to defeat Casey Grisel, who smoked the tires just off the starting line. Bateman entered eliminations as the No. 2 qualifier and beat John Leach, Norway’s Fred Hanssen, and reigning, two-time national champ Joey Severance. Bateman won the semifinal-round bout with a 5.368 after Severance also had problems getting down the track. Grisel made it to his first national event final following an upset win against low qualifier Johnny Ahten in the second round.