Abbreviated NHRA Houston Touchdown

Cruz Pedregon became the first two-time winner in the Funny Car category in 2013 by racing to the victory during the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals held at Royal Purple Raceway (Baytown TX)….

Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners during the weather plagued NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Houston.  For the Two-time Funny Car world champion Pedregon, he powered his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry to t the win over Tim Wilkerson to take his 32nd career victory.

Pedregon, who serves as the driver and crew chief for his team, covered the distance in 4.246 seconds at 296.96 mph to defeat Wilkerson’s trailing Levi Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang, which lost traction in the finals and ran 6.914 at 102.28. With the win, Pedregon moves into the series points lead, 37 in front of Matt Hagan.

Cruz Pedregon became NHRA first 2X event winner of 2013 with a big win in fuel  FC.

Cruz Pedregon became NHRA’s first 2X FC event winner of 2013 with a big win in the Snap-On Toyota.


“Today was a challenging day, dealing with the track conditions,” Pedregon said. “We thought we had it pulled back enough for the first round, but we didn’t [in his 5.36 to 6.04 pedaling win against Terry Haddcok]. After that, we got the car straightened out and it ran good [with times of 4.18 4.24, and 4.24].”

This is the second career victory at Royal Purple Raceway (also 1992) and he knows that the success they are having this season wouldn’t be possible without a full team effort.

“I had to whack my crew chief just once because he went over-center a bit on the tune-up for the first round, but after that everything was good,” said a smiling Pedregon, who beat Terry Haddock, Bob Tasca and Alexis DeJoria in earlier rounds. “It takes a totally different mindset to run a 4.18 and a pair of 4.20s like we did today, and we did some things to the car that we’ve never done before. It was a great weekend all around.”


Bob Vandergriff Jr and his Canadian crew chief Rob Flynn won in Top Fuel

Bob Vandergriff Jr and his Canadian crew chief Rob Flynn won in Top Fuel

In Top Fuel, Vandergriff earned his third career victory by holding off Shawn Langdon in the finalround. Vandergriff posted a winning run of 3.904 seconds at 316.38 mph in his C&J Energy Services dragster to defeat Langdon, whose Al-Anabi Racing dragster lost traction at the start. After taking the win light in the final round, Vandergriff continued his tradition of jogging from the finish line to join his crew near the starting line.

“After qualifying, winning this race was the farthest thing from my mind,” said Vandergriff, who outran defending world champ Antron Brown, Larry Dixon and Morgan Lucas to advance to his 16th career final round. “We just started picking away and got to the point where we made a great run in the final. We had 700 people here with our sponsor, C&J Energy Services, and they were all cheering us on. We couldn’t have written a better script for this. It was a total team effort. I have a lot of faith in my crew chiefs, Rob Flynn, Kurt Elliott, and Mike Guger; we have great leadership here.”

Points leader Tony Schumacher suffered a rare first round loss, but retains the points lead and Langdon moves to third in points on the strength of his runner-up finish.

In Pro Stock, Line raced his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to his second win at Royal Purple Raceway and his first of the year with a holeshot victory over Shane Gray. Both drivers covered the distance at 6.589 seconds, but the .007 reaction time of Line gave him an advantage over the .055 reaction time of Gray, who drove his Gray Motorsports Camaro.

The Pro Stock final was all Camaro -- with Jason Line (far lane) edging out Shane Gray in a super close battle.

The Pro Stock final was all Camaro — with Jason Line (far lane) edging out Shane Gray in a super close battle.

“We’ve been trying to win a race since Pomona, but until now, we haven’t been able to do it, so this was a good win,” Line said. “It was very difficult to win with today’s conditions, especially because we’ve been lost [with our tune-up]. Even in the first round today, which was my fastest run [a 6.576], it was a disaster.”

This is his 30th win of his career and was his first win of the season and the first since the second Charlotte race in 2012. He defeated Matt Hartford, local favorite Erica Enders-Stevens and Jeg Coughlin in the first three rounds. With the win he moves to fifth in points.

“The big difference this weekend is that we made six good runs in a row, and the car responded well to the changes in our tune-up,” Line said. “That’s the first time we’ve been able to do that in a while.”

