July 10, 1997 in Sports

Hansen Ready For Fox Hunt

Paul Delaney Correspondent
 

Spokane’s Neal Hansen returns home Saturday to wheel his “Brain Damage” jet car down the quarter-mile in the 16th Annual Spokane Raceway Park Fox Hunt and Jet Car Championships.

Last season, after moving from regular bracket racing with a car capable of 100-or-so mph, Hansen graduated to a vehicle capable of 300 mph and is in his second season in the fire-breathing jets.

Hansen has been on tour throughout the Western U.S. for the past three weeks doing everything from actual racing to serving as a giant blow-torch at a recent demo-derby.

Three other 300-mph jet cars - Joe Doffit, Bill Carter and Claude Wirkus - will go against Hansen.

A contingent of Funny Cars will also race and include Marcus Lawson, Tod Mielke, defending World Finals champ Ron Richardson and Spokane’s Mike Cofini driving for Mike Aguiar.

Cofini, who formerly drove alcohol dragsters, ran a shakedown pass Saturday during SRP’s bracket program and clocked an out-of-the-box 7.19 seconds at 199.74 mph.

Gates open at 2 p.m. with qualifying beginning at 3 and eliminations at 7:30. The wheel-standers of Virgil Sellers and Rick Markham join SRP’s regular bracket drags as part of the program. Women will be admitted free into the grandstands Saturday.

Stock cars will also be racing Saturday on the half-mile.

Superstocks

The Interstate Superstocks will try for a third time to run their first race at Stateline Speedway on Saturday night.

Time trials begin at 6 p.m. with the night’s program also featuring the Northwest Mini-Trucks and Stateline Streetstocks.

Two previous races have been rained out, and it would appear fans have missed out.

The series has proven incredibly popular with 28 cars in the pits last time at Stateline and 23 competing last Saturday at Tri City Raceway.

It’s been competitive too, with three different races producing as many winners, including Brad Rhodes a week ago at Tri Cities. Mike Sauls of Puyallup is the points leader, with Ephrata’s Kevin Burck trailing by 31 points. Idaho drivers Rick Kellogg and L.T. Jones are in the series top five.

Friday night racing at Stateline, which begins at 6:30, features Sportsman, Hobby Stocks and Compact Streets.

Division Six Series

There are race tracks that are generally kind, and there are others that are not to Spokane racers who travel the NHRA Division Six circuit.

Boise comes to mind as one that generally punishes local drag racers.

On the other hand comes the Woodburn Dragstrip south of Portland where the Hoerner family has come to dominate in recent years. Todd Hoerner goes into the three-day race as the defending Super Gas champion. His father Rod was the winner two years ago. The two were final-round opponents in 1993 when Todd won the father-son duel.

Going into this weekend’s fifth of six divisional events, Rod leads Todd in Super Gas points 248 to 235, while Todd and Coeur d’Alene’s Brian Tibesar are tied in Super Comp.

Pit stops

Rod Nelson added to his Pro Outlaw Kart Racing Association (POKR) points lead by winning the main event Saturday at Montana’s Tuscor Speedway. The POKR karts run tonight at 6 p.m. at the Spokane County ORV Park. … With his third straight win, Spokane’s Jeff Zimmerman extended his lead in the Northwest Modified series points over Greg Ochs of Colville, who finished second for a second consecutive race. … Joe Kopp finished eighth in the AMA Grand National held at Lake Odessa, Minn., last Saturday. He rides Sunday in DuQuoin, Illinois.

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