After opening the San Antonio Nitro Jam with a blistering shot right out of the box Friday night, Gallen’s weekend progressively got worse First, too much power on Friday sent his “Poverty Stricken” Monza up in smoke in the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car final relegating him to a runner-up finish. Second, a hiccup in the timing system on Saturday forced he and his opponent to shut it off before getting to make a pass in round one. Third, Gallen was forced to turn his car around in limited time to compensate for the timing system error.
But when all was said and done Gallen was able to make all of the necessary adjustments and turn a once sour weekend into an Ironman trophy as the Broomall, Pennsylvania native put together two incredible passes on Saturday to close the San Antonio Nitro Jam presented by CarSafe and Good Vibrations with an unexpected victory.
Joining Gallen in the winner’s circle on Saturday at San Antonio Raceway was Kyle Hough in Fuel Altered, Bruce Litton in Top Fuel and Jay Turner in Nitro Harley. Sportsman winners during Day 1 of the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour doubleheader were Kamron Wright (Top Sportsman), Lewis Cleveland (Top Dragster), Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. (Super Stock), Jimmy Hutton Jr. (Stock), Kyle Williams (Quick Rod), Laramie Reid (Super Rod) and Scooter Wilkins (Hot Rod).
“I think for our first race of the year, with all of the changes that we made on the car this year, it just goes to show that hard work and a great crew can get you over some adversity like what we faced this weekend,” Gallen said. “Tonight we were a little concerned because last night the track went away because it cooled off so rapidly. We basically tried not to overpower it. Greg is a great racer and he had my number at the end of last year where I overpowered the track and I didn’t want that to happen again tonight.
“But overall the racing was great. We drove 30 some hours for the competition and the great fans here in San Antonio. With so many new things on the car, it is great the way it turned out.”
After a disappointing Friday and a frustrating start to Saturday, Gallen was able to put all of his distractions aside and focus on the task at hand. In round one he took down Texas native and defending San Antonio Nitro Jam winner John Hale in the “Nitro Boss” Mustang in a battle of two of the best nostalgia Funny Cars in the land. In the final Gallen finally received his first break of the weekend as Jacobsmeyer got out of the groove and nearly slapped the wall, forcing him to shut it off, but it likely wouldn’t have mattered as the “Poverty Stricken” Monza blasted to a 5.907 second pass at 247.39 miles per hour to close the weekend.
While Gallen was busy picking up his 18th career Nitro Jam win, Hale powered to a win in the consolation pairing of AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car as he took down Friday night winner Mark Sanders in the closest race of the night, a 5.879, 249.31 to a 5.981, 235.26.
In Fuel Altered it was all Hough as the 19-year-old defending series champion produced two tried and true passes with full header flames to take Saturday’s Fuel Altered Ironman. Ron Hope had trouble in both of his passes in “Rat Trap” as he lit the red bulb in round one and took out the timing blocks at 1,000 foot in the final to hand Hough and the “Super Nanook” team the win.
Hough ran 6.605, 216.87 and 6.778, 199.65 in his two winning passes.
“We struggled this weekend. We went out and shook the tires a lot, we even shook the tires on the final run, but I did a good job of driving and the crew did a great job getting it turned around,” Hough said. “Ron Hope and those guys are tough customers and we were glad to come out on top. We are getting better, which is the best thing to come out of this weekend.”
Top Fuel had the crowd on its feet in its first trip back to San Antonio in two years as Bruce Litton took three of four passes on the weekend including two straight on Saturday to take home the Ironman. Litton led the way in round one with a solid .113 light leading to a sub-four second pass of 4.998, 259.22. In the final Litton was able to cruise to victory behind the wheel of his high-horsepower, bright orange “Nitro Jam” ride as opponent Kyle Wurtzel and his “High Yield” dragster failed to fire.
Finally in Nitro Harley Turner swept the weekend, lighting the win bulb in all four of his passes during the weekend. On Saturday opponent Tracy Kile gave him all he could handle in round one with a 6.458, 214.08 to a 6.509, 214.69, but in the final Kile smoked the tires and Turner was able to make a smooth lap to take his second Ironman of the weekend and his 14th career Nitro Jam trophy with a 6.513, 196.16.
In sportsman action Kamron Wright and Lewis Cleveland paced the two quickest classes as Wright took down Monte Weaver and Cleveland added a win over Matt Levatino. A pair of first-time winners in their class highlighted action in Hot Rod and Top Dragster as a pair of bracket racers stepped it up and decided to try their hand at two of the bigger classes headed by Hot Rod racer Scooter Wilkins who took the win over Dillon Bontrager.
Former San Antonio Raceway Junior Dragster champion Kyle Williams took the win in Quick Rod as the 16-year-old defeated Darryl Patton, while Super Stock ace Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. defeated Jim Hanig and Jimmy Hutto Jr. claimed the Stock win over Ty Casey.
Junior Dragster winners were Aaron Philpot (Master), Matthew Keylich (Advanced) and Carson Russell (Beginner).
Next up for the Nitro Jam tour is a trip to Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida for the Bradenton Nitro Jam presented by Metro PCS, Southern Ford Dealers and CarSafe. In San Antonio sportsman racers will be in for one more day of action as the Summit Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL concludes on Sunday.