Pro Stock review, The Main Event, Santa Pod Raceway
The 2016 Main Event escaped from the rain delays and bad weather associated with the season opener for the most part. A few hours were lost over the weekend for some very fine mistings of rain, but to all intents and purposes, the event ran without interruption from the weather gods.
Jimmy Ålund has set a goal of gaining his tenth Pro Stock championship victory in his fourteenth year in the class. If we stop to think about those numbers for just a minute, and consider that Jimmy took one of those years getting to grips with the Camaro, it is an altogether impressive record. I wrote last year that the best way to ensure a championship win is obvious, qualify number one in all rounds and win every event. Jimmy has started as he means to go on. Number one qualifier in session one, improvement in session 2, retained the number one position in session 3 and improved again in session 4 to finish as number one qualifier in all sessions, 3/100th up on the competition.
Bengt Ljungdahl claimed the second place with the other blue Camaro, which looked very much like the car to dispute Jimmy’s title hopes this weekend. Bengt is in his first competition year in this car and got progressively quicker and faster throughout qualifying, taking the number two spot in session two and holding it through session three before improving further in session four.
The remaining cars all made it into the 6-second bracket with the only other notable performances or incidents being Michael Malmgren’s Pontiac making a hard right turn in session two and crossing lanes to cruise up the track in Jimmy’s slipstream. It looked closer from the start line than it was in reality, Michael told me later that after the car made the move, he looked at where Jimmy was and realised he had room and time to allow the car to settle down before he put in too much steering correction.
“I knew the lap was over, so now it was time to save the car, Jimmy was already out ahead and so I went across into his lane and just followed him up the track, it was the safest thing for me to do”
In eliminations, Magnus Petersson gave the first round to Thomas Lindström with a red light, Michael hit some tyre shake which allowed Bengt to get away cleanly and take the round win. In the final pair, Jimmy took a huge start line advantage from Stefan Ernryd, and was off and running so far ahead that Stefan stood no chance of catching him.
Round two of eliminations pitted Bengt against Thomas whilst Jimmy had the advantage of the bye run. Thomas got away first by 16/100 and managed to hold on to his advantage despite a very hard charging run from Bengt. This was one of those times that I have to explain to a spectator why the quicker car did not win the round, Bengt gave it everything he had on that run, but despite clawing back nearly half of the start line advantage he did not have enough to get back past Thomas. Jimmy took the bye and the final was set.
Jimmy and Thomas lined up for what promised to be another great final, but Thomas, knowing he needed every advantage he could get, went a little too early on the tree and the FIA Main Event champion was crowned as Jimmy Ålund who has achieved stage one of his quest.
Main Event statistics
Link to final qualifying list:
Link to elimination ladder
Link to championship points standing after The Main Event
For more photos see:
Text: Ian Hart
Photos: Remco Scheelings