ROCKINGHAM — Drag racing’s next generation was center stage Saturday at Rockingham Dragway where drivers from five states — including Bailie Zepp (Hanover, Pennsylvania), Landon Palmer (Scottsville, Virginia), Samuel Peterson (Richlands, Michigan) and Madi Pennington (Lexington, South Carolina) — shared the winners’ circle in the fourth annual Southeastern Jr. Dragster Spring Nationals.
Racing against an approaching winter cold front, as well as against each other, young drivers took home a total of $6,700 in prize money during the rapid-fire event that packed two days of racing into one.
For Zepp, who won what would’ve been the scheduled Saturday race in Top Jr. Dragster, it was her second victory in two weeks on Rockingham’s high traction surface. She tuned up for the Spring Nationals by winning one of the two Jr. titles at last week’s traditional Free Entry Race.
Zepp edged Logan Brown (Bishopville, South Carolina) in the final round when Brown was guilty of a breakout foul by a scant .006 of a second.
The other Top Jr. title went to Palmer, who claimed a double-breakout victory over Kaylee Creech (Clayton) in the final round. Palmer went under his target by .007 of a second, while Creech was .017 under hers.
Pennington, whose brother Zach was a Jr. winner at the Free Entry Race, claimed one of the two Pro Jr. titles after forcing Hayden Dial (Rowland) into a final-round breakout that enabled her to win the same race in which she was runner-up at year ago.
Also winning in Pro Jr. was Peterson, son of former IHRA Pro Mod standout Jason Peterson and a former PDRA Jr. winner at The Rock. Although he beat Noah Cornatzer (Mocksville) in the final, Peterson’s biggest win en route to the title came in the fourth round when he defeated Zepp. She, in turn, beat him on the way to her big payday.
Final results from Saturday’s fourth annual Southeastern Jr. Dragster Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway:
TOP JR. DRAGSTER SUNDAY FINAL – Landon Palmer (.047, 7.893 on a 7.900, 82.35 mph) def. Kaylee Creech (.067, 7.953 on a 7.970, 82.19 mph).
TOP JR. DRAGSTER SATURDAY FINAL – Bailie Zepp (.065, 7.926 on a 7.910, 80.16 mph) def. Logan Brown (.054, 7.984 breakout on a 7.990, 81.89 mph).
PRO JR. DRAGSTER SUNDAY FINAL – Madi Pennington (.019, 7.906, 82.23 mph) def. Hayden Dial (.099, 7.868 breakout, 82.26 mph).
PRO JR. DRAGSTER SATURDAY FINAL – Samuel Peterson (.036, 7.939, 80.20 mph) def. Noah Cornatzer (.039, 7.953, 81.54 mph).
OUTLAW 330 FINAL – Ethan Bickford (.105, 4.247 seconds) def. Maria Kay (.072, 4.328 seconds).
Landon Palmer, of Scottsville, Virginia, raced past Clayton’s Kaylee Creech on his way to the Top Jr. Dragster title this weekend at Rockingham Dragway.
Bailie Zepp defeated Logan Brown in order to win the Top Jr. Dragster Sunday Final at Rockingham Dragway.