Coker Claims Ardmore Victory

Coker Claims Ardmore Victory

Ardmore Dragway - Ardmore, OK
Event #4 - September 4th, 2010
Race Report & Photos by Chris Graves

The highly anticipated 5th Annual Ardmore Hot Rod Reunion attracted the biggest field of Southwest Junior Fuelers so far this season, with fifteen dragsters on the grounds along with a plethora of other outstanding nostalgic racecars competing in other classes. Gassers, blown altereds, classic door slammers and the debut of the “Blue Max” Nostalgia Funny Car out of Dallas were all a part of the big show, but the Southwest Junior Fuel Association and Texas Blown Fuel Association headlined the event and did that in fine style.

After a two month break in the schedule, the SWJFA racers were eager to lay down some rubber and re-unite with old friends. Ardmore Dragway provided the perfect place to do just that and with comfortable blue skies above and the feel of the good ol’ days loud and heavy, it was an opportunity to travel back in time for an evening of heads up front engine dragster action.

Richard Brady came into Ardmore with the points lead after collecting two wins in the four completed races so far this season. Needless to say, he’s the man to beat. Ted McCord opened the first qualifying session with a 5.14 at 135 mph in the “Senior Moment” digger with Thomas Hixson’s “One Wild Ride” along side with a 5.50. Mike Millsap clicked off a 4.89 at 141 mph in the Sachse Rod Shop machine with Don Scott along side at 5.26. Richard Brady jumped straight to the top early with a 4.85 at 142 mph after Bryan Briggs lost fire after the burnout.

(Richard Brady)

(Mike Millsap)

Ken Hawkins ripped off a strong 4.82 at 143 mph with Ross Laird running a great 4.90 at 140 mph in the “Rain Maker”. Steve Dunkin followed that with a nice 4.89 at 143 in the “Foolish Pleasure” ride. Neal Rogers made his driving debut in an ex. Don Holley owned “Little Red Rocket” dragster and went 5.82 on his opening lap. Ricky Marshall, winner of the 2010 Holley Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, went low for the session with a stellar 4.64 at 148 mph. Ron Muncy, hoping to keep his spot in the Smiley’s Top Five, laid down a 5.12 at 133 mph in “Foolish Pleasure III” and Don Holley went 5.52 at 118 mph and hoped to improve in the second session.

(Ken Hawkins)

(Ron Muncy)

Mike Millsap opened the final qualifying session and stepped up to 4.83 at 141 mph along side Ted McCord who also improved with a 5.11 at 136 mph. Ross Laird ripped off another 4.90 and looked good heading into first round while Don Scott improved with a 5.15 at 132 mph to qualify tenth. Don Holley clicked off a nice 5.08 at 136 mph to jump into the top half of the field.

(Don Holley)

(Odie Coker)

Odie Coker, who missed the first session, came out and surprisingly smoked the tires, qualifying fourteenth in the Ron Ussery owned and tuned machine. Ken Hawkins was out next and put down a strong 4.81 at 144 mph to qualify number two behind Marshall, who skipped the second session. Richard Brady laid down a 4.94 and Steve Dunkin clicked off a second 4.89 pass, both looking good heading into eliminations. Darryle Modesto made his SWJFA debut in an ex. Rick Huckabee owned beautiful full bodied digger and got in at number thirteen with a 6.19 at 108 mph. Thomas Hixson and Neal Rogers closed the session and both improved on their qualifying times as Ricky Marshall led the field of fifteen into first round, after drawing cards to set-up the ladder.

(Ricky Marshall)

(Darryle Modesto)

(Ross Laird)

Final Qualifying Order:

1) Ricky Marshall (Burleson, Texas) – 4.64 @ 148 mph
2) Ken Hawkins (Poolville, Texas) – 4.81 @ 144 mph
3) Mike Millsap (Sachse, Texas) – 4.83 @ 141 mph
4) Richard Brady (Ft. Worth, Texas) – 4.85 @ 142 mph
5) Steve Dunkin (Aledo, Texas) – 4.89 @ 143 mph
6) Ross Laird (Ardmore, Oklahoma) – 4.90 @ 141 mph
7) Don Holley (Denton, Texas) – 5.08 @ 136 mph
8) Ted McCord – (Claremore, Oklahoma) – 5.11 @ 136 mph
9) Ron Muncy – (Weatherford, Texas) – 5.12 @ 133 mph
10) Don Scott (Garland, Texas) – 5.15 @ 132 mph
11) Thomas Hixson (Dallas, Texas) – 5.30 @ 132 mph
12) Neil Rogers (San Antonio, Texas) – 5.47 @ 119 mph
13) Darryle Modesto (Ardmore, Oklahoma) – 6.19 @ 108 mph
14) Odie Coker (Dallas, Texas) – 9.29 @ 53 mph
15) Bryan Briggs (Lake Charles, Louisiana) – No Time

(Neal Rogers)

(Don Scott)

The stands were packed with nostalgia crazed drag racing fans as Steve Dunkin drew the bye run and laid down yet another 4.89 pass to advance past first round. Richard Brady went 4.99 at 138 mph to advance over Bryan Briggs who went red on the starting line but made a nice pass with a 5.10. Don Holley also went red on the tree, throwing away his 5.08 and allowing Don Scott to advance with a 5.19 at 131 mph. Ken Hawkins and Ricky Marshall paired up in a powerhouse match-up with Hawkins getting the jump and winning with a 4.81 at 143 mph to Marshall’s quicker but loosing 4.80 at 145 mph.

(Steve Dunkin)

(Bryan Briggs)

(Ted McCord)

Thomas Hixson benefitted from Darryle Modesto’s red light and advanced with a 5.34 at 133 mph. Odie Coker found his tune-up and laid down a strong 4.70 at 147 mph to take out Neal Rogers. Ron Muncy clicked off a 5.13 at 133 mph to advance over Ross Laird who lost fire on the line. Closing the round, Ted McCord left on Mike Millsap and never looked back winning with a 5.03 at 137 mph to Millsap’s close 5.06 at 136 mph.

First Round Results:

(W) Steve Dunkin (.476 rt) 4.89 @ 143 mph vs. (L) BYE RUN
(W) Richard Brady (.005 rt) 4.99 @ 138 mph vs. (L) Bryan Briggs (-.059 rt) 5.10 @ 137 mph
(W) Don Scott (.029 rt) 5.19 @ 131 mph vs. (L) Don Holley (-.050 rt) 5.07 @ 136 mph
(W) Ken Hawkins (.056 rt) 4.81 @ 143 mph vs. (L) Ricky Marshall (.075) 4.80 @ 145 mph
(W) Thomas Hixson (.046 rt) 5.34 @ 133 mph vs. (L) Darryle Modesto (-.058 rt) 6.06 @ 111 mph
(W) Odie Coker (.115 rt) 4.70 @ 147 mph vs. (L) Neal Rogers (.324 rt) 5.50 @ 114 mph
(W) Ron Muncy (.007 rt) 5.13 @ 133 mph vs. (L) Ross Laird (Broke)
(W) Ted McCord (.013 rt) 5.03 @ 137 mph vs. (L) Mike Millsap (.113 rt) 5.06 @ 136 mph

(Thomas Hixson)

In the second round, also established by luck of the draw, Odie Coker lined up with Don Scott. Coker blasted to a second 4.71 pass to defeat Scott’s 5.20. Richard Brady put down a solid 4.88 at 140 mph to knock out Ron Muncy who went 5.10 at 134 mph. Steve Dunkin improved by a thou with a 4.86 at 140 mph to take the nod over Thomas Hixson’s 5.35. Ted McCord cut the best reaction time of eliminations (.010) and ran his best pass of the weekend with a 5.01 at 137 mph, but it wasn’t enough for the Hawkins horsepower as Ken went 4.88 at 143 mph to advance.

(Richard Brady)

Second Round Results:

(W) Odie Coker (.097 rt) 4.71 @ 148 mph vs. (L) Don Scott (.087 rt) 5.20 @ 132 mph
(W) Richard Brady (.039 rt) 4.88 @ 140 mph vs. (L) Ron Muncy (.094 rt) 5.10 @ 134 mph
(W) Steve Dunkin (.090 rt) 4.86 @ 140 mph vs. (L) Thomas Hixson (.042 rt) 5.35 @ 132 mph
(W) Ken Hawkins (.068 rt) 4.88 @ 143 mph vs. (L) Ted McCord (.010) 5.01 @ 137 mph

Changing weather conditions were keeping the crew chiefs and drivers on their toes as the semi-final got underway with Odie Coker and points leader Richard Brady. Coker was out of the gate first and took the win with a 4.86 at 145 mph over Brady who spun the tires at the hit. This advanced Coker to the finals in his first race of the season with the SWJFA series. Steve Dunkin then lined up with Ken Hawkins. Hawkins jumped the tree with a -.116 reaction time then blazed the hides at the hit as Dunkin breezed right down broadway for the win with a 5.17 at 129 mph, also advancing to his first final of the season.

(Steve Dunkin)

Semi-Final Round Results:

(W) Odie Coker (.026 rt) 4.86 @ 145 mph vs. (L) Richard Brady (.091 rt) 5.85 @ 137 mph
(W) Steve Dunkin (.087 rt) 5.17 @ 129 mph vs. (L) Ken Hawkins (-.116 rt) 12.36 @ 42 mph

The final round for the junior fuelers brought all new conditions to the racetrack as the final was completed under the lights at Ardmore Dragway. Dunkin drilled Coker on the tree but started moving towards the guardrail and eventually lifted to a 5.74 at 84 mph while Coker ripped off the second quickest pass and top speed of the meet with a 4.67 at 148 mph.

(Odie Coker launches in the final)

Final Round Results:

(W) Odie Coker (.130 rt) 4.67 @ 148 mph vs. (L) Steve Dunkin (.037 rt) 5.74 @ 84 mph

For Steve Dunkin, it was his fourth runner-up finish, as his first win continues to elude him although is performance has stepped up drastically throughout the 2010 season along with teammate Ron Muncy who both currently hold a spot in the top five.

“Close but no cigar, yet. Some day I hope to win in the final but until then I will keep enjoying racing with SWJFA because they are the best bunch of people I could want to be around,” said Dunkin.

Coker prevailed for the win after having a number of issues in qualifying. The veteran tuning ability of Ussery combined with driving efforts of Coker came together under pressure to out perform the field in eliminations and it was a well earned victory for the entire team.

(Coker & Ussery's team in the winner circle)

“I want to first thank Mike Millsap for his efforts in forming and maintaining the Southwest Junior Fuel Association, it is so much fun to race with this group of people. All the credit for our win needs to go to Ron Ussery. His tuning ability really makes me look good and it’s a pleasure to race with him and his wife Mardy. Hopefully we will be able to race with the junior fuel series again before the end of the year,” said Coker.

An incredibly successful 5th Annual Hot Rod Reunion was now in the books and the Southwest Junior Fuel Association would like to thank Smiley’s Racing Products, Champion Spark Plugs, Reunion Promoter Rob Ragland and the entire Ardmore Dragway staff for their support of the SWJFA series. Richard Brady extended his points lead over Mike Millsap by posting a semi-final finish and qualifying fourth. Steve Dunkin and Ken Hawkins made up big ground on second place Millsap and Ron Muncy held onto the number five spot with three races left in the 2010 season. The teams will have two weeks off before heading back to Oklahoma, this time to Tulsa Raceway Park, to participate in their annual Nitro Nationals event on September 25th.

Click here to see photos from this event!