The Boicesco family had a weekend they won’t soon forget at the TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila after Amanda Boicesco earned the Super Comp title and her father, Iggie, was a runner-up in Super Gas. Amanda drove past Heather Fetch in a rare all-female final round in Super Comp, and Iggie dropped a close race to John Labbous Jr. in the Super Gas final that featured a pair of past world champions.
Boicesco and Labbous shared the winner’s circle with Super Stock champ Joe Santangelo II, who won his fourth Epping title, as well as John Gray (Stock), John Harper (Super Street), and Nick Meloni (Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers).
Amanda Boicesco won her first national event in Reading in 2016 and is the reigning Division 1 Super Comp champion. She returned for a second win in Epping by driving her dragster past Fetch in the final, 8.943 to an 8.897 breakout. Early in eliminations, Boicesco’s car was flawless with back-to-back runs of 8.908 and 8.907, and later on, her starting-line driving carried the day with lights of .020, .004, and .009 in her wins against Pro Stock driver Vincent Nobile, two-time Epping winner Ken Moses, and Fetch. [video]
Iggie Boicesco made it to the final for the 15th time in his career, but a 10th victory proved elusive after Labbous prevailed in the final round of Super Gas. Labbous, the 2017 world champion, won for the eighth time in his career after Boicesco ran into a mechanical issue in the final round. Labbous, driving Anthony Bertozzi’s Corvette, punched his ticket to the final after Texan Jim Repka fouled in the semifinals, and Boicesco used a 9.945 to take out Joe Gallucci Jr. [video]
Santangelo has enjoyed a lot of success in his career but nowhere has he been more successful than his home track, New England Dragway. For the fourth time in the last seven years, the Connecticut-based Santangelo has earned an Epping win. His latest victory came as the result of a narrow final-round win against Rhode Island’s Justin Picillo in Super Stock. Santangelo ran a 10.108 on his 10.10 dial and needed it after Picillo posted a 9.414 on his 9.40 prediction. Santangelo topped Russ Linke to earn a bye into the final, and Picillo downed Joe Lisa in the semi’s. [video]
The Stock final was worth the price of admission as Gray took on John Shaul in a heads-up, no-breakout battle between AA/SA entries. Gray’s ’69 Camaro was quickest with a 9.667 to cover the 9.776 of Shaul’s vintage ’64 Plymouth Fury. For Gray, the win was the second of his career, and his first since the 2000 Englishtown event. Super Stock winner Santangelo made it to the semifinals, where he fouled against Shaul, and Gray defeated three-time Comp world champ Frank Aragona to reach the final. [video]
There was a first-time winner in Super Street after Harper turned on the win light in the final round against Raymond Knight. Harper, in his ’55 Chevy Bel Air, won the close double-breakout final, 10.896 to 10.894, against Knight’s ’93 Mustang. Harper’s road to the final included wins against Kelly Kundratic and Dominic Burgese, and Knight took out Rick Mattioli to earn a semifinal bye run. [video]
In 2019, Meloni was a runner-up at the New England Nationals, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t get a chance to race in Epping last season, but he quickly made amends for that by winning his first national event in Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers. Coming from the No. 16 qualifying position, Meloni rode a string of 6.7 runs to the final round, where he cruised to a 6.820 on his 6.75 dial for the win after Kyle Cultrera left two-thousandths of a second too soon and red-lighted. Other than a round-two bye run, Meloni did not have an easy time reaching the final. He faced past world champ Al Kenny in the semifinals and delivered an incredible performance with a .015 light and a 6.756 on his 6.75 dial. Kenny also left with a .015 reaction time but was four-thousandths of a second behind at the finish line with a 6.220 on his 6.21 prediction. [video]