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Contributed by Bobby Bennett,

Chip Ellis

Thousands of race fans jammed intoSouth Georgia Motorsports Park Saturday afternoon for the special “Chicago Style” Shootout portion of the Eastern Spring Test Nationals presented by Torco’s in
Valdosta, Ga. The fans were treated to an excellent of day of racing that concluded with NHRA stalwarts Allen Johnson and Chip Ellis joining other class winners in post-race celebration.

“I have so much fun out here testing with these fans,” said Johnson after he defeated teammate Richie Stevens in the final round. “The race fans get to see us in a relaxed atmosphere and I think that is very important. It is great that we are off to a good start in testing with these Mopar cars.”

Prior to the final round, Johnson and Stevens poked fun at one another via the PA system while sitting in the staging lanes.

Stevens fired the first shot by pointing out that Johnson was strapped in the car early. “He’s one of those older guys who has to get in the early; it takes him a lot longer to get into the car,” Stevens said jokingly.

Johnson responded with, “Yeah, we ought to do well. We have a weak opponent.”

The Mopar-sponsored veteran was the low qualifier with a 6.667 but needed only 10.744 seconds to gain the special “Golden Eagle” trophy when Stevens fouled away a 6.674 effort. NHRA POWERade Pro Stock rookie Roger Brogdon had top speed of the day with a 207.02 blast.

Ellis, of Plains, Ga., found favor with the hometown crowd as he retained his championship on a holeshot against Andrew Hines in the final pair.

Hines entered the final round as the rider to beat on the strength of a 6.983, 189.76 during the second session. That didn’t deter Ellis, who snagged .05 on the starting line and led Hines to the stripe with the low elapsed time of the day – a mark of 6.971 seconds.

Hines managed to earn at least a share of the bragging rights on the day, however, recording top speed of the event with a 191.29 mph posting in the final.

Rodger Brogdon

Pro Mod racer John Russo made the long trek from
Middleton, Mass., a worthwhile endeavor by recording his best package of the day to defeat Troy Critchley, who had earlier knocked on the five-second zone when he carded a 6.014 elapsed time during qualifying. Russo was the quicker of the two leaving the starting line and that made all the difference in Critchley’s decision to abort his run at half-track. His winning elapsed time of 6.055 seconds was just .003 quicker than his qualifying effort.

Critchley had the best overall effort of the day as evidenced by his record-setting pass of 6.014 seconds at 241.20 mph. It was the first 240 mph pass in North American Pro Mod history.

Scott Cannon, Jr., was right on Critchley’s heels, however, pacing his IHRA-legal Pontiac Firebird to a speed of 240.25 mph later in the day.

Cannon was just following in the footsteps of his dad as Scotty Cannon made a full pull behind the wheel of Evan Knoll’s Top Fuel dragster in just his second run ever. The former six-time Pro Modified champion and nitro Funny Car pilot brought the crowd to their feet with a 4.752 elapsed time and 309 mile per hour effort.

“The hardest thing is when we warm the car, I’m [used to seeing] the motor in front of me. I could see everything going on. It’s like you can’t see anything with this thing. Everything’s behind you. That’s why you’ve got good crew guys, so they can handle all that stuff.”

When it comes to crew, few could top the coalition that Top Alcohol Dragster champion Dave Heitzman brought to Valdosta. The Evan Knoll-owned, A/Fuel Dragster featured a combination of Brian Corradi, Mark Oswald, Steve Boggs and Morgan Lucas as crew chiefs.

Heitzman entered the final as the second quickest behind Darryl Hitchman (5.467) but ended up running alternate Randy Meyer in the big showdown. Heitzman rode out a wheelstand and pedaled it once en route to a winning 5.510 at 256.60. Meyer made a race of it but fell short with a 5.777, 213.70.

Mick Snyder topped Terry Munroe to win the Top Alcohol Funny Car portion of the event. Snyder dominated the day from start to finish and in-between with a winning 5.848, 250.37 to eclipse Munroe’s respectable 5.905, 236.51.

The mountain motor Pro Stock division was a hard-fought affair that was won by first-time titlist Cary Goforth. Goforth used a 6.403, 220.66 package to pull away from Mike Corvo, Jr., who drifted out of the groove and lifted. Goforth was the top qualifier with a 6.356 elapsed time and a top speed of 220.66


McBride wins two in a row!

