Also picking up his first win on Saturday was California native Jason Rupert in his shiny new “Bays & Rupert” Camaro Funny Car. Rupert, the two-time defending NHRA Heritage Series champion, had the lane all to himself in round one against a broke Mike Halstead and used a red light from Steven Densham in the “Teachers Pet” Camaro to collect his first career Ironman. John Hale in the “Nitro Boss” Mustang won the consolation pairing over Halstead and the “Candies & Hughes” team with the best Funny Car pass of the night, a solid 5.903, 247.02
Saturday’s other big winner was Indianapolis, Ind., native Bruce Litton who drove his Top Fuel machine to two easy wins over Curt Eierdam in the “Invader” jet-powered dragster. While Eierdam closed the night with the fastest speed of the weekend, Litton’s 8,000 horsepower machine was too much off the line and easily coasted across the finish line for two round wins.
In sportsman action Roswell, New Mexico’s Vern Bolton went four big rounds on Saturday to win the Top Dragster shootout, defeating Tucson’s own Tom Koenen in the final with a near-perfect .001 light and a 7.92 on a 7.963 dial at 156.77 miles per hour.
Top winner Howard Gerstel, of Sahuarita, Arizona, drove his unique 1975 Ford Pinto six rounds on Saturday to pick up a win over Luis Martin who broke out, while John Nacis of Huachuca, Arizona won in Mod over Bruce Stone with a 10.80 on an 11.292 dial at 97.76 mph in his ’68 Chevy Camaro.
Rounding out Saturday’s big winners were Grant Jones who defeated Gabriel Brown in the Junior 13-17 category and Samantha Barajas who defeated Keeli Tatge in the Junior 8-12 category.