Port McNeill's Bill McDonald leaps his Plymouth Arrow from the starting line during Rumble on the Runway Saturday at Port McNeill Airport.

Drag lesson: drive, don’t think

Drivers participate in the Rumble on the Runway fourth series event

PORT McNEILL — In the world of bracket drag racing, there are a lot of ways to lose a heat. On Saturday, Port Hardy’s Collin Shaw learned a new one.

Bidding for a second straight Sportsman Class title at the North Island Timing Association’s Rumble on the Runway fourth series event, Shaw erased his dial-in time and used a white dauber to paint a slightly slower time on the window of his Pontiac G8 before his final heat against Ron Clark of Port Alberni.

Shaw then “broke out,” beating that new dial-in time by three-thousands of a second and settling for second place.

“I screwed up,” Shaw admitted. “I started out at 8.57, but I’d been consistently running slower. I changed my dial-in too much.”

Now Shaw will wait to see if it cost him.

Last weekend’s races on the eighth-mile track at Port McNeill Airport wrapped up the five-race Rumble on the Runway 2011 points series. Organizer Maureen “Mo” Anderson will now total the points to determine shares of the $5,000 to be awarded to the top 10 overall finishers.

With his victory in the third race in July, and a third-place finisher in the opening round in June, Shaw entered last weekend in the hunt for the top prize. Other local drivers among the points leaders included Port McNeill Pro Class driver Tim Walton and Port McNeill Super-Pro driver Terry Mackay, each of whom won day championships during the July event.

Last weekend did not go quite as well for North Island racers, as visiting riders took each division title on both days.

Clark swept the Sportsman class, adding a win Sunday to his victory over Shaw on Saturday. In the Super-Pro Class, Howard Hilborn of Duncan edged Ken Anderson of Courtenay in Saturday’s final and Eric Shields of Parksville won Sunday’s final over Mike Hutmacher of Courtenay.

In the Pro Class, Tim Bartell of Campbell River edged Dave McRae of Powell River for Saturday’s title and Ed Walcot of Port Alberni took Sunday’s title over Jeff Bowell of Nanaimo, with Walton placing third.

Walton was among the local drivers who gave a thumbs-up to the expanded race schedule in Port McNeill, which was bumped from two to three weekends this summer.

“It’s awesome,” Walton said. “It’s a lot of work, though. Still, you don’t have to travel, and it’s a good track. Every racer I’ve talked to, they love it here. They love the atmosphere.”

The field was bolstered with the addition of a quartet of Powell River drivers making their first appearance at the track, and they promised to return for next season’s series.

“We still need volunteers,” said Anderson. “But if we can keep it up, we should be able to draw crowds. I know the Saanich Police said they’d be up with their (930-horsepower) car two or three times.”

In addition to the overall track points trophies and prize money, NITA will award top-5 prizes in each of the three classifications during a postseason bash at the Canadian Legion Hall in Port McNeill. The date for the event will be announced at a future date.

 

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