700 Racers at The Rock - Aman, Biddle, Hypes Win Big at "Big John" Nationals
5/27/2020
Rockingham, NC
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Starved for a competitive outlet after two months of inactivity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 700 racers from 13 states descended on Rockingham Dragway to knock the rust off themselves and their race cars  in the 22nd annual “Big John” Leviner Memorial Bracket Nationals.

The sheer number of racers and cars, some from as far away as Connecticut and Florida, created a logistical dilemma for Rockingham owner Steve Earwood and his staff who realized the scope of the problem when it took more than six hours to get through the 354 first round matches on Saturday.

At the conclusion of round three, it was agreed that the purse would be split evenly among the racers still in contention and that the individual races scheduled Sunday and Monday would be combined into one to determine event champions in Top Eliminator, Footbrake and Jr. Dragster.

eric aman drag racer

Former track champion Eric Aman of Clinton took home the $12,500 top prize as the Top Eliminator winner, but it was Footbrake champion Randy Biddle Jr. of Christiansburg, Va., who left with the coveted Wally trophy after driving his 1978 Chevy Malibu to victory in a one-run shootout. 

Aman put together a .004 package in the final round to turn back Lee Dixon of Chesterfield, S.C., in the featured category.  Aman was .001 in his reaction to the starting signal, then ran 5.773 against a 5.770 target time. 

The Jr. Dragster title and the accompanying NHRA-tv Wally trophy, a replica of those awarded at NHRA national events, went to Michael Hypes of Blacksburg, Va., whose race day included a near perfect run in a semifinal win over Jake Harvanek of Cheswick, Pa.

Hypes, a previous winner at The Rock and one of the nation’s top junior racers, had a .001 reaction time with a track time of 7.900 seconds which was dead-on his target.  He then beat Channing Fermell of Lexington, S.C., in the final.

Jake Hodge, Spencer, Ind., won the National Dragster North Carolina Championship Trophy, presented to the racer winning the most rounds of competition during the event.

“We never could have anticipated this kind of turnout,” Earwood said.  “There’s never been one like it.  It’s very humbling.  These people are what make drag racing such a great sport.  After everything that’s been going on, they just wanted a chance to race and it was great for us to be able to give them that opportunity.” 

* * * *

Results from the 22nd annual Big John Leviner Memorial Bracket Nationals completed Monday at Rockingham Dragway.  Hometowns are North Carolina unless otherwise indicated.  Results include reaction time, track time compared to target time and finish line speed:

RUN FOR THE WALLY – Randy Biddle, Christiansburg, Va., 1978 Chevy Malibu, Footbrake winner, .002, 6.180 on a 6.170, 110.48 mph, def. Eric Aman, Clinton, Top ET winner, .015, 5.778 on a 5.770, 118.58 mph.

TOP ET

            Round 5 – Brandon Bailey, Abingdon, Va., .018, 6.443 on a 6.420, 107.39 mph, def. Roy Caudle, .015, 5.397 breakout on a 5.400, 129.59 mph; Jake Hodge, Spencer, Ind., 1967 Chevy Chevelle, .030, 5.631 on a 5.620, 122.52 mph, def. Sean Serra, Doswell, Va., .011, 4.445 on a 4.410, 153.16 mph; Don White, Cordesville, S.C.,  .004, 5.832 on a  5.810, 115.70 mph, def. Buddy Dial, Rowland, .022, 4.771 on a 4.760, 143.26 mph; Chad Duke, Wilmington, .006, 5.452 on a 5.440, 127.58 mph, def. Jess Biddle, Christiansburg, Va., .055, 4.536 on a 4.530, 153.75 mph; Tanner Miller, Bluefield, Va., .026, 6.281 on a 6.280, 108.00 mph, def. Mike Jackson, .028, 5.057 breakout on a 5.070, 134.66 mph; Vernon Russell III, Leesville, S.C., .012, 6.314 on a 6.300, 107.32 mph, def. Kendall Payne, Waynesboro, Va., .020, 4.663 breakout on a 4.670, 144.09 mph; Tommy Plott, Winston-Salem, .039, 4.608 on a 4.630, 149.76 mph, def. Jason Parker, Hughsville, Md., foul; Lee Dixon, Chesterfield, S.C., .001, 4.763 on a 4.750, 140.31 mph, def. Jerry Brewer, Lumberton, .022, 4.454 breakout on a 4.470, 156.15 mph; Michael Paschal, Greensboro, .029, 4.603 on a 4.600, 148.49 mph, def. Dawson Wiggins, Dunn, .039, 5.782 breakout on a 5.790, 115.00 mph; Wendell Kinard, Greenwood, S.C., .010, 4.528 on a 4.520, 153.79 mph, def. Dean Miller, Bluefield, Va., .026, 5.173 breakout on a 5.180, 129.88 mph; Sean Serra #2, Doswell, Va., .014, 4.438 on a 4.440, 151.00 mph, def. Dale Crouch, North East, Md., .028, 4.721 breakout on a 4.730, 145.83 mph; Eric Aman, Clinton, .007, 5.761 on a 5.760, 119.20 mph, def. Chad Duke #2, Wilmington, foul (-.005).

