Historic Pro Stock Win for Chevrolet
Jason Line made history during the 27th running of NHRA Sonoma Nationals when by winning he collected the 200th victory for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock Racing – the most by any brand for that category…..
Middle Eastern star driver KH alBalooshi (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the other event Professional winners.
Line, of Mooresville, N.C., locked in a spot in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship and earned the 33rd Pro Stock victory of his career at Sonoma Raceway. The spectacular accomplishment came on the heels of a low qualifier award last week in Denver.
Line, who started from the No. 2 spot in Sonoma, had the quickest and fastest hot rod on the property on raceday at a facility where he has twice before seen the inside of the winner’s circle (2006 and 2009). Dominating at Sonoma Raceway once again, Line clocked low elapsed time in each round of eliminations and crossed the finish line with a remarkably stout 6.520 at 212.46 mph in the first round to obliterate Joey Grose with a mind-blowing time that would hold as low e.t. and top speed of the meet.
The second round set the two-time Pro Stock world champ up for a head-to-head match with rookie competitor Jonathan Gray, and the charging Summit Racing Pro Stock pilot did his job, launching ahead of Gray and blasting to a 6.545, 212.03 for a decisive win and a ticket to the semifinals. Dave Connolly’s trouble on the racetrack in the next round equated to a 16-second blast that couldn’t hold a candle to Line’s very quick and fast 6.535, 212.26, and so the final round was set.
Notably, Line squared off with V. Gaines in the money round, the same driver that he halted in 2006 to earn his first Sonoma trophy. This time around, Line was out of the gate first and first to the finish line stripe with a victorious 6.548, 211.73 to Gaines’ 6.564, 211.30.
“I have a really good racecar right now,” said Line, whose most recent previous win was the season-opening Winternationals earlier this year. “To be honest, I struggled driving this weekend and did things I’ve never done in my life. Without question, this is the luckiest I’ve ever been – but I’ll take it. There have been a lot of times where I’ve done a good job driving and haven’t been able to win. Sometimes the luck falls your way, and today it did because I had a great hot rod.”
Earning the 200th NHRA Pro Stock win for Chevrolet was an accolade that Line and the KB Racing team had long had their eye on, and to accomplish the feat for Summit Racing was something that made the event even more special.
“Winning the 200th was something that is really cool, and I’m proud to represent Chevrolet and be able to have my name on this record,” said Line. “It’s great to give a little something back after all that they’ve done for us and for this class. It’s just a neat, neat deal. It was a great weekend.”
Gaines, driver of the Kendall Oil Dodge Dart, was appearing in his third final of the season. He is still searching for his first win since Reading in 2012. Gaines took out Chris McGaha, No. 1 qualifier Shane Gray and reigning Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin to reach the final.
Pro Stock drivers Allen Johnson, Coughlin and Connolly all sealed a spot in the Countdown as well with their respective Sonoma results.
Courtney Force beat father John Force in the final to become the winningest female in Funny Car history at the event.
Force, who won the 100th race by a female driver in the NHRA professional classes at Topeka, outran her father with a 4.253-second pass at 296.24 mph in her Traxxas Ford Mustang to claim her fifth career victory. With the win, Force broke a tie with sister Ashley Force Hood for the most all-time wins by a female in Funny Car.
“It’s cool to reach number five,” said Force, who now has two wins on the season. “I’m very proud of my team. Obviously I wouldn’t be here without them and the hard work that they put in. I’m only as good as my team.”
John Force, who started his record 650th national event this weekend, was seeking his 141st career win in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. Force, the 16-time Funny Car world champ, defeated Paul Lee, Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and two-time winner this season Alexis DeJoria on his way to the final which clinched him a spot in the Countdown to the Championship. With the final round loss, Force fell to 5-6 against Courtney.
In Top Fuel, alBalooshi piloted his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to a 3.912 at 309.42, defeating teammate Shawn Langdon. It was the second win of the season for alBalooshi, who celebrated his 35th birthday during race day, and fourth of his career.
“The trophy is exactly what I wanted,” said alBalooshi, who beat Billy Torrence, Clay Millican and Englishtown winner Richie Crampton to reach the final. “This is a very special birthday for me. This trophy is the best gift of my life, and [crew chief] Jason McCulloch gave it to me with all my crew guys.”
Langdon, driver of the Al-Anabi Racing dragster, was appearing in his fifth final of the season with his lone win coming at Bristol. Langdon, the reigning Top Fuel world champ, had a solid race day, eliminating Denver winner J.R. Todd, points leader Doug Kalitta and seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher before falling to alBalooshi. With the result, Langdon became the third Top Fuel driver to clinch a spot in the Countdown to the Championship playoff.
