Bradenton Motorsports Park, Florida
As always the US Street Nationals held in January at Bradenton Motorsports Park brings about a lot of speculation and anticipation of fast ET’s and great racing with the wonderful weather and great track surface. X275 making its second trip to BMP was looked at as the new fresh faced kid on the block with something to prove and racers from Florida, Virginia, Illinois, and Alabama did not disappoint the crowd. With huge wheelstands and margin of victories as close a .0006 X275 racers showed that they race and work just as hard as the guys in Outlaw 10.5 and Outlaw Radial.
After 3 rounds of qualifying we saw Team Lopez driver John Fernandez in front with solid ET’s in the high 4 second range followed closely by Clint Lonon, Eric Kenward, Bobby Flippin, and Walt Drakeford driving Mike Burkhart’s Black Fox body for your top 5. Willy Waddy Jr (#14) and Antonio Santiago (#15) were making their X275 debut also and ran well despite some traction issues for Antonio and wheelstanding by Willy. In all we had 15 racers making the call with Ari Birchfield in the # 6 spot, Troy Pirez in his wheelstanding old school nova in the #7 spot, NMCA racer Tim Hendricks in the #8 spot, NMRA Hot Street racer Robby Blankenship in the #9 spot, Corey Berry in his Category 5 SN95 mustang in the #10 spot, Bruce Roberts in the #11 position, NMCA Extreme Street racer Dan Kroll in the #12 position, and Brian Keep in his extended cab flamed S-10 in the #13 position.
You would think that with a naturally aspirated combo like Robby Blankenship was running that he would be at a disadvantage in a field of nitrous cars but he put that all to rest by going “James Bond” on the tree cutting a .007 reaction time on his way to a 5.23/133 pass over Tim Hendricks 5.26/138 pass. Walt Drakford faced off against Dan Kroll with Dan getting the starting line advantage with a .033 light to Walt’s .079 but it was not enough as Walt was able to peddle through a wheelstand and take the win 5.24/138 to a 5.33/140. Clint Lonon was steady as usual running a 5.03/141 on his way to the second round over Antonio Santiago. Next up was Eric Kenward who went into a huge wheelstand but got the win when Willy Waddy Jr. drew the big red bulb. Ari Birchfield and crew had been fighting with some carb issues during the weekend and they came back to haunt the hard working crew once again when the engine shut off prior to getting on the trans brake as he lined up against Bruce Roberts and his purple mustang, Bruce took the win and moved on to the second round running a low 5 second pass. The battle of S-10’s never came to pass as Bobby Flippin took a bye run when Brian Keep could not make the call. Corey Berry could not make the call to face off against Troy Pirez but Pirez had his game face on and didn’t take that round off running a 5.14/139 pass with a .018 reaction time. John Fernandez ran solo in the first round with a bye run.
In a battle of team mates Eric Kenward faced Bruce Roberts but due to some mechanical issues related to his first round pass the wagon didn’t show and Bruce was able to advance on bye run. Bobby Flippin and the red S-10 would also have mechanical issues which allowed Walt Drakeford to move on into the next round. In a battle of SN95 mustangs the nitrous car prevailed when John Fernandez took out the n/a car of Robby Blankenship. Clint Lonon and Troy Pirez also faced off against on another with Pirez putting up a 5.07 pass but it wasn’t enough as Clint had just a bit more running another low 5 second pass.
The semi-final round put Lonon against Roberts and Fernandez against Drakeford with Bruce getting the holeshot win over Clint (5.00 to a 5.02!!) for a margin of victory of .0006 and Fernandez putting up another high 4 second pass to Walt’s low 5 second pass. In the finals John Fernandez was unable to get the car started due to an ignition issue and Bruce Roberts took the win for the first spot in the TCI PRO-X “King of X275” Challenge.