Mike Cotten of Cave Creek, Arizona, made the most of the extended racing at Topeka, sweeping the Dodge Top Finisher Awards in Stock and Super Stock at the NHRA Heartland Nationals. It was his fourth award of the year, including Dodge Top Finisher honors in Super Stock at the NHRA Phoenix and Vegas events.
Cotton opened eliminations with a victory over Marlene Nelson. After the remaining Stock rounds were postponed until Monday due to the extended rain delay, Cotten drove his 1973 Duster to three straight victories to advance to the semifinals: first over Keith Hildahl, then over No. 1 Stock qualifier and 2010 Mopar® Dodge Challenger Drag Pak driver Chris Kemmerer, and finally over Randy Mans. A red light foul against Tyler Wudarczyk ended Cotten’s extra day in Topeka.
In Super Stock, Cotten qualified No. 19 in his Mopar 383 Big Block-powered 1970 Plymouth ’Cuda with a 9.962 ET that was .738 under index. He posted an almost identical 9.963 run at 130.72 mph in the first round of eliminations, but opponent Vic Penrod claimed the win with the help of a near perfect .001-second reaction time.
The Dodge Top Finisher award, now in its second year, awards $500 to the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers who advance the furthest behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler or Plymouth racecar. The honor is awarded in both Sportsman categories at all 24 NHRA national events.