More times than not the racing bug is highly contiguous, it's passed from parents to kids. It's nearly unavoidable. Ron Pappel's kids, Jim and Rochelle have a bad case of drag race fever, and they're both plenty skilled at it too. Ron drives a Brogie Series V-Roadster, Jim races a 1975 Vega GT, and Rochelle races in the NHRA Jr. Dragster Fast class. A junior dragster is a half-scale dragster that races down half a dragstrip, or one-eighth of a mile. Rochelle is 16 now and just started testing in the Pro Class Vega, meaning that soon she will potentially be up against her brother, but that's entirely another story.
Rochelle says that although she still really likes competing in NHRA Junior Drag Racing League, she feels she ready to take on new challenges in a full-size race car.
Rochelle's Cheetah powered dragster is capable of blistering an eight-mile dragstrip at well over 80 mph.
Recently the Pappel racing family traveled from their home in Eugene, Oregon to race at Champion Raceway in Jackson County with all three of their cars in competition. When the Methanol fumes cleared, it proved to be another great weekend for Rochelle.
In round one Rochelle ran as a single dragster, being that there were an odd number of cars and she pulled the single. She ran a 7.998 at 81.79 mph. In round two the win light shone on her, as she ran an 8.02 on her 7.97 dial. Round three (quarter finals) Rochelle wins again, running a 7.987 on her 7.96 dial in. In the semi finals she earns her way into the finals, notching a 7.976 on the 7.96 dial. Alas, she misses winning the finals by going just a hair to fast, breaking out with a 7.938 on her 7.96 dial. Overall another stellar performance from the young up-and-comer.
"Our season in the northwest started a little late this year due to weather but we are running strong now," explains Ron. "Rochelle went six rounds to the finals at the Woodburn Memorial Day Jr. Nationals. She won three races in a row at Champion Raceway in the Junior Drag Racing League. The Super Pro car has gone rounds at every race and has been in the semi finals twice."
The Pappel racing patriarch continues, "K&N has been an outstanding contributor to our success, both on and off the track, providing the best in air and oil filtration for our race cars and tow vehicles. I could not imagine using anything but the best products from K&N."
As for the rest of the season Ron says, "Our cars will continue to run at Woodburn Dragstrip and Champion Raceway this year in the Junior Drag Racing League and the Sunoco Fuel ET Championship Series. As mentioned, Rochelle is now testing in our Pro Class Vega. Watch for her to be competing in the ET Pro class and High School Series real soon."
This is Rochelle's eighth year of drag racing in the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League. She has had great success driving her half-scale Cheetah powered dragster; winning not only several track championships, but also a division title and a National Championship.
"I really do still enjoy competing in the Junior Dragster," said Rochelle. "This is an exciting time for me to learn and be challenged in a different style car now, and I am ready to move into a full-size race car and compete in other NHRA Classes."
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