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CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS: NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES PRO WINNERS……. LEAH PRITCHETT IN TOP FUEL …… TIM WILKERSON IN FUNNY CAR………….JASON LINE IN PRO STOCK!

JOHN FORCE, BRITTANY FORCE RUNNERS-UP IN PHOENIX

 

Brittany-Phoenix-1

John-Force-1JOHN FORCE, BRITTANY FORCE RUNNERS-UP IN PHOENIX

PHOENIX —- The CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals concluded today with a pair of Forces narrowly missing their first ever double up win in Funny Car and Top Fuel. Funny Car legend John Force lost a close race to veteran Tim Wilkerson while Brittany Force came up a few thousandths of a second short against Leah Pritchett in Top Fuel. Teammates Robert Hight and Courtney Force bowed out in the semi-final round giving John Force Racing one of its strongest race days in over a year. The collective success on race day moved John Force up to No. 2 in the Funny Car points in front of an advancing Robert Hight (3rd) and Courtney Force (6th). Brittany Force’s final round finish moved her from 10th to 3rd in the Top Fuel point standings.

Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster qualified No. 5 and quickly dispatched No. 12 qualifier Shawn Langdon with a 3.723 second run that was second quickest of the first round. In the quarter-finals Force pulled up beside veteran Terry McMillen and once again it was Force getting the win light. Force’s 3.771 second run pass was just one one-thousandth slower than Doug Kalitta her semi-final opponent. In the semis Force had to give up lane choice to Kalitta but crew chief Brian Husen had a solid tune-up in the Monster Energy Top Fueler and Force raced to her seventh career final round and second final at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Force’s winning elapsed time of 3.760 seconds gave her lane choice over Leah Pritchett’s winning 3.832 second time. For just the second time in the history of the NHRA two females squared off in the Top Fuel final and raced for the coveted “Wally” trophy. The winner would become the 101st different Top Fuel winner and today Leah Pritchett took the win in an incredibly close final. Pritchett took a slight starting line advantage and turned those few thousandths of a second into a winning edge at the finish line so her 3.775, second run at 323.12 mph defeated Brittany Force’s quicker 3.774 second at 321.35 mph pass. At the end of the day Force took the positive away from a successful but not victorious weekend. “It feels good when you consider this is our second race into the season and we are already in a final. That is pretty outstanding especially with all the changes we made in the off-season. Getting to that final makes us feel really good. We have a long season ahead of us but I know it will be a good one,” said Force, who moved up to No. 4 in the Top Fuel point standings. “Going rounds definitely gives you confidence. When you have guys like Brian Husen and Alan Johnson working on your car but it also really pushes you to make sure you are on your game. Now I have a car and I have to perform well and do the job as a driver. It adds some pressure but I think it adds pressure in a good way,” added Force. Just before Brittany Force had her shot at her first win John Force and the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant/Republic Services Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car were trying to grab their 144th victory in their 242nd final round appearance. Force had a parts breakage issue with his blower at over 300 mph but the eight-time CARQUEST Nationals winner would not let that take anything away from Tim Wilkerson. “Parts breaking are part of the game. I am not going to make any excuses against Wilkerson. He is a great racer and he does it all. I want to congratulate him on that win. What I look at is you come to these races for one reason; to win and to win the championship,” said Force. “We put four cars in the semi-finals. We had Robert Hight, me, and Courtney in the Funny Car semi-finals and Brittany with the Monster Energy dragster was in the Top Fuel semi-final. We got two cars to the finals today,” said Force, who moved up to No. 2 in the Funny car points. “We didn’t get the wins but I congratulate Pritchett and Wilkerson for a great job. What we have to look at is we are turning the corner. Our race cars can race with any one. I am not saying we are faster than the other teams but we can hit a lick in the heat or in the cool air. Our game plan we put together of letting Alan Johnson run the Top Fuel team with his crew chief, the quarterback, Brian Husen and letting Mike Neff run the Funny Cars is already showing an improvement. I am not the smartest guy in the world but I listen to smart people.” In the first round Force had to race John Hale who is tuned by the legendary Jim Dunn. Force’s Chevrolet turned on the win light with a 3.955 second pass which was not enough to give him lane choice over Jack Beckman in the second round. Fortunately for Force his crew chief Jon Schaffer was able to coax another round win over Beckman for the second race in a row. Force got the win light with a pedestrian 4.014 second run beside a tire smoking Infinite Hero Dodge’s 6.082. That round win set up a semi-final match against his daughter Courtney Force. In the semis she went up in smoke and Force posted another 4.006 run to reach his first final round of 2016. Courtney Force had an eventful and successful day at the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals. From the No. 2 qualifying position, she opened with a stellar pass against No. 15 qualifier Terry Haddock. It was the first time these drivers have raced in eliminations and Haddock was Force’s 31st different Funny Car opponent. The 27-year-old was first off the line and never looked back. She posted a 3.930 ET at 326.79 mph. It was the second-quickest pass of the first round. In the second round, Force matched up with Tommy Johnson Jr. It was the eighth time they have met in eliminations, but the first time they have raced at Phoenix. Force had the jump off the starting line and posted a 3.973 ET at 319.67 mph next to Johnson Jr.’s tire-smoking 7.998 ET at 92.39 mph. They have raced four times in the second round and four times in the semifinals. They are now 4-4 in eliminations. Before she knew it, Force had a solid and consistent car in the semi-finals. Unfortunately, she was matched up with her father and 16-time champion John Force and did not have lane choice.  Force was 7-8 against her dad in prior events.  The youngest Force daughter had almost a 52% win advantage in the semis going into this match-up. Once again, Courtney had the starting line advantage, but was up in tire smoke before the Christmas tree. “The only thing I’m thinking right now is how impressed I am with this Traxxas team. They worked really hard this weekend and together we were able to go to the No. 2 position in qualifying, pick up five bonus points and go to the semi-finals on race day. I see a lot of improvement on our car this year as a whole. I feel like our Traxxas Chevy is consistent, fast and it’s really looking like a promising season,” said Force.  It was the second year in-a-row that Force has qualified in the No. 2 position at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and also the second year in-a-row a teammate has prevented her from advancing on race day. She currently holds the No. 6 position going into the third race of the season.

The Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team led by Robert Hight and tuned by Mike Neff once again started the season with back to back semi-final finishes. Today’s effort did net the 2009 Funny Car world champion another track record day with his first round elapsed time of 3.905 seconds at 327.11 mph speed setting both ends of the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park record book. His win over Cruz Pedregon propelled him into a second round race with friend and reigning Funny Car world champion Del Worsham. “We should have made that run last night. I thought it dropped a cylinder and I lifted because it went to the right when I stood on the gas. It was a great, great 60 foot so I kind of blew that and I thought about it all night,” said Hight the 2012 CARQUEST Nationals winner. “It drove me nuts but good job to the Auto Club team to come out swinging like that first round. When you race Cruz Pedregon you have to race like that.” In the second round Hight raced into the three again with a stout 3.977 second run to get the win and set up a Hight versus Wilkerson semi-final. In the semi-final Hight watched his teammate Courtney Force drive into immediate tire smoke and then his similarly tuned Camaro also went up in smoke and had to settle for being one of the final four Funny Cars on Sunday. “Another semi-final finish for this Auto Club Chevrolet is pretty good. We want to get those wins and I think we have a car that can get wins. We are having some issues on race day but I am not going to make excuses,” said Hight. “We’ll have a couple weeks to get ready for the Gatornationals and we’ll use every one of those day. Mike Neff and these Auto Club guys have given me a great race car and we are going rounds and qualifying near the top. I was glad to go some rounds today and especially excited to get the track record in the first round of eliminations. That is how this Auto Club Camaro should perform.”

 

Kalitta hits a milestone, secures points lead

 

 

