Good Afternoon race fans!
I want to start this by wishing all my readers and everyone, a Happy Father’s Day! This weekend the NHRA made it’s way to Bristol, Tennessee, the track that was literally carved into the side of a mountain, for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals aka the Father’s Day Classic, and it was not a race to be missed.
Starting in the nitro ranks, with Top Fuel, on the left side of the ladder No. 9 qualified Shawn Langdon started his day by taking on No. 8 Spencer Massey. It was close off the line, but Spencer went up in smoke, so with a 3.80 to a 4.48, Shawn was moving on. In the second round he faced the tough Mike Salinas who is on a roll and has a lot of momentum right now. This was a very good, very close race. Shawn had the advantage off the tree, (.057) to (.105) and that helped his 3.85 best Mike’s 3.81. In the semifinals he faced the always tough Antron Brown. This again, was a very good, very close race. They were essentially even off the starting line and kept it that way the entire time, but Shawn had a smidge more performance, so with a 3.84 to a 3.89, Shawn and the CMR Construction & Roofing/DHL team were into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 14 qualified Justin Ashley started his day by taking on No. 3 Josh Hart. This was a fantastically close race, Justin had a slight advantage off the starting line, (.054) to (.086), but they were essentially even down the race track and with a 3.824 to a 3.827, Justin was moving on. In the second round Justin faced Doug Foley. This was another decent race, but with a 3.91 to a 3.94, Justin was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against Steve Torrence, who as of late hasn’t been quite as dominating but is still doing very well. This race was all Justin, he was (.080) on the tree to Steve’s (.140) and never looked back, so with a 3.81 to a 3.87, Justin and the Phillips Connect/Vita C Shot team were into the finals, making it an all Toyota final round. This was a fantastic final round, very close and extra exciting because Shawn Langdon had already won in Super Comp and was looking to double up. But it was not to be today, though it was close, Justin was out first, (.071) to (.076) and didn’t look back. Taking home the win and the Wally with a 3.81 to Shawn’s 3.84.
Next up we have Funny Car. On the left side of the ladder No. 9 qualified Ron Capps started his day by taking on No. 8 Paul Lee. Though Paul had a very, very slight advantage, he went up in smoke almost immediately. Ron was on a solid run at that point until the end when his engine exploded. This is the first time we’ve really seen one of the Supra Funny Car bodies explode, but it held together very well and all of the safety features worked the way they were supposed to, so Ron was totally fine and with a 4.05 to a 6.02, he was into the second round. In the second round he faced the always tough Robert Hight and Robert has been doing very well as of late. That wasn’t the case this time though, Robert ran into problems and Ron was on an a to b run, so with a 4.03 to a 4.52, he was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against Alexis DeJoria. This was a good, close race the entire time, but with a 4.01 to a 4.05, which is impressive in these conditions, Ron and the NAPA Auto Parts team were into the final. On the other side of the ladder, No. 2 qualified Tim Wilkerson started his day by taking on No. 15 Jack Wyatt. Jack had to shut off on the starting line so Tim had a bye run and he went 4.13. In the second round he faced Chad Green. Chad went up in smoke almost immediately and backfired the car, so Tim was again, basically on a solo, and he went 4.82. His semifinal matchup was against the always tough 16x Champion John Force. John had a big advantage off the line, (.076) to (.158), but went up into tire smoke after the 330 foot mark and had to step off the throttle. Tim was on a good, run but had an issue of his own at the end, dropped a cylinder, and got real close to the wall, but managed to hang on, so with a 4.13 to a 4.39, he and the Levi, Ray and Shoup (LRS) team were into the finals. This final was all Ron Capps, he had an advantage off the line, (.066) to (.088) and never looked back. He ended up running the only 3 second run of the day, 3.98, to Tim’s 4.07, giving him the win and the Wally but this one comes with some fun stats! This is not only Ron’s 70th career win, but his 6th at Bristol Dragway, extending his title of winningest Funny Car driver at Bristol Dragway, so huge congrats to him, his Ron Capps Motorsports team and Team Toyota!
Onto the Pro Stock classes, we first have the Pro Stock cars. On the left side of the ladder, No. 1 qualified Aaron Stanfield started his day by taking on No. 16 Wally Stroupe. Wally did have a better light, (.015) to (.039) but he drifted towards the centerline and pushed in the clutch, while Aaron was on a solid a to b run, so with a 6.61 to a 7.60, he was moving on. In the second round Aaron faced Fernando Cuada Jr, the Cuadra family cars have been running very well recently, they’ve stepped up their performance. But today was for Aaron. Fernando Jr went red by (-.048) giving Aaron the win immediately and he went 6.64. His semifinal matchup was against the very tough Kyle Koretsky. This was a good race, but with a 6.63 to a 6.69, Aaron and the Janac Brothers Racing/Elite team were into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 3 qualified Erica Enders started her day by taking on No. 14 Cristian Cuadra. This was all Erica from the beginning, so with a 6.63 to a 6.67, Erica was moving on. In the second round she faced Matt Hartford. It was a good and close race, but with a 6.66 to a 6.68, Erica was into the semifinals. Her semifinal matchup was against the tough Dallas Glenn. This again was another close race, but all EE. In the end Erica’s 6.65 bested Dallas’ 6.67, putting her and the Melling Performance/Elite team into the finals. This has to be one of the strangest Pro Stock finals I’ve witnessed. They were essentially even off the line, but Aaron had early tire shake. As he was pushing the clutch in though, this is the weird part, Erica’s engine decided to let go in some way. It was the most spectacular engine issue I’ve ever seen, smoke was pouring out of the front of the car and it honestly looked like an old school 1960’s/70’s Funny Car burnout. She did manage to get it stopped at the top end and did a genuinely incredible job driving a car with a cockpit engulfed in smoke and she was okay and got out under her own power. While she was handling this though, Aaron managed to get his car to hook back up and drove around her with an 8.03 to an 8.80, taking home the win and the Wally.
And finally we have the Pro Stock Motorcycle’s. On the left side of the ladder No. 1 qualified Angelle Sampey started her day by taking on No. 16 LE Tonglet. It was a decent race, but with a 6.87 to a 6.93, she was moving on. In the second round Angelle faced Ryan Oehler. It was close off the line, but Angelle soon took the lead and Ryan had problems of his own, so with a 6.90 to a 10.00, Angelle was into the semifinals. Her semifinal matchup was against Marc Ingwersen who really is having the best bike of his career. He did get the advantage off the line, (.024) to (.093) but his bike soon started popping and quit, while Angelle went a to b with a 6.90 to Marc’s 7.55, putting her and the Vance and Hines/Mission Foods team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder No. 7 qualified Jerry Savoie started his day by taking on No. 10 Eddie Krawiec. This was a really good and really close race. Jerry had the starting line advantage, (.034) to (.054) and that helped his 6.89 best Eddie’s 6.88. In the second round he faced Joey Gladstone. It was a decent race, but with a 6.91 to a 6.96, he was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against the tough Angie Smith. Jerry left first and though Angie started to catch up and gain ground, she couldn’t quite catch him, so with a 6.97 to a 6.98, Jerry and the White Alligator Racing team were into the finals. This final was excitement and heartbreak all in one. Angelle went red by (-.052), giving Jerry the win immediately, he jumped himself, (-.010) but at that point it didn’t matter and with a 6.92, Jerry, who missed the last race with a broken toe, got the win and took home the Wally.
The next race will be the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, June 23rd – 26th in Norwalk, Ohio. We’re heading into a string of summer races, that will be broadcast on Fox, and you won’t want to miss a minute of the action.