NORWALK, Ohio -- While Sunday's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park were far from uneventful, the setup for the Pro Stock title race lacked one characteristic of the prototypical drag race: speed.
First, Jason Line earned a berth in the Pro Stock final with a lower-than-usual time of 8.211 seconds, more than two seconds slower than his top elimination-round time of 6.628 seconds.
Then, Vincent Nobile forged ahead alone on the quarter-mile drag strip as Allen Johnson's car shook out early and sputtered to the finish line, well behind Nobile, who finished the run in 7.792 -- more than a second and a half slower than his top elimination-round time of 6.630.
Nobile wasn't discouraged. Instead, he knew how to get his Dodge under control after the tires began to shake, a disruption that could otherwise translate into trouble for a driver.
"That was probably the coolest round I ever won," Nobile said. "I've never been in a pedal fest. After seeing Jason and Shane [Gray] do that, I mentally prepared myself. My dad told me, 'if you shake and the other guy shakes, try to get it in fifth gear as soon as possible.' "
Nobile had little trouble in the title run. The 20-year-old defeated Line for the Pro Stock title, winning in 6.661 seconds,ahead of Line's 6.705.
Nobile earned $25,000 by winning the Pro Stock title Sunday at Norwalk, in addition to the $50,000 he earned Saturday by winning the K&N Horsepower Challenge, an all-star showcase of Pro Stock drivers.
Nobile will be a junior at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., but his winnings won't go straight to tuition payments. Instead, he plans to buy a new pickup for Peggy Coleman, who lost her house in the 2011 tornado that hit Joplin, Mo.
"It felt great to give back," Nobile said. "But never in a million years did I think I would be this lucky.
Erica Enders, who made history last weekend by becoming the first woman to win a Pro Stock event, didn't make it out of the first round of the Pro Stock elimination rounds. Off the start, Enders wasn't able to gain tire traction in her Chevrolet as Jeg Coughlin sped away, ending Enders' second bid for a Pro Stock win.
"We waited to fire because they were trying to decide which lane to go in," Enders said. "I haven't seen the run yet, so I don't know if it bit us or not, but the bottom line is we let that one slip through our fingers before we even had a chance."
In Pro Stock motorcycle competition, Andrew Hines beat Hector Arana, Jr., on the basis of a faster reaction time at the start of the race, despite finishing 1/1,000th of a second slower than Arana -- 6.929 to 6.928. Hines had a reaction time of .043 seconds at the start, .03 seconds faster than Arana, who defeated his father, Hector Arana, Sr., in a semifinal.
Mike Neff earned his 100th career win in the Funny Car semifinal, then earned his second Funny Car championship this year by defeating Tim Wilkerson.
Neff attributed his win to his strong qualifying rounds, as he started fifth in eliminations.
"I made a good run Friday night, and that put me in a good position," Neff said. "I made a good, clean run [Sunday], and Tim Wilkerson put up a heck of a run, and it was close at the finish line."
A matchup between the father-daughter tandem of John and Courtney Force didn't materialize in the Funny Car competition.
Against Wilkerson, John Force smoked the tires on the final run of the first round of elimination, allowing Wilkerson to advance. Cruz Pedregon beat Courtney Force to the finish line by .009 seconds (4.220 to 4.229) in the second round.
Spencer Massey defeated Steve Torrence for the Top Fuel title, gaining the edge on his reaction time from the start of the final.
"I try to be the best on the reaction time," Massey said. "Right now, Steve Torrence has been the best at reaction time. And he's the only guy who's beat me on a hole shot. So it's nice to get one back from him."
Contact Rachel Lenzi at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6510 or on Twitter @RLenziBlade.