Krawiec grabbed his second Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of 2014 with a 6.854 at 193.99 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, beating No. 1 qualifier Jerry Savoie in the final. The win was the 24th career victory for Krawiec, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ.
“I almost forgot how to get back here [to the winner’s circle],” said Krawiec, who got past Freddie Camarena, Epping winner Angie Smith and teammate Andrew Hines before taking out Savoie. “Going into the final I was 100-percent concerned about Jerry. We build his horsepower and he’s doing an awesome job but that’s why we drag race.”
Savoie was appearing in his first final of the season and third of his career. His Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki was fast all weekend beating Chaz Kennedy, Hector Arana and John Hall before red lighting against Krawiec. Savoie was seeking his first career win.
Event Essentials: NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 25-27th) Sonoma CA
|Low ET:||Brittney Force||3.762|
|Top Speed:||Richie Crampton||325.69|
|Low ET:||Courtney Force||4.045|
|Top Speed:||Courtney Force||319.22|
|Low ET:||Jason Line||6.520|
|Top Speed:||Jason Line||212.46|
|Bump Spot:||N/A (15 cars)|
|Pro Stock Motorcycle|
|Low ET:||Jerry Savoie||6.810|
|Top Speed:||Jerry Savoie||198.29|
Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminations on Sunday were preceded by the lucrative and prestigious inaugural MiraMonte Records Pro Bike Battle, which closed out an action packed Saturday schedule of racing.
Andrew Hines, the current points leader in Pro Stock Motorcycle, defeated Scotty Pollacheck in the specialty bonus event final with a 6.835-second run at 196.02 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. He beat John Hall and Hector Arana en route to the final. With the win, Hines takes home $25,000.
“It’s a big deal for Vance & Hines and Harley Davidson,” Hines said. “It’s been awhile since we’ve had a specialty event in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. The crew has done a great job giving us motorcycles that can go rounds.”
Pollacheck, driving his Petrolhead Buell, defeated Eddie Krawiec and Matt Smith to reach the final.
Posted by: Joanne Knapp and NHRA Communications
Photos Courtesy of NHRA and by Bruce Biegler
The Lucas Oil Lowdown
FLETCHER REPEATS IN SONOMA
Prolific Sportsman racer Dan Fletcher worked his way through eliminations in not just one but two classes at the 27th Annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Fletcher, Churchville, N.Y., defended the title from last year in Stock Eliminator by beating Brent Calvert, Lancaster, Calif. This final round was a rematch from last year and Calvert was looking to take the win here this year. Calvert had the starting line advantage but Fletcher had the better pass to take the win. This is Fletcher’s 89th National event win and his 25th in Stock. Fletcher also had the chance to double up at this event in Comp Eliminator when he faced Alan Ellis, Mapleton, Utah. Ellis, who is also the 2013 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Comp National Champion, posted a winning run of 6.574 second lap, 205.29 mph to take the win over Fletcher. Both had good lights, just nine thousands apart but Ellis had the power to drive on by Fletcher to take the win.
In Super Stock, Jeff Taylor, Sellersburg, Ind., faced off against Tommy Gaynor, Battle Ground, Wash. Gaynor had a strong 0.004 light and runs a 9.666 second, 135.48 mph lap but it was Taylor who had more power and takes the win in his ’10 Cobalt. Taylor posted a winning run of 9.564 seconds, 132.91 mpg, to receive his 43rd career win, his 29th in Super Stock.
In the Super Comp final it was Chad Langdon, La Mirada, Calif., taking home the Wally. Langdon faced off against Matt Constant, Stockton, Calif., and posted a winning run of 8.911 seconds, 172.83 mph. Constant had a great reaction time with a 0.004 light but it was Langdon who pulled away to take the win. Langdon has two other career wins, one in each Stock and Super Gas. This win was his first in Super Comp. Langdon nearly shared the winners circle with his son Shawn who advanced to the final round in Top Fuel before falling to teammate Khalid alBalooshi.
Other racers visiting the winner’s circle this weekend were Thomas Bayer, Fontana, Calif., in Super Gas driving his ultra cool Lucas Oil Products ’57 Corvette; Ted Kellner, San Jose, Calif., in Top Sportsman; and Bobby Ray McMahan, Lodi, Calif., in Top Dragster.
Photos by: Bruce Biegler