HARVEY EMMONS, PLOURD AND BROGDON HEADLINE NHRA D4 WINNERS IN NOBLE, OKLAHOMA
An addiction is a tough habit to break. And, for Harvey "Speedy" Emmons, he had a serious one.
Emmons was addicted to blocking.
Sunday, the prominent member of the massive Emmons drag racing family overcame the need to “block” to score yet another Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series title as he won Super Stock at the NHRA Division 4 event at Thunder Valley Raceway Park in Noble, Ok.
Joining Emmons in the winner’s circle at the third stop in the NHRA’s Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series was Brad Plourd (Stock), Rodger Brogdon (Competition), David Bills (Top Sportsman), Daria Vang (Top Dragster), Mike Green (Super Comp), Chet Tucker (Super Gas), Brian Gustafson (Super Street) and Phil Yates (Sportsman Motorcycle).
“It’s just all luck,” Emmons said. “It’s a lot of luck involved in that—just the right place at the right time. We used to block; I was blocking for years and years. Last 15 years, I blocked. They took that away from us, and now it’s a whole new learning curve. It’s kind of like being a drug addict. You want to block because it’s so easy, you know. You get that fix; you want to keep blocking, and then, when they take it away from you, I’m having withdrawals, like I got to stare at the whole tree, blinking down, and watch that last yellow, just hold yourself. This is difficult.
“So I’m still trying to get back at it. Like in Stock in the semis, I go .20 red against Brad [Plourd] over there; just stupid stuff. Way too early, foot was going down, and all I could say is, ‘You dummy.”
“So I’m still trying to get the learning curve on the full tree again.”
The practice of blocking, as Emmons describes it, is the process of blocking out the first two bulbs on the tree by way of a visor or some other method. This season the NHRA outlawed the process for apparent safety reasons.
Emmons was .030 on the tree against final round opponent Darrell Brown, the event’s No. 1 qualifier. He ran a 9.471 for the victory behind the wheel of his GT/E Cobalt to stop Brown’s Factory Super Stock/C Challenger.
Just like Emmons, Plourd had a blocking problem of his own, and it related to the starting line. Almost every time the multi-talented driver looked over, he saw an Emmons in the other lane.
The Emmons Family, which brings enough drivers to an event to nearly field a softball team with substitutes, proved to be a challenge for Pourd, who reached the semi-finals in all three classes he competed in during the weekend.
After losing to Harvey in the semis of Super Stock, Plourd raced Jerry Emmons in the finals of Stock, this time coming away in the final round behind the wheel of his D/Stock Automatic 1970 Nova. He ran a 10.725, 107.33 for the victory.
After reaching the semis on Saturday, race officials, fighting cold weather and impending rain, opted to halt the action and push the completion of the event to Sunday. They were attempting to finish the event on Sunday amid an unfavorable weather forecast. And for Plourd, a hot hand kept him in competition.
“You wake up this morning, and you got five cars left; three of them are Emmons, and I know I got to beat one of them for the bye into the final, and it was a good chance I’d have another one in the final and man, they’re tough.”
The old yellow Nova delivered a stellar performance when it mattered the most.
“She deserves this,” Plourd said of the classic Chevrolet. “It’s been a work in progress, I’ve had the car for probably four or five years, and this is the first divisional Wally we were able to get. And we’ve been close; we runnered-up at Charlotte National a couple of years ago, just been chipping away at it, trying to make it better and trying to drive better, and it all came through this weekend.”
Brogdon, who single-handedly revived Competition Eliminator in Division 4, won five rounds of competition to score his first divisional victory in over 15 years by stopping Sean Dodd in the final round. For the first time in a long time, there were more Competition Eliminator cars in the pits than either Super Stock or Stock divisions, with 34 entries on the qualifying list.
Brogdon is the driving force behind the Rooftec Competition Eliminator Bonus Fund, finally got a chance to win some of his money back.
Brogdon quickly pointed out his crew for the victory.
“It’s really good for my guys because they all worked really hard,” Brogdon said. “I couldn’t do this without them because I’m so busy at work. It doesn’t matter what it takes from those guys; they’ll drive all over the country, they’ll go back and forth to Odessa, and they’ll get the engines fixed. So, it’s definitely a team effort, I can promise you. I’m very proud of everybody.”
The next stop for the NHRA Division 4 racers is May 18 - 21, 2023, for a double event at the Texas Motorplex outside of Dallas.
