Pete Gasko Jr. is just 20-years old but he’s already got a pair of wins in the School of Automotive Machinists and Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown. After winning earlier this year in Charlotte, Gasko drove to his second win when he stopped Kevin Skinner’s Mustang in the final round of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals. Gasko drove his COPO Camaro to an 8.162, 167.03 to hold off Skinner’s 8.243, 161.57.
“This is a great race; I love this car and I love this event,” said Gasko. “We played around a lot with power management and trying to get down the track. We had a great time, it was just amazing.”
The final was delayed slightly when NHRA starting line officials cleaned up some fluid in Skinner’s lane. Despite the distraction, Gasko did not allow himself to get rattled.
“It messed with me a little bit but it didn’t get too crazy,” said Gasko. “I looked over and saw what they were doing. I realized what was going on and then just got back into my routine.”
The final event in the 2017 SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown featured a field of more than 20 entries competing for just eight spots. That put a premium on qualifying but Gasko was prepared with a career-best 8.097, 167.70 to qualify in the No. 1 spot. Gasko went on to reach the final with wins over Joesph Welch and David Barton. Gasko ran an 8.140, 166.72 after Welch got timed out on the starting line. Gasko’s biggest win came in the semifinals when he stopped newly crowned champion David Baron, who is also his engine builder. Gasko remained consistent with an 8.169, 165.50 after Barton’s GMPartsNow.com COPO spun the tires on the starting line.
Skinner, a runner-up earlier this year at the Summit Racing NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, reached his second final after driving his Cobra Jet Mustang to a semifinal win against Scott Libersher’s COPO in the semi’s, 8.182 to 8.260. Skinner won his round one race with an 8.169 after opponent Stephen Bell got loose and hit the retaining wall. Bell was not hurt in the incident.
On Saturday, Barton wrapped up the season championship in the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown when he defeated arch rival Chuck Watson in the opening round. Barton won two of five events this season to help clinch the title.