NHRA finishes Western Swing Pruett, Capps, Stanfield, Smith pick up wins
The last stop on the Western Swing did not disappoint
This weekend the NHRA finished the Western Swing in Pomona, California at the rescheduled Lucas Oil NHRA Winter/Summernationals and there was so much going on you did not want to miss a minute. Normally when the NHRA is in Pomona it's February and November, so it's much cooler, but this weekend it's been mid 80's - mid 90's making the track very hot and harder to race on so that lead to a lot of crazy races and moments.
Starting with Top Fuel, there were 13 cars so the ladder was a bit funny, but breaking news, Steve Torrence was ousted in round one so there are no Sweeps this year. On the left side of the ladder number 7 qualified Justin Ashley started his day by taking on number 8 qualified Buddy Hull. Just had a solid a to b run with a 3.90, while Buddy exploded his engine and went 8.08. In the second round Justin faced the always tough Brittany Force. It was a good race, with Justin outrunning Brittany 3.91 to 4.01. His semifinal matchup was against Antron Brown. It started out close, but Antron had problems and with a 3.94 to a 4.02, Justin put himself and the Smart Sanitizer/StrutMasters.com team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, number 2 qualified Leah Pruett started her day by taking on number 13 qualified Steve Chrisman. Leah went a to b with a 3.90 while Steve had problems and went 4.31. In the second round Leah had a bye run and ran 3.93. Leah's semifinal matchup was against the always tough Mike Salinas, who has been running very well recently. It was a good race until Mike exploded his engine and Leah's 3.92 to Mike's 4.36, put her and the Sparkling Ice Spiked team into the finals. This was a final round unlike any I've seen, Justin Ashley pulled himself from the car on the starting line due to symptoms of heat exhaustion/heat stroke, leaving Leah to make a single run where she went 4.02 and took home the Wally.
Next we have Funny Car and I want to quickly congratulate Jason Rupert for qualifying for this race and making his Winter/Summernationals debut. Even though they didn't make the call for round one because of damage from qualifying, it was great to see him make the field. On the left side of the ladder number 1 qualified Ron Capps started his day by taking on number 16 qualified Bobby Bode. It was a decent race, and with a 4.02 to a 4.18, Ron was into the second round where he faced Bob Tasca III. The race between Ron and Bob was exciting, but Ron's 4.15 bested Bob's 4.27. In the semifinals Ron took on John Force and whenever a Don Schumacher Racing car faces a John Force Racing car you know it's going to be an exciting race. John had problems, running 4.65, while Ron went a to b with a solid 4.15, putting him and the NAPA Auto Parts team into the finals. On the other side of the ladder, number 7 qualified JR Todd started his day by taking on number 10 qualified Jeff Diehl and with a 4.14 to a 4.51, JR was into the second round. In the second round he faced the always tough Robert Hight. JR has been having very close races with the Force cars recently and this one was no exception. They both went exactly 4.192, but JR was slightly faster and has a better reaction time, giving him the win. JR's semifinal matchup was against Jim Campbell. It's been a while since Jim Campbell has been to a semifinal so I want to congratulate him and his team, it was nice to see them having a good race day. Jim did have some problems, running 4.53, while JR ran 4.29 putting him and the DHL team into the finals. It was a good final round, and with a 4.15 to a 4.28, Ron took home the Wally making this a Don Schumacher Racing double up.
Moving on to Pro Stock, number 1 qualified Greg Anderson, who has clinched a spot in the Countdown, started his day with a bye run where he ran 6.60. In the second round he took on Chris McGaha, it was a good race and with a 6.64 to a 6.70, Greg was into the semifinals. His semifinal matchup was against Kyle Koretsky. It was another good race and with a 6.64 to a 6.70, Greg and the HendrickCars.com team were into the finals. On the other side of the ladder number 6 qualified Aaron Stanfield started his day by taking on number 11 qualified Kenny Delco and with a 6.63 to a 6.70, Aaron was into the second round. In the second round he faced Matt Hartford. It was a good race, but Aaron's 6.67 bested Matt's 6.73 and put him in the second round where he faced the always tough Erica Enders. It was a very good and close race, 6.684 to 6.686, and Aaron and the Janac Brothers Racing/Elite team were into the finals. The final round race was very close, 6.65 to 6.66, with Aaron taking home the Wally.
And finally we have Pro Stock Motorcycle. On the left side of the ladder, number 1 qualified Matt Smith, who clinched a spot in the Countdown, started his day with a bye run where he went 6.90. In the second round he faced his wife Angie Smith, it was a decent race and with a 6.83 to a 6.92, Matt was into the semifinals. In the semifinals he faced his teammate Scotty Pollacheck, it was a close race, but Matt's 6.91 bested Scotty's 6.96 and he and the Denso team were into the finals. On the other side of the ladder number 2 qualified Angelle Sampey started her day by taking on number 15 qualified Jimmy Underdahl. Jimmy had some problems and Angelle went 6.82. In the second round she faced Joey Gladstone. Angelle was really solid and really fast, running 6.84, while Joey went 7.04. Angelle's semifinal matchup was against her teammate Eddie Krawiec. Angelle again was so fast and so solid, running 6.87, while Eddie went 6.93, putting Angelle and the Vance and Hines/Mission Foods team into the finals. It's usually an exciting race when a Matt Smith Racing bike meets a Vance and Hines bike and this time was no different. Matt got a huge jump off the tree, (.042) to (.102) and practically sealed the deal, running a 6.82 to Angelle's 6.91 and taking home the Wally.
The next race will be the Menards NHRA Nationals, August 13th - 15th in Topeka, Kansas.