Evan's Recap of No Box Bonanza 2017

What a weekend, right? We had a beautiful weekend weather wise, a pit full of some of the baddest bottom bulb racers this side of the Mississippi, and we got the race completed in its entirety; what more could we ask for?

The beautiful weekend started on Friday with some killer races and an epic finale with Randy Biddle Jr. meeting up with Edmond Ellison.

Shockingly, one half of our final went out in the first round in one of the most entertaining races of the weekend, when Randy Biddle Jr. met up with Bill Persi. The race got off to a great start with RBJ dropping a .005 light, only to be bested by Persi’s .004. Persi runs down to the 1/8 mile only to go 7.194 on a 7.19, while RBJ runs under by .002 trying to keep up, forcing him to make his way to the buyback window.

RBJ was back at it again in the buyback dropped a .010 package on Jim Berschneider who really couldn’t help but be an innocent bystander as RBJ goes .007 and dead three to claw his way out of the buybacks. Marching on, RBJ was .004 to Lee Geer, to run down and go 7.078 on his 7.00 dial. He then comes right back again against Dale Boyer with an .013 reaction time and running under by .004 on the red-light win.

The next round win had to come at the expense of a Mr. Nasty Night Hastings. RBJ was taking no prisoners and kept drilling this tree, this time .007 to Nick’s uncharacteristically late light, all the while going dead 7 for the .014 package and the round win over a bad dude. Following his tussle with Nasty Nick, he narrowly escaped death against Mike Pisani, as he gets tree’d .012 to his .019 but advances due to the double break out only running under by .001, while his opponent runs too quick by .007 of a second.

Little Biddle then lined up against the recent graduate, Jaeden Durst and advanced on a red light, but running under his dial in by .001 of a second on the second straight pass. Following knocking out Jaeden Durst he lined up against traveling buddy Joe Soucek Jr., who unfortunately stood no chance as RBJ was on a mission with yet another .00 light going dead 7 on a 7.00 dial to record an .014 package. Then, if you can believe it, went 7.008 on a 7.00 dial for an .020 package against Billy Craig to earn a spot in the finals.

The second half of our final was Mr. Edmond Ellison, who did not show the kind of dominance RBJ showed in his route to the finals, but was certainly enough to earn him a seat at the table. In the first round, he knocked out Jack Plouck with an .025 light going 6.55; after that he found himself in a race against Reid Ricketson where a .019 package was enough to see him on to the next round.

Edmond then lined up against local racer Brandon Jirousek, who had to run under his dial in, in an attempt to keep up with Edmond, but was unfortunately not in the cards this round. The following round saw Edmond light up the win light with a double break out win, going .011 and only running under by .003 against Danny Gales Jr. Following this breakout win he recorded another break out win against reigning Edelbrock Pro Champion Mike O’Rourke, as he goes 6.523 on a 6.51 as O’Rourke goes 5.799 on a 5.81.

After this string of break out wins Edmond really pulled it together with a .007, an 0.13 and a .006 en route to the finals; oh yeah, plus an .011 package and a .014 package.

The final round between these two really was one heck of a race. Edmond left the line .005 to RBJ’s .007, and flirts with the finish line just enough to get the win running under 6.519 on a 6.52 as little Biddle goes 6.988 on a 7.00 dial in.

It was pretty cool being able to hand Edmond only his second or third big check (I didn’t really get a straight answer as to how many big checks he’s won, the microphone may have made him nervous). Despite the nervous he was calm cool and collected in the winners’ circle, receiving the big check as though he had been there before.

Edmond Ellison, Friday No Box Bonanza Winner!

Randy Biddle Jr, Friday RU No Box Bonanza!

After getting off to a hot start on Friday, Edmond was chasing car trouble the rest of the weekend and had an uphill battle ahead of him. Randy Biddle Jr. on the other hand still had plenty of rounds ahead of him.

Saturday brought a new and exciting day of racing along with some fresh faces to our winners’ circle. A pair of young guns in Matt Dadas and Phil Combs Jr. worked their way through yet another massive field of no box hitters to find the final round.

Matt Dadas got eliminations started against Danny Kobold in the first round. Matt was .017 on the tree and went 6.554 on the 6.54 dial, while Kobold was .036 on the tree, and did all he could at the finish line to go 6.559 on the 6.55, but wasn’t enough to earn the round win. The racing ranger came back in round two against harry Dukes Jr., and took home the round win as Dykes was late on the tree.

