K. Dollar dodged the bullet and didn`t show up at the Saturday afternoon driver`s meeting. Three or four classes (all filler boats) didn`t qualify but once on Saturday for reasons that were unbelievable. Mr. Chastain held the meeting and promptly adjourned it when it got pretty heated.
Shortened qualifying session ruffles feathers at Augusta Southern Nationals
By Justin Williams
An abbreviated qualifying schedule Saturday at the 29th running of the Augusta Southern Nationals did not stop Scott Lumbert from potentially making Top Fuel Hydro class history on the Savannah River.
It did, however, cause a number of drivers to voice their displeasure with officials from the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series, which has headed up the event since 2010.
The second qualifying run was canceled for several classifications, though the top professional classifications were not affected.
Series director Ken Dollar noted that qualification was set to begin about 8:45 a.m., but it was pushed back until after 10. He said the Stevens Creek power generating station, which does not run during the day to accommodate the event, had to run overnight Friday. That raised the water level a few feet and moved buoys and timing devices, forcing officials to reset the course.
Dollar said that the late start, combined with “a couple of people having to go to the emergency medical station,” forced qualification to be cut short.
“We weren’t going to keep these people, including these volunteers, out here ‘til 6:30 in this heat,” he said.
Event chairman Dayton Sherrouse said that he heard numerous complaints from drivers.
“I talked to them after the fact … they were talking about not reporting (for today’s races),” he said. “I told them that they were making a statement against Lucas (officials), but that hurts us and the spectators in Augusta. They bought tickets, and they’re expecting a show.
“They don’t want to hurt us because their issue is not with us.”
Sherrouse said that today’s elimination rounds, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will not be affected, aside from potential changes in qualifying position.
He believes the conditions were not a reason for cutting qualifying short.
“We checked with the medical team, and there were only six cases of heat issues,” Sherrouse said. “That is really small, given the number of people that were there. It’s a real low number, and none of them had to be put on IV. … Heat was really a non-issue.”
As for the spat between drivers and Lucas officials, Sherrouse said that his group did not know about the issues until after the fact.
“Lucas needs to do a better job with us to let us now what’s going on,” he noted.
Lumbert, driving Spirit of Texas for owner David Kirkland, had a run of 267.38 mph Saturday, threatening the event record of 252 mph. Now, he must back up that run with another run that falls within 1 percent of that total – roughly 264 and 270 – to set a new Augusta Southern Nationals record.
In April, Lumbert set the overall series speed record, with a run of 263.25 mph.
Lumbert doesn’t care as much about the record as he does about winning the event, something he has never accomplished.
His father, Ray Lumbert, and Kirkland have both won the event a handful of times, either as driver or crew member. Though Scott Lumbert has come close, victory has eluded his grasp.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, 20-plus years, and racing with my dad,” said Lumbert, who along with Kirkland won the 2014 series title and leads this year’s race by a landslide. “My dad’s won it, David’s won it. I’ve been in five of six finals here and have yet to win.
“If this ends up being my first big win here, it would be huge for me.”
A total of 75 boats are competing in this year’s event. That number includes six from the Top Fuel Hydro, considered the top division.
Gates open at 8 a.m. today. One-day tickets cost $18, and children 10 and younger are free with an adult. Proceeds benefit the Augusta chapter of the Special Olympics.
I was told by someone that was there, chastain had a police escort in and out of Drivers meeting. Also there was only 65 boats by their count. When are you filler boats/ ramp clutter going to figure out you are just there to fill in the time between capsule boat TV time!
I was there. Saw and heard every word spoken. No official reason was given for the cancellation of several classes of qualifying until the lame one at the drivers meeting. It went over like a turd in a punch bowl. Drivers displeasure" is an understatement. I got there late Friday and missed the first round of qualifying. Only got one qualifying pass on Saturday. The SE, PWC and a few capsuled boats including a TFH ran after the cancellation of the ME, TE, PE and i think the QE class. Capsuled boats are cooler than open one`s? There was plenty time left in the day and no one that i know of heard the ramp workers complaining. The real reason why? I wish i knew. The Augusta officials didn`t know either. Everyone was in shock, disbelief and pissed.
Last edited by Richard Till; 07-23-2015 at 11:45 PM.
Another Mike chastain disaster. That guy needs to go like yesterday's garbage. In no so many words he told the sportsman tough shit. I know that I don't have any plans on attending any lucas events with my boat until they get rid of him.