ECDT Hall of Fame Member Al Ackerman Wins Comp Elim at Dodge NHRA Nationals, Maple Grove, PA
Story by Jim Hill
Al Ackerman, well-seasoned, journeyman drag racer and 2009 member of the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame, took his fifth NHRA Major Event win by winning the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Dragway. Ackerman’s victory came Monday, October 03, in the wrap-up of the rained plagued event’s 32nd presentation near Reading, PA.
Ackerman’s lengthy resume as a drag racer stretches back to his first year in competition in the Northeast’s NHRA Division One, in 1964. Since then he has amassed an impressive number of wins at both the national event and divisional levels.
At this year’s Dodge NHRA Nationals Ackerman was once again driving his familiar F/Dragster, a lightweight chassis powered by an amazingly powerful inline four-cylinder engine. As is usual for Ackerman, he started off the event by qualifying Number Two after heavy area rainstorms shortened the normal qualifying sessions. Ackerman’s one-shot pass to get in the show resulted in an impressive 7.93 second Elapsed Time on an NHRA Competition Index of 8.64 seconds!
Once eliminations in Competition Eliminator began Ackerman used sharp driving skills and a devastatingly quick series of under-the-Index runs to reach the finals against Joe Carnasciale.
Ackerman’s 7.88 ET was enough below the freshly adjusted Index of 8.54 to take out Carnasciale’s 8.89 ET on an Index of 9.50 seconds. The race was hardly a walk-off home run for Ackerman’s little four-cylinder dragster, as barely a car-length separated the two at the finish line!
A resident of Saddle Brook, New Jersey, Al Ackerman has been a major force in Competition Eliminator racing for many seasons. Al’s numerous event wins have come in several different types of race cars as well. His 2009 induction into the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame has so far been his most significant drag racing honor for a long and distinguished career.
The East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame Weekend convenes for in less than two weeks for its 15th Annual event, October 14-15-16, as always in Henderson, NC. This year’s weekend begins with a Friday barbeque cook-out and car display at Kerr Lake. On Saturday more than 1,500 vintage drag race cars, street rods, muscle cars, street machines and restored antique cars and trucks will again fill the streets of downtown Henderson to overflowing. The ECDT Hall of Fame’s now famous “Magic Mile” allows spectators to browse the entire length of Henderson’s High Street, as well as its side streets.
A ”Cacklefest” of race cars begins at 1:00 PM. Each group of race cars, from Sportsman racers up through supercharged, nitromethane burning groundshakers will deliver a round of finely tuned race engine noise powerful enough to tickle far-away earthquake seismometers!
All during the day there’s live music, great food trucks, souvenir vendors and an auction, plus the chance to meet and speak with some of drag racing’s best known celebrity drivers. And maybe the most amazing asset of all is the entire show is absolutely free to spectators!
Come Sunday, the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame welcomes its Class of 2016, this year honoring twelve drivers and figures from the world of drag racing. This begins at 10:00 AM and is also open to the public, and free. Inductees and former inductees will be displaying photos, scrapbooks, trophies and memorabilia for a pre-event meet-and-greet and autograph session. At 12:00 PM the induction ceremony begins hosted again by drag racing historian, TV personality and Master of Ceremony, Bret Kepner.
The entire 2016 East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame Weekend is sponsored and hosted by Vance County Tourism Development Authority, of Henderson, NC. For information call (252) 438-2222 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .