Funny Cars Forced Aside at Norwalk!
Drag racing’s living legend – John Force – upped his amazing NHRA national event career win count to 140 when he won in fuel Funny Car eliminator during the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals held at Norwalk Ohio….
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Bill Bader’s Summit Motorsports Park.
In the thrilling side-by-side championship round, Force powered his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to a performance of 4.113 seconds at 317.27 mph to defeat long time rival Ron Capp, who earned his third runner-up finish at Norwalk, with a run of 4.135 at 305.56 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger.
Force, the reigning Funny Car world champion, earned his first ever win at Norwalk and second of the 2014 season. Force outran Cruz Pedregon, Ohio native Chad Head and Tim Wilkerson to reach the final round against Capps.
“It was special to me,” said Force. “I’ve come to this track for decades. I’ve won here at the Night of Fire races. Robert [Hight] and my daughter Ashley [Force Hood] have won here. I keep coming back here. The Bader family is P.T. Barnum doing this year-round, 90-some race a year. They light the fire under those fans. Look at the crowd on Friday night and that whole fireworks show. I’ve been real lucky in my career and you want to win them all, but I really wanted this win.”
His fellow John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight maintained the points lead in the super-tight Funny Car class, while Force, the No. 2 event qualifier, jumped to second in the Mello Yello points standing.
“It’s a really great show, and I’m just excited to be a part of it,” said Force. “We raced some great kids: Capps, Cruz, Wilkerson, Chad Head. We gave them some good racing. Hey, we got the win. I’m just glad to get that one out of the way. Now I’ll try to get my second win here.”
In Top Fuel, 2013 world champion Brown claimed his fifth Top Fuel victory of the season and second in a row, knocking off No. 1 qualifier Shawn Langdon in the final round in his 10,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster. Brown covered the distance in 3.797 at 318.84 and pulled away from Langdon’s Al-Anabi Racing dragster, which lost traction and posted a 4.982 at 155.52.
Brown beat fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence and Clay Millican to reach the final round.
“It’s been a true blessing to be out at this racetrack this weekend,” said Brown. “The Bader family really put on a great show. The racetrack was great all weekend long. We got some cloud cover today. When four cars can run 3.75 in the first round with other cars across the board at .76, .77, that shows you how competitive the Top Fuel class is right now. It’s crazy tough to win a round right now, let alone a race.”
With the victory, Brown maintained the second spot in the Top Fuel points standings but cut into Doug Kalitta’s series lead, while Langdon moved to third in points.
Enders-Stevens, the current points leader in Pro Stock, claimed her fourth victory in 2014 and the 10th for her career by knocking off former crew chief Dave Connolly in the final round. Enders-Stevens’ Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro posted a winning performance of 6.632 at 210.14, while Connolly’s effort of 6.665 at 207.56 in his Charter Communications Chevy Camaro was no match for the event’s No. 1 qualifier.
“You can’t think about any of the negative things when you get into a 215-mph race car and I was able to do that today,” Enders-Stevens said. “At the end of the day we came out on top and that’s all that matters.”
Enders-Stevens, who set both ends of the track record (6.523 at 212.63) in qualifying, beat Travis Mazza, Jonathan Gray, fellow Texan Chris McGaha to advance to the final round. With the win, Enders-Stevens increases her Pro Stock points lead.
With 10 Pro Stock wins, Enders-Stevens joins Angelle Sampey (41) and Shirley Muldowney (18) as the only female racers to have double-digit wins in a pro category.
“Shirley [Muldowney] is a legend and a mentor and Angelle is also a friend who lives a few miles from me,” Enders-Stevens said. “Those are two extremely talented ladies who are passionate about our sport. They broke down barriers so we could all do what we enjoy doing out here. It’s great to have my name on that list.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines claimed his third win of the season and fourth victory at Summit Racing Motorsports Park, riding his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a performance of 6.901 at 193.96 in the final round against Hector Arana’s Lucas Oil Products Buell.
“It was a lot of little things that needed to fall into place to finally come around today,” Hines said of his new bike at Norwalk this weekend. “Without the help of everybody on the crew, we wouldn’t been able to get where we are. We struggled in the semis. But I was able to outrun Hector and to get around him was big. The fourth win light was definitely the prettiest one of the day.”
Hines, a three-time world champion, beat John Hall, Jim Underdahl and Steve Johnson to reach the final round, and increases his points lead with the victory. His fellow Sreamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate and event’s No. 1 qualifier Eddie Krawiec remains in the second spot, while Hector Arana Jr. is third.
