WINNERS BEST FULL HOUSE TO EARN WALLYS AT NHRA NATIONAL DRAGSTER ET BRACKET SERIES RACE JOLIET, Ill. - In 25 years of racing, Minooka, Ill.'s Tony Grzelinski has won everything a Top Sportsman driver can win. He's the reigning champion for Route 66 Raceway and he has a fireplace mantel full of metal to prove it.

The one thing he was missing was a Wally - and he checked that off the list on Sunday at the track's NHRA National Dragster Challenge ET Bracket Series event.

Grzelinksi, 55, drove his 2000 Camaro to a 7.686-second finish at 181.40 mph to defeat Brian Brown in the final round of Top Sportsman eliminations. His Wally will fill the hole on his mantel, he said.

“It's fabulous,“ said Grzelinski, who credited his wife Kathy for her support. “It's the ultimate. My ultimate goal.“

Bryan Campbell, 31, of Plainfield, Ill. earned his first Wally with his first career win - on a 9.094 in 148.38 in the Super Pro category against runner-up Al Kuefler's dragster.

His wife Kathleen came to the race to celebrate the couple's seventh anniversary, but ended up witnessing her husband's big moment.

“It's unbelievable,“ Bryan Campbell said.

Route 66 Raceway's first-ever Super Pro champion, John Haut, 59, of Grant Park, Ill. claimed first-place honors in the Pro category behind a 9.127 at 140.11 (double-breakout). It is his second Wally.

In Sportsman, Chicago's-own Kyle Riley, 38, defeated his older brother Anthony, 47, in Round 3 to advance and ultimately win with a 15.796 at 87.11 in a double-breakout. It's his fourth career Wally.

“They're about the same after the first one,“ Kyle Riley said. “I think that's why I was so relaxed.“

Run of the day honors went to Super Pro's Chris Riester, 46, of Oak Forest, IL, who recorded back-to-back perfect lights and converted that last .000 into a perfect run - an 8.85 on an 8.85 dial-in at 154.97 in the second round of eliminations. He later broke out in the third round to end his hopes for a flawless day.

“I was running a Chevy Nova,“ Riester said. “He red-lit, so I decided to run the full pass as a time run for myself. I already knew I won the race, so I just ran it out the back door.“

Riester plans to frame his time slip.

Robert Sutterlin, 56, of New Lenox, IL, won in the Bike category with an 8.336 at 150.61 to Nicole Florey's 10.226 at 130.64. It wasn't an easy day for Sutterlin, who spent the day thrashing when his ride broke twice - once in the semifinal round.

“They called me up (for the finals) and I still had it apart,“ Sutterlin said.

High School points leader Jason McGrady-Szromba earned his first career Wally on Sunday when he drove his 1996 Mustang to a 15.346 finish at 94.14 after a red-light start by opponent Eva Henderson.

Henderson cut a -.042 light to hand McGrady-Szromba the win at the NHRA National Dragster Challenge ET Bracket Series event, where every winner walks away with their own famed Wally trophy. Just the chance of nabbing a Wally brought competitors out in full force for this fifth bracket event of the year.

McGrady-Szromba, 18, of New Lenox, IL, spent the early morning time trials feeling out his new set of tires before facing his toughest opponent, Dakota Johnson and his Mustang, in Round 2 of eliminations.

“I was going against a Mustang with a new engine,“ McGrady-Szromba said. “It's a lot faster than my car. It was a little intimidating.“

You'd think the pits would be the perfect breeding ground for a classic high school rivalry, but McGrady-Szromba isn't expecting any of his competitors to stir up trouble any time soon.

“I hang out with them in the pits,“ McGrady-Szromba said. “It's not competitive. We don't even talk about racing much. We'll talk about some of the problems we're having (with the cars) and stuff, but mainly we just hang out. It's all in good fun.“



1. Larry Bokal, New Lenox, IL, 178; 2. Bryan Campbell, Plainfield, IL, 172; 3. Al Kuefler, Naperville, IL, 158; 4. Justin Ford, Channahon, IL, 147; 5. Dennis Navarro, Oswego, IL, 146; 6. Dave Ancel, Morris, IL, 131; 7. Jim Oliver, New Lenox, IL, 122; 8. John Braasch, Mokena, IL, 112; 9. Kerry Lundberg, Odell, IL, 110; 10. Jim Taylor, Morris, IL, 101; 11. John Schober, Orland Park, IL, 101; 12. Paul Pisanko, Orland Park, IL, 98; 13. Ken Rapacz, Bradley, IL, 98; 14. Alan Wagner, Algonquin, IL, 97; 15. Chris Riester, Oak Forest, IL, 97.


