Good Afternoon Race Fans!
This weekend the NHRA rode into Phoenix, Arizona for the final Dual in the Desert and what a race it was. The NHRA has been coming to Phoenix for nearly 4 decades and the fans came out in droves, selling the place out.
Though it was the final race, something new and exciting was introduced on Saturday and it goes by the name of Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. This event introduces competition on Saturdays during qualifying by taking the semifinalists from the previous race and pitting them against one another. They go head to head during the first of two qualifying sessions on Saturday and then winners from those races, face off in the second session. The winners receive an additional purse and bonus Countdown points and this challenge is for all professional classes. The winners from this weekends Challenge were Doug Kalitta, Alexis DeJoria and Troy Coughlin Jr, so big congrats to them and their teams!
Moving to Race Day, we have Top Fuel. On the left side of the ladder, No. 8 qualified Shawn Langdon started his day by taking on No. 9 Antron Brown. This was a close race, but Shawn left first, (.046) to (.066) and used that hole shot to the end, going to the second round with a 3.71 to Antron’s 3.70. In the second round he faced his Kalitta Motorsports teammate Doug Kalitta. Doug did have a slight advantage off the line, but went up in smoke early and clicked off the car, while Shawn was on a decent run, losing traction down track, so with a 4.00 to a 6.51, he was moving on. His semifinal matchup was against the always tough Leah Pruett. This was a very good and very close race, Shawn left first, just barely (.081) to (.083), and kept that lead the entire time running a 3.71 to Leah’s 3.76, putting him and the DHL team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 7 qualified Justin Ashley started his day by taking on No. 10 Tony Schumacher. Justin left first, just, (.051) to (.056), and they were pretty neck and neck until half track when Tony drove into tire smoke, so with a 3.74 to a 4.87, Justin was moving on. In the second round he faced a tough customer in Mike Salinas. Justin had a huge advantage off the line (.039) to (.075) and never looked back, running a 3.74 to Mike’s 3.75. His semifinal matchup was against Steve Torrence. Justin again, had a huge advantage off the line, (.035) to (.070) and it helped him as Steve was neck and neck with him the whole race. In the end it was very close and with a 3.740 to a 3.743, Justin and the Phillips Connect team were into the finals. This was a solid final. Justin left first (.052) to (.082) but they were close the entire time. In the end it was Justin that picked up the win and the Wally, with a 3.70 to Shawn’s 3.73.
Next we have Funny Car. On the left side of the ladder No. 9 qualified Robert Hight started his day by taking on No. 8, his John Force Racing teammate, the man himself, John Force. John did have the advantage off the line, (.046) to (.074), but lit the tires and clicked it off, while Robert went a to b, and with a 3.91 to a 4.28, was moving on. In the second round he faced Bob Tasca III. Though Bob had the advantage (.054) to (.063), by half track Robert had caught up and drove around him, running a 3.93 to Bob’s 3.96 and moving on. His semifinal matchup was against Chad Green. As seems to be the theme for Robert today, Chad left first, (.055) to (.092), but almost immediately Robert was able to get around him, running a 3.90 to Chad’s 3.95, putting him and the Flav-R-Pac team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 6 qualified Ron Capps started his day by taking on No. 11 Alex Laughlin. Ron left first and never looked back, while Alex rattled the tires which pushed the car towards the wall and he clicked it off, so with a 3.91 to a 7.59, Ron was moving on. In the second round he faced Blake Alexander. Blake went red by (-.051) giving Ron the win immediately, and he went a to b with a solid 3.98. His semifinal matchup was against the tough Alexis DeJoria and I have to say, I love that Alexis and the team have found something and have started this season so strong. Ron left first, (.044) to (.101) but it was so incredibly close the whole race and in the end Ron ran a 3.930 to Alexis’ 3.935, putting him and the NAPA Auto Parts team into the finals. On paper this was going to be a great final, because Ron and Robert always run each other tough, and it started off that way. Both leaving at essentially the same time Robert (.062), Ron (.063), but Ron ran into problems so with a 3.93 to a 5.53, Robert took home the win and the Wally.
And finally we have Pro Stock. On the left side of the ladder, No. 8 qualified Camrie Caruso started her day by taking on No. 9 Deric Kramer. This is the first time Camrie and Deric have faced each other in eliminations. She left first (.044) to (.083) and never looked back, running a 6.56 while Deric had problems immediately on the starting line and coasted to a 24.42. In the second round she faced Cristian Cuadra. She double bulbed Cristian and he timed out, giving her the win which is probably a very good thing because she had aggressive tire shake and coasted to a 13.79. Her semifinal matchup was against Matt Hartford. She left first, (.017) to (.037), and it was such a close race, literally identical numbers the entire way down track. In the end it was that advantage that helped Camrie and her 6.568 best Matt’s 6.566, putting her and the Powerbuilt Tools team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, No. 11 qualified Bo Butner started his day by taking on No. 6 Erica Enders. Bo left first (.060) to (.076) and never looked back, running a 6.565 to Erica’s 6.569. In the second round he faced Fernando Cuadra Jr. Again, Bo left first (.020) to (.041) and never looked back, running a 6.59 to Fernando’s 6.60. His semifinal matchup was against the tough Kyle Koretsky. Kyle went red by (-.023) giving Bo the win immediately and he coasted to a 22.58, putting him and the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage team into the finals. This was such a great Pro Stock final. Camrie left first (.044) to (.054) but they were neck and neck the whole race. In the end it was Camrie and her 6.592 that bested Bo’s 6.593, giving her her first career win and Wally, so huge congrats to her and the team!
The next race will be the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, March 30th – April 2nd in Pomona, California.