Cabela’s Classic marks McBride’s fourth win of 2007

Photo: Andy Watson

Justin McBride takes home his fourth event title for the year with this win at the Kansas PBR.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (March 11, 2007) – The Built Ford Tough Series presented by Wrangler (BFTS) made its fourth consecutive stop at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. with the PBR’s Cabela’s Classic this weekend. Current BFTS points leader and 2005 PBR World Champion Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) dazzled fans during the three-day event with the highest marked ride of the weekend. The Oklahoma cowboy earned nearly $72,000 for his efforts and widened his lead in the PBR World Championship race.

After two previous buck-offs on Dr. Proctor owned by Chumley/Katich/R&L,  McBride conquered his nemesis in the second round with 91 points aboard the great bull. The score was the highest marked ride of the event, which earned McBride a $1,000 bonus as the Cabela’s World’s Foremost Ride. 

The former PBR World Champ dominated the competition through the first three rounds as the only man to cover all three bulls.  However, with a disappointing buck-off in the Built Ford Tough Championship Round aboard Hot Stuff owned by Diamond S Bucking Bulls, McBride opened the door for his competitors to catch up with him in the event standings.

“Hot Stuff is getting better and better,” commented McBride. “He was the bull to draw in the short round and I didn’t get my job done but luckily it worked out.”

Paulo Crimber (Olimpia, Sao Paulo, Brazil) was the first man to threaten the event championship. Crimber thrilled fans with a 90.25 point ride aboard Black Smoke owned by Page & Teague Bucking Bulls, but he came up one and a quarter points shy to McBride. Crimber’s second place efforts earned him nearly $17,000.

J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, N.C.) was the second man to threaten McBride’s lead. Mauney drew Sharp Dressed Kid owned by Double R Bucking Bulls in the Championship Round. He covered the bull scoring 89.75 points, which placed him in third in the event standings.

With his second consecutive win of the 2007 BFTS season, McBride is off to one of his best starts to date. He increased his lead over second place Mauney to 359.5 points. McBride has won four out of 11 events this season and $213,510 in PBR earnings.  “It’s a great feeling to have my fourth win under my belt but there’s a lot of the season left to go,” commented McBride.

Injury Report: Ross Johnson (Alvord, Texas) suffered a sprained shoulder and is questionable to compete in Tacoma.

Mako owned by Bryan Smith was injured during the third round of competition and is being evaluated by a veterinarian.  


Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s “Ride with the Best” Match-up Bonus : As the winner of the New Orleans, La. event, Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) was eligible for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car “Ride with the Best” bonus money in Kansas City, Mo. McBride was successful in the first round on Crazy Train owned by Page & Teague Bucking Bulls , in the second round against Dr. Proctor owned by Chumley/Katich/R&L, and successful in the third round against Cheap Trick owned by Devereaux Bucking Bulls thus awarding $15,000 to McBride-$5,000 for each successful ride.  As the event winner, Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) will be eligible for the bonus next weekend in Tacoma, Wash.

Ford Truck Moment of Truth Bonus : Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) led the event going into the Built Ford Tough Championship round.  With the eventual event win, McBride claimed the $20,000 Ford Truck Moment of Truth Bonus. Next weekend in Tacoma, the bonus will start over at $5,000.

Ford Super Duty Challenge : As the event winner, Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) has qualified for a chance to compete at the PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, against all other 2007 Built Ford Tough Series event winners, for $50,000 toward the purchase of a 2007 Ford Super Duty Truck. The Ford Super Duty Challenge contestant who finishes the highest in the event aggregate during the 2007 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals will win the Ford Super Duty Challenge.Bully Dog Short Go Top Qualifier:  Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) was awarded $2,500 for being the bull rider with the highest cumulative score (i.e. highest in the event average) going into the Built Ford Tough Championship Round and for properly displaying the Top Qualifier Patch.

Salem NationaLease Bull of the Event : Shanghai owned by Diamond S Bucking Bulls accrued a 46.25 bull score, which was enough to claim the High Marked Bull of the Event title and $1,250 as a part of Salem National Lease’s exciting bonus program. The program awards $1,250 to the top bull of the event as determined by the PBR judges’ bull scores.

Cabela’s World’s Foremost Ride: Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) recorded the highest marked ride of the event when he topped Dr. Proctor owned by Chumley/Katich/R&L for 91 points.  In doing so, he earned a $1,000 bonus.