Coming back after buybacks he lined up alongside the 57 Chevy of Ray Ruehle, who went red against Dadas, but Matt Daddy was ready for him with a .007 light and running the ranger out the back door with a 6.533 on a 6.54. The round after his encounter with Ruehle he barely made it out alive against Brian Graham. Graham, who is recently coming off his first couple wins here at Summit Motorsports Park, tree’d Matt for the first time that day and had him on the ropes. Graham was .018 to Dadas’ .027. The finish line is where Matt was able to pull out the win light going 6.558 on a 6.54 while Graham fell off just a little with a 6.687 on a 6.65.

After dodging a bullet against Brian Graham, Dadas lined up against one of the best in the business, Phil Combs. Unfortunately, in this instance, Philbilly shot himself in the foot going .002 red to turn on the win light for Dadas. Matt was looking to put another Kentucky notch in his belt as Josh Epperson rolled up with him the following round. Josh was on it running 6.612 on a 6.61, but Matt won the battle on the starting line with the .012 vs. Josh’s .033, which Saw Matt into the next round.

Matt knocked out Rick Parsons, Dale Davis and rode the semi-final buy into the final round.

The second piece to our puzzle is young Phil Combs Jr, and at just seventeen years old he wheeled his little S10, Ronald, to the final round. Tony Martinez gave the young man a good race in the first round with there only being a .001 difference on the tree; Combs ran down to a 7.616 on a 7.60 to turn on the win light. Phil’s second round win came a little easier as he was able to snatch up a tenth on the starting line against Dave Richardson Jr to go 7.642 to head on to the next round.

After the buyback round Jr. came back out against Mike Nutt, who to be fair, had him on the ropes early. Both drivers were a little late on the bottom bulb and Nutt had the advantage off the line, however Phil made up for it at the finish line running dead 0 while Nutt goes an 8.024 on a 7.98, ultimately seeing Phil into the next round. Over the course of the next three rounds Phil Combs Jr. took the win light with a double red light against Chad Six, a red light win against Caddy Bill Taylor and another double red light win against Aj Casper. Following the string of red lights, he met up with Marty McKinney in the round of eleven. Jr. was .023 on the tree besting McKinney’s .039, all the while running down to a 7.605 on a 7.60 while McKinney was just off his dial enough for Jr. to advance into the next round.

In the round of six he met up with Bryan Yaeger who may have been hitting the tree based on who he was racing as he turns it red to give Phil a free ride into the semifinals.

In the semi’s, Phil laid down possibly his best lap of the weekend against Chris “Bubba” Black. Phil was .006 to Bubba’s .012 and laid down a killer 7.603 on the .60 for a .009 package into the finals. Unfortunately for Phil, he may have used this pass just one round too early.

In what could potentially be the youngest final in the twenty-year history of the No Box Bonanza, Matt Dadas and Phil Combs Jr. went to battle. Matt chopped the tree in half on Phil going .040 to the .080 of Combs. At the finish line Phil was right there running the 7.615 on the .61, but with the advantage off the starting line Matt Daddy took home the win going 6.564 on the 6.52.

Matt came back up track to the winners’ circle to quite the reception as there was still a pretty decent crowd left for the finals, and watching the sportsmanship put on display by both drivers reminds me why this sport is so great.

Kind of an interesting statistic here, on both Friday and Saturday whoever took the buy into the finals has won the race. Coincidence? Let’s see what the Sunday 10k has in store.

Matt Dadas, Saturday No Box Winner! Phil Combs Jr, Saturday No Box Runner-Up

Sunday brought a couple intermittent showers but nothing we couldn’t handle. Aside from the two showers we dealt with the beautiful weather continue and the racing became even more cut throat. Sunday featured an all out of town final with New York’s Dale Eckert staring down Pennsylvania’s Matt Obertanec for ten thousand dollars.

With the forecast for the day, the decision was made to come right out of the box at 8:30 with round one of eliminations and get the day started on a high note.

Matt Obertanec came out in the first round against the two wheeled opponent Chris Hardin. Fortunately for Matty-O, Chris went after the tree a little too hard and turned it red. Coming back in the second round Obertanec was lethal with an .011 reaction time running 6.798 on a 6.79 to drop a .019 package on Chris Butcher who couldn’t do anything but try and get to the finish line first but just ran too quick.

Following buybacks, Obertanec came up to the starting line with Mark Pressey. This was an awfully tight race with only .003 difference on the reaction time, and saw Matty-O take the win going 6.808 on a 6.79, while Pressey ran a 6.517 on a 6.50. I’ll let you do the math but believe me, it was a tight one.

