LANCASTER, N.Y. (September 28, 2019) – Lancaster Dragway @ New York International Raceway Park hosted its final night of IHRA Drag Racing points for the 2019 season on Friday evening. It was a strong turnout with 170 cars on hand for Ryan Thurnherr Memorial Night and Gianni Mazia’s Mod Bonus Night.
The Thurnherr family added an extra $2,500 to the purse that was spread out amongst the weekly classes to honor the memory of former racer Ryan Thurnherr, who passed away in October 2018, and Paul Cambria added $500 to the winner’s share of Mod ET purse to raise the total purse for the evening to over $8,000.
There were two division championships left to be decided on the final night of points as Lucas Salemi had clinched the Bikes & Sleds title while DJ Raiser had already sewn up the Street championship. Jan Winkowski of Cheektowaga, N.Y. held a 30 point lead in Mallare Trucking Top ET over the team of Paul Cochi and Jeff Sobczysnki. Reid Ricketson of Darien Center, N.Y. led twin brother Ryan by 30 points for the Gianni Mazia’s Mod title.
While neither driver advanced to the final of their respective classes on the final night of the regular season, they were able to maintain their advantages in the standings. Winkowski clinched his first career track championship in his 31 years of racing. He has been behind the wheel of his “Lunatic Fringe” Chevrolet Nova for all of those 31 seasons. Ricketson scored his second Mod ET title in three years after winning his first in 2017.
Class winners on Friday night included Ann Marie Nugent of West Seneca, N.Y. in Mallare Trucking Top ET. Nugent became the first repeat winner of 2019 in Top ET after 11 different winners. Joe Passero of Stevensville, Ontario bookended the season in Top 8 Eliminator as he won on opening night in May, and then won on Friday to close the regular season.
Frank Klaskov of Lackawanna, N.Y. scored his first win of the year in McGard Mod. In Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds, Ron Dean of Williamson, N.Y. earned his first win of the season. Tim Markle of Hilton, N.Y. was victorious in Tread City Tire Street ET. Russell Morris advanced to the final in both Mod and Street, but lost on both occasions.
While the regular season comes to a close there are two drag racing events remaining in 2019 at NYIRP. Saturday, October 5 will be Unfinished Business: 10.5” W Outlaws Invitational Shootout featuring the popular Buffalo Street Outlaws and street racers from across the Northeast plus Lancaster’s weekly drag racing classes. Gates will open at 9 a.m. with time trials beginning at 11 a.m.
The drag racing season will conclude on Saturday, October 19 with the inaugural Autumn Classic Box/No-Box Shootout. Both the Box and No-Box winners will take home $2,000 based on a field of 75 cars. There will also be a Street class for cars that run slower than eight seconds. Pit gates will open at 9 a.m. with time trials starting at 10 a.m.
The 2019 Lancaster Dragway @ NYIRP Awards Banquet and Wall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be Friday, December 6 at the Variety Club Banquet Hall on Broadway in Lancaster.
RESULTS (Driver, hometown, vehicle, reaction time, dial-in, elapsed time and top speed)
Mallare Trucking Top ET
Winner: Ann Marie Nugent (W. Seneca, N.Y.) 1985 Chevrolet Camaro .506 5.70 5.734 seconds, 119.32 mph
Runner-up: Robert Bauer III (Elma, N.Y.) 1965 Chevrolet Nova .546 6.20 6.203 seconds, 109.46 mph
Top 8 Eliminator
Winner: Joe Passero (Stevensville, Ontario) Rear Engine Dragster .514 4.71 4.709 seconds, 145.65 mph
Runner-up: Rich Yacos (Cambria, N.Y.) Rear Engine Dragster .516 4.69 4.675 seconds, 147.58 mph
Gianni Mazia’s Mod ET
Winner: Frank Klaskov (Lackawanna, N.Y.) 1962 Dodge Dart .538 7.281 seconds, 93.34 mph
Runner-up: Russell Morris (Alden, N.Y.) 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass .436 FOUL
Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds
Winner: Ron Dean (Williamson, N.Y.) 1997 Ski-Doo .586 6.28 6.310 seconds, 108.16 mph
Runner-up: Dave Lawrence (Cheektowaga, N.Y.) 1977 Kawasaki .494 FOUL
Tread City Tire Street ET
Winner: Tim Markle (Hilton, N.Y.) 1989 Pontiac Firebird .610 9.34 9.366 seconds, 75.03 mph
Runner-up: Russell Morris (Alden, N.Y.) 1966 Dodge Gury III .576 8.59 8.571 seconds, 78.39 mph