The rider who achieves the highest score at each BFTS regular season event during the 2007 BFTS regular season excluding the PBR World Finals receives a bonus of $1,000 for the event. The PBR athlete who achieves the highest marked qualifying ride during the entire 2007 BFTS regular season, excluding the PBR World Finals event will receive $25,000, while second and third place finishers will be awarded $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. The bull rider that achieves the highest marked ride through the course of the entire 2007 PBR BFTS World Finals will earn an additional $10,000.  

Rocky McDonald (Col. Juarez, Mexico) is in the lead for the Cabela’s World’s Foremost Ride bonus of $25,000 with his 92-point performance in New York City earlier this season on Page & Teague Bucking Bulls’ Sunshine.

Cabela’s Classic Event Results:

FIRST ROUND: 1) Fabricio Alves (Sao Paulo, Brazil) 89.5 points on Herbert & Stamford’s Handsome Jack, $7,000;  2) Justin McBride (Elk City, OK) 87.5 points on Page & Teague Bucking Bulls’ Crazy Train, $5,000; 3) J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, N.C.) 87.25 points on 5G Farms Bucking Bulls’ Rowdy You Hou, $3,000; 4/5) Paulo Crimber (Olimpia, Sao Paulo, Brazil) 87 points on Bryan Smith’s Mako, $1,600; 4/5) Mark Lopes (Pioneer, Calif.) 87 points McNeil/Weeks’ River City Dreams, $1,600.

SECOND ROUND: 1) Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) 91 points on Chumley/Katich/R&L’s Dr. Proctor, $2,730; 2) Guilherme March (Leme, Sao Paulo, Brazil) 87.25 points on Frontier/Teague Bucking Bulls’ Nervous Waters, $1,950; 3) Matt Werries (Jacksonville, Ill.) 86 points on Page & Teague Bucking Bulls’ Night Life, $1,170.

THIRD ROUND: 1) Harve Stewart (Stephenville, Texas) 89.5 points on Curtis Mendell’s Can Rock, $2,730; 2) Tater Porter (Kenansville, Fla.) 88.75 points on Page & Teague Bucking Bulls’ Holy Moly, $1,950; 3/4) Dustin Hall (Springfield, Mo.) 87.5 points on Rice Ranch’s Mr. Harrison, $975; 3/4) Shane Proctor (Grand Coulee, Wash.) 87.5 points on Haines/Owen’s Pandemonium, $975.

BUILT FORD TOUGH CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND: 1) Renato Nunes (Buritama, Sao Paulo, Brazil) 90.75 points on Diamond S Bucking Bulls’ Cat Daddy, $2,730; 2) Paulo Crimber (Olimpia, Sao Paulo, Brazil) 90.25 points on Page & Teague Bucking Bulls’ Black Smoke, $1,950; 3) J.B. Mauney (Mooresville,  N.C.) 89.75 points on Double R Bucking Bulls’ Sharp Dressed Kid, $1,170; 4) Wiley Petersen (Fort Hall, Idaho) 84.5 points on Page/Buck/Watts’ Sports Machine, $780.

OVERALL EVENT STANDINGS: 1) Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) 265.25 points, $71,808; 2) Paulo Crimber (Olimpia, Sao Paulo, Brazil) 264 points, $16,921; 3) J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, N.C.) 262.75 points, $13,587; 4) Wiley Petersen (Fort Hall, Idaho) 256.25 points, $6,785.

BUILT FORD TOUGH SERIES POINT STANDINGS: 1) Justin McBride (Elk City, Okla.) 5,110.75; J.B. Mauney (Mooresville, N.C.) 4,751.25; 3) Jason Bennett (Honeygrove, Texas) 3,005.75 points; 4) Brian Canter (Randleman, N.C.) 2,802; 5) Mike Lee (Decatur, Texas) 2,654.5;  6) Guilherme Marchi (Leme, Sao Paulo, Brazil) 2,609.75; 7) Matt Bohon (Cole Camp, Mo.) 2,511; 8 ) Sean Willingham (Summerville, Ga.) 2,454.25; 9) Kasey Hayes (Liberal, Kan.) 2,363; 10) Mike White (De Kalb, Texas) 2,293.5.

March 2007
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