Good Afternoon race fans!
This weekend the NHRA made it’s way to Sonoma, California for the Denso NHRA Sonoma Nationals, the second stop on the Western Swing. Last week’s winner had grape expectations and hoped to keep their chance to ‘Sweep The Swing’ alive, but overall it was a wine-derful weekend and not one to be missed by race fans..I’ll stop with the wine puns now, I promise. One thing I do want to do though is give a shoutout to the badass women in this sport, in Top Fuel, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, Leah Pruett, Erica Enders and Angelle Sampey qualified No. 1
Starting in the nitro ranks and in Top Fuel, on the left side of the ladder No. 5 qualified Brittany Force started her day by taking on No. 12 qualified, teammate, Austin Prock. It was a good race, but with a 3.66 to a 3.74, Brittany was moving on. In the second round she faced a tough customer in Steve Torrence. Steve had an advantage off the line, (.093) to (.129), but that went away almost immediately and Brittany never looked back, running a 3.66 to Steve’s 3.71. Brittany also reset the track speed record with a 336.49. Her semifinal matchup was against the always tough Shawn Langdon. This again was another good race. Brittany has faced two of the best leavers in the category today in Austin Prock and Shawn Langdon, and Shawn did have a nice advantage off the line here, (.056) to (.090), but again, it didn’t matter. David Grubnic, Brittany’s crew chief, has this car dialed in this weekend, and her 3.67 bested Shawn’s 3.78. She also set ANOTHER track speed record at 337.75, and put her and the Flav-R-Pac team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 3 qualified Mike Salinas started his day by taking on No. 14 Cameron Ferre. Cameron had early problems, and Mike ran a to b with a 3.70. In the second round he faced Justin Ashley. Mike again went a to b while Justin hazed the tires, so with a 3.70 to a 3.93, Mike was moving on. His semifinal matchup was against Doug Kalitta, who I’m pleased to say, seems to have really found something and his crew chiefs have that car running well right now. This race was all about Mike though, Doug suffered some problems, while Mike was on a solid run, so with a 3.84 to a 4.35, Mike and the Scrappers Racing team were into the finals. There will be no sweep in Top Fuel. This final was all Brittany, much like this whole day has been. She was off the line first and never looked back. In the end it was her 3.70 to Mike’s 3.74 that gave her the win and the Wally, her first in Sonoma. This team put out insane performance today and I personally cannot wait to see where they go the rest of the season.
Next up we have Funny Car, on the left side of the ladder, No. 4 qualified Bob Tasca III started his day by taking on No. 13 Jason Rupert. It was a decent race, and with a 3.87 to a 4.09, Bob was moving on. In the second round he faced Blake Alexander. This was a closer race, but still belonged to Bob, so with a 3.87 to a 3.95, Bob was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against the always tough Robert Hight who is hoping to sweep. This race was incredibly close. Their incremental numbers were very evenly matched the entire way down the track, and in the end with a 3.90 to a 3.92, it was Bob and the Ford Motorcraft team who are into the finals. So there will be no sweep in Funny Car. On the other side of the ladder, No. 15 qualified John Force started his day by taking on No. 2 qualified Ron Capps. Any time Ron and John race each other you know it’s going to be good and this race was no exception. Again, very close incremental numbers, but with a 3.89 to a 3.92, John was moving on. In the second round he faced the tough JR Todd. This was another close race, but with a 3.93 to a 3.95, John was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against Alexis DeJoria, who is running very well right now. John didn’t have an easy competitor all day, but that didn’t matter. This was a very close race, but with a 3.90 to a 3.93, John and the Peak team were into the finals. This was a good race, as expected, but with a 3.90 to a 3.99, Bob grabbed the win and took home the Wally.
Moving on to Pro Stock, we first have Pro Stock cars where there will be no sweep. On the left side of the ladder, No 1 qualified Erica Enders started her day by taking on No. 16 Fernando Cuadra Jr. Erica went a to b, while Fernando Jr ran into problems, so with a 6.51 to a 12.09, Erica was moving on. In the second round she faced Mason McGaha. This race was VERY close, but Erica was better on the tree, (.021) to (.044) and that helped her 6.540 best Mason’s 6.546. Her semifinal matchup was one we’ve seen so much in finals recently, Aaron Stanfield. Aaron jumped the tree and went before it was activated, giving Erica the win immediately and she went 6.52, putting her and the Melling Performance team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder No. 2 qualified Greg Anderson started his day by taking on No. 15 Steve Graham. Steve had problems, while Greg went a to b with a 6.54. In the second round he faced the tough Bo Butner. It was a super close race, Greg’s (.003) to Bo’s (.052) helped his 6.572 best Bo’s 6.579. His semifinal matchup was against a tough customer in Kyle Koretsky. Kyle had aggressive tire shake almost immediately, while Greg was on a great run, so with a 6.55 to an eventual 15.28, Greg and the HendrickCars.com team were finally, back into a final. Erica vs Greg is always monumental and this was no exception. Erica was (.018) to Greg’s (.049) and her engine quit a little before the finish line, but she managed to get the hole shot win with a 6.57 to Greg’s 6.56, and she takes home the Wally.
And finally we have Pro Stock Motorcycle. There were 14 bikes on the property, so the ladder was a little wonky. On the left side of the ladder, No. 5 qualified Eddie Krawiec started his day by taking on No. 10 Kelly Clontz. It was a decent race, but with a 6.77 to a 6.84, Eddie was moving on. In the second round he faced the tough Matt Smith. This was a very close race, basically even the entire way down the track, but with hole shot, and a 6.75 to a 6.74. Eddie was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against teammate Angelle Sampey. Angelle went red by (-.061) giving Eddie the win immediately, and he went 6.75, putting him and the Vance and Hines/Mission Foods team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder No. 3 qualified Joey Gladstone started his day by taking on No. 14 Jianna Evaristo. It was a decent race, but with a 6.74 to a 6.94. In the second round he faced Katie Sullivan. Katie clicked it off early, while Joey went a to b, and with a 6.73 to a 7.48, Joey was moving on. His semifinal matchup was against the tough Jerry Savoie. Jerry did have an advantage, but his bike started to drift and he had to reel it back in, while Joey was on a solid run, so with a 6.75 to a 6.84, Joey and the Reed Motorsports team were into the finals. This was good final round, Joey was (.026) on the tree to Eddie’s (.044) and that helped him. He had a very slight hole shot, but with a 6.759 to a 6.758, Joey grabbed the win and took home the Wally, his first career win, so huge congrats to him and his team.
The next race will be the last stop on the Western Swing, the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, July 29th – 31st in Kent, Washington.