A familiar face scored the win at Orangeburg Drag Strip Saturday night. Robbie Matthews hoisted the trophy in victory lane for the third straight race.
“That’s three wins in a row,” said the winning car owner Kip Kauffman. “We ain’t never won Orangeburg. We’ve been number the one qualifier, lost the race last year with a .0007 red light. This is the only one we haven’t won and now we got it. I don’t who to thank the most, Robbie, Cameron and the crew. We got one heck of a team, that is all I can tell you. We need to stay on this role and win a couple more!”
After qualifying was complete Ric Fleck sat atop the sheet with a 3.917 at 186.10. Fleck’s 3.917 was low for the event. Robbie Matthews came from the # 2 spot with a 3.9406 at 189.79. Alan Pittman was 3rd with a 4.124 at 148.46. Robert Sellers was 4th with a 4.337 at 162.86. The man that was 5th was Dwayne White with a 4.403 at 140.40. Carol Long ended up 6th with a 4.581 at 134.32. Sonny Tindal came out of the 7th spot with a 4.776 at 11.19. Anchoring the field was Steve Bray with a 5.158 at 93.63.
The first round of eliminations got started with Carol Long and Alan Pittman. Pittman won this one with a 4.025 at 184.65 to Carol’s 12.926 at 40.71. The next pair up was supposed to Dwayne White and Robert Sellers. Robert couldn’t make the call because his Fury suffered a burnt piston. Dwayne went into tire shake and posted a 9.643 at 44.32.
The third pair in the water box was Pro Modified Legend Sonny Tindal and Robbie Matthews. Sonny left first with a .048 light to Matthews’ .051. Matthews quickly made up the difference and pulled away running a 3.938 at 194.80 to Sonny’s 4.162 at 176.75. The final pair up in the first round of eliminations was Ric Fleck and Steve Bray. Fleck won this one with a 3.942 at 185.34 to Bray’s 4.080 at 182.62.
The second round action kicked off with Alan Pittman and Robbie Matthews. Robbie was able to hold off Pittman’s 4.110 at 178.64 with a 3.961 at 194.05. Ric Fleck and Dwayne White were up next. Dwayne White battled tire shake and posted a 9.417 at 45.84 while Fleck streaked to the stripe with a 3.942 at 183.97.
The final round was set, Ric Fleck and Robbie Matthews. These two Doorslammers had been the quickest all day. When the lights activated from amber to green Matthews cut a .003 light to Fleck’s .041. When the two went through the lights, a pair of 3.93s flashed up on both boards. Matthews needed the .003 light. His 3.932 at 192.55 beat Fleck’s 3.931 at 184.58.
The event runner-up Ric Fleck added, “We were both going at it all day running good numbers. We were the number one and two qualifiers. It just came down to the end. Both tuners did their jobs and put the cars up to run good numbers. Robbie was good on the tree with a .003 light and mine was a .041 which wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a .003. It is what it is and we’ll lick our wounds and come back next week.”
Fleck continued and said, “I want to thank the crew and everyone that pitched in and helped today. I also want to thank Darrell from Under Pressure Performance. The track was great and the race was run phenomenally. The track crew did a great job making sure they beat the rain. Hats off to the Orangeburg crew for a job well done.”
Event winner Robbie Matthews said, “I really don’t know what to say. That’s three wins in a row and we got our win at Orangeburg. Some people you just want to beat worse than others and sometimes you just have to go for it and we did, you know. Its went the other way for me too. I’ve turned on the red light against him. You forget about that and just go for it. I just do the best I can. Sometimes it’s good sometimes it ain’t.”
“We got a great group of guys,” continued Robbie. “I wouldn’t even attempt to do this without them. Chris Tuten was here today and gave us a lot of good help. I wished I could have him here all the time but he is a busy man. I just appreciate everybody, Buddy and Matthew and all my crew. Also, a big thank you to the Orangeburg Staff for the great job they did today.”
Story by Buddy Trivette
Photo by Matthew Trivette