Terry Sullivan in the Midst of a Super Gas Winning Streak with Back-to-Back NHRA Wins

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When Sullivan began his time runs or qualifying sessions for the Topeka national event, his 598 BBC as well as his converter were all brand new.
When Sullivan began his time runs or qualifying sessions for the Topeka national event, his 598 BBC as well as his converter were all brand new.
Should you be competing in Super Gas anywhere in NHRA Div 4 territory or at a NHRA National event where Richardson, Texas based Terry Sullivan has also entered, you just may get a chill should he pull up next to you for eliminations. The K&N racer has knocked out all who have challenged him over his last two NHRA events, by winning back-to-back Super Gas finals with the 1967 Camaro Roadster he has been driving. His first win coming during the 24th annual Dollar General Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka and his latest during a NHRA Div 4 event at No Problem Raceway, in Belle Rose, Louisiana.

When Sullivan began his time runs or qualifying sessions for the Topeka national event, his 598 BBC as well as his converter were all brand new. "Our first pass out we ran a 10.10 and 168," explained Sullivan. "The mile-per-hour was real impressive. The second run we took about fifty numbers out of the timer [throttle stop] and it went a 9.95, but we were getting it closer to where we wanted it to be. Over the course of the race at Topeka, it was really windy," he continued. "We had over twenty mile-per-hour head wind."

Sullivan got a lucky round right off the bat when his first round opponent turned it red and allowed Sullivan to make a full pass down the track and double check his throttle stop ratio. "We were happy with the run and we ended up having it dialed right where we wanted it to be for that first round," he said of his under the index 9.878. "Then in second round I had a .009 light to his [Billy Graham] .022 and that allowed me to push him under."

Third round would be a very similar time slip for Sullivan. He would once again have the starting line advantage with his .007 to Tom Carlson's .019. Sullivan ran his 1967 K&N Camaro Roadster up on Carlson's 1984 Omni, and as the phase is drag racing goes, "let him go" or decided to not take the stripe but force Carlson under the class 9.90 index.

To wrap up the class eliminations for Saturday, Sullivan got quite a gift in round four. "Once I got up to the lanes to be paired, I found out I had Mike Wiblishouser, who is a tough racer," he explained. "One of the NHRA officials told me that I had already beat him and I kept trying to explain to him that I hadn't run him yet. Finally, I found out that Mike had pulled out because he had dropped a valve in the shutdown area, after winning his last round and locked the motor up."

"I didn't know it right at that time, but found out right before making the fourth round that because Mike broke, I would also have the scheduled bye the next morning," he continued. "I told the NHRA official, 'now that's the kind of news I like to hear.'"
Two NHRA events and two Super Gas wins, that's quite a way to start of the season.
Two NHRA events and two Super Gas wins, that's quite a way to start of the season.

It's always huge to get a bye at any time, but especially so late in the rounds during a NHRA national event. Sullivan would get a rare opportunity to make a competition time run during the fifth round on Sunday morning. "With now having a fourteen mile-per-hour tail wind instead of the twenty we had as a head wind, yeah we were like .012 difference between the days, is what we figured because of the wind difference," he pointed out. "So after being .004 red and 9.87 during that bye, I added a hundredth to the delay and decided to let the track and the weather come to the E.T."

"I ran a good customer of mine, Tony Gray in the semi-finals," he said. "Knowing that Tony likes to be hot [set up fast] and likes to dump, I think I was like .024 on the tree and he was .038, I pushed him out and fed him a little bit of stripe."

Sullivan's safe 9.911 to Gray's 9.885 would set him up for a final round match-up with 2012 Houston Super Gas "bridesmaid", Jeff Lopez. "I took six of that hundredth back out of the delay and with my .011 light, I knew by the sixty foot clocks that he was in trouble," Sullivan said of Lopez's late .061 light. "Jeff and his whole family are good racers. But on that run at three hundred feet, he should have been out on me and he wasn't. At that point, it just seemed like the whole race just slowed down and I could really see what was going on. I probably ended up taking a little too much stripe, but I was trying to make sure I didn't mess up again."

The K&N racer has now been in ten NHRA National event finals with a sixty percent closing ratio, the latest win at Topeka made three for the Super Gas category. With a little IHRA racing in-between for the event at San Antonio Raceway, Sullivan's very next NHRA event would be just as successful for him.

During the most recent NHRA Div 4 event at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana, Sullivan wheeled the K&N 1967 Camaro Roadster through two tough rounds, taking down Allen, Saucier, before meeting up with Jeff Lopez again in round three. Lopez went for the throat with a nice .005 light only to be outdriven and sent under the 9.90 index by Sullivan and his .029 and 9.908, after knocking off nearly fourteen mile-per-hour.

Next Sullivan would have an interesting round with Allen Temple. Temple would completely miss the tree and give Sullivan a full two tenths of a second to play with down track, where he skillfully backed in Temple without losing too much momentum and very easily took a two foot stripe for a safe 10.17 on the 9.90 index. The round earned Sullivan a bye into his second NHRA Super Gas final in as many races.

After first watching to see who he would meet up with in the next round, and not one to fluff on a single, Sullivan used his bye as a tune-up for the final, running his K&N Roadster out the back door and getting his throttle stop dialed for his match up with Scott Wood.

Sullivan saved one of his best reaction times of eliminations for the final. His .009 to Wood's sleepy .048 would give him all the opening he needed, although with all the top end games that were going on, it would almost seem as no one really wanted the stripe, with both drivers way down on mile-per-hour and E.T. By the nearest of margins, Sullivan backed into Wood and turned on the win light for the Super Gas Div 4 win by just five inches or .002 and take the Wally at his very first NHRA Div event of the season.

Two NHRA events and two Super Gas wins, that's quite a way to start of the season.

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