“Today, we learned exactly what we need to do,” Hines said. “We started treating it differently than in years past. Instead of slowing on Sunday my bike actually picked up. Hopefully, that’s bad news for the competition and we could continue on a roll. There is no time to sit back and relax.”
Coughlin’s Turbo Vette Scores in Pro Mod
Ohio favorite Troy Coughlin raced to his first victory of the season in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Series which was race #6 of 10 events in 2014 for NHRA’s popular 250-mph doorslammer touring series.
Troy Coughlin took the final round victory at the controls of his turbocharged JEGS.com Chevy Corvette, beating Von Smith and his supercharged Al-Anabi Racing Camaro with a holeshot performance of 5.940 seconds at 250.92 mph. Smith, who has been in three final rounds this season with one win, managed to close the gap at half-track but finished with a 5.920 at 243.99. This is Coughlin’s first victory at his home track.
The Delaware, Ohio native’s road to victory started with a 5.952 at 249.16 in a first-round win against Eric Latino. He followed that by going 5.950 at 249.63 against Mike Janis and advanced to the final round by powering past reigning Pro Mod world champion and current points leader Rickie Smith in the semis. With the victory, Coughlin jumped to ninth in the Pro Mod points standings.
Event Essentials – Summit Racing Equipment Nationals (July 5-8th, 2014) Norwalk Ohio
|Low ET:||Shawn Langdon||3.745|
|Top Speed:||Brittany Force||329.83|
|Low ET:||Del Worsham||4.000|
|Top Speed:||John Force||322.04|
|Low ET:||Erica Enders-Stevens||6.523|
|Top Speed:||Erica Enders-Stevens||212.63|
|Pro Stock Motorcycle|
|Low ET:||Eddie Krawiec||6.844|
|Top Speed:||Hector Arana||196.93|
|Low ET:||Danny Rowe||5.875|
|Top Speed:||Kevin Fiscus||250.97|
The Lucas Oil Lowdown
Transplanted Australian Harker – Wins at Norwalk
Mike Strasburg and Australian racer Steve Harker took wins this past weekend in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals as both drivers won on holeshots.
Strasburg, Lindon, Utah, had the early lead in the final then gave it up to Mark Taliaferro, Odessa, Texas, before taking it back and crossing the finish line for the win in 5.450 seconds at 269.40 mph. The win was the first national event win for Strasburg who took out Robin Samsel, Bill Reichert and Rich McPhillips on his way to the final.
Harker, who now lives in Gainesville, Ga., was out first in his ’13 Monte Carlo funny car with a .026 second reaction time in his final round match up with Chris Foster, Davenport, Iowa. The holeshot proved to be the difference as he held off the hard charging Foster who clocked in at 5.616, 257.73. Harker, the No. 1 qualifier, posted a 5.627 second lap at 240.77 mph for his fifth national event win.
David Rampy, Piedmont, Ala., showed his driving skills in taking home his 85th NHRA national event win with a pair of perfect .000 second reaction times in the semifinal and final rounds of Comp Eliminator. Rampy’s ’32 roadster covered the quarter-mile in 7.307 at 181 mph to defeat Robert Bailey, Wabash, Ind., running 6.640, 204.76 mph.
In Super Comp it was Scotty Richardson picking up his 39th win as Rusty Cook left early with a red-light foul start as did Craig Marshall in Stock Eliminator to give Sal Biondo his 18th national event win. Richardson, Barbourville, Ky., ran it out to 8.847, 171.34 while Biondo, Middle Village, N.Y., drove his Mustang to a pass of 9.472, 141.82 mph with a perfect .000 reaction time.
Brothers Mike and Troy Coughlin of Delaware, Ohio, shared the winner’s circle as Mike grabbed his fourth win in Top Sportsman and his 13th overall and Troy took the honors in Pro Mod with a holeshot win over Von Smith. Mike led start to finish to knock out John Hochstedler in 6.816 seconds at 206.86 mph to Hochstedler’s 7.040, 197.31.
Tyson Fabish joined Strasburg as a first time national event winner as he was out first on Troy Stone and never looked back taking the Top Dragster title in 6.502 seconds at 207.91 mph.
Rounding out the winners list this weekend were Brad Zaskowski, Belding, Mich., in Super Stock defeating Ricky Decker, Charlestown, Ind., for his sixth win; Philip Smida II, Canfield, Ohio, won over Lauren Freer, Mooresville, N.C., for his fourth in Super Gas; and Bob Cook beat Steve Crook in a close one for the AA Gas win.
Posted with files from NHRA Communications, Eric Lotz and Bruce Biegler
Photos by: Steve Embling and Brennan Shortall
To view DragRaceCanada’s Summit Racing Equipment Nationals Photo Gallery click: HERE