SATURDAY RESULTS - RAIN, COLD HALT NHRA D4 NOBILE ACTION BUT NOT BEFORE GREAT DRAG RACING
Brad Brewer lost his top spot atop the Competition Eliminator qualifying order. Still, he regained it in a quick Q3 session during the Thunder Valley Motorsports Park Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Nobile, Ok. He flexed his horsepower muscles by running -.751 under the B/Altered index with a 6.903 elapsed time.
Brewer won one of eight survivors through two rounds of competition. He will face Brad Plourd's AA/Altered Methanol. Rodger Brogdon faces 2022 Rooftec Comp Eliminator Bonus runner-up Greg Kamplain. Steve Basgall's C/Econo Dragster matches up with Houston LODRS winner Rick Brown's B/Truck Automatic. Cody Lane's E/Super Modified Automatic closes the round by matching up with Sean Dodd's C/Econo Altered.
Rooftec Competition Eliminator Bonus Fund point leader Monty Bogan suffered a mechanical issue and fell from competition in round one, opening the door for Brown to take over the lead in the championship series.
In Super Stock, eliminations are down to four cars. Top qualifier Darrell Brown will race Jeffrey Miller. Jeff Hefler's neat '55 Chevy faces Harley Emmons for a berth to the final.
Stock Eliminator is down to six cars. Sharon Vigues, who took out No. 1 qualifier Bob Vogel, races Will Emmons. Harvey Emmons races Brad Plourd, with the winner getting the bye into the finals. Jerry Emmons gets the bye into the semis.
Top Sportsman low qualifier Allen Firestone races Macy Higgins for a final round berth to race David Bills, who has the bye run into the final round.
In Top Dragster, Holden Laris races Keith Nieman while Rick Carrell matches with Daria Vang. Mike Owen has the bye run into the final round.
FRIDAY: BREWER, BROWN, DYCK LEAD NHRA D4 NOBLE QUALIFYING
If his Friday performance holds through the second day of qualifying at the NHRA Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Thunder Valley Motorsports Park in Nobile, Ok, Competition Eliminator racer Brad Brewer will become the first two-time No. 1 qualifier in the division this season.
Joining Brewer atop the standings in their respective divisions are Darrell Brown (Super Stock), Larry Dyck (Stock), Allen Firestone (Top Sportsman), and Ross Laris (Top Sportsman).
Brewer, just like in the season-opener in Belle Rose, La., opened qualifying with his best effort, running a 6.994 elapsed time for -.666 under the B/Altered index.
"It's been a tricky weekend thus far," Brewer admitted. "We got fortunate enough to make a decent run. I do think someone will step up and make a decent run and get it. It's going to be faster on Saturday, and we will try to step up too."
Jarod Granier's D/Super Modified Cobalt was second with an 8.384, -.636, while Duane Robinson's C/Altered Camaro was third with a 7.296, .634.
There are 34 Comp cars on the qualifying sheet after two sessions, and defending Rooftec Competition Eliminator Bonus Fund champion Adam Hickey sits on the bubble at No. 32.
Brown's late model Mopar was the only Super Stock to qualify in excess of one second under his index. His -1.035 under the Factory Super Stock/C index in his 2015 Challenger was more than enough to hold off the GT/JA Cobalt of Dale Hulquist, who was 9.854, -.946. Craig Gaultiere's Cavalier was third with a 9.520, -.880.
Stock low qualifier Dyck didn't enjoy as much of a cushion with his FS/B Camaro, running a 9.049, -.951 under. Bob Vogel's '81 Malibu went an 11.703, -.947 under the K/Stock Automatic standard. Vern Buchanon's Mustang broke up the Chevrolet lovefest, -.881 under the G/Stock Automatic index for third.
Firestone was the quickest of the fast bracket doorslammers with a 6.389 elapsed time at 212.06 miles per hour. Florentino Martin Rodriguez (6.450), Macy Higgins (6.620), Kelly Land (6.804), and Mark Griffin (6.954) rounded out the top five Top Sportsman qualifiers.
Ross Laris's 6.114 leads the Top Dragster with a 6.114 elapsed time. Rusty Baxter (6.137), Holden Laris (6.146), David Johns (6.151), and Wayne Landry (6.157) rounded out the top five.
Because of an unfavorable Sunday weather forecast, race officials plan to try and finish the event on Saturday, or at least get as far in eliminations as safely possible.
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