DALE ECKERT CASHES IN ON DOUBLE BUYBACKS
LANCASTER, N.Y. (June 16, 2018) – Sometimes in life you don’t get a second chance, but on Friday night at Lancaster National Dragway Dale Eckert got two second chances and used them to win both Top Eliminator and McGard Mod ET.
The 11-time track champion from South Wales, N.Y. lost in the first round of both Top & Mod, but used buybacks to be reinserted into the bracket of both classes. Buybacks allow to competitors to pay a second entry fee to continue racing if they lost in the first round. The investment paid off for Eckert as he advanced all the way to the finals in each class.
Eckert went up against Tony Galuzzi in the Top final in an almost heads-up race as the drivers’ dial-ins were separated by only .09 seconds. Galuzzi cut a near perfect light at the starting line, but could not catch Eckert at top end. He didn’t have to work as hard in the McGard Mod final as his opponent, Robert Hetrick, triggered the red light at the starting line, which allowed Eckert to cruise to victory. The wins give Ecekert three overall victories in 2018, including back-to-back wins in Mod ET.
In other Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing action, Mike Nowak of Lancaster took the win in Top 8 Eliminator over Zell Gaymon. Nowak blistered the dragstrip with an elapsed time of 4.998 seconds and average speed of 139.37 mph.
The Salemi family picked up their second win in a row in Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds. Lucas Salemi of Clarence Center, N.Y. was the winner this week after his cousin Angelo won the week before. Adding to the Salemi family’s success as of late was Evan Salemi, who went to the final round of Junior Dragsters during Advance Auto Parts Tuesday Test & Tune earlier this week.
In Tread City Tire Street, Derek Kovach of Lancaster defeated Meg Grzekiewicz for his first win of the season in a double breakout.
Lancaster continued its annual Ladies Night tradition of special female only drag racing classes with the top prize of a diamond ring from Cash & Go Pawn on the line for each winner. Sharon Hayek won the Ladies Pro class for experienced drivers for the second year in a row as she beat Deanna Nugent in the finals. Sara Taulbee was victorious in the Amateur Ladies class over Kat Brewer.
The Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing program is off next weekend for the Niagara Swap Meet & Car Show presented by Totally Tools. There is a $1,000 Box/No-Box Shootout open to all competitors this Tuesday night (June 19) to make up for the week off. Friday night racing resumes on June 29 with a special Buffalo Street Outlaws show. Full details to be released in the near future.
RESULTS (Driver, hometown, vehicle, reaction time, dial-in, elapsed time and top speed)
Winner: Dale Eckert (S. Wales, N.Y.) 1969 Chevrolet Camaro .514 7.09 7.113 seconds, 90.68 mph
Runner-up: Tony Galuzzi (Orchard Park, N.Y.) 1978 Chevrolet Camaro .500 7.00 7.161 seconds, 101.76 mph
Top 8 Eliminator
Winner: Mike Nowak (Lancaster, N.Y.) 1967 Chevrolet Camaro .519 4.99 4.998 seconds, 139.37 mph
Runner-up: Zell Gaymon (Buffalo, N.Y.) .505 5.60 5.571 seconds, 123.65 mph
McGard Mod ET
Winner: Dale Eckert (S. Wales, N.Y.) 1969 Chevrolet Camaro .520 7.09 10.139 seconds, 46.49 mph
Runner-up: Robert Hetrick (W. Seneca, N.Y.) 1987 Ford Mustang .026 FOUL
Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds
Winner: Lucas Salemi (Clarence Center, N.Y.) Arctic Cat .574 6.62 6.628 seconds, 100.45 mph
Runner-up: Mike Peters (Angola, N.Y.) 1980 Kawasaki .542 5.57 5.568 seconds, 117.51 mph
Tread City Tire Street ET
Winner: Derrick Kovach (Lancaster, N.Y.) 2011 Dodge Charger .517 8.58 8.574 seconds, 76.55 mph
Runner-up: Meg Grzekiewicz (Belfast, N.Y.) 1984 GMC .566 10.86 10.847 seconds, 63.63 mph