As the end of the 2011 season draws near, Slate Cummings of Hammond, Louisiana continued to find his way to another NHRA final round, this time it was again in his 1999 B/SA Firebird as he took runner-up honors during the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, just outside of Dallas, Texas.
NHRA Stock car driver Slate Cummings
With already a NHRA National event win earlier this season for Cummings in his Stock car, one that came for him at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois back in July, add in his most recent accomplishment in Stock and he now sits number nine in the 2011 NHRA Lucas Oil National Championship standings. Cummings remains very strong on the divisional level as well, where he is currently number two in NHRA Division 4 Stock.
While Cummings may not have had the success on the National stage in his Super Stock entry so far for 2011 that he has enjoyed in his Stock car, he has had a very strong year on the divisional scene. With several good outings, including a win right off the bat during the NHRA Division 4 opener back in March at Houston, Cummings currently sits atop the NHRA Division 4 standings and just outside the prestigious top ten on the national level.
Cummings most recent Stock Eliminator final round came for him over a weekend of rather large weather swings, occurring from qualifying days to Sunday's final eliminations. Starting a number fifteen on a ladder of forty-seven, Cummings first round opponent would be Jackie Hibbard of Humble, Texas. Cummings may have been a whole three hundredths behind on the line, but feverously outdrove Hibbard at the stripe to take a six thousandth of a second finish line for his first Stock round victory of the weekend.
That would set him up next to pair up with Kyle Ratcliff. Cummings still the quicker of the two cars was able to watch Ratcliff leave and knew they're reaction times were close. Using a dead on the dial elapsed time, he used a .026 package to send Ratcliff to the trailer with his .038 package in round two.
Cummings used a better light in round three to shutdown Jody Simoneaux and another narrow five thousandths of a second margin at the stripe in round four, to take the win over Brent Bratsen. With a scorching track temp over one-hundred thirty degrees and air that made the engines feel like they were in nearly forty-two hundred feet of altitude, Cummings had his car much closer to the dial on the window and took a squeaker of a win in the semi-final round. Having his opponent Tracy Pedigo more than doubled up on the tree, Cummings kept it almost a little too tight at the stripe when he made the margin just two thousandths of a second, or nearly ten inches.
The feat would send Cummings and his K&N Firebird into his second NHRA Stock Eliminator National Event final of the 2011 season to meet up with Gary Emmons.
Although track temps were now soaring to near one hundred and forty degrees, most seasoned competitors on the national level know that for the final rounds at a NHRA National Event, the track will be in its best shape of the weekend and this race was no exception, no matter what the temp. Cummings gave himself a little breathing room by dialing his car down a hundredth from the round before to a 10.50. Emmons was just coming off his bye in the semis and had a very good idea exactly where he was.
With a 4-3 record in final rounds, Cummings had been runner-up during this event two previous times with one of those coming back in 2008 when he lost to Jerry Emmons. After a gallant attempt to overcome Gary Emmons' .021 starting line advantage, Cummings would run farther under his dial and come out on the wrong side of a double breakout time slip.
Slate Cummings' attributes his latest Stock Eliminator runner-up in his Cummings Motorsports, a.k.a. 'The Bayou Boyz', 1999 Firebird during the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, to many hours of hard work, attention to detail and more importantly the products he and his family have chosen to use on their entire stable of race cars for many years.
"We've worked with K&N as long as I can remember," said Cummings. "My dad and our family of cars have always used K&N oil filters and air filters on everything that we race and we wouldn't have it any other way."
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