NORWALK, OH – At the most recent NHRA Division 3 event, the Cavalcade of Stars at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, Will Smith and Hirata Motorsports earned their way to their first final round appearance together.
This team is making people take notice on all fronts. It’s a throwback season with celebrated mullet hairstyles and a tribute dragster that pays homage to great names in Top Fuel through the years. While the wow factor of this year’s team image was enough for people to take notice, Smith and Hirata wasted no time in making sure their on-track performance didn’t take second place.
“What a difference a year has made,” Smith began. “Last year at this event we made our debut. We weren’t even really sure who our crew was going to be for the remainder of the year. We DNQ-ed. We were behind the eight ball. We worked hard all last season and throughout the off season. I think our performance this past weekend showed that.
“The new combination we’ve been working on over the winter is really showing a lot of promise. We’re starting to get to where we need to be. We’ve got a combination and tune up, and we’re gaining more confidence. Now it’s just a matter of getting more laps with it and establishing some consistency.”
The trustees of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Benevolent Fund have made the donation of a patient monitoring device to Santa Pod Raceway. The G3H Portable Patient Monitor is battery powered and can easily be carried around. It is suitable for use in bedside monitoring in medical centres or hospitals and can print out graphs of patient readings.
Stuart Bradbury, Chair of the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame and Trustee of the BDRHOF Benevolent Fund, said ‘This donation will be directly for the benefit of racers and of fans at Santa Pod Raceway and we hope it can help save lives at the track’.
Keith Bartlett, Santa Pod owner and CEO of Trakbak Racing Ltd, said ‘We at Santa Pod Raceway are very grateful to the BDRHOF Benevolent Fund for their generosity in making this direct donation to our medical services’.
There will be a start line presentation to mark the donation at lunchtime on Saturday 25th May at the Main Event, conditions permitting.
During Moser Engineering Saturday, Soucek captured the $5,000-to-win prize for winning the Mod division and finished runner-up to Bob Lykins in the $5,000-to-win Top division. Rain forced the stoppage of Battle Born Batteries Sunday with the prize money split in the Top and Mod divisions.
Soucek, a Rittman, Ohio racer, had a winning package Saturday with a 6.609-second pass at 102.23 mph against a 6.60 dial-in and a .008 reaction time. Runner-up A.J. Buchanan from Vickery, Ohio finished with a 6.327 elapsed time at 107.99 against a 6.33 dial-in and a .0274 reaction time.
Lykins, from Fairborn, Ohio, scored the Top win when Soucek red-lighted by just -.003 of a second. Lykins’ final run included a 6.482 elapsed time at 102.69 against a 6.49 dial-in. Soucek’s foul cost him as he matched his 6.60 dial-in at 102.48 mph.
Race Wrap – Inaugural NMRA Gateway Rumble Presented by HPJ Performance | Coverage presented by Edelbrock
Santa Ana CA – The World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway has been host to some storied performances, and when the Keystone Automotive NMRA Series arrived for the third stop in its 2019 season at the facility, racers and spectators answered the call, looking for the next chapter to be written in impressive performances. What car and driver combination could negotiate the warm temperatures to stand in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle to grab the exclusive Edelbrock Victor trophy?
Vinny Palazzolo and his turbocharged 2009 GT500 have been the combination to beat thus far in VP Racing Fuels Street Outlaw, and Palazzolo qualified atop the field here with a 4.44 at 166 mph, followed closely by Lebanon, Ohio’s Phil Hines at 4.46 at 160 mph. Those two made their way to the final round, with Palazzolo holding lane choice on the strength of his 4.42 to 4.44 advantage over Hines. The final round started with Hines strapping a sizable .042 to .129 holeshot on Palazzolo, and despite Palazzolo running a quicker 4.41 at 161 mph, he couldn’t catch the 4.48 at 160 mph from Hines’ ProCharger-fed 2001 Mustang before the finish line first, giving Hines the win.
DELAWARE, OH – Five-time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. zipped to a strong semifinal finish at the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals in Dinwiddie, Va., to lead the charge for Team JEGS this weekend. Coughlin’s niece Paige, the son of three-time Pro Mod champion Troy Coughlin, also had a great weekend, going four rounds in Super Comp at the 13th annual Cavalcade of Stars in Norwalk, Ohio.
Fellow Team JEGS drivers Troy Coughlin Jr., Paige’s big brother, and Samantha Coughlin, wife of Jeg Jr., also competed for the yellow and black, with Troy Jr. turning on a win light in Super Comp action alongside his sister.
“This was my best outing of the year besides Arizona so we’re really happy,” said Jeg Jr., who won the Phoenix event in late February. “It was nice to see a couple of win lights come on in our lane and to renew that feeling of going rounds, especially after having six weeks off between races.”
Beginning this year, the NHRA reduced the schedule of events for the Pro Stock class to 18 races, with the last one coming a month and a half ago in Las Vegas. The time off certainly didn’t seem to matter to Jeg Jr. and his Elite Motorsports team, who looked sharp across the board.
DINWIDDIE, VA – Scott Palmer raced to his fourth straight opening-round victory Sunday at the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals and nearly upset the reigning world champion in the quarterfinals before bowing out by .03 seconds. Still, the native Missourian was all smiles as he peeled off his sweat-drenched firesuit.
“We are loving this hot weather,” said Palmer, who officially finished fifth on the day. “This was by far the hottest conditions we’ve faced all year and just look at how the field evened out. I welcome these summer races with open arms.”
Palmer’s biggest achievement of the day was a first-round triumph over Top Fuel stalwart Doug Kalitta, who had qualified more than a tenth of a second quicker during time trials, slotting fifth to Palmer’s 12th-place perch. But none of that mattered when the lights flashed as Palmer peeled off his quickest pass of the weekend, a 3.869 at 322.58 mph, to eliminate Kalitta’s tire-smoking 5.568-second, 119.26-mph effort.
Auburn Hills, MI – Ron Capps became the first 2019 repeat winner in NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car competition Sunday, taking his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car to victory in the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals near Richmond.
Capps followed his Atlanta triumph two weeks ago with a run through the Funny Car field on an extremely warm day in Virginia to score his 63rd career victory and his 30th win with crew chief Rahn Tobler and his first Wally at Virginia Motorsports Park. The victory was also the third this season for a DSR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car pilot.
En route to the historic win Capps knocked out fellow DSR and Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson, Jr. in the semifinals while Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon and Jim Campbell also competed Sunday in Mopar-powered Funny Cars. Leah Pritchett qualified her DSR HEMI-powered Mopar Top Fuel dragster sixth, but wasn’t able to advance past the first round.