Drag Racing

Kalitta hits a milestone, secures points lead

Team Kalitta Post-Race Report – Phoenix CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 28, 2016) – Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, hit a milestone this weekend at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and took over the points lead for the first time since 2014. Kalitta was outstanding throughout qualifying. He earned nine bonus points as the quickest machine in three of the four sessions. The first qualifying pass set the tone for Kalitta. His 3.771 second run was two hundredths better than his nearest competitor. Then Saturday hit, and the Jim Oberhofer and Troy Fasching led team was two-for-two. In the first session of the day, he blazed the track in 3.747, and then bettered that in the final pair of the day with a 3.741 second run. Those passes gave Kalitta his 44th career no.1 qualifier. It was his third in the last four seasons and fourth overall at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. His qualifying average in the last four CARQUEST Nats is an incredible 1.25. With only 15 Top Fuel machines on the property, Kalitta earned a round 1 bye for the second time of his career. However, he was not willing to just make a clean run. Jim Oberhofer tuned the Mac Tools machine up to a 3.716 second pass, bettering his no.1 qualifying effort by three hundredths and resetting the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park elapsed time record. The second round foe was Dave Connolly. Kalitta was ready. With the best reaction time of the class, he laid down the best run of the session for the fifth time in six passes this weekend with his 3.770 second pass. That run allowed Kalitta to hit a milestone: his 550th career round win. That ranks twelfth all-time amongst all NHRA pro drivers and third overall exclusively in the Top Fuel class. Semi-finals were next and his opponent would be Brittany Force. Kalitta left on Force and held the lead to the final moment, when she was able to sneak around by three thousandths of a second. “We had a great Mac Tools machine today,” said Kalitta. “I am excited that we have started the season this strong and I cannot tell you how excited I am to race in Gainesville in a couple weeks.” Kalitta leaves with the points lead in the NHRA Top Fuel class. Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, was ready to get to Phoenix an avenge his final round loss in Pomona. Worsham’s DHL team, led by Nicky Boninfante and Jon Oberhofer, were ready. In the first attempt down the track, Worsham laid down the second best pass of the session earning two bonus points. Worsham continued to be strong on Saturday picking up another bonus point in the last run of the weekend and earning the fifth qualifying spot for the second consecutive event. In an intriguing first round pair, Worsham faced the car he owns, this week driven by Jim Campbell. Worsham picked up the early advantage at the tree and continued to extend that down the track securing the round win. His next opponent would be fellow California native Robert Hight. Hight and Worsham were close until the DHL flopper began to smoke the tires which allowed Hight to advance to the semi-finals. “Not the way we were looking to end the weekend with this DHL Toyota Camry,” said Worsham. “We didn’t have the consistency that we have come to know with this car, so we will take these two weeks and work to achieve that again for the Gatornationals.” Worsham is among the top five drivers for the second consecutive event leaving Arizona. J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, moved to Phoenix pleased with his Pomona performance. Despite a bottom half qualifying effort, Todd used his clutch foot to earn his first round win of the season versus Brittany Force, before advancing to the first semi-finals on FOX by defeating Terry McMillen in round two. Todd saw improvement throughout qualifying, never falling out of the top half in qualifying through the four runs on Friday and Saturday. The last three runs were especially consistent each falling between 3.78 and 3.81 seconds. He earned the seventh starting spot and a first round pairing with Leah Pritchett. Todd and Pritchett were close leaving the tree, but Todd’s SealMaster ride had the advantage by the time they passed the Christmas Tree and was continuing to extend his advantage before the rear tires began hazing. Todd was still ahead at the eighth mile, but Pritchett was able to get back around by the time he crossed the stripe. “We are continuing to make progress on the SealMaster dragster, but to lose in the first round is a disappointment,” said Todd. “I am proud of my team and the work they have put in. I wish we were racing again next weekend, but I am confident that we will continue to make gains in these two weeks off and then make our way to Gainesville even better.” After two events, Todd retains his top ten points position. He is currently eighth overall. Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, was excited to head into Phoenix. Just two seasons ago, DeJoria claimed her first Wally in Phoenix and was planning on achieving even more history. In DeJoria’s 101st career event, the Patrón team struggled in the first three attempts down the track. However, Tommy DeLago and the entire team were unfazed as her last pass, a 4.026 second run, moved DeJoria safely up to the 11th position in the final qualifying order. Her draw was Jack Beckman. The sixth Funny Car pair to see the track, DeJoria was prepared. She left on Beckman and ran a very solid 3.964 second run, which was her best of the weekend. However, that pass and reaction time, which would have defeated five other Funny Car winners, was not enough against Beckman. DeJoria will retain her top ten points position departing Phoenix. Two races into the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns two final round appearances and one no.1 qualifier. The team will return to Ypsilanti and prepare our next event: the historic Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

Team Kalitta Race report

 

 

Drag Racing

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, hit a milestone this weekend at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and took over the points lead for the first time since 2014. Kalitta was outstanding throughout qualifying. He earned nine bonus points as the quickest machine in three of the four sessions. The first qualifying pass set the tone for Kalitta. His 3.771 second run was two hundredths better than his nearest competitor. Then Saturday hit, and the Jim Oberhofer and Troy Fasching led team was two-for-two. In the first session of the day, he blazed the track in 3.747, and then bettered that in the final pair of the day with a 3.741 second run. Those passes gave Kalitta his 44th career no.1 qualifier. It was his third in the last four seasons and fourth overall at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. His qualifying average in the last four CARQUEST Nats is an incredible 1.25. With only 15 Top Fuel machines on the property, Kalitta earned a round 1 bye for the second time of his career. However, he was not willing to just make a clean run. Jim Oberhofer tuned the Mac Tools machine up to a 3.716 second pass, bettering his no.1 qualifying effort by three hundredths and resetting the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park elapsed time record. The second round foe was Dave Connolly. Kalitta was ready. With the best reaction time of the class, he laid down the best run of the session for the fifth time in six passes this weekend with his 3.770 second pass. That run allowed Kalitta to hit a milestone: his 550th career round win. That ranks twelfth all-time amongst all NHRA pro drivers and third overall exclusively in the Top Fuel class. Semi-finals were next and his opponent would be Brittany Force. Kalitta left on Force and held the lead to the final moment, when she was able to sneak around by three thousandths of a second. “We had a great Mac Tools machine today,” said Kalitta. “I am excited that we have started the season this strong and I cannot tell you how excited I am to race in Gainesville in a couple weeks.” Kalitta leaves with the points lead in the NHRA Top Fuel class. Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, was ready to get to Phoenix an avenge his final round loss in Pomona. Worsham’s DHL team, led by Nicky Boninfante and Jon Oberhofer, were ready. In the first attempt down the track, Worsham laid down the second best pass of the session earning two bonus points. Worsham continued to be strong on Saturday picking up another bonus point in the last run of the weekend and earning the fifth qualifying spot for the second consecutive event. In an intriguing first round pair, Worsham faced the car he owns, this week driven by Jim Campbell. Worsham picked up the early advantage at the tree and continued to extend that down the track securing the round win. His next opponent would be fellow California native Robert Hight. Hight and Worsham were close until the DHL flopper began to smoke the tires which allowed Hight to advance to the semi-finals. “Not the way we were looking to end the weekend with this DHL Toyota Camry,” said Worsham. “We didn’t have the consistency that we have come to know with this car, so we will take these two weeks and work to achieve that again for the Gatornationals.”Worsham is among the top five drivers for the second consecutive event leaving Arizona. J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, moved to Phoenix pleased with his Pomona performance. Despite a bottom half qualifying effort, Todd used his clutch foot to earn his first round win of the season versus Brittany Force, before advancing to the first semi-finals on FOX by defeating Terry McMillen in round two. Todd saw improvement throughout qualifying, never falling out of the top half in qualifying through the four runs on Friday and Saturday. The last three runs were especially consistent each falling between 3.78 and 3.81 seconds. He earned the seventh starting spot and a first round pairing with Leah Pritchett. Todd and Pritchett were close leaving the tree, but Todd’s SealMaster ride had the advantage by the time they passed the Christmas Tree and was continuing to extend his advantage before the rear tires began hazing. Todd was still ahead at the eighth mile, but Pritchett was able to get back around by the time he crossed the stripe.“We are continuing to make progress on the SealMaster dragster, but to lose in the first round is a disappointment,” said Todd. “I am proud of my team and the work they have put in. I wish we were racing again next weekend, but I am confident that we will continue to make gains in these two weeks off and then make our way to Gainesville even better.” After two events, Todd retains his top ten points position. He is currently eighth overall. Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, was excited to head into Phoenix. Just two seasons ago, DeJoria claimed her first Wally in Phoenix and was planning on achieving even more history. In DeJoria’s 101st career event, the Patrón team struggled in the first three attempts down the track. However, Tommy DeLago and the entire team were unfazed as her last pass, a 4.026 second run, moved DeJoria safely up to the 11th position in the final qualifying order. Her draw was Jack Beckman. The sixth Funny Car pair to see the track, DeJoria was prepared. She left on Beckman and ran a very solid 3.964 second run, which was her best of the weekend. However, that pass and reaction time, which would have defeated five other Funny Car winners, was not enough against Beckman. DeJoria will retain her top ten points position departing Phoenix. Two races into the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Team Kalitta owns two final round appearances and one no.1 qualifier. The team will return to Ypsilanti and prepare our next event: the historic Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla

TOMMY JOHNSON JR. INSPIRED TO DO WELL BY MAKE-A-WISH CHILDREN

TOMMY JOHNSON JR. INSPIRED TO DO WELL BY MAKE-A-WISH CHILDREN

Tommy-Johnson-Jr_D3B9759Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T team were disappointed leaving the first race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season two weeks ago when they ended qualified in the bottom half of the field and lost in the first round. But Johnson remained optimistic that his crew chief John Collins would figure out what went wrong and could fix it before heading into the second race of the series this weekend in the NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix. And he was right after his team rebounded and landed in the No. 7 qualifying spot, running 3.965 seconds at 318.77 mph. “After struggling with the car so bad in Pomona, then to come in here to Phoenix and qualify well really helped us out,” said Johnson. “It’s a nice boost of confidence to know we have our car back after Pomona. Qualifying in the top half of the field going into race day tomorrow, I’m pretty confident we have a good race car.” It was also a special day here in Phoenix for the Make-A-Wish team and sponsor Terry Chandler who bring children who have had wishes granted by the foundation to attend the race. They are able to bring their families, meet the crew and get special souvenirs to remember the day. Joining the children this weekend was the CEO of Make-A-Wish, David Williams. “It was a great day with the kids here today,” said Johnson. “Having the Make-A-Wish headquarters here in Phoenix, and having David Williams out here to watch today inspired us to do better.” There was one child who was at the track Saturday that provided Johnson with added motivation to raise the coveted Wally trophy. “We had one boy, Avery, who was out here for testing three weeks ago and he had never been to a drag race. Well, he fell in love with it. He ended up in the hospital early this week and he told the doctors he had to be out by Friday so he could go to the races. They wanted to keep him another day and he said ‘No, I have to go to the drag races.’  So to have him fight that hard to get back out here to watch us and root on the Make-A-Wish team was pretty special. We want to go out and do well for Avery tomorrow.”

Chevrolet Well-Positioned Heading into Eliminations at Wild Horse Pass

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet Well-Positioned Heading into Eliminations at Wild Horse Pass

DETROIT (Feb. 27, 2016) – Chevrolet swept the top three qualifying positions Pro Stock and John Force Racing drivers earned the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 qualifying spots in Funny Car at the 32nd CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona. Bo Butner (Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro SS) earned his inaugural National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock No. 1 qualifying position in his 19th start and became the 61st driver to achieve the distinction. His pass of 6.618 seconds at 208.88 mph in the opening round held up throughout the succeeding three rounds of qualifying in the Mellow Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series event.

“It’s a dream. I grew up in Super Stock, Stock and Comp and I always wanted to be able to drive a Pro Stock car,” said the longtime sportsman racer, who leases the car from KB Racing. “It’s an honor and cool to have a green hat.”

Butner, a semifinalist at the season-opening Winternationals two weeks ago, will face V. Gaines in a first-round matchup, with the winner earning a bye into the semifinals.
“I’d like to get past V., get to the finals and win. That’s our goal every time when we leave the house,” Butner added.

Courtney Force, who set a track record for elapsed time in her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car with a run of 3.930 seconds in the first round of qualifications, matched her 2015 qualifying effort of second at Wild Horse Pass. Ron Capps vaulted to the No. 1 qualifying position in the fourth round, bumping Force by 0.005 of a second.

John Force, who has a record eight victories at the venue in the desert, moved from eighth to third in the fourth round of qualifying with a blistering pass of 3.938/323.81 in the PEAK Antifreeze/Republic Services Chevrolet Camaro SS. Robert Hight had a best run of 3.945/319.14 in the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS to qualify fourth.

In Top Fuel, Brittany Force recorded her best pass of the weekend in Round 4 at 3.769/321.04 in the Monster Energy Chevrolet Dragster for John Force Racing to move up one position to fifth. She was the event runner-up in Top Fuel in 2014.

Chevrolet drivers occupy five of the seven positions that constitute the top half of the Pro Stock field heading into eliminations. Jason Line (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) faced Butner in Round 4 and remained the No. 2 qualifier with a best run of 6.622/208.17. KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, who beat Line in the final of the Winternationals, qualified third in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS. He recorded a pass of 6.623/207.72, which was the quickest of the session.

Chris McGaha (Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS) qualified fifth and Drew Skillman, who qualified second and reached the semifinals last year at Wild Horse Pass in his second Pro Stock event, qualified sixth in the Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro SS. Alex Laughlin (Gas Monkey Garage Chevrolet Camaro SS), another second-year Pro Stock driver, qualified seventh.

Laughlin is being coached this weekend by 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice, a friend who has been working with the team.

“He told me, ‘You’re the quarterback, and you need to keep your guys in a good mood and keep morale up when times are hard. You have two more shots today. We’ll get it,’ ’’ Laughlin said.

Joey Grose (Skyler Electric/Big Chief Chevrolet Camaro SS) qualified 10th, while Vincent Nobile (Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS) qualified 12th and Matt Hartford (Total Seal/CIP1/Nitro Fish Chevrolet Camaro SS) qualified 13th.

In Stock Eliminator, Dan Fletcher (PEAK/K&N/ATI Chevrolet COPO Camaro) qualified 34th (of 57). Fletcher won the class in the opener at Pomona. In Super Stock, Rodger Comstock (MTS/Hoosier/Lucas Oil/MCNX WR Chevrolet COPO Camaro) qualified 50th and Bryan Broaddus (DNB ENGINEERING Chevrolet COPO Camaro) qualified 53rd.

Nitro Babes models Desiree & Tianna

desiree-tianna

Chevrolet Looks to Continue Momentum in the Desert

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet Looks to Continue Momentum in the Desert

Drivers poised for success in second round of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series

 DETROIT (Feb. 24, 2016)  Chevrolet heads to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park this weekend for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals seeking to continue the momentum gained in the season-opening National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event. Chevrolet amassed 22 Pro Stock class victories in 2015 on the way to earning the NHRA Manufacturer Cup for the 21st time, and is off to a fast start in 2016. Two weeks ago at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, the Chevrolet Camaro SS was the class of the Pro Stock division. An all-Chevrolet semifinals pitted Jason Line (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) against Bo Butner (Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the first semifinal and Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) against Drew Skillman (Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the second semi. Anderson and Line, who are KB Racing teammates, advanced to face off in the final for the 25th time. Anderson, the No. 1 qualifier, won on a holeshot for his 79th career Pro Stock victory and seventh in the final round on a holeshot. Anderson, who was runner-up in the 2015 Pro Stock championship, claimed the early points lead in the class marked this season by a new technical package. Line, who won the Winternationals in 2015 and ’14, is second in the standings (20 points back) following his 42nd career runner-up finish. Skillman, a second-year Pro Stock driver who fell to Line in the final at Pomona the previous February, also will seek to maintain momentum this weekend. He qualified third and lost in the semifinals last year at Wild Horse Pass. There are nine Chevrolet Camaro SS Pro Stock cars entered for the 32nd CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Shane Gray (Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro SS), who is seventh in the standings, has elected to skip this weekend’s event to further tune the car for the third round of the Mello Yello NHRA Drag Racing Series in mid-March. Also quick off the line has been the John Force Racing Funny Car trio of John Force (PEAK/Republic Services Chevrolet Camaro SS), Robert Hight (Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS), and Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS). John Force and Hight advanced to the semifinals at Pomona – the 11th consecutive year that the team has placed at least one car in the Winternationals semis – and Courtney Force recorded the fastest speed (329.34 mph) and career-best ET (3.925 seconds) of the final day. The contingent had a successful preseason test at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, claiming seven of the 10 quickest runs of the final day. John Force, a 16-time national champion, has a record eight Funny Car victories at the venue. In Top Fuel, Brittany Force (Monster Energy Chevrolet) displayed promise for a successful season with the addition of Alan Johnson as tuning consultant. In the preseason test at Wild Horse Pass, Force  posted the fastest run of the final day of 3.721 and 319.07. In addition, three Chevrolet COPO Camaro drivers ae part of the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes this weekend. Dan Fletcher (PEAK/K&N/ATI Chevrolet COPO Camaro) won the Stock Eliminator class at the Winternationals. Chevrolet also will welcome fans to its Chevrolet Performance Display during the weekend. It will include a number of Chevrolet’s award-winning production vehicles, examples of Chevrolet engines, and a selection of performance parts and accessories that are available for fans to purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer.

 FS1 will telecast eliminations and finals live at 5 p.m. ET Sunday. Qualifying coverage will air on FS1 via tape delay at 10 p.m. ET Saturday.

