ADRL's Dragpalooza III Finishes with Three First-Time Winners

75169102.jpg The Flowmaster American Drag Racing League's 2007 season-opener at Houston Motorsports Park finished Saturday night with three first-time ADRL event winners. Reaching the Dragpalooza III winner's circle were Mike Bell in Pro Extreme; Charles Carpenter in Pro Nitrous; and Rodney Rosenstiel, who became the first event winner in Extreme 10.5, which made its competitive ADRL debut at Dragpalooza III.

Bell entered Saturday's eliminations well down on the final qualifying sheet, but he found something extra in eliminations, beating three of the top four qualifiers on the way to his debut event win. Starting from the No. 9 spot after a 3.956 best left him just short of gaining lane choice, Bell reeled off wins over Mike Neal (3.93 to 4.21), No. 1 qualifier Todd Tutterow (with a 4.73 in a race where both drivers struggled), Joshua Hernandez (a spectacular 3.93 to 3.92 holeshot), and, in the final, a red-lighting John Lynam.

The Lynam race, while finishing in an unexpected manner, turned out to be Bell's easiest run of the day. One round earlier, he put on a show against Hernandez, getting off the line with a two-hundredths advantage and making it pay off with a narrow .008-second margin at the top end. The 3.92 and 3.93 posted by the two 75169100.jpgdrivers represented the quickest side-by-side pass in ADRL history.

Bell's previous best finish in ADRL competition was a pair of first-round losses in the final two events of last season. For Lynam, a mysterious trend of final-round setbacks continued: his red-light start gave him his sixth consecutive loss in an ADRL final.

 Like Bell, Carpenter also won from the No. 9 spot. Following a 4.08 best in qualifying, Carpenter drove his crowd-pleasing '55 Chevy to wins over Dennis Radford (4.08 to 4.14), Jamie Hancock - who, one round earlier, had stunned No. 1 qualifier and defending event winner Mike Castellana - Johnny Pilcher (4.12 to 4.19), and Thomas Myers, who was unable to stage in the final round after developing mechanical problems. Before his disappointing final-round result, Myers had scored a semifinal win over No. 2 qualifier Shannon Jenkins, who was one of only two Pro Nitrous drivers to dip into the 3-second zone during the event. Carpenter's previous best ADRL result was a semifinals loss in the first Valdosta event in 2005. He reached eliminations at three events last season.

75169099.jpg In the points-earning debut for the Extreme 10.5 class, Rosenstiel put together three consistent eliminations runs to grab a slice of ADRL history. Running out of the No. 3 spot on the eight-car ladder, Rosentiel beat Chad Wilson, Mary Baltzell, and Marcus Birt with a sequence of 4.47, 4.37, and 4.37. Earlier in the competition, Baltzell became the first female to win a round at an ADRL  national event when she outran Larry Webb in the first round.

No. 1 qualifier Steve Kirk Jr., the winner of the Extreme 10.5 exhibition last fall at DRAGSTOCK III, was upset in the first round on a holeshot by Bill Jewett, 4.53 to 4.33, in a race where both drivers scrambled after getting off the line late.

A total of 61 drivers attempted to qualify for their respective Dragpalooza III fields - including 32 in Pro Extreme - and each was able to take advantage of the ADRL's new points-scoring scheme. Every driver who attempts at least one qualifying run at an event is awarded 25 points, with the eventual qualifiers also scoring points on a
descending scale (16 points for No. 1, 15 for No. 2, etc.). Drivers with perfect attendance at all eight ADRL national events in 2007 will be awarded 50 bonus points.

winners, 2005-07

PE: Mike Bell
PN: Charles Carpenter
XTF: Rodney Rosenstiel

PE: Joey Martin
PN: Mike Castellana

PE: Bil Clanton
PN: Shannon Jenkins