Ron Shield Runs Dead On At North Star Dragway
This past Saturday, NSD hosted our first Big Money Bracket Race of the 2011 season. And even with there being a chance of rain that night, the racers showed up in full force for the "Buy One, Get One Free" race. With over 160 entries heading to first round of electronics, and the caliber of racers in the staging lanes, it was evident that getting to the Winner's Circle was going to be a difficult task (even with two entries). The first round saw an amazing amount of "dead-on the dial" runs. In fact, 42% of the first round winner's, and 24% of the first round runners-up went right on the dial.
As second round started, Mother Nature threw the racers a curve ball, and what had been a hot, humid afternoon, turned cooler and drier, and transitioned the wind from a head to tail wind. So after all of those dead-on runs, 2nd round saw over 3/4 of the field break out. The drivers advancing into the latter rounds had to be on their game. As the race advanced into the money rounds, two things were obvious. The veteran racers had outperformed their younger counterparts, with the youngest driver to make the money rounds in his mid-30s.
Fellow racers and spectators were also beginning to realize that only one racer had been able to maintain both of his entries into the money...Ron Shields. It was up to the other 8 racers to not only take Ron out, but do it twice. Round by round, "Dead-On" Ron drove his dragster like a man on a mission, good reaction times and hitting the number. In fact, at one point, "Dead-On" Ron hit the number 8 times in a row. As the dust settled in the semis, only one racer stood in the way of one of the biggest dreams that a bracket racer has in a Big Money, double entry race...running yourself in the final. Butch Young and his Tetco Nova not only would have to beat Ron in the semis, but again in the finals. That task would prove not only difficult, but unnecessary. Butch drew a .001 red light in the semi-final race, giving "Dead-On Ron" the automatic win. In a ironic ending, "Dead-On Ron" did not run on his dial in that race, but did put up a .000 perfect reaction in his last race of the night. Not only did Ron achieve a goal that all bracket racers dream of, he achieved his goal of making past the 3rd round of a North Star Dragway event for the first time ever. That's right, Ron had never received a check from NSD, despite attending most all of our bracket races over the past two years. This fact is a testament to how tough the competition is at our bracket races, and also to the drive and determination of Ron to battle against the best in the business week after week and get over the hurdle.
So after not receiving a check at dozens of races in the past two years, "Dead-On Ron" was handed a check for over $4000 in the Winner's Circle. The number of racers coming up to shake Ron's hand and offer their congratulations after the last race, while he wiped the tears of joy from his eyes, was one of the most memorable things ever witnessed at the track.
In No Electronics, over 100 entries would battle to take home the money in a very competitive footbrake showdown. Over the past few years, the world of footbrake racing in North Texas has entered a new level. If you can't be .050 or better on the tree and within one of the dial-in, getting your win light to come on id going to be difficult.
This trend continued on Saturday, with many skilled and accomplished No Electronics racers making early exits. When the N/E class finally entered the money rounds, there were some interesting stories developing. Two racers had managed to hold on to both of there entries through four rounds, Chuck Wier and Jackie Jones were both guaranteed two checks, they just didn't know how big they would be. Unfortunately, 4th round proved brutal for both racers, with Jackie losing both entries, and Chuck only being able to hold on to one. There was also a wide variety of cars going into the money. At one point, you could see an Anglia positioned next to a rear-engine dragster, who were directly behind a 90s model Mustang (street driven) convertible. Entering the final round, we would see the match-up of Ty Casey vs. Tony Caprio for the N/E title. Ty had overcome some early round struggles in his '67 wheel standing Nova to reach the final, where he would race against one of the most unique cars in the class, Tony's 1948 Anglia. Tony needed to take the win in the final round to assure his team the outright victory in our 4 x 4 Team Challenge, so he definitely had a lot of racers watching his final round. As Ty launched his Nova in final, Tony's Anglia began to roll and turned on the red bulb (something in the bra kes had failed, making it impossible to hold in the beams), giving Ty the automatic win.
The great performances of Ron Shields and Tony Caprio had ended our Team Challenge in a tie for first place. The two teams were able to split the $1000 & $500 1st & 2nd place prizes. We look forward to even more great racing at our next Big Money Race on Memorial Weekend.