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AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals Sportsman Highlights

12 Nov 2019
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
News
Dallas Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

Just six days after winning the rain-delayed NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, Megan Meyer and Sean Bellemeur cashed again with wins at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. Meyer won her eighth race in Top Alcohol Dragster, and Bellemeur bagged his seventh win of the season in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Both racers have already clinched season championships in their respective divisions. Meyer and Bellemeur shared the spotlight in Dallas with fellow champs Joey Tanksley (Comp), Vic Penrod (Super Stock), Brandon Bakies (Stock), Don Nichols (Super Comp), Casey Plaizier (Super Gas), John Liebham (Super Street), and Kamron Wright (Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs). 

Meyer competed in 15 events in 2019 and reached the final round of 13 of them and finished with eight wins, including the Dallas race. Meyer went to the Top Alcohol Dragster final round after semifinal opponent Monroe Guest red-lighted by a thousandth of a second, and she closed the deal in the final with a narrow 5.299 to 5.296 holeshot win against Buddy Domingue, who was seeking his first national event victory since the 1982 season. Domingue got to the final following a 5.279 to 5.335 win over Meyer’s teammate, Julie Nataas, in the semifinals. [video]

Bellemeur has been red-hot lately with three straight national event wins in Reading, Charlotte, and now Dallas to put the wraps on his second consecutive national championship. In his latest final in Top Alcohol Funny Car, Bellemeur topped former world champ Shane Westerfield, 5.499 to 5.508. Bellemeur, driving for team owner Tony Bartone and crew chief Steve Boggs, was solidly in the 5.4s in his wins against Bryan Brown, Chris Marshall, and Doug Gordon. [video]

Comp winner Tanksley struggled with a number of early losses this season, but his persistence paid off with his fourth career victory. Tanksley, in his C/Dragster, got to the final round with a clean index and then drove to a (-.556) 6.924 for the win after runner-up Brian Browell slowed. Tanksley helped his cause with a near-perfect light in his round-two win over Craig Bourgeois and also posted wins against Raymond Martin and David Rampy, who broke in the semifinals. [video]

Penrod had plenty to celebrate after his win in the Super Stock final against Aaron Stanfield, who fouled. A three-time national event finalist this season, Penrod is now the overall leader in Super Stock and has a shot at the national championship. Penrod’s path to the winner’s circle also included a tough battle against Stanfield’s father, four-time world champion Greg, as well as a semifinal battle against past national event winner Rylee Speer. [video]

In the last 12 months, Stock winner Bakies has appeared in four national event finals and has a pair of wins after topping Dale Hulquist in Dallas. Bakies, a part of the SAMTech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown fleet, gave up a slight lead to Hulquist at the start but rallied to win with an 11.387 on his 11.34 dial. In order to reach the final, Bakies had to defeat four-time world champ Greg Stanfield and then survive a tough heads-up G/SA battle against Division 4 veteran Verne Buchanan. [video]

After a second-place finish in last year’s Super Comp points battle, Nichols won his second national event title in a close 8.932 to 8.934 race against Christopher Dodd in the final round. Nichols’ best performance came in the third round, where he used a .016 light and an 8.902 to defeat Terry Pollard. Nichols also earned wins over Koy Collier and Jack Warren on his way to his first final of the season. [video]

For the second straight year, Plaizier left Texas Motorplex with a Wally after winning the Super Gas title. In the final round, Plaizier took his 160-mph Corvette up against the 110-mph Camaro of Tim Nicholson and won by a narrow 9.913 to 9.922 count. Plaizier, who won the Mission, B.C., NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event earlier this year, sits just outside the top 10 following his latest victory. [video]

Driving a Camaro that has been in his family for three generations, Super Street winner Leibham won his first title after final-round opponent Jim Burrell fouled by .001-second in his Ford Torino. In order to reach the final, Leibham had to race two of NHRA’s most decorated Sportsman racers, Tommy Phillips and Gary Stinnett. [video]

Racing in his first national event of the season, Wright earned the title in Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs after he defeated Bengt Blomberg in the final. Wright put together a solid run in the final with a .010 light and a 6.626 on his 6.60 dial. Blomberg had a quicker light in his Firebird with a .007 but trailed at the finish line with a 6.834 on his 6.78 dial. [video]