Hector Arana Jr remained undefeated in PSB with his 3rd convincing win of the season.

Hector Arana Jr remained undefeated in PSB with his 3rd convincing win of the season.

Arana Jr. recorded his third straight win of the year in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a final round performance of 6.912 at 194.74 on his Lucas Oil Buell to defeat  Scotty Pollacheck, who was in his first final round and ran 6.985 at 188.54 on his Sovereign Star Buell. Arana Jr. becomes just the third racer in Pro Stock Motorcycle history to win the first three events of the season, joining Matt Hines and Dave Schultz as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.

“This feels great,” said Arana Jr., who raced past Shawn Gann, Hector Arana Sr., and John Hall in earlier rounds. “Of the three wins, this was the most nervous I’ve been because I know how hard it is to keep going. There are so many excellent riders out here. After I beat my dad, he just said. ‘Good job’. My bike has not been the fastest but we’ve been the most consistent. As a rider, I’ve also been very consistent and that’s a lethal combination. We just want to keep going.”

Due to some major storms which hit the Houston area on Saturday and resulted in flooded pit areas – all scheduled Sportsman racing for the event was cancelled.   In addition to the Pros, only Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car and Pro Modified eliminators were completed.

Event Essentials:  O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals – Baytown Texas (April 26-28th, 2013)

TOP FUEL Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Bob Vandergriff Jr. 3.904 316.38 3rd
R/UP: Shawn Langdon 8.485  74.90  
Low ET: Doug Kalitta 3.791    
Top Speed: Terry McMillian   326.71  
Bump Spot:   4.060    
FUNNY CAR Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Cruz Pedregon 4.246 296.96 32nd
R/UP: Tim Wilkerson 6.914 102.02  
Low ET: Cruz Pedregon 4.086    
Top Speed: Cruz Pedregon   310.41  
Bump Spot:   5.280    
PRO STOCK Name ET MPH Career Win
Winner: Jason Line 6.589 211.99 30th
R/UP: Shane Gray 6.589 211.26  
Low ET: Mike Edwards 6.554    
Top Speed: Mike Edwards   212.66  
Bump Spot:   6.569    
Winner: Hector Arana Jr 6.912 194.74  
R/UP: Scotty Pollacheck 6.985 188.54  6th
Low ET: Hector Arana Jr. 6.876    
Top Speed: Hector Arana Jr.   195.39  
Bump Spot:   6.910    
Winner: Clint Satterfield 6.015 246.75  1st
R/UP: Kenny Lang 12.94  66.64  R/L
Low ET:  Mike Castellana  5.880    
Top Speed:  Troy Coughlin    248.71  
Bump Spot:   N/A    14 cars
LUCAS OIL        
Sportsman Winners: Name ET MPH  
TA Dragster Randy Meyer 5.366 271.90  
TA Funny Car Tony Bartone 5.591 263.56  


Randy Meyer was victorious in the event's TAD program.

Randy Meyer was victorious in the event’s TAD program.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 3-5 at Atlanta Dragway.

Upset Pro Mod Winner

The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series produced a surprise winner when New Mexico-based racer Clint Satterfield emergedvictorious.

Satterfield, driver of the nitrous injected BAC Enterprises ’68 Camaro faced Canada’s Kenny Lang and his Summit Racing ’63 Corvette in the final round – marking the  first time those two had faced off in eliminations. ‘

Lang fouled at the start, giving the win to Satterfield, who posted a 6.015 second pass at 246.75 mph.

In earlier rounds, Satterfield defeated Mike Knowles, Rickie Smith and Mike Castellana.

With his runner-up finish Lang (from Winnipeg) moves to the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series overall points lead while  Satterfield catapulted from 10th to third on the strength of his win.

The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series sees it’s next action duringthe Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park,  May 30-June 2.

 Clint Satterfield was a surprise winner in the NHRA Pro Mod Series.

Class newcomer Clint Satterfield was a surprise winner in the NHRA Pro Mod Series.

Posted by:  NHRA Communications

Photos by:  Randy Anderson