            Round 6 – Hodge, .006, 5.644 on a 5.630, 121.29 mph, def. Serra, .018, 4.447 on a 4.440, 151.54 mph; Paschal, .036, 4.618 on a 4.600, 148.38 mph, def. Bailey, foul (-.003); Miller, .018, 6.290 on a 6.280, 107.03 mph, def. Kinard, .037, 4.529 on a 4.520, 153.61 mph; Aman, .024, 5.836 on a 5.770, 111.18 mph, def. Russell, .091, 6.329 on a 6.310, 106.99 mph; White, .041, 5.841 on a 5.830, 115.71 mph, def. Duke, .042, 5.458 on a 5.430, Dixon, .010, 4.751 on a 4.750, 144.86 mph, def. Plott, foul (-.005).

            Round 7 – Hodge, .013, 5.656 on a 5.650, 119.20 mph, def. White, .01, 5.831 breakout on a 5.840, 115.32 mph; Aman, .013, 5.782 on a 5.780, 115.54 mph, def. Miller, .026, 6.285 on a 6.280, 107.81 mph; Dixon, .016, 4.765 on a 4.750, 144.60 mph, def. Paschal, .031, 4.605 breakout on a 4.610, 147.89 mph;

            Semifinals – Dixon, .030, 4.768 on a 4.760, 145.19 mph, def. Hodge, foul (-.003); Aman, bye.

            FINAL – Eric Aman, Clinton, .001, 5.773 on a 5.770, 118.11 mph, def. Lee Dixon, Chesterfield, S.C., .032, 4.757 on a 4.770, 140.08 mph.

FOOTBRAKE

            Round 4 – Randy Biddle Jr., Christiansburg, Va., 1978 Chevy Malibu, .010, 6.201 on a 6.180, 107.82 mph, def. Matt Ward, Anderson, S.C., .045, 6.402 on a 6.390, 101.70 mph; Zach Pennington, Lexington, S.C., .088, 10.392 on a 10.380, 68.40 mph, def. Terry Rucker, Benson, .032, 6.915 on a 6.830, 91.74 mph; Ron Williams, Eagle Springs, .033, 6.410 on a 6.350, 107.10 mph, def. Mark Dudley Jr., Walnut Cove, .098, 8.572 breakout on an 8.600, 79.99 mph; Robby Stewart, Coats, 1965 Chevy Corvette, .014, 5.961 on a 5.940, 111.22 mph, def. Bryce Fox, Henroci, Va., .044, 6.793 breakout on a 6.820, 100.27 mph; Andrew Ellis, Ervington, Va., .043, 6.047 on a 6.010, 107.79 mph, def. Willy Buie, St. Pauls, 1972 Chevy Nova, .053, 6.738 breakout on a 6.740, 101.21 mph; Rodney Lunsford,, Roxboro, .020, 6.557 on a 6.550, 103.53 mph, def. Tyler Sears, Raleigh, .050, 6.979 breakout on a 6.990, 96.94 mph; Jonathon Edwards, Ashland, Va., .023, 6.465 on a 6.440, 103.47 mph, def. Dawson Wiggins, Dunn, .055, 5.828 on a 5.800, 113.33 mph; Kevin Riner, Autryville, .013, 6.975 on a 6.970, 94.38 mph, def. Unknown #3x17, .032, 7.015 on a 6.990, 93.68 mph; Humphrey Maddox, Westover, Md., .025, 6.695 on a 6.630, 95.98 mph, def. Donald Nelson, Greensboro, .064, 7.534 on a 7.400, 80.79 mph; Tyler Ruff, .013, 5.832 on a 5.830, 116.49 mph, def. Tim Foskey Jr., Rhodesdale, Md., .084, 6.794 breakout on a 6.840, 102.35 mph; Louie Ester, .010, 6.441 on a 6.410, 98.92 mph, def, Kale Hoffman, Richlands, .051, 7.396 on a 7.350, 93.20 mph; Keith Dunkeim Jr., Richmond, Va., .1991 Ford Mustang, .049, 5.944 on a 5.950, 117.61 mph, def. Allen Furr, Richfield, 1962 Chevy II, foul; Terry Rucker #2, Benson, .002, 6.830 on a 6.820, 98.34 mph, def. Tyler Ruff #2, .068, 5.778 breakout on a 5.830, 114.31 mph; Austin  Bridge, Bealeton, Va., bye.

