By PAUL DELANEY
As the long-term operator of Spokane County Raceway, Bucky Austin has put a considerable amount of money into the facility. So itâ€™s maybe just OK that heâ€™s able to recoup a little of his investment when he wins a race there.
The Fife, Wash. driver, who last October signed a long-term lease to operate the racing complex for the county has now won his second race at the facility, topping drag racing legend, Dale Puldeâ€™s â€œWar Eagleâ€ funny car out of Sylmar, Calif. in the championship round of the inaugural Nitro Nationals. Austinâ€™s 5.930 second elapsed time in the quarter-mile at 228.73 mph upended Pulde who turned in a 6.174 ET at 194.86 mph.
Austinâ€™s nostalgia funny car finished his day by running the last of a series of sub-six-second passes down the track. In the opening round he clicked off a 5.925 at 230.65 mph to topple Mike Savageâ€™s 6.238, 230.80 mph effort. Austin earned his way into the finals by topping John Powers, 5.943, 229.47 mph to 6.052, 220.44 mph. Saturday night, Austin kicked off qualifying with a reported new track record, 5.623 ET.
Joe Delehay of Calgary, Alberta took the win in the Pro Mod class, beating Lee Smith of Salem, Ore. 6.251, 228.61 mph to 6.668, 197.48 mph. The Nostalgia Alcohol Funny Car championship went to Kim Parker who defeated Shane Harter, 6.992, 197.94 mph to 7.073, 203.25 mph .
The weekend also featured sportsman racers from across the northwest who were chasing a $50,000 combined purse for the First Annual Bracket Bash. The Friday Super Pro title, and $1,750 went to Bobby Riceâ€™s 1970 Duster who ran a 10.417, 135.66 mph to defeat Dennis Kooker, who broke. Zach Craigâ€™ s 12.034 at 107.99 mph earned him $750 in the Pro class.
Justin Juel drove his 1953 Corvette to the big $5,000 first place Super Pro purse on Saturday night with 10.274, 150.55 mph , beating Brian Birkyâ€™s 10.863, 137.02 mph effort in his 1956 Chevy. In Saturdayâ€™s Pro final, Craig collected another $1,300 with his 11.897, 114.86 mph win over John Lanzâ€™s Dodge which clocked an 11.343 at 118.87 mph.
On Sunday, Andy Morris pocketed $2,000 the easy way when he turned an 8.833 ET at 107.73 mph in Super Pro to beat Dustin Hentges, who red-lighted. Ricky Johnson drove his 1968 Camaro to an $800 payday and kept Friday and Saturday winner Craig from scoring a sweep of the Bracket Bash cash.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org