Cade Poe won his second straight Trench Shoring Services NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League Western Conference Finals presented by Lucas Slick Mist and Mile Hi Foods title, adding this year's 11-year-old title to the 10-year-old class championship he won last year. Victoria Flores (age 16-17) and Chandler Meziere (Motivational Tubing Jr. Comp) earned their second Western Conference Finals Wallys, and Tabitha Boardman (8-9), Michael Gidcumb (10), Logan Shannon (12), Jarrett Crezee (13), Ruby DeGood (14), and Courtney Langley (15) won their first Western Conference Finals titles part of the NHRA Summit Jr. Drag Racing League.
Boardman, who hails from Las Vegas, Nev., and was representing The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, led the 8-9 class final wire to wire. She left the starting line first, .073 to .245, then ran a 13.447 (13.20 dial) to defeat Dutch Farr's 13.274 (13.14). This was the second straight runner-up finish at this event for Farr, who was part of the Barona 1/8-Mile Drag Strip team.
In the 10-year-old class final, Rangely, Colo., racer Dylan LeBleu left the starting line first, .064 to .105, but Michael Gidcumb, of Riverside, Calif., was able to drive around him and win on a 9.823 (9.75) to 9.043 (9.12) count. LeBleu was part of the Western Colorado Dragway team, while Gidcumb represented Auto Club Famoso Raceway.
Poe, a Los Alamitos, Calif., resident who raced for Famoso, nailed the Tree in the 11-year-old final, cutting a .011 light, and he paired it with a 9.118 (9.10) to turn on the win light. Brayden Staab, a member of the Kansas Int'l Dragway team from Enid, Okla., settled for runner-up honors with a .103-initiated 9.027 (8.99).
Shannon, of Parker, Colo., won the all-Bandimere Speedway team 12-year-old final against Julia Ware of Loveland, Colo. Ware had the better reaction time, .069 to .142, but she broke out with a 9.026 (9.08), opening the door for Shannon, who won with a 9.089 (9.07).
Another Bandimere racer won the 13-year-old championship. Crezee, who resides in Littleton, Colo., paired a .024 light with an 8.058 (8.02) to defeat San Diego, Calif., racer Remy Reynolds in the title round. Reynolds, who raced for Barona, ran closer to her dial with a 7.920 (7.91) but came up short due to her .082 light.
After finishing as a runner-up at this event two years ago, DeGood, a member of the Heartland Park Topeka team who resides in Kansas City, Mo., was able to go the distance this year, taking top honors in the 14-year-old age bracket. DeGood and Clearwater, Kan., competitor Kaylee Chaffin, who represented Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park, left the starting line with nearly identical reaction times, a .058 for Chaffin and a .059 for DeGood. At the top end, both racers broke out with DeGood getting the nod, 8.376 (8.39) to 8.005 (8.02).
Sand Springs, Okla., racer Courtney Langley added a Western Conference Finals Wally to her mantle, which already includes a Division 4 championship trophy, when she outlasted 2012 Western Conference Finals champion Cody Webber in the 15-year-old age group. Langley, who was part of the Tulsa team, put together an incredible, .014-second package, coupling a .012 light with a 7.942 (7.94) to turn on the win light. Kingman, Ariz., racer Webber, who was part of the Las Vegas team, cut a .032 light and broke out with a 7.932 (7.97).
Lakewood, Colo., driver Flores, the 2010 14-year-old champion, was the final driver standing in the 16-17 age group. Flores, who represented host track Bandimere, had the reaction-time advantage in the final, .034 to .148, and she turned it into an 8.129 (8.10) to 7.943 (8.00) victory over West Jordan, Utah's Josh Jones, who was on the Rocky Mountain Raceways team.
In 2011, Meziere and Joe Harless shared the winner's circle after each won their age group titles, and this year they raced side by side in the final of the Motivational Tubing Jr. Comp Nationals. Meziere hammered the Tree, cutting a .007 reaction, then he guided his car to a 6.925 to top Harless' .033-triggered 6.956 in the 6.90 index class.
Bolstered by Crezee's win and Ware's runner-up finish, Bandimere Speedway Team 5 narrowly edged out The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the team championship. Bandimere 5 scored 31 points to Las Vegas' 30. Each member of the winning team earned a Wally. Bandimere Team 4 finished third with 26, followed by Auto Club Famoso Raceway Team 1 with 24 points and Barona 1/8-Mile Drag Strip Team 2 with 23. In all, 40 different teams of 10 racers competed at the event.
The Team Spirit award was once again hotly contested with the teams from Western Colorado Dragway and Auto Club Famoso Raceway waging quite a battle for the coveted award. Both decorated their grandstands and had strong crowds of parents and racers cheering on racers throughout eliminations. In the end, Western Colorado edged Famoso for the award. It is the second straight year Western Colorado has won the award.
For additional winner's circle photos as well as the final-round pictures, visit the album on the JDRL Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/18pN3FP