DOUBLE-UP PUTS OLPIN IN ELITE COMPANY
Ed Olpin entered this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix having recently accomplished something only 20 other drivers had done since the National Hot Rod Association held its first event in 1955 in Great Bend, Kan.: He doubled up, winning two classes at a national event.
The Pleasant, Utah, racer joined the exclusive group during the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., by driving his ’63 Chevy Corvette to victory in Super Gas and his ’68 Chevy Camaro to the Top Sportsman title.
“That was a special day,” said Olpin. “We were certainly a little lucky.”
However, while Olpin is quick to credit luck as a big reason for his double-up, his performance behind the wheel would say otherwise. A clutch .009 light in the Super Gas final against Robert Naber was too much for his opponent to make up after recording a .021 reaction.
Preparation and experience also aided Olpin during the memorable weekend. Last year at the NHRA Toyota Sonoma Nationals, Olpin reached the final round in Top Sportsman and the semifinals of Super Gas, so going deep in eliminations in two different classes at the same event was not a novelty in Pomona this year.
Also, after losing in the third round of Top Dragster, son Ed Jr. was able to jump in and help his father the rest of eliminations, which came especially handy before the Top Sportsman final.
“The breaks and change in schedule that the rain caused in Pomona worked to our benefit,” said Olpin. “By running our class after the Pro categories instead of before like it was originally scheduled, it gave us more time to prepare and run our numbers to ensure we were ready for the final.”
In the final run of the event against Jeff Gillette, Olpin equaled Gillette’s .013 reaction and won by a mere .0018 seconds (the equivalent of 6 inches). Olpin left Pomona with his career national event victory total at six with two in Super Gas and four in Top Sportsman.
This weekend in Phoenix the multitime Division 7 champion will again run in both classes at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park during the NHRA Arizona Nationals, an event he was won twice before.
“This track has certainly been good to us, giving us two previous wins,” said Olpin. “But after reaching the Super Gas final at the [season-ending] Auto Club NHRA Finals last year and the double in Pomona, we’re going to be ok this weekend.”