BOISE, IDAHO - Sunnyside's Wayne Linder Jr. isn't unfamiliar with being at the top of the heap. Over the years he's found plenty of success competing on the National Hot Rod Association circuit.
Linder is back at it again-finding success, that is-as he opened the 2006 NHRA Division 6 season with a top finish in the Super Gas competition.
The Division 6 season opener was staged in Boise, Idaho last weekend. Linder, one of the key figures on the Sunnyside Johnny B. Good Racing Team, knocked off six challengers enroute to capturing the Super Gas divisional title.
The Division 6 series is comprised of six Pacific Northwest competitions spread out from mid-May to mid-summer. The overall points leaders in each Division 6 drag racing class then advance to NHRA Nationals.
The index for Super Gas competitors is 10.20 seconds. To the layman, that means each drag racer is attempting to hit the finish line on the quarter-mile track in exactly 10.20 seconds. Any run timed quicker than the index is a disqualification. Getting beat to the finish line by the opposing driver in the next lane also ends a racer's weekend.
"A lot of things can happen to prevent you from winning, especially when you have to make five or six successful runs to win on any given weekend," Linder said.
When asked which was his toughest race last weekend, Linder didn't hesitate in bringing up the name of his semi-finals' opponent, John Larson.
Larson, who normally competes in the California and Nevada areas, beat Linder off the line with a response time of one, one-thousandth of a second. The Sunnyside drag racer had a fair start, himself, responding to the green light on the starting tree in a time of five one-thousandth's of a second.
Unfortunately for Larson, Linder's roadster-a multi-hued, chrome-wheeled screamer that sports chrome pipes exiting the right front engine block area and the number 63 atop the hood scoop-was dialed in that day. Linder made up the ground he lost at the starting time and ended up edging Larson by six one-thousandth's of a second. He clocked a 10.213 finish to Larson's 10.219 time.
In the finals, Linder posted an even better time, clocking his run in 10.207 seconds. His opponent, Vancouver, British Columbia's Kenny Heard, actually beat Linder to the finish line, but broke out with a time of 10.187 seconds.
"He was just a hair too quick," Linder said of Heard's final pass.
Besides starting off the 2006 Division 6 season with a first place finish, Linder also competed in the Jegs All-Stars competition in Boise. Not surprisingly, he earned himself a trip to the Jegs national competition, to be held in Chicago June 9-11.
The weekend prior, though, he'll be at the second Division 6 competition of the season, in Mission, British Columbia June 2-4. After returning from Chicago, Linder and the rest of the Johnny B. Good Racing Team will trek to Seattle the weekend of June 16-18 for yet another divisional competition.
"It's that time of the year where we just go, go go," Linder said.
If history holds true, Linder's opponents will be looking at his roadster's back side, thinking he's gone, gone, gone.