By Jim McCombe

The final chapter of the 2010 drag racing season is now in the books, thanks to the recent rains that took a break and gave way to some clear skies for Sunday's season closer. Due to rain and cold temperatures, the race distance was shortened to 1/8 mile.

The big winners were James Ernest (Super Pro); Hank Raney (Pro ET); Doug McCay (Sportsman); Randy Monte (Motorcycle); Justin Morgan (Super Comp); and John Terry (Trophy).

Napa’s Ernest powered his Shakers Vodka/B&G Tires backed 76 Olds Starfire to wins over Sean Elings 71 Datsun in the opener then stopped Sacramento stand out and former Division 7 ET Champ Artie Paiva's wheel-standing 70 Camaro in the second frame. In the semis, he put away Napa's Larry Ball and his Kathy Ball Realty/Mitchell Bros. 71 Chevy pickup and a shot to win his firs- ever Super Pro victory.

Working the other side of the ladder was Stockton's Dennis Paz  and his 41 Willy's pickup. Paz set things in motion claiming wins over Eric Martin's MP Motorsports 67 Camaro, then reeled off wins over Mike Eling, and the 2010 Division 7 Summit ET Champ Joe Brown of Vacaville and his Western Stabilization backed 70 Duster to advance into the finals and a match up with Ernest.

Ernest received the head start using a .019 RT to a .030 RT for Paz and was able to hold off the fast closing Willy's with a 6.770 ET (6.76 dial in) 102.06 to Paz's slight off 6.452 (6.43) at 105.90 mph.

Pro ET was full of surprises as many of the early favorites did not last until the semifinals.  Jeff LaSalle from Rohnert who has a habit of winning Infineon events in his Jeff's Garage backed 67 Dodge RT started things going with a win over Steve Skarry's 64 Pontiac then managed to knock off Milton Perez, Fast Eddie Kucker's Juggers Racing Team 37 Ford and Sacramento's Melissa Wright and her very consistent 73 Nova in the semi finals and berth in the championship round.

Concord's Hank Raney had a day that he will long remember and had set his 56 Chevy set on kill. Hammering Hank sent Joe Janusch to the sidelines in round 1 and then capped that off earning wins over Steve Parrish, followed by a single in round 3. In the semi's, Eureka's Michael Wright and his 87 Camaro was added to Raney's victims list and a golden opportunity for Raney to claim his first-ever Pro ET class win. In the run for the money, Raney grabbed the early lead, posting a .049 RT to LaSalle's .062  then put up a winning 7.517 (7.50) 91.09 to LaSalle's right-on-the-dial (but not quite good enough) 6.418 (6.41) at 102.38.

In the Sportsman class, it looked like a lineup of Wednesday Night Drags regulars making up most of the field. When the finals rolled around, it was a Ford versus Chevy match up with Doug McCay's Rodeo-based 08 Ford 150 pickup and the ever-improving Brian Kam from Pacifica in a 98 Camaro.

McCay put his plan into motion and eliminated Mitch Newsome, chassis builder Will Harrison, San Leandro's Christian Hess and his 93 Honda followed by a bye and a spot in the final round.

Kam put out Orland racer Lee Sawyer's 71 Nova and followed that up with wins over Eric Coker, 3 time former High School Champ Stephanie Pa and closed it out in the semis with a win over Vacaville's Bob Choisser's 73 Vega. For the money, McCay left first with a .067 RT to Kam's almost matching .070 that had both drivers running under their dial-in's that resulted in a win for McCay 13.108 (13.13) 69.07 to Kam's further under 8.487 (8.54) 82.69

Despite the cold, 11 Motorcycles made the call for the first round of competition. Leading the way were a pair of Wednesday Night Drags riders Randy Monte of Petaluma on board his All American Muscle Buell and teammate Craig Wendt's Rohnert Park 84 Harley FXR. To gain a spot into the final, Wendt had to dispose of Oregon rider Ron Carlton, the highly favorite Ron Alves, and the almost unbeatable 01 Triumph of Novato's Doug Love in the semifinals.

Monte started his march with wins over Carlton, then Cassie Rich from Fort Bragg and then a bye in the semis. In the final round, Monte was better on the tree with a .074 RT to a tardy .196 light put up by Wendt. Monten then drove around with a winning 6.790 (6.71) at 92.12 to Wendt's 7.042 (6.90) at 96.97 mph.

As a added feature, eight cars made up the Super Comp shootout  that had Justin Morgan of Concord behind the wheel of his DeNova Homes/Red Line Oil 04 Sarmento dragster and Castro Valley's Bob Van Poppering's 08 Will Harrison built dragster that would decide the final.

First, Van Poppering had to eliminate Danny Valdez and Palo Alto's Adam Liberatore's 91 Ron Fry constructed dragster in the semis. Morgan opened up with a win over the very tough Glenn Kern then put away Dave Alves from Princeton and his new 10 Dennis Sarmento dragster.

Morgan held .07 in the bank right from the start to Van Poppering's .085 light which was just enough for Morgan to claim the victory with a 5.745 (5.70 index) at 133.51 to a fast-closing 5.708 at 143.19. Adam Liberatore led all qualifiers with a great 5.702.

It took six rounds of intense racing to decide the Trophy class and in the end it was Rodeo's John Terry's 70 Nova meeting up with Jorge Valencia's Santa Rosa based 75 Chevy Luv truck. To get to the final, second generation racer Terry put away Krista McIllmoil which led to wins over the Corvette of Chuck and Bud Gerughty, David Ginther's 06 Mustang GT, Matt Brians 67 Camaro and a bye, which placed him into the final.

Valencia started eliminating the competition scoring wins over Steve Wellman, Jonathan Rice, Ken Tucker, followed by a bye and the all important win in the Semis with a big win over Brentwood's Christopher Martin's LS7 powered 07 Corvette.

For the class championship, Terry's slower 70 Nova took a big starting line edge with a .039 RT to Valencia's .080 light. At the finish, Terry was perfect with a right on the dial 9.410 at 75.18, forcing Valencia to break out with a 6.361 (6.38) at 105.37.

The next Bracket Drags event is set for January 2, 2011 and will be a non points race. The management and staff at Infineon Raceway would like to thank all of you for a great 2010 and wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday season.