Proving to be one of Gary Stinnett's favorite stops on the NHRA tour, Brainerd International Raceway played host to the latest Super Comp victory for the reigning national champion. Stinnett drove his K&N Undercover dragster to the win for the fourth time during the 30th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Reigning national champion Gary Stinnett gets Super Comp victory.
The Emporia, Kansas engine builder put together seven winning rounds over the course of the three day event, in which once he made it to second round, he would remain on quite the roll all the way into the championship round on Sunday afternoon.
NHRA Super Comp Racer Gary Stinnett at Brainerd International Raceway
In his second round, Stinnett would line up against South Dakota's Dustin Long. Long would miss the tree and give Stinnett not only a huge .025 advantage, but also not be able to run anywhere near the 8.900 index. Stinnett was able to take full advantage of both ends of the track and easily parlay that into a safe 8.975 win and on to round three.
If one thought Stinnett's reaction time was good in round two, he would continue to tighten it up for his third round pairing with Craig Clark, who just didn't seem to have a handle on the tree. Stinnett's .008 to Clark's .046 was more than enough window of opportunity for Stinnett to push Clark under the index and on to round four.
The remaining Super Comp rounds, for the 30th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, would be held on Sunday, and even though there may have been a night in-between, Stinnett did anything but cool off.
The air and track conditions on Sunday morning proved to be even better than the last time that the Super Comp class went down the track, with the only entry not running under the index during fourth round being K&N's Don O'Neal. O'Neal enjoyed his earned bye run and made a very soft pass, saving parts and of course, not showing his hand, while all other remaining competitors battled it out for their shot into the quarter-finals.
Stinnett was able to take full advantage of both ends of the track and easily parlay that into a safe 8.975 win and on to round three.
Stinnett, like his other competitors, had Saturday evening to study his next round match up and while he didn't have the better reaction time this round, he certainly had read the track and air conditions better than that of Tom Nygaard. Both competitors running under the index, but Stinnett closer to the 8.90 dial with his 8.888 compared to Nygaard's 8.867.
That was a very important round win for Stinnett and by doing so earned himself a bye into semi-final, where he would meet up with fellow K&N racer, Don O'Neal. At this point in the game, neither driver took the other lightly and both had their best reaction times of the event. O'Neal with a very nice .006 and Stinnett with a near perfect .001, it was a close race between the pair from wire-to-wire. Stinnett dropped O'Neal hard at the stripe and came out on top when O'Neal broke out by a mere two-thousandths of a second.
Stinnett was now off to the final round to face Rodney Thompson.
Not wanting to go red in the final, Stinnett tweaked his starting line approach and backed off his reaction time, as did his competitor, Thompson. Nearly dead even at the hit, the pair each made their quick decisions as they headed to the stripe, where once again it was the reigning Super Comp Champion, Stinnett prevailing in the double breakout.
The round was about as tough as they come and goes to show why NHRA Super Comp is one of the toughest classes in drag racing. The margin of victory at the stripe was a minuscule one thousandth of second or one seventh the time it just took you to blink.
Gary Stinnett, a long time K&N product user from oil filters and air filters to the new K&N composite scoops, was now a twenty-two time NHRA National Event winner. Many of the wins coming in other NHRA classes, but this win during the 30th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals made his twelfth in Super Comp and his fourth at Brainerd International Raceway.
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