1. Troy Bogner, Sparland, IL, 210; 2. Ken Kamba Jr., Elwood, IL, 194; 3. Michael Roppo, Lockport, IL, 191; 4. Greg Bosak, Des Plaines, IL, 182; 5. Pete Kreinbrink, Plano, IL, 181; 6. Rich Singleton, Frankfort, IL, 172; 7. Jenna Weidner, Manhattan, IL, 163; 8. Mike Heden, Evergreen Park, IL, 163; 9. Ed Marquardt, Channahon, IL, 162; 10. Dale Letterly, Dwight, IL, 149; 11. Wade Headrick, Custer Park, IL, 148; 12. Gerald Scruggs, Frankfort, IL, 144; 13. Ricky Pena, Hickory Hills, IL, 135; 14. Jim Buschman, Midlothian, IL, 135; 15. Keith Long, Highland, IN, 128; 16. Steve Henderson, Lockport, IL, 128.


1. Paul O'Keefe, Morris, IL, 218; 2. Michael Slaviero, New Lenox, IL, 209; 3. Kyle Riley, Chicago, IL, 176; 4. Michael Szromba, S Holland, IL, 155; 5. Anthony Riley, Chicago, IL, 135; 6. Dan McCarrin, Joliet, IL, 127; 7. Ryan Alley, Minooka, IL, 121; 8. Bill Northup, Remington, IN, 114; 9. Steve McDonald, New Lenox, IL, 110; 10. Todd Paine, Plainfield, IL, 99; 11. Jeff Clark, Crete, IL, 98; 12. Bill Macke, Crestwood, IL, 98; 13. Stephanie Somer, Manhattan, IL, 87; 14. Jeff Sandowski, Elwood, IL, 87; 15. Steve Opielinski, Joliet, IL, 86.


1. Tom Ewig, St. Milwaukee, WI, 149; 2. Robert Sutterlin, New Lenox, IL, 126; 3. Greg Darm, Streator, IL, 103; 4. Paul Waters, New Lenox, IL, 97; 5. Nicole Florey, New Lenox, IL, 75; 6. Frank Linders, Washington, IL, 66; 7. Bill Homuth, Hampshire, IL, 52; 8. Tom Gaffney, Worth, IL, 51; 9. Tom Florey, New Lenox, IL, 51; 10. Brian Foster, Merrillville, IN, 46; 11. Mike Bostic, Valparaiso, IN, 41; 12. Dawn Florey, New Lenox, IL, 41; 13. Tim Kuehlem, Plano, IL, 31; 14. Donnie Banaski, Hobart, IN, 21.


1. Jason McGrady-Szromba, New Lenox, IL, 135; 2. Jake Hoelscher, Seneca, IL, 122; 3. Dakota Johnson, Marseilles, IL, 109; 4. Eva Henderson, Lockport, IL, 74; 5. Scott Flounders, Homer Glen, IL, 62; 6. Craig Schober, Orland Park, IL, 51; 7. Ashley Santoro, Bloomingdale, IL, 10; 8. Zachary Breyne, Seneca, IL, 10; 9. Roy Murphy, St. John, IN, 10.


1. Tony Grzelinski, Minooka, IL, 160; 2. Tim Kirman, Morris, IL, 141; 3. Tom Donovan, Olathe, KS, 108; 4. Brian Brown, Coal City, IL, 93; 5. Bill Gibson, Stegor, IL, 77; 6. Alex Bosak, Chicago, IL, 67; 7. Don Baxter, Grandville, IL, 66; 8. Sean Brady, Franklin Park, IL, 66; 9. Rick Sojka Jr., Montgomery, IL, 54; 10. Daniel Howorth, Yorkville, IL, 54; 11. Michael Donato, Arlington Heights, IL, 53; 12. Dave Green, Villa Park, IL, 53; 13. Mike Radtke, Tinley Park, IL, 52; 14. Rick Wilson, Independence, MO, 46; 15. Jeff Fleming, Winfield, IL, 46.

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