 

CHEVROLET ENGINEERING OUTLOOK FOR CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS

ROGER ALLEN, CHEVROLET RACING PROGRAM MANAGER, NHRA: “It was a great start to the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series season for Chevrolet drivers and teams at Pomona. Greg Anderson’s victory highlighted the Pro Stock class, in which Chevrolet drivers advanced to the semifinals. John Force Racing’s Robert Hight and John Force earned semifinal berths in Funny Car, and Brittany Force showed she’ll be a force in Top Fuel this season. We’re confident of continued success at the CARQUEST NHRA Nationals this weekend.”

 

CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT – CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS
TOP FUEL:

BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET TOP FUEL DRAGSTER: “My team has been working their butts off all off-season. We made a lot of changes and a lot of them had to do with getting me comfortable in the dragster. I know we are going to have a good year and we are just getting started. We qualified well in Pomona and had a tough race day. We will let it go and move on to Phoenix. I have had success in Phoenix and I very comfortable there.”

 

FUNNY CAR:

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK/REPUBLIC SERVICES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We are ready to get back to the track at Phoenix. We had a great test session here before the season started. I am proud of how our team performed at the first race in Pomona. We are running right here with the competition and I know we will be competitive this weekend. I have had a lot of success at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, and there is no reason we can’t go more rounds on race day.”

 

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “I spent last weekend at the Daytona 500 and that has me motivated to do well this weekend. Mike Neff gave me a great race car last race and we just need to fix a couple minor issues and we will be in great shape. I feel like we were the car to beat at the first race and we just need to be consistent all weekend. I have a lot of confidence heading into this race weekend with the Auto Club Camaro.”

 

PRO STOCK:

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We tested the Summit Racing Camaros in Phoenix before Pomona and we ran well. The conditions this weekend are going to be similar to what we had for testing and that is a good thing. We hope to have a better tune up than we did three weeks ago and we’re able to create more power. It is a challenge to stay in front of the pack. It helps that we started out in front, but now we have to maintain that advantage going forward. While we can’t worry about everybody else, we know all the other teams are stepping up their game after Pomona. Nobody likes to lose and so they are all motivated to do better in Phoenix.”

 

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN MOTORSPORTS, RAY SKILLMAN CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We have a good chance to do well out there. We’ve been running about 12 hours a day at the shop trying new things to catch up with the KG (Racing) guys. We’re not too far off. (About the new technical package after one event): It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s my second year driving a Pro Stock so luckily I didn’t really have any good habits or bad habits to break. It’s all fresh and my learning curve will be shorter than most just due to my lack of experience.”

CONSISTENCY NAME OF THE GAME FOR WILKERSON

Wilkerson-logo-1

 

CONSISTENCY NAME OF THE GAME FOR WILKERSON

 

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is one of the few tracks where veteran driver Tim Wilkerson has not won a prestigious NHRA Wally. This weekend as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series comes to Phoenix for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Wilkerson hopes to cross this track off his list. At the first race of the year, the driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang qualified in the top half of the field going 3.962-seconds at 320.28 mph, but was disappointed to go out in the first round of eliminations. “We had a very consistent race car in Pomona. We qualified in the No.8 spot, but we just didn’t close the deal on race day. I ended up smoking the tires and that really frustrated me,” said Wilkerson. “I’m confident in our set-up and I’m happy with how the car is running. We want to continue that momentum and have an even quicker car in Phoenix.” While the team did test at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park just a few weeks ago, Wilkerson points out the team cannot rely on all the same data to tune the Levi, Ray & Shoup Funny Car. “Last time we were here the temperatures barely reached the 60’s making the track a little tricky. This weekend is expected to be drastically different from testing; we are looking at sunny and 80 degrees,” explained Wilkerson. “But my team is optimistic with the track conditions at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Over the last few years, NHRA has done a much better job preparing the track surface to improve our performances.” Fans at home can watch all the action from the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals on FOX Sports 1. An hour of qualifying coverage will air Saturday night at 10 p.m. EST. On Sunday, FOX Sports 1 presents live coverage of eliminations starting at 5 p.m. EST.

