NHRA’s 5th annual New England Nationals, held in the Northeast, right in the heart of New England featured some rousing successes for the area’s “Bowtie brand brigade” racers.
Within the event’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series doorslammer categories, it was a clean sweep for Chevrolet drivers, highlighted by wins in Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Gas, and Super Street.
The ongoing Pennsylvania-based rivalry between racing brothers Byron and Bryan Worner extended all the way to the Super Stock final round at New England Dragway! Driving his GT/HA 1994 Camaro, it was Byron taking the finish line stripe over Bryan’s GT/KA 1987 Camaro. Byron’s final round 9.736 e.t. at 136.68 mph allowed him to collect his fifth career NHRA Super Stock national event title. Byron and Bryan had entered the Super Stock class eliminator neck-in-neck, too—having qualified Number 21 and 22, respectively.
Stock Eliminator went to the amazing A/SA 1969 Camaro of New Jersey’s David Ficacci. After qualifying Number 3 in the field of 56 cars at 1.07 seconds under his index, Ficacci proceeded on Sunday to collect his third win in the highly competitive NHRA class. Ficacci benefitted from a red light start by his opponent in the final round.
The Super Gas (9.90) and Super Street (10.90) index target classes featured a win by a potential World Championship contender and also a refreshing first score for a local racer.
John Labbous, Jr. (from Tennessee) raced his topless 1963 Corvette to victory in Super Gas, his third win of the season so far in NHRA national event racing.
Driving his super clean 1967 Camaro based from Maine, it was Brian Sawyer taking the win in Super Street. Sawyer had an extremely nice event run. After qualifying Number 1, he proceeded to win his first ever race in his first-ever final round appearance!
The event’s ferocious Top Sportsman class category also featured a Chevy winner, with John Benoit taking his stunning, nitrous-assisted C7 Corvette to victory lane. Benoit, who is from Vermont, qualified his machine Number 2 with a 6.335 e.t. then blew by the 23-car field. Benoit edged Maine-state based racer Matt Harper right at the stripe in the final (a 5-inch win margin) to secure his very first NHRA national event win.
Pro Stock class racing featured the first win of the season—and also of the EFI era—for Erica Enders-Stevens who beat rookie sensation Tanner Gray in the all-Camaro final round. Erica won by a convincing 6.534 at 213.16 mph (top speed of the meet) to Gray’s 6.550 at 212.06 mph.
Enders-Stevens qualified Number 2 (6.513 e.t.) and defeated fellow Chevy drivers Shane Tucker, Jason Line, and Bo Butner in the earlier rounds.
Photos by Bruce Biegler and Steve Embling