On Sunday, Bobby Bode stood by his father on the NHRA Full Throttle Series stage in Brainerd, Minn. only after prodding from Larry Dixon. After years of trying, the elder Bode had finally won his first Funny Car race in his first final-round appearance.

Six days later, Bobby stood on his own stage. This time it was his father’s turn to watch as Bobby, 8, celebrated his first NHRA Junior Drag Racing League track championship title at Route 66 Raceway.

It was a big moment for a shy shoe.

Bobby, a third-grader at Isaac Fox Elementary in Lake Zurich, Ill., held only a 14-point advantage over David Kovar Jr. in the Sportsman Jr. catagory entering the final race of the year. Kovar got a free pass to Round 2 with a first-round bye and it was in Round 2 that the title went to Bobby.

Bobby and Kovar faced each other in the second round. Kovar fouled out at the starting line and Bobby cruised to a 13.046-second finish at 50.79 on a 13.02 dial-in.

Bobby finished second at the event to winner David Roloff, who nabbed a rare holeshot win over the season champion. Roloff clocked a .064 reaction time at the starting line and converted it into a 13.084 at 48.30 on a 13.05 dial. Bobby, usually one of the quickest at the Christmas Tree, had a .126 reaction time before driving to a 13.047 at 50.25 on a 13.03 dial.

Nate Kelley, who had only a two-point lead over Jeremy Lensing before the race, walked away champion of the Modified Jr. category. It is the 10-year-old’s second career championship title.

Kelley also won the race when he took advantage of his opponent’s break-out in the final round and drove to an 8.959 at 75.36 on an 8.95 dial. Nichole Medeisis, who went up one spot in the standings to finish second, recorded an 8.890 at 72.78 on an 8.90 dial.


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500 Speedway Blvd
Joliet, IL 60433
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