TULSA, OK – It’s been 10 months since Keith Haney last raced “Enigma,” his nitrous-boosted, drag radial-equipped 2016 Camaro. Regardless, he’s hoping to capture one of the sport’s crown jewels with it this weekend (Feb. 14-17) at Lights Out 10, the prestigious radial-racing season opener from promoter Donald Long at South Georgia Motorsports Park (SGMP).
“I’m excited to get back in the ring of fire. I’ve had a lot of great fans across the country ask me if I was ever going to race the little-tire car again. Well, yes I am, it’s down in North Carolina at Brandon Switzer’s shop getting a little tender loving care,” says Haney, owner or co-owner of several Tulsa-area new car dealerships, as well as co-owner with Todd Martin of historic Tulsa Raceway Park.
“And Lights Out sets the tone,” he declares. “I proved it in 2015 when I first went there. I made the drag radial world go faster then and now they’re going even faster and it’s time for me to pick up the pace with the nitrous and you know, get back in the game.”
POMONA, CA – Hangsterfer’s Metalworking Lubricants drivers Matt and Zach Sackman both raced to the final round in their respective classes at the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Feb. 11 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif.
Racing in his first national event, Matt drove the Hangsterfer’s/TMS Titanium/Gemini Farms A/Fuel dragster to the Top Alcohol Dragster final round, while Zach posted a runner-up finish in Top Dragster in the Hangsterfer’s blown alcohol dragster.
“This was a fantastic start to the 2019 season,” said Matt, 25. “Obviously, we both wanted to win the race, but we’re pretty happy with the way the weekend went, that’s for sure.”
“It was a great points day for me,” said Zach, 23, who finished sixth in the 2018 NHRA Top Dragster national points standings. “This will more than likely be one of my claims, so I’m happy with the finish. Matt did a pretty good job going to the final round at his first national event. Overall it was an awesome weekend.”
Competing in just his fourth Top Alcohol Dragster event, Matt and the Randy Meyer-tuned Hangsterfer’s entry qualified No. 2 after ripping off a 5.181-second pass at 276.52 mph in the first session and smoking the tires in the second session. The third session was canceled due to rainy weather.
Bid for First Win Comes Up Just Short, But Top Fuel’s Mike Salinas Leaves Favorable Impression in Pomona
POMONA, CA – Expecting big things out of the 2019 season, Top Fuel driver Mike Salinas delivered a strong starting point at this weekend’s season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Salinas piloted his Scrappers Racing dragster to a semifinal finish on Monday, posted career-best runs and ran the fastest time of the race, setting an impressive tone for the 2019 campaign with a new team led by crew chief Brian Husen, tuning advisor Alan Johnson and Arron Cave.
“When you surround yourself with the right people and the right combination, it’s amazing what you can do,” said Salinas, who earned his second career semifinal finish. “It’s our first time with a new crew and we set our career-best E.T., set and reset our top speed three times and went to the semifinals. We have a car, we have a team and everyone better look out because we are coming.”
Salinas entered 2019 with big expectations and then sent a strong message to the rest of the Top Fuel class that he will be a top contender all year. But the chance to display that on raceday was delayed until Monday, as rain postponed eliminations.
POMONA, CA – The weekend couldn’t have started in better fashion for Pro Stock veteran Rodger Brogdon. Brogdon grabbed his second career No. 1 qualifier to kick off 2019 at the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
But, unfortunately for Brogdon, the first round of eliminations couldn’t have gone any worse on Monday.
Brogdon left the starting line before the tree was activated, handing the victory to Val Smeland and wrapping up the very definition of a rollercoaster weekend.
“You go from being on top of the world to feeling like crap, but that’s racing,” Brogdon said. “It’s very disappointing, but things will be fine. Things like that are going to happen to you in racing, but I would rather it happen in the first race than happen later in the season.”
POMONA, CA – Erica Enders showed a glimpse of what could be special year for the Pro Stock standout when she was the No. 1 qualifier after the first day of the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on Friday.
Enders also displayed a killer performance on the starting line with reaction times of .001 and .014 during the first two rounds of eliminations on Monday.
But we also saw just how competitive things are expected to be this year in Pro Stock, as Enders suffered a narrow defeat to eventual event winner Bo Butner in the semifinals, as Butner’s 6.518 at 211.53 mph clipped Enders’ 6.527 at 211.93.
“Today, my car was fast. The first two rounds I was .001 and .014, but I missed it in the semifinals,” said Enders, who had a .070 reaction time against Butner. “As soon as I get back in the swing of things, we will be just fine. More than anything, I hate letting my guys down – win as a team, lose as a driver. But we will head to Phoenix with a positive attitude and see where race two puts us.”
Pomona, CA – Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman was seeking a lot of firsts on a picture-perfect afternoon during the rain-delayed 59th annual NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
First winner in 2019. First winner in a Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body. First career win at his home track. The 2012 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car champion and his Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) team came out swinging in the season opener with three round wins in the Infinite Hero Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, but were just four feet short of checking all those boxes late Monday afternoon.
While Beckman stormed to his 57th career finals appearance, the rest of the DSR Dodge Mopar contingent had mixed results on Monday. Tommy Johnson Jr. continued his Pomona magic aboard the DSR Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat turning on a pair of win lights after reaching the final to close out 2018 at the Fairplex. Ron Capps, a three-time Winternationals champion, raced the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat into the second round while two-time reigning Winternationals champion Matt Hagan was upset in the first round. Leah Pritchett scored an upset win in her HEMI-powered Sparkling Ice/Mopar Top Fuel Dragster before coming up short in the second round.
POMONA, CA — Robert Hight and the Automobile Club of Southern California team raced way to their victory at a weather delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, the opening event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. On the way to their fourth win, Hight, the John Force Racing president, handed team owner John Force a loss in the semifinals and watched Top Fuel teammates Brittany Force and Austin Prock face-off in a first round duel that earned Prock the first-round win of his career.
After persistent rain cancelled racing on Sunday, Hight and his Auto Club team, who were also the No. 1 qualifiers, came out Monday morning on a mission. After having to step off the throttle in his first-round win against Terry Haddock to run 4.026-seconds, Hight strung together a trio of 3.8-second runs in three good side-by-side races for his 46th career victory and fourth Winternationals win.
“You know, you look at the Funny Car class and I think it’s tougher this year than it was last and that’s saying something so. Everybody is stacked up. It’s not going to be easy,” Hight said. “You’re going to have to be on your game all year long on the starting line. You’re going to have to have consistency with your car.”