            Round 5 – Edwards, .043, 6.426 on a 6.440, 104.61 mph, def. Bridge, .105, 6.001 breakout on a 6.020, 118.69 mph; Biddle, .006, 6.190 on a 6.190, 107.188 mph, def. Williams, .041, 6.332 breakout on a 6.400, 105.09 mph; Riner, .044, 6.965 on a 6.960, 94.37 mph, def. Pennington, .040, 10.351 breakout on a 10.380, 107.50 mph; Dunkeim, .089, 5.955 on a 5.950, 115.29 mph, def. Ellis, .067, 6.006 breakout on a 6.010, 107.50 mph; Stewart, .008, 5.952 on a 5.940, 112.12 mph, def. Lunsford, .003, 6.571 on a 6.550, 103.44 mph; Ester, .031, 6.410 on a 6.410, 105.18 mph, def. Ruff, .077, 5.756 breakout on a 5.830, 115.73 mph; Rucker, .024, 6.857 on a 6.840, 95.82 mph, def. Maddox, .036, 6.652 on a 6.630, 102.38 mph.

            Round 6 – Stewart, .025, 5.946 on a 5.940, 115.32 mph, def. Dunkeim, .064, 5.951 on a 5.950, 115.74 mph; Ester, .034, 6.412 on a 6.410, 103.79 mph, def. Edwards, .073, 6.405 breakout on a 6.430, 106.02 mph; Riner, .006, 6.960 on a 6.960, 93.85 mph, def. Rucker, .030, 6.834 on a 6.830, 96.55 mph; Biddle, bye.

            Semifinals – Biddle, .009, 6.188 on a 6.190, 106.63 mph, def. Riner, .038, 6.922 breakout on a 6.950, 95.39 mph; Ester, .009, 6.408 on a 6.410, 101.61 mph, def. Stewart, .093, 5.928 breakout on a 5.940, 117.89 mph.

            FINAL – Randy Biddle Jr., Christiansburg, Va., 1978 Chevy Malibu, .011, 6.181 on a 6.180, 109.35 mph, def. Louie Ester, foul (-.002).

JUNIOR DRAGSTER

            Round 4 – Channing Fermell, Lexington, S.C., .061, 8.964 on an 8.940, 71.83 mph, def. Aylissa Wyndham, Edgefield, S.C., .065, 11.527 on an 11.480, 56.25 mph; Alyssa Rabon, Florence, S.C., .047, 8.848 on an 8.840, 74.86 mph, def. Shianne Hutchens, Booneville, foul; Hayden Dial, Lumberton, .006, 7.916 on a 7.900, 77.96 mph, def. Blake Combs, Bluff City, Tenn., .074, 7.847 breakout on a 7.900, 81.42 mph; Michael Hypes, Blacksburg, Va., .043, 7.965 on a 7.900, 79.72 mph, def. Dylan White, Cordesville, S.C., .132, 7.924 on a 7.900, 80.68 mph; Skylar Bustle, Sherrills Ford, .063, 7.958 on a 7.900, 81.46 mph, def. Pat Wease, Demotte, Ind., .108, 7.954 on a 7.920, 81.86 mph; Jake Harvanek, Cheswick, Pa., bye.

            Round 5 – Harvanek, .053, 7.940 on a 7.910, 82.73 mph, def. Dial, .050, 7.961 on a 7.900, 73.58 mph; Hypes, .008, 7.935 on a 7.900, 80.37 mph, def. Bustle, .051, 7.936 on a 7.900, 82.41 mph; Fermell, .005, 9.006 on an 8.940, 70.84 mph, def. Rabon, .098, 8.893 on an 8.840, 69.61 mph.

            Semifinals – Hypes, .001, 7.900 on a 7.900, 81.05 mph, def. Harvanek, .020, 7.905 on a 7.900, 83.00 mph; Fermell, bye.

            FINAL – Michael Hypes, Blacksburg, Va., .070, 7.973 on a 7.900, 75.67 mph, def. Channing Fermell, Lexington, S.C., .132, 8.982 on an 8.950, 71.77 mph.

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