Good afternoon race fans!
This weekend the NHRA headed east to Richmond, Virginia for the Virginia NHRA Nationals for the first time in two years and they put on quite a show. I want to take a minute to mention Top Fuel Harley, this is one of the most insane classes in drag racing if you ask me, and I want to congratulate Larry “Spiderman” McBride for running the fastest run in motorcycle history, 268.38 mph. It was quite the run to watch.
Starting in Top Fuel, on the left side of the ladder No. 1 qualified Brittany Force started her day with a bye run as there were only 15 cars in the field. She went up in smoke pretty much immediately and clicked it off, eventually clocking a 9.81. In the second round she faced the tough Shawn Langdon. Shawn had a slight advantage off the starting line, but ran into early smoke, while Brittany hooked and ran a solid 3.78 to Shawn’s 4.51. Her semifinal matchup was against Mike Salinas, who is on a bit of a roll right now. He had problems immediately, eventually coasting to a 9.49, while Brittany went a to b with a 3.77 putting her and the Flav – R – Pac team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder No. 3 qualified Steve Torrence started his day by taking on No. 14 Scott Palmer. It was a good race and Palmer had a starting line advantage, (.075) to (.093) but Steve and his 3.77 outran Scott’s 3.92. In the second round he faced the always tough Tony Schumacher. Steve and Tony have had some fantastic races in their time, they are 19 – 19 overall with Tony leading 10 – 6 in second round races and Steve being 1 – 0 so far this season. This however was not a great race, they both had issues and it was really a battle of who could get theirs to recover first and hold on and Steve did that with a 4.40 to a 5.30. His semifinal match up was against the tough Austin Prock. AP is a great leaver and he did have the slightest of advantages here, (.076) to (.077), but it didn’t last long. He ran into early problems, eventually running a 4.93 while Steve went a to b with a 3.80, putting him and the Capco team into the finals. This was a close race, a very good final, but in the end it was Brittany’s 3.77 that bested Steve’s 3.78, giving her the win and the Wally.
Next we have nitro burning Funny Cars. On the left side of the ladder, No. 1 qualified Matt Hagan started his day like Brittany Force, with a bye run and he ran a 3.96. In the second round he took on Chad Green. It was a good race, but with a 3.96 to a 4.02, Matt was into the semifinals. His semifinal match up was against the 16x champ John Force. Matt and John have had some fantastic races against each other and John is 27-19 against Matt. This time though, it belonged to Matt. John left a bit early and went red by (-.323), giving Matt the win immediately and he ran a 3.95 putting him the Smithfield team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 10 qualified Robert Hight started his day by taking on No. 7 Tim Wilkerson. It was a very good race, but with a 3.91 to a 3.94, Robert was into the second round. In the second round he faced the always tough Ron Capps. Robert is 39 – 35 against Ron and added another one to his record today. Competitors in the right lane were having problems with traction and that’s what got Ron. He went up in almost instant tire smoke, eventually running a 9.62 while Robert went a to b with a 3.93. His semifinal match up was against Bob Tasca III. This was a really good race, side by side, firing on all cylinders, the whole way down the track. In the end it was a 3.90 to a 4.01 that put Robert and the AAA team into the finals. Robert and Matt put on a great show, but in the end it was Robert who grabbed the win and took home the Wally.
And lastly we have Pro Stock Motorcycle, I have to mention quickly and congratulate PSM racer Jianna Salinas on her recent wedding! She did change her last name, so when you see her on ladders and mentioned in articles and such, she’s Jianna Evaristo. On the left side of the ladder No. 4 qualified Matt Smith started his day by taking on No. 13 Chris Bostick. It was a decent race and with a 6.87 to a 7.04, Matt was moving on. In the second round he faced Jimmy Underdahl. This was a super close race, Underdahl had the advantage off the line (.043) to (.058) but Matt drove around him quickly and with a 6.86 to a 6.88, was into the semifinals. His semifinal match up was against the always tough Eddie Krawiec, and again, this was a super good race. Eddie had the advantage, (.057) to (.070), but Matt quickly reeled him in and with a 6.86 to a 6.89, put himself and the Denso team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder No. 3 qualified Steve Johnson started his day by taking on No. 14 Lance Bonham. Lance went red by (-.114) giving Steve the win immediately and he ran a 6.80. In the second round Steve faced the always tough Karen Stoffer. This was a decent race and with a 6.81 to a 6.89, Steve was moving on. His semifinal match up was against Marc Ingwersen. This was yet another close and good race. They were dead even to the 60 foot mark, then Steve pulled ahead and with a 6.85 to a 6.91, put him and the Suzuki/Steve Johnson Racing team into the finals. Matt and Steve do not like each other, this is a rivalry that’s not going away, and for today, it was Matt who got the win and grabbed the Wally.
The next race will be the NHRA New England Nationals, June 3rd – 5th in Epping, New Hampshire.