photos by Diane Kubicke
Mallory Dietz (age 6-9), Morgan Harp (10-12), Chris Khoury (13-14), Kaylee Genualdo (15-17), Jaina Embley (Jr. Street), and Justin Handwerk (Race of Champions) outlasted the fields in their respective categories to earn 2021 Division 1 Jr. Dragster championships. Their title runs capped three days of racing at Lebanon Valley Dragway in West Lebanon, N.Y.
Dietz, near lane, left the starting line first in the 6-9 class final and never looked back, defeating Logan Horton on an 11.928 (11.90 dial) to 11.941 (11.97) count.
A few weeks after winning the Eastern Conference Finals, Harp, far lane, added more hardware to his collection when he bested Nolan Thomas in the 10-12 title round. After getting a .043-second reaction-time advantage, Harp eased his entry to a 9.001 (8.95) to beat Thomas’ 8.932 (8.91).
Gavin Roth, far lane, was better at the Tree in the 13-14 final round, but he carried too much momentum on the top end and broke out with a 7.880 (7.90). That opened the door for Khoury, who won with an 8.014 (7.97).
Genualdo, far lane, won a great match against Eric Bowles in the 15-17 final. The pair were separated by just .006-second on the starting line and both ran three-hundredths over their dial with Genualdo’s 8.070 (8.04) beat out Bowles’ 8.149 (8.11).
Embley, near lane, got the automatic nod in the Jr. Street final when Gian-Anthony Melendy red-lighted. Embley ran a 9.063 (9.02) en route to victory.
Handwerk, near lane, paired a .037 light with a 7.954 (7.90) to best Jenna Nichols’ .048-initiated 7.981 (7.92) and claim top honors in the Race of Champions.
New England Dragway was the Team Points winner, and the Epping, N.H., track also scored the Team Spirit Award.
Other winners during the three-day event were Emily Stalba (Friday Gamblers 6-12), Zachary McCormick (Friday Gamblers 13-17), Melendy (Friday and Saturday Jr. Street), Francis Vignola (330 Outlaw), Gavin Hill (Saturday Gamblers 6-12), Kyle Genualdo (Saturday Gamblers 13-17), Alex Erickson (Jr. Street Consolation), and Nathan Mendenhall (Jr. Consolation).
Special awards were presented to Cody Cumming (Best Appearing Car, above) and Tyler Beaulieu (Best Engineered Car, below).