Sportsman racers rumble at BIR during Thunder at the Lakes

What could be considered a tune-up for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Thunder at the Lakes hosted some of the best Sportsman drag racers in the country last weekend during the NHRA West Central Division’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event.

Many of the drivers competing during Thunder at the Lakes will stick around for the NHRA Nationals this weekend and race between qualifying sessions for the Nitro, Pro Stock and Top Fuel Harley classes. Sportsman racing starts Thursday. Nitro qualifying starts Friday afternoon.

Winners, from left, back row: Shaun Vincent, Jeff Lanoue, Allen Firestone, Jason DeForrest, Chris Stephenson. Front row: Trevor Larson, Jim Capp, Nick Siebert, Michael Shelton

If last weekend is, in fact, a preview of what fans can expect from the Sportsman racers starting Thursday, they’re in for a treat.

The Stock Eliminator finals had the potential to be a family affair, despite a 91-car field. After four rounds, brothers Ben and Lance Line were among the six drivers left. Lance nearly cut a perfect light at the starting line (.001 seconds) to beat Johnny Diekema, and then had a bye in Round 6 to advance to the finals. Ben, however, dropped his Round-5 race to Chris Stephenson, who advanced to meet up with Lance in the finals.

Neither brother would head home with hardware, though, as Lance had mechanical issues after the burnout and wasn’t able to make his finals pass. Both Line brothers race in BIR’s Bracket Drag Racing Series.

Jason DeForrest, another BIR drag racer, had better luck in the Super Stock class. He drove his 2005 Cavalier to a finals win over Joseph Santangelo with a winning time of 9.017 seconds and 148.90 mph.

In Top Sportsman, Allen Firestone was the No. 1 qualifier with a sizzling run of 6.469 seconds at 212.36 mph in his 2016 Camaro. He went on to win the finals by beating Curtis Fredrich, who fouled at the starting line, handing Firestone the win.

Jeff Lanoue, a familiar name around BIR, drove his Racecraft dragster to a finals win in the Top Dragster class, beating Bob Fuller with a time of 7.462 seconds and 176.97 mph. Holden Laris was the No. 1 qualifier after flying down the track at 6.136 seconds and 231.16 mph, but he got knocked off in the second round. 

The Super Comp final featured a pair of central Minnesota racers: Trevor Larson from Glenwood and Mike Nahan from Sartell, both of whom outlasted a field of 66 racers. Larson was 4/1,000ths of a second from a perfect light, and went on to sneak past Nahan with a winning time of 8.919 seconds and 178.19 mph.

Below are results of each final:  

Competition Eliminator
Finals: Shaun Vincent of Omaha, Neb. def. Joseph Arrowsmith of Ham Lake

Super Stock
Finals: Jason DeForrest of Oak Grove def. Joseph Santangelo of Marlborough, Conn.

Stock Eliminator
Finals: Chris Stephenson of Tipton, Ind. def. Lance Line of Cromwell

Top Sportsman
Finals: Allen Firestone of Velma, Okla. def. Curtis Fredrich of Burlington, Wis.

Top Dragster
Finals: Jeff Lanoue of Zimmerman def. Bob Fuller of Rogers, Ark.

Super Comp
Finals: Trevor Larson of Glenwood def. Mike Nahan of Sartell

Super Gas
Finals: Jim Capp of Houston def. Tim Nicholson of Concordia, Kan.

Super Street
Finals: Nick Siebert of Warnego, Kan. def. Wayde Samuel of Littleton, Colo.

Sportsman Motorcycle
Finals: Michael Shelton of Great Bend, Kan. def. Gordon Fangmeyer of Lincoln, Neb.