Good afternoon race fans!
This weekend the NHRA headed to New Hampshire for lobster rolls, seafood boils and the NHRA New England Nationals and what an action packed and explosion filled race it was.
Starting with Top Fuel, I would be doing you guys a disservice if I didn’t mention one of the crazier moments from the first round. Drag racing is one of those sports where anything can happen at any time, and this is the PERFECT example of that. As is the norm, the No. 1 qualifier will start off the day by taking on the No. 16 qualifier, in this case that was Steve Torrence vs Scott Farley. They were both really late off the line, but Steve had the advantage. He then went up in smoke, pedaled, ended up in smoke again and ended up shutting off the car. Scott’s car meanwhile was straight down the groove and only popped once he was through the lights. This is Scott’s first career round win as well as his career quickest and fastest pass, 4.062 @ 244.87 mph.
And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, on the left side of the ladder, No. 8 qualified Justin Ashley started his day by taking on No. 9 Dan Mercier. Justin had a great light, never looked back and with a 3.74 to a 6.13, he was into the second round. In the second round he faced Scott Farley. Farley didn’t make the call so Justin had a bye, and he went 3.78. His semifinal matchup was against the tough Shawn Langdon. It was a good race, but with a 3.75 to a 3.77, Justin and the Phillips Connect team were into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 3 qualified Mike Salinas started his day by taking on No. 14 Joe Morrison. This was a good race off the line, but Morrison’s engine fireballed itself and with a 3.88 to a 4.09, Mike was into the second round. In the second round he faced the always tough Leah Pruett. It was a really good race and at the end Mike got a little loose and close to the wall, but he gathered it up enough for his 3.74 to best Leah’s 3.80. His semifinal matchup was against the tough Austin Prock. On paper this looked like it was going to be a good race, but Austin went up in smoke, eventually running a 5.53, while Mike went a to b with a 3.86 putting him and the Scrappers Racing team into the finals. This was a great final, close, but Mike had it from the get go and with a 3.72 to a 3.78, he took home the win and the Wally.
Next, we have the nitro burning Funny Cars. There were 14 cars in the field, so the ladders were a little wonky. But, starting on the left side of the ladder, No. 1 qualified Matt Hagan started his day by taking on No. 14 qualified Dale Creasy Jr. Though Dale had the starting line advantage, he went up in smoke immediately, eventually running a 10.28. Matt had problems of his own, hazing the tires, car getting super loose and throwing a blower belt, but he hung on and went 4.09. In the second round he had a bye run and he went 3.94. His semifinal matchup was against the tough JR Todd. It was a good and super close race, but with a 3.96 to a 3.98, Matt and the Dodge Power Brokers team were into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 3 qualified Robert Hight started his day by taking on No. 14 Cory Lee. This was a very lucky win for Robert. Cory had the starting line advantage, but Robert got that back almost immediately. He then started to lose traction and had to pedal, that allowed Cory to get right up next to him, but that didn’t last long as Cory’s car started dropping cylinders. Robert hung on and with a 4.32 to Cory’s 4.52 and was on to the next round. In the second round he faced the tough Alexis DeJoria. This was another good race, but Robert had the advantage off the line and never looked back, running low ET of the round with a 3.93 to Alexis’ 3.98. His semifinal matchup was against the always tough Ron Capps. Ron was first off the line, but started to slow early on, eventually running a 4.09 while Robert went a to b with a 3.92, putting him and the AAA team into the finals. Robert and Matt are pretty even when it comes to racing each other, Robert leads 20 – 19 overall and 8 – 3 in final rounds, but this one was all Matt. He left first, (.040) to (.059) and never looked back. Robert was up in smoke around 300 feet, running a 6.23, while Matt was solid, with a straight and true 3.92, taking home the win and the Wally.
And finally, for the first time in weeks, we have Pro Stock. On the left side of the ladder, No. 5 qualified Aaron Stanfield started his day by taking on No. 12 qualified Troy Coughlin Jr. Aaron had the advantage off the line and didn’t look back, running a 6.53, while Troy had immediate tire shake so he pushed in the clutch and coasted to a 13.84. In the second round Aaron faced Deric Kramer. It was a good race, but with a 6.53 to a 6.55, Aaron was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against Fernando Cuadra Jr. I have to give props to the Cuadra family because they’ve really stepped up the performance of their cars recently and have been running very well. Aaron and Fernando Jr are 1 -1 against each other, but this time Aaron got the nod. Fernando Jr had immediate and aggressive tire shake, so he pushed the clutch in and coasted to an 11.91 while Aaron went a to b with a 6.57, putting him and the Janac Brothers Racing team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 3 qualified Erica Enders started her day by taking on No. 14 Kenny Delco. Kenny went red by (-.013), giving Erica the win immediately and she went a blistering 6.51. In the second round she faced Greg Anderson and it’s always a great race when these two meet. Though Greg ran the faster 6.51, Erica had him on the tree with a (.009) to his (.030) and held on for a hole shot win with a 6.53. Her semifinal matchup was against Mason McGaha. Mason went red by (-.002) giving Erica the win immediately, but they both encountered aggressive tire shake, and Erica slowed to a 9.26, putting her and the Melling Performance/Elite team into the finals. This final was one of those classic Pro Stock final rounds that shows just how much cutting a good light matters. Their incremental numbers were essentially the same the whole way down the track, but Erica was (.037) on the tree to Aaron’s (.067) and that helped her and her 6.54 best Aaron’s 6.55, giving her the win and the Wally.
The next race will be the Father’s Day classic, the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 17th – 19th in Bristol, Tennessee.