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NHRA - Rotary Power wins: Jesus Padilla and Ken Scheepers win their classes!
Submitted by Berny Herrera on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 6:45pm

Source: NHRA SportCompact.Com

JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Scranton (Pro RWD) and Jesus Padilla (Honda Tuning All Motor) both won their respective classes Sunday at the inaugural Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals to increase their status as the most prolific race winners in NHRA Xplod Sport Compact history with 13 victories each. Shaun Carlson (Pro FWD), Ken Scheepers (Modified), and Gary Gardella (Hot Rod) also added to their career win totals by winning their respective categories at the seventh of the 11 races on the $2.1 million NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series.

Hot, humid weather mixed with sporadic but brief showers challenged competitors for a second consecutive day at Moroso Motorsports Park. While the conditions kept competitors away from any record setting runs, close competition was still the order of the day as all five pro categories featured exciting finals. In addition, with the exception of the Pro FWD category, the other four championship classes final round matchups featured a same-manufacturer pairing.

Scheepers drove to the stripe first in his 2005 Mazda RX-8 against Carlos Perez’s 1983 Mazda RX-7 to claim victory in an all-Mazda Modified class final. Scheepers’ starting line reaction time advantage (345 R/T to .479) allowed his 8.976 at 148.98 performance to edge Perez’s quicker but losing 8.853 elapsed time. The victory was the first in the Modified class for the Flower Mound, Texas native, who was the runner-up in the 2003 All Motor class final championship point standings.

“I have to thank all my fellow racers and friends who told me to take a step back,” Scheepers said. “It sure has paid off. When we debuted this RX-8 at this same track back in April, it was clear we weren’t ready. Taking a big step back and taking small steps forward has obviously paid off for us.”

In the second all-local, same-manufacturer final of the event, the 1985 Mazda RX-7 of defending Honda Tuning All Motor category champion Padilla finished ahead of Angel Valentin’s 1985 Mazda RX-7 for his record-tying 13th career NHRA Xplod Series win. Padilla, of Kissimmee, Fla. tripped the timers first with a pass of 10.146 at 130.73 to finish ahead of Valentin’s RX-7 slower 12.536 at 75.40.

“Everyone was struggling,” said Padilla. “The humidity and temperatures were bad. I was lucky that my car was working all the way to the finals – it was strong all the way. The win is special because not only because Moroso is my home track, but it keeps me tied with Matt [Scranton] as the one of the winningest drivers in the (NHRA Xplod) series. There’s no feeling in the world like winning and I want to thank all my supporters who made it possible – my wife, my kids, my friends, Jericho Transmissions, Mazdaspeed, NGK, Microtech.”

In Pro FWD category competition, Carlson drove his Mopar SRT-4 to a career-best time 7.639 at 183.41 to finish ahead of current points leader Ed Begenholtz and his Mazda6, which stopped the timers in 8.157 at 182.07. The win is gave Carlson, a resident of Alta Loma, Calif., his second career Wally event trophy.

The 2005 NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series continues with the first-ever contesting of the Pro RWD category at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S Nationals, August 31 – Sept 5, at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indianapolis. The regular NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series season resumes when all five championship classes are contested at the ninth race of the '05 season, the NHRA Las Vegas Sport Compact Nationals, Sept. 9–10, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas.


Sunday's final results from the Inagural Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park. The race is the Seventh of 11 in the $2.1 million NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series:

PRO RWD -- Matt Scranton, Land O Lakes, Fla., '04 Celica, 6.764, 209.01 def. Brad Personett, Orlando, Fla., '04 Celica, foul.

PRO FWD -- Shaun Carlson, Ontario, Calif., '03 SRT-4, 7.639, 183.41 def. Ed Bergenholtz, Santa Ana, Calif., '06 Mazda, 8.157, 182.07.

MODIFIED -- Ken Scheepers, Flower Mound, Texas, '05 RX8, 8.976, 148.98 def. Carlos Perez, Orlando, N.J., '83 RX-7, 8.853, no speed.

ALL MOTOR -- Jesus Padilla, Kissimmee, Fla., '85 RX7, 10.146, 130.73 def. Angel Valentin, Kissimmee, Fla., '85 RX-7, 12.536, 75.40.

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Final round-by-round results from the Inagural Palm Beach NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Moroso Motorsports Park, the Seventh of 11 events in the $2.1 million NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series:

PRO FWD: ROUND ONE -- Shaun Carlson, Dodge SRT-4, 7.607, 183.89 was unopposed; Ed Bergenholtz, Mazda, 19.572, 35.44 def. Jerrold Rhodes, Honda CRX, broke; FINALS -- Carlson, 7.639, 183.41 def. Bergenholtz, 8.157, 182.07.

MODIFIED: ROUND ONE -- Ken Scheepers, Mazda RX8, 8.965, 149.62 def. Ali Afshar, Subaru WRX, broke; Carlos Perez, Mazda RX-7, 8.676, 155.17 def. Luis Ferrer Jr, Toyota Celica, broke; Frank Muniz, 19.120, 55.71 def. Paul Efantis, Toyota Solara, broke; Carlos Borges, RX7, broke def. Justin Humphreys, Lexus GS300, 0.000, no speed; SEMI FINALS -- Perez, 14.001, 91.86 def. Borges, broke; Scheepers, 8.563, 156.93 def. Muniz, broke; FINALS -- Scheepers, 8.976, 148.98 def. Perez, 8.853, no speed.

ALL MOTOR: ROUND ONE -- Scott Kelley, Volkswagen Fastback, 10.570, 127.37 def. Vince Tiaga, Mazda, broke; Angel Valentin, Mazda RX-7, 11.332, 111.55 def. George Matuszek, Honda Civic, 11.701, 117.75; Jesus Padilla, Mazda RX7, 10.095, 131.11 def. Tony Shagday, Accura RSX, 18.345, 42.39; Adam Franzetti, Civic, broke def. Scott Mohler, Dodge SRT4, broke; Shawn Hillier, Acura RSX, 11.347, 77.96 was unopposed; QUARTERFINALS -- Hillier, 10.233, 130.69 def. Kelley, 10.499, 127.53; Valentin, 10.811, 122.63 def. Franzetti, broke; Padilla, 10.095, 131.11 was unopposed; SEMIFINALS -- Padilla, 10.094, 131.36 def. Hillier, 10.249, 130.00; Valentin, 13.644, 110.11 was unopposed; FINAL -- Padilla, 10.146, 130.73 def. Valentin, 12.536, 75.40.

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