Alan Fletcher got out his bowling ball Friday night instead of his drag bike, and won a racing title in the process.
Lancaster Dragway canceled its season finale Friday due to rain, clinching the drag bike class championship for Fletcher and teammate Brian Ihrig. Fletcher and Ihrig came into the final week with a one point lead over Mike Dziamski, 91-90. The rain meant the lead of brother-in-laws Fletcher and Ihrig would hold up.
Lancaster rules allow drivers to run for the point championship by partnering up with another driver for the season. Only one of the drivers can earn points on a given race night.
"I wasn't exactly hoping for it," said Fletcher of the cancellation. "I did show up at the track with my drag bike, but I did have my bowling ball in the trailer just in case it rained.
"I bowl on Fridays and by bringing both my ball and the drag bike, I was prepared for anything."
Ihrig and Fletcher were on the ball all season at Lancaster in a competition that went down to the last race.
"Brian ran the points races through July," Fletcher said. "Around the middle of August, he came to me and said he couldn't afford to race any more and asked me to run the points the rest of the way."
The battle became tougher due to a team miscommunication.
"In early September, we were tied with 'Jammer' (Dziamski) for the points lead," Fletcher said. "One week in September, Brian thought I was running for the points and I thought he was going to run for the points. Neither of us showed up."
Dziamski did show up and took a three-point lead in the competition. But the teams were tied again at the end of the following week.
The decisive evening in the duel came on Oct. 11, which became Lancaster's last night of racing.
"Jammer lost in the first round that night and I was fortunate enough to get a bye run in that round, so by going to the second round, I got a point and that was the whole season," Fletcher said.
In elimination drag racing, when there is an odd number of bikes racing, one of the competitors will get a solo pass into the next round without racing against anybody. Fletcher lost in the second round but had the point his team needed.
"In 10 years, I've learned one thing." Fletcher said. "While the whole season is important, you'd better get all the points you can in September because every year some of our late season races rain out."
The title is Fletcher's fifth and Ihrig's first. Jammer Racing and Dealer Specialties are team sponsors.
Other Lancaster champions are: Bob Runge, Super Pro; Bill Elekes, Super Gas; Joe Urbino, Pro; Greg Kerl, Heavy; and Dave Weller/Steve Weller, Street.
Gregoire wins Super Gas Series
Meanwhile, Orchard Park's Andy Gregoire won the RCI Can-Am Super Gas Series held primarily on tracks throughout the Northeast. Gregoire, driver of the Capriotto & Son's/Gregoire Brothers Racing entry, had 311 points. Area racers completed the top four in that circuit; Gregoire was followed by Billy Leber (270), George Satarian (261) and Marc Volker (260).
Record broken -- unofficially
Dave's Automotive/Eagle Racing Engines/NOS 1967 Camaro Pro-Modified, which is based in Orchard Park, ran an IHRA potential record 216.91 mph pass at the Fall Finals in Darlington, S.C., on Oct. 12.
The pass, done in the third of four qualifying runs with driver Tony Pontieri on board, is the fastest ever by a nitrious-assisted Pro-Mod car.
The run is not an official record, however, because IHRA rules state that for a run to be a record, it must be backed up by a time within 2 percent in the next round. The fourth qualifying run's time was not within the margin.