The School of Automotive Machinists and Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown crowned a new winner when 19-year old Peter Gasko Jr. upset class kingpin David Barton in the final of the Four-Wide Nationals. Gasko was sharp on the Tree with an almost-perfect .008 reaction time and he drove to an 8.262 to hold off Barton’s 8.227 effort in battle of supercharged COPO Camaro factory race cars. For Gasko, it was his quickest run of the event.
“This is probably the coolest and most exciting thing that has ever happened to me,” said Gasko. “I want to thank everyone who helped us get the win. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”
Earlier in eliminations, Gasko defeated Geoff Turk’s Blackbird Dodge with an 8.274 and then he won a tire-spinning battle against Gary Wolkwitz in the semi’s. Gasko won with a slowing 9.447 after Wolkwitz red-lighted. Wolkwitz was driving the same’16 model COPO Camaro that had previously carried Barton to four SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown wins over the last two seasons including the most recent event in Gainesville.
Barton, who debuted a new COPO entry at this event, qualified No. 3 in the field, drove to a win over Paul Roderick in the first round and then lowered the boom with an 8.180 in the semfinals that was good for low E.T. of the weekend. Barton’s run came at the expense of low qualifier Chuck Watson, who spun the tires. Barton not only builds his own engines, but also built the engines for Gasko and Wolkwitz.
The SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown was once again a big success with 15 cars attempting to qualify for just eight spots. Watson led the field with an 8.257 and the eight car bump was held by Arthur Kohn with a very competitive 8.478.