SUMMIT RACING TEAMS READY TO TAKE ON THE COMPETITION AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NATIONALS

SUMMIT RACING TEAMS READY TO TAKE ON THE COMPETITION AT CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NATIONALS

Coming off a 1-2 finish at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals, Summit Racing Pro Stock drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line are looking forward to a repeat at this weekend’s NHRA CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Arizona. Anderson won the first race of the Pro Stock EFI era and claimed the No.1 qualifying spot at the Winternationals in the Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Heading to Phoenix this weekend, Anderson wants to keep the momentum going and stay in that Number One spot.  “It is a challenge to stay in front of the pack. It helps that we started out in front, but now we have to maintain that advantage,” said Anderson. “We know all the other teams are stepping up their game after Pomona. Nobody likes to lose and so everyone is motivated to do better in Phoenix.” Another reason for Anderson being confident going into this event: KB Racing team testing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park earlier this month. “We tested the Summit Racing Camaros in Phoenix and we ran well. The conditions this weekend are going to be similar to what we had for testing and that is a good thing,” said Anderson. “We hope to have a better tune up than we did three weeks ago and be able to create more power.” Teammate Jason Line qualified second and runnered-up in the all-Summit Racing final round at the Winternationals. The NHRA-mandated EFI system for Pro Stock has presented challenges for many teams, but Line has embraced the change and is excited about what this means for the 2016 season. “The first month after announcing the EFI changeover, I sulked. But then I realized this is a great opportunity to try something different, Line said. “There are no guarantees in racing. It is constantly changing. That’s what makes it fun. For years Pro Stock was the same, everybody was equal and it was hard to stand out. Now it’s a whole new game.” Line drives a Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, and tunes it as well. With the first race with the EFI system under his belt, he is confident heading in to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. “Every day we’re trying to figure out how to run better, go faster and how to create more power. There is definitely no shortage of work for us this year,” said Line. “We have to stay competitive going forward and that means we have to work hard.”

 

Tim Wilkerson Ready to Hunt at Wild Horse Pass

Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is one of the few tracks where veteran Nitro Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson has not won a prestigious NHRA Wally. This weekend in Phoenix, Wilkerson hopes to add this track to his list. At Winternationals, the driver of the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang qualified in the top half of the field with a 3.962 seconds/320.28 MPH pass, but went out in the first round of eliminations. “We had a very consistent race car in Pomona. We qualified in the Number 8 spot, but we just didn’t close the deal on race day. I ended up smoking the tires and that really frustrated me,” said Wilkerson. “I’m confident in our set-up and I’m happy with how the car is running. We want to build on that momentum and have an even quicker car in Phoenix.”

CarQuest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Pre Race Report

Toyota Racing

CarQuest Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Pre Race Report

WORSHAM’S AMAZING RUN – Reigning Funny Car champion Del Worsham hopes to extend an amazing four-race stretch at Phoenix this weekend.  Dating back to the final three races of the 2015 campaign, Worsham and his Kalitta Motorsports team have shown unparalleled consistency with 27 of the last 30 passes in his DHL Toyota Camry being either 3.9 or 4.0-second runs, including 22 in the 3.9-second range.  During that stretch, Worsham has two wins, one runner-up and one semi-final showing.

 

BROWN LOOKS TO ‘EVEN’ THE SCORE IN PHOENIX – Antron Brown will look to continue a winning pattern this weekend in Phoenix. Dating back to 2012, Brown has won the last two races run in even years, defeating Brittany Force in 2014 and Tony Schumacher in 2012.  Of course, ‘AB’ winning races has come to be expected any time he takes to the track.  Over the last five seasons, his 29 Top Fuel victories is more than double the total of the next highest Top Fuel driver in this weekend’s field (Tony Schumacher’s 13).

 

KALITTA TOYOTAS OFF TO IMPRESSIVE START – The Kalitta Motorsports team is looking to build on an impressive opening to the season at Pomona where each of the team’s four cars won at least one round, three advanced to the semi-finals and two to the finals.  In fact, the team didn’t lose a single elimination round to anyone other than another Kalitta car until the Winternationals finals in registering a 6-2 win-loss record against non-Kalitta opponents.  Doug Kalitta (TF) and Del Worsham (FC) each advanced to the final round, J.R. Todd won his opening two rounds before being eliminated by Kalitta in the semi-finals and Alex DeJoria triumphed in her opening match-up before having to square off with Worsham in round two.

 

CRAMPTON STARTS SEASON STRONG – Richie Crampton showed he will be a contender for the Top Fuel title again in 2016 after a strong semi-final showing at Pomona. Crampton has been on a steady rise toward a championship since moving up from being a crewman on the Morgan Lucas Racing team in 2013. In 2014, he won the “Road To The Future” award (NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year) with two victories and a ninth-place overall finish.  He improved on those totals in 2015 with five wins on the way to a third-place overall finish.  He’ll head into this weekend’s action in Phoenix in third place.