Although the American Drag Racing Leagueâ€™s wild new SuperCar Showdown division has only completed its third event, Chris Holbrook will admit it seemed to take forever to enter the winnerâ€™s circle. The popular Michigan racer finally hoisted an ADRL SCS trophy in front of a cheering fans after winning the ADRLâ€™s Northeast Drags II presented by Penske at Maple Grove Raceway.
Holbrook beat previously undefeated Bo Butner on driving skill alone in the championship round which, for the third straight event, featured a pair of new supercharged Ford Mustang Cobra Jets in a wheelstanding duel which drew raves from spectators. Holbrookâ€™s victory was the first in series history to be determined by a better reaction time. Holbrookâ€™s silver â€œInstant Actionâ€ Ford clocked 5.88 seconds at a top speed of 119.17 miles per hour in the eighth-mile distance to stop Butnerâ€™s quicker 5.82-second run at 118.78 mph.
â€œTo win due to a starting line â€˜holeshotâ€™ is the ultimate thrill for a driver,â€ said an elated Holbrook during the trophy presentation surrounded by his wife, sons and team members. â€œTo finally beat Bo Butner was just as big for us. Thatâ€™s something we thought we could do at the first two events but Bo has just been unstoppable. Winning another title for Ford is just awesome.”
In fact, the entire event played out almost exactly opposite of the first two races in the series. Beginning with the ADRLâ€™s season-opening event in Houston, Texas, Holbrookâ€™s Mustang had produced the quickest elapsed time of each race and also recorded the fastest speed of each program. Holbrook set the ADRL World Records for ET and speed, (5.75 seconds, 120.33 mph), but fell in the final round to Butner at the Houston race and lost in the semi-final round to fellow Ford Mustang campaigner Ray Skillman at the second SCS battle in Bristol.
Holbrook was the very first driver to submit an entry to the new The SuperCar Showdown, which features open competition among production vehicles from all automobile manufacturers worldwide with engines, chassis and even tires remaining in factory trim. His Holbrook Racing Engines emporium in Livonia, Michigan, worked closely with the Ford Motor Company in the development of the new supercharged 5.4-liter Cobra Jet engine. In fact, Holbrookâ€™s late father, Carl, campaigned one of the first of the original Cobra Jet Mustangs in 1968.
â€œOur research and development program has centered on the SuperCar Showdown series. Itâ€™s really our main focus,” explained Holbrook. â€œI mentioned before the season ever started that Jesse Kershaw and Brian Wolfe of Ford Motorsports took this new class very seriously and I can promise you theyâ€™re even more intent on winning here now. My own longtime sponsor, Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is equally committed to this project since they are a Cobra Jet dealership and to win this for them is very gratifying, as well.”
Holbrookâ€™s road to the winnerâ€™s circle began as had the first two races in the series. In the very first qualifying session, Holbrook clocked 5.83 seconds at the fastest speed yet recorded for the SCS division, 120.97 mph, to earn the top qualifying position. However, Butner stole the pole spot only minutes later with a run of 5.828/118.08. Incredibly, Holbrook returned in the second qualifying session to knock Butner from theÂ top of the qualifying list by one solitary thousandth of a second with a run of 5.827.
On raceday, Holbrook clocked winning runs of 5.83/118.69 and 5.85/118.59 en route to the championship bout. Butner, whose white Cobra Jet Mustang competes with a Holbrook Racing Engines-constructed powerplant, kicked his day off with a 5.86/118.33 effort but was later nearly upset by another competitor with a better reaction time. Past National event champion Leonard Mattingly of Kentucky, at the wheel of Louisianan Jeff Teutonâ€™s Southland Dodge-sponsored V10-powered Dodge Challenger SRT Drag Pak, recorded the best reaction time in SCS history, (0.015 seconds), and forced Hoosier Butner to streak to the quickest run of the race, 5.80 seconds, to barely pass the Dodge and secure a berth in the final round.
Holbrook, a past Pro Stock World Champion, and Butner, a previous sportsman division World Title holder, knew driverâ€™s reactions would play a key role in the final contest but even Butner was stunned by Holbrookâ€™s brilliant start. â€œNo driver wants to lose on a holeshot,â€ said Butner, â€œbut I can honestly say, if I was going to lose to anybody, Iâ€™m glad it was Chris. This way, it was an all-Ford final round for the third straight race so we all came out of it as winners.”
The next event in the 2012 SuperCar Showdown Series will be the ADRLs Gateway Drags IV presented by CarSafeÂ at Gateway Motorsports Parks in St. Louis on June 1-2.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)