FONTANA, Calif. (May 16) – Alan Ellis, Ryan McClanahan, and John Schloe topped the list of champions crowned Sunday at the firth annual JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals at Auto Club Dragway at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calf. Nearly 400 of the best drivers from the NHRA Lucas Oil Series gathered for the special event, which is one of three JEGS-backed SPORTSnationals events held each year.
Ellis, of Mapleton, Utah, drove his ’23-T Ford roadster to the win in Comp Eliminator by defeating Randy Jones in the final round. Jones took an early lead in the final, but Ellis has the power to catch and pass him with a 6.56 elapsed time at 207.78-mph.
McClanahan, of nearby Alta Loma, Calif., overcame a big hurdle in the Super Stock final when he stopped reigning and three-time NHRA champion Jimmy DeFrank. Despite a nearly perfect starting line reaction by DeFrank, the 20-year old McClanahan was able to take the win via a double breakout, running closer to his dial-in than DeFrank.
Schloe, appearing in his first Stock Eliminator final since the 1987 season, claimed his first NHRA “Wally” trophy after defeating Chad Langdon, the father of current Top Fuel driver Shawn Langdon. Schloe, of Garden Grove, Calif., drove his vintage ’69 Firebird to a 10.83 elapsed time on is 10.82 dial-in for the victory while Langdon broke out in his ’69 Nova.
The Super Comp class featured another first-time NHRA champion as Andrew Madrid of Chatsworth, Calif., drove his dragster to a win over Gabriel Torres in the final. Both drivers ran right on the 8.90-second Super Comp index but Madrid’s slight reaction time advantage allowed him to cross the finish line first.
Dana Keniry of Hawthorne, Calif., was crowned the champion in Super Gas after driving his Lumina past Roger Kato in the final. Both drivers left the starting line with nearly perfect reaction times but Keniry won by running a 9.94 on the 9.90 index after Kato broke out with a 9.88.
Third-generation racer Nik Downing of Glendale, Ariz., joined his grandfather, Dwight, as a national event winner after driving the family’s Plymouth Arrow to the title in Super Street, winning a double breakout race over Matthew Blodgett, who was attempting to win his second JEGS Pacific SPORTSnationals title in the last three years. Blodgett’s brother, Michael, was the defending SPORTSnationals winner.
Appearing in his seventh NHRA national event final, Kevin Kleineweber, of Phoenix, Ariz., snared his fifth win when he won the Top Sportsman title over Dave Zewe. Running on a dial-in of 7.92-seconds, Kleineweber recorded a 7.95 for the win in his ’94 Lumina with Zewe close behind with a 7.48 on his 7.45 dial.
Two days after earning a runner-up finish in the postponed NHRA Arizona Nationals final rounds, Tony Jardino of San Dimas, Calif., won the Top Dragster title by beating Matt Hartzell in the final round. Racing off a 6.87 dial-in, Jardino recorded a 6.87 for the win while Hartzell posted a 7.42 on his 7.40 dial-in.
Aaron Pine of LaMirada, Calif., earned the victory in the Sportsman Motorcycle presented by Harley-Davidson category after he rode his Lucas Oil Suzuki past former Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Sean Conner in the final round. Both riders ran under their respective dial-ins but Pine was closer to his 9.04 dial with a 9.02.
The winners of the JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals will now join the champions that were crowned earlier this year at the JEGS NHRA Cajun SPORTSnationals in Belle Rose, La., in the battle for the JEGS Crown trophy. The JEGS Crown is a handcrafted trophy that is awarded to any driver who can win the same class at two of the three JEGS SPORTSnationals events in a single year. Since its inception five years ago, only one driver Pro Mod racer Mike Ashley has been able to win the JEGS Crown. The third and final event in the series will be the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals at National Trail Raceway in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 24-26. 
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