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MOTOR RACING / SHAV GLICK : Braaksma Heads Field for Castaic Lake Runs

Championship drag boat racing will return to Castaic Lake this weekend when the International Hot Boat Assn. presents the Chief Auto Parts Castaic Nationals.

Ron Braaksma of Downey, defending top-fuel hydro champion, will head a field of more than 160 driver-teams into the Santa Clarita Valley facility that attracted 27,500 spectators for last May’s IHBA competition. Fifteen classes of drag boats will compete over the quarter mile.

Braaksma leads the standings with 2,118 points but is being challenged by Ralph Padilla of Yorba Linda, who has 1,924. A victory by Padilla’s Quarterflash could drop Braaksma from the top spot for the first time in three years. Carter Read, in California Hustler II, is third with 1,415 points.

Braaksma’s Madness holds both IHBA time and speed records for the quarter mile. He reached 220.04 m.p.h. in 5.07 seconds at Firebird International Raceway, near Phoenix, in 1990.

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The last time the IHBA raced at Castaic Lake, rookie Steve Varner scored his first victory when Braaksma red-lighted at the start. Varner’s Caught in the Act had been fast qualifier at 214.179 m.p.h.

Read also got his first victory at Braaksma’s expense two weeks later at Lake Ming, when the champion’s boat got out of shape and Read won in 6.92 seconds at 160.71 m.p.h.

One of the largest top-fuel fields in recent years will also include Kyle Walker of Houston in the Sprit of America, Tom Cantrell of Albuquerque, N.M., in Beautiful Noise and Jay Haroutunian of Fresno in Whiskey River.

Race officials are expecting speeds approaching 220 m.p.h. after lengthening the starting area by 50 feet. A new starting procedure is also expected to improve performances in all classes.

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In the second-fastest class, blown alcohol hydro, there is a three-way battle for the championship among leader Clinton Anderson’s Fatal Attraction, Cliff Bingham’s Money for Nothin’ and Robin Adair’s Ultimate Warrior. Blown alcohol hydros average speeds approaching 200 m.p.h. in about 5.8 seconds.

Castaic Lake is 25 miles north of Los Angeles off Interstate 5, four miles north of Magic Mountain. Qualifying is set for Saturday and final eliminations Sunday, racing starting at 8 a.m.

Motor Racing Notes

OFF-ROAD--More than 100 vehicles will compete in the second annual High Desert Racing Assn. championship races this weekend over a 1.8-mile dirt course at Willow Springs Raceway near Rosamond. Practice is today at 3 p.m., heats Saturday at 1 and the title races Sunday at 1.

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INDY CARS--PPG Indy car point leader Bobby Rahal will leave the Galles-Kraco team at the end of the season and drive for Patrick Racing in 1992. Rahal, the Indianapolis 500 winner in 1986 and two-time CART/PPG World Series champion, will be the team’s only driver, according to team owner Pat Patrick. Shortly after that announcement was made, Danny Sullivan, who drove for Patrick this season, said he would replace Rahal with Galles-Kraco, driving with Al Unser Jr. next season .

STOCK CARS--Chuck Miinch and John Borneman will continue their duel for the track sportsman championship in twin 25-lap features Saturday night at the Cajon Speedway. Miinch leads by 32 points.

SPEEDWAY BIKES--A 20-lap main event will highlight racing today at Costa Mesa.


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