East Region points leader Rich McPhillips won Top Alcohol Dragster at the final North Central regional of 2012 at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Ky., and Todd Veney did likewise in Top Alcohol Funny Car.
McPhillips, who had three runner-up finishes but no wins in regional competition this season, got the best of a classic final against North Central points leader and five-time world champ Bill Reichert, 5.53 to 5.54. McPhillips got the jump at the starting line with a .056-second reaction time and had it all the way.
"This still doesn't guarantee anything," said McPhillips, who also won the Summer Nationals at Topeka this year. "We did everything we could by winning this race, but (John) Finke is running good out in Topeka (at the Central Region event that eventually was postponed by rain), and (Duane) Shields and (Richard) Bourke still have multiple races left that they can claim."
McPhillips took a crucial semifinal victory over Lebanon Valley winner Dan Mercier, who climbed to second place in the East Region this weekend, when Mercier's chutes deployed before half-track. McPhillips advanced to his fourth regional final of the season and fifth overall with his worst run all weekend, 5.64, while Mercier dragged the laundry to a 6.70 at 111 mph.
Reichert, who had won his previous three regional starts this season and had won this event in each of the past four years, took the other semi over Mike Kosky, who qualified on one shot and ran low elapsed time of the first round, 5.38.
Veney won Alcohol Funny Car over a short field, edging Mickey Ferro in a rematch of the previous week's Cecil County final, 5.67 to 5.74.
"I'd never beat Mickey until last weekend, so to do it twice in the final was unbelievable," he said. "I really want to thank Jay Blake and Tom Howell for making the car run this well and all the guys who made the sacrifice to fill in for our regular crew when we decided to come here at the last minute."
Veney got around Ray Drew in the opening round in a close race, 5.76 to 5.74. Ferro fought to maintain control en route to a 5.74 in the same round against two-time Division 3 champ Chris Foster in a monumental matchup with major points implications. Foster, who had the North Central lead coming into the event, and Ferro both have two regional victories this season, but Ferro has runner-ups in his other three regional starts and now leads Foster by 52 points.