MOUNT VERNON — Saturday night was a night marked by firsts at the Budweiser Points Series at Pacemakers Dragway Park. Two drivers got their first ever wins here, and one driver regained the first overall position in her class which she had lost over the last few races.
In the Sportsman class, Laura Lawson was able to regain her overall lead in the series with a defeat of Joy Smith from Newark. Orient native Lawson drove her 1974 Dodge Challenger to a time of 7.7382, dialing in at 7.74. Her reaction time was .5399, and she reached a top speed of 87 mph.
“I was really nervous ‘cause I have been doing pretty bad the last couple of weeks,” said Lawson. “I was in first and dropped down to second, and really wanted to get first back.”
Lawson isn’t totally happy just finishing first overall at Pacemakers. Her goals involve getting to the Indianapolis and the Race of Champions.
“I am shooting for racing at Indy in the Race of Champions,” Lawson said. “I want to go all the way to the end.”
In the Pro class, the race was won by a newcomer to the track itself. Eric Paul, of Evansville, Ind., and his 1972 Dodge Challenger made short work of the track on their first visit. He ran a 6.3808 with a reaction time of .5331. His competition in the finals, Bryan Dersoun of Reynoldsburg, left early and fouled, giving Paul the victory despite a nearly perfect time. He was dialed in for the finals at a 6.3. He reached a top speed of 102.33 mph.
“We have never been here. This is the first time,” said Paul. “It’s a great track, I really like it.”
Paul made it to the semifinals with his brother, who also brought a car to the track, but in the end, it wasn’t a family showdown. His brother Brad lost in the semi-finals, leaving the job of taking home the win to Eric.
“This is the eighth time that we have both made it to the semi-final and not both made it to the final,” said Eric Paul. “This is a huge family event. We all come out.”
Brad wasn’t completely left out on the day. He won the “Dash for Cash” in the Pro car class event earlier in the day.
Eric Paul attributes his success to a consistent car and more than a little luck.
“In 15 years racing, I think I have won one race where I didn’t get a lucky run somewhere on the day,” Paul said.
The Super Pro class also saw a first time winner, but it was someone much more familiar with the track. Rick Andrix of Johnstown scorched down the track in his 1999 Dragster. He reached a top speed of 131.11 mph on the eighth-of-a-mile track. His time was 5.20 and he was dialed in at 5.21. His reaction time was just under .5 at .4993, but his opponent, Dennis Meade of Newark had a reaction time of .4958, giving Andrix the win.
“I have been racing for probably 10 years now, and I have never won,” said Andrix. “I won the ‘Dash for Cash’ today, and somehow made it to the finals and won that.”
Andrix owes a bit of his victory to his wife. She paid for him to have some work done on the car, but said if they won, she would get the washer and dryer she has been wanting. Andrix has other ideas.
“My wife said if I win, which I never had so it was kind of a joke this morning, I would give her the money,” Andrix said with a grin. “Now we are going to be fighting over that. I want nitrous and headers and she want’s the washer and dryer.”
Andrix loves this the track for all sort of reasons.
“I like coming to the track, hanging out with your friends, talking and eating,” said Andrix “If I go home with a little bit of money, its a good time.”
Times have changed, however. Andrix has found yet another reason to come out and compete here.
“Now it’s for winning.”