Millsap Says Goodbye To Goose Egg!
North Star Dragway - Denton, Texas
Event #5 of 8 - May 17th, 2008
Race Report - Chris Graves / Photos - Jenny Hart
The Smiley’s Racing Products Southwest Junior Fuel Association along with the Royal Purple Outlaw Fuel Altereds headlined the North Star Dragway 2nd Anniversary event on July 5th in Denton, Texas. Twelve front motored diggers competed in the fifth of eight events on the 2008 SWJFA schedule. A handful of teams competed in the NHRA Holley Hot Rod Reunion a few weeks before in Bowling Green, Kentucky with SWJFA member Odie Coker taking home the win!
North Star Dragway packed the house for their biggest event of the year and fans were lined up two rows deep past the track entrance to see a spectacular night of nostalgic drag racing. After two successful sessions of qualifying SWJFA President Mike Millsap was on top with a strong 4.88 @ 138 mph. This marked Millsap’s circuit leading sixth number one qualifying effort and third in a row this year. Ironically, Millsap still had a big zero under the win column in the series. It seemed his chances were high to claim his first event win as he held almost a tenth of a second over the rest of the field after two runs.
Final Qualifying Order:
1) Mike Millsap – 4.88 @ 138 mph
2) Keith Breazeal – 4.96 @ 137 mph
3) Ken Hawkins – 5.00 @ 136 mph
4) Don Holley – 5.09 @ 135 mph
5) Steve Dunkin – 5.13 @ 133 mph
6) Rick Grindstaff – 5.18 @ 135 mph
7) Ricky Marshall – 5.19 @ 130 mph
8) Thomas Porter – 5.290 @ 130 mph
9) Jimmy Todd – 5.294 @ 130 mph
10) Johnnie Laird – 5.52 @ 125 mph
11) Don Scott – 5.57 @ 121 mph
12) Logan Pursur – 5.75 @ 123 mph
The SWJFA decided to run a Chicago-style match race so that the event could be completed in a timely manner with all the other racing going on during this huge celebration. The four quickest winners from first round would advance to the semi-final and the two winners from that round would square off in the final. The drivers had their meeting and drew cards to form first round pairs, the usual procedure in the SWJFA. They then headed to the staging lanes to get first round underway under a huge crowd rows deep on the fence at North Star Dragway.
In the first round, Don Scott lined up with Jimmy Todd. Scott used a starting line advantage to get the win with a 5.55 at 123 mph pass to Todd’s quicker but loosing 5.52 at 125 mph. Next up Don Holley laid down a 5.09 at 135 mph to put Thomas Porter on the trailer. Mike Millsap clicked off a 4.90 at 135 mph, low elapsed time of the round, to get the win over Ricky Marshall who red lit his chances away. Marshall was the winner of the last event at North Star Dragway, but the red bulb ended his night early and Millsap advanced. Ken Hawkins lit the boards with a 5.00 at 136 mph to defeat Rick Grindstaff. Hawkins also has a win under his belt here at Denton and has done well in his first year on the tour. Johnnie Laird made it past first round with a 5.50 to defeat Logan Pursur, a new comer to the series. In the final pair of first round, points leader Keith Breazeal took care of business against number two runner Steve Dunkin. Breazeal’s 4.96 at 137 mph advanced him to the semi-final where he would match up against Mike Millsap in a monster match-up. The other two quickest winners, Don Holley and Ken Hawkins, would square off in the other semi-final round pairing.
First Round Results:
(W) Don Scott (.048 rt, 5.55 at 123 mph) vs. (L) Jimmy Todd (.106 rt, 5.52 at 125 mph)
(W) Don Holley (.067 rt, 5.09 at 135 mph) vs. (L) Thomas Porter (.097 rt, 5.23 at 130 mph)
(W) Mike Millsap (.110 rt, 4.90 at 135 mph) vs. (L) Ricky Marshall (-.038 rt, 5.04 at 135 mph)
(W) Ken Hawkins (.189 rt, 5.00 at 136 mph) vs. (L) Rick Grindstaff (.115 rt, No Time - Broke)
(W) Johnnie Laird (.162 rt, 5.50 at 125 mph) vs. (L) Logan Pursur (.286 rt, 5.93 at 123 mph)
(W) Keith Breazeal (.068 rt, 4.96 at 137 mph) vs. (L) Steve Dunkin (.019 rt, 5.16 at 133 mph)
In the semi, Don Holley wheeled his digger to another round win against Ken Hawkins who broke. Holley was advancing to his second final of the year and looked to continue his undefeated streak in elimination rounds this year, although this was only his second start of the year.
Next up the number one qualifier lined up with the current points leader, it was Millsap vs. Breazeal in a battle of heavyweights. Breazeal is usually the car to beat, but Millsap had an edge in performance tonight and it was no secret. That advantage possibly threw Breazeal off his game and he lit the red bulb at the starting line. Millsap clicked off a nice 4.88 at 137 mph to get the win and advance to the final against Holley. Well, you guessed it, Holley over anticipated the start and lit the big red bulb. Millsap cruised right down through to a 4.86 at 138 mph to take his first SWJFA win of his career! Yes, every opponent he faced in eliminations red lit, but with low elapsed time of each elimination round, Millsap was going to be hard to beat no matter what. Holley has advanced to the final in both his starts this season and proves to be a contender when he comes to play.
(Mike Millsap and team after their first SWJFA win!)
A big congrats goes out to Mike Millsap and company on their first Smiley’s Southwest Junior Fuel Association win! Keith Breazeal remains on top of the Smiley’s Points Standings with a massive 67 point lead over Ken Hawkins. The battle from second to fifth between Hawkins, Steve Dunkin, Rick Grindstaff and Don Scott is tight with four drivers separated by only 25 points with three events remaining this year. The next stop for the series is at Texas Raceway in Kennedale, Texas as the dragsters fight for points as a part of the 6th Annual Bill Hielscher Race on Friday, August 1st.
Click here to see photos from this event!