Just a few short weeks ago, Mark Faul found his way to the Jegs All-Stars winner's circle in his Stock F/SA 1969 Chevelle in Joliet, Illinois, and a couple thousands of miles later, he made it happen again, only this time taking his Super Stock entry all the way for the title at the 24th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, California.
Mark Faul's Super Stock Win at the 24th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals
NHRA Super Stock Driver Mark Faul at FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, California
"I normally pay very close attention to where I qualify, so I can try to avoid heads-up runs," said the K&N racer from Tacoma, Washington. "But this was a race where I was the only one in my class, so I just said the heck with it and ran it all out and whoever I race, I race. But I sure didn't want to race Justin Lamb first round. You know he's driving very well this year."
While Faul was also entered for the event in his F/SA 1969 Chevelle, where he didn't have good fortune in Stock Eliminator, he certainly made it happen in Super Stock starting right with first round where he was able to push Lamb out the backdoor for a breakout and move on to round two.
Faul would get an easy pass in the second round of eliminations after his competition, John Winslow Jr. broke shortly after the green, "He launched and I looked in my mirror and saw the front end, pretty much like the bumper was going to hit the ground. I guess it skidded to a stop and something had locked up in there. So I was able to just go down, get my thousand foot time and shut it off."
The third round would be a very important one with the winner getting a bye in the following round. Faul and his opponent, Dave Bridgewater were the second pair out. "I watched the pair in front of me and it was a double breakout, so that had me thinking that it was quicker than I had thought it was," he explained. "So I went down there and gave it a couple of quick throttle whomps. Then I thought he was going to get by me, so after that I was full throttle to the finish line. It looked good on paper to get there first by three-ten-thousandths [.0003], but really that was a big mistake. I just tried to tighten it up and actually got a little carried away."
Too close for comfort or not, the round win and the very important bye into the semi-finals belonged to Faul, where he would meet up with Frank Grossi. Faul would have been a tough customer to beat after he slaughtered the tree with a perfect .000 reaction time, but was able to take a fairly easy stroll at the top end to save the car for the final, after Grossi pushed his luck a little too much when we went .015 red.
"Going to the final I was feeling pretty good," noted Faul. "The biggest drawback was having that .000 light in the semi's, because then, since I don't have a delay box in Super Stock, I had to make the button a little longer just to make sure I didn't do anything stupid and go red in the final. I was very pleased to have the .021 light that I had. He [Ken Etter] missed the tree a little bit and gave me some room to get out of the throttle a little at the end. I was probably going about a seventy on my seventy-one dial. The car was repeating very well, I was very happy with it."
The more than five-hundredths advantage that Faul gave himself on the line along with some smart decisions at the top end, was all he needed to acquire his fifteenth NHRA National Event win.
"It was pretty cool to be up on stage with all those guys," Faul said of his victory celebration with the other Sportsman class winners. "Some of those guys are many time winners, like Sheldon Gecker [Top Dragster winner] and Mike Ferderer [Top Sportsman winner]. It was really nice to share the stage with those guys and represent K&N with them and our other sponsors like Mickey Thompson and Hughes."
"I really need to thank my mom and dad, Gary and Cynthia, my brothers Brian and Darin," he noted. "And a special thanks to K&N Engineering. I've been working with them for the past five or six years and it is absolutely a great relationship to have. I've known Steve Williams for a long time and Bob Harris, actually when he was racing himself a little more. There are K&N products on both cars and then even my daily driver has the K&N performance kit on it."
This weekend Faul will compete a little closer to home at the 24th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, just outside of Seattle, Washington and if history repeats itself, he has a good feeling about putting at least one of his cars in a final round. "I've made it to a final round every three years at that race," he pointed out. "In '99 I runnered-up in Stock, 2002 I runnered-up in Super Comp and then in '05 and '08 I won Super Stock. So, being 2011 I'm hoping for real good things this weekend."
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