After the tight race against Mr. Pressey, Matty-O picked up another red light win, this time against Randy Biddle Sr. who just .021 wrong side of green to Matt’s .021 green. The following round Matty-O found himself in a bit of a pickle against Mike O’Rourke Jr, who beat him by just a hair on the tree .010 to Matt’s .014. At the finish line Obertanec came away with the win 6.811 on the 6.80 while O’Rourke Jr. ran 5.868 on the 5.85.

The next round he came up alongside Brian Graham, who a couple of times this weekend was put on the trailer by guys who either won the race or fell short in the finals; so I apologize for that Brian. Obertanec put the hammer down on the starting line and was .014 to Brian’s decent .036, but Matty-O was locked in all day and took home the win despite Brian running dead six.

He then took out Reid Ricketson and Marty McKinney in the next two rounds who both ran dead on their dial ins, but like I said Matty-O was dialed in and did enough to get past both competitors to meet up with a familiar name from the weekend Randy Biddle Jr., except this time his 96 Beretta is the weapon of choice.

In the semis Obertanec was .006 to RBJ’s .005, forcing both drivers to run down the finish line under their dials where Matty-O went 6.805 on the .81 while RBJ went 5.704 on a 5.71. That’s another race where I’ll let you do the math, but just believe me again; it was a close race.

Unlike Obertanec, the other half of our Final, Dale Eckert, did not have a great start to 10k Sunday. He laid down a great .016 light but wasn’t enough to get the win against Russ Benish who forced Eckert try and fight his way back from the buybacks. To do this, he had to get past Ontario’s own Dave Moon. Both drivers left the lien with identical reaction times with Eckert getting through going 7.246 on a 7.21 and putting himself right back in contention for the 10k check.

The following round he had a very tough customer in last night’s 5k champion Matt Dadas, except this time Matt was wheeling his Starfire. Eckert did not seem to be phased by lining up alongside the young man as he dropped a .009 on Dadas forcing both of them to run it out through the finish line where Eckert got the win going 7.188 on the 7.19 while matt was a 6.346 on a 6.35. He then made short work of John Janu III who unfortunately went .021 red to his .025 green and went on to the next round against Mr. Kelly Smith. Kelly, who is normally going to battle off the top bulb, was just a bit behind of Eckert on the tree as he put two in his back pocket off the starting line and cruised on down to a 7.205 on a 7.18 win to park his first generation Camaro in the round of nine.

In the round of nine he found himself lined up against Kentucky’s Josh Epperson, who made it about as far last night when he ran into Matt Dadas, unfortunately this time he ran into Dale Eckert. Epperson came locked and loaded but was .004 red to Eckert’s green light and couldn’t do anything but watch Dale Eckert take his victory lap into the next round against Ryan Ricketson.

Ricketson, who I cannot be totally sure but I’m pretty confident was in the late rounds, finals or possibly won this whole thing within the past couple years, did what he could against Eckert but Eckert chopped the tree in half of him and ended up picking up the win light via double break out. Fortunately for Eckert, he was in the position for the bye, so was able to watch Matty O and RBJ duke it out in the semis before he took his bye lap into the final round.

The finals between Dale Eckert and Matt Obertanec were pretty uninspiring, at least from the ground. I saw Eckert leave, then watched Obertanec leave and instantly two reds came up and the win light awarded to Eckert. Which initially, is not too exciting, however, upon further review it was noted that TruStart came outta nowhere and decided the winner here. Eckert, the slower car was .002 red while the faster car in Matty-O went .010 red.

As Eckert came back to the winners circle you could see what the win meant to everyone here with him this weekend. After square dancing trying to get him outta the way of the car so Sam could dump the ceremonial cooler over top of his head, I found out this was the first big check Mr. Eckert had ever received, and being able to be a part of that was certainly a humbling experience to say the least.

Dale Eckert, Sunday No Box Winner Matt Obertanec, Sunday Runner-Up

So, with that, yet another No Box Bonanza Weekend is in the books. We had a beautiful weekend and on Sunday when I’m not sure anybody expected us to get a race run we not only completed the race, but we also featured buybacks, so in my mind that’s a definite win. I wanna thank everybody who came out this year and anybody who has supported the No Box Bonanza over these past twenty years.

This coming weekend we’ve got Super Summit coming to us which should be an awesome time, but I expect to see most of you back in two weeks for the next installment of our Edelbrock Super Series!

Copyright © 2013 Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park | All Rights Reserved.
Website Design by Mango Bay Internet