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Sunday eliminations results (follow the Sonny's Ad)


Sunday July 10, 2011

Mike Neff raced to his fourth Funny Car victory of the season Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

With the win, Neff gave Ford its milestone 200th NHRA Funny Car victory as he powered his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to a performance of 4.246 seconds at 293.22 mph to defeat Jeff Arend, who posted a 5.168 at 186.54 in his DHL Funny Car.

“The heat is what was hard for everyone out there today,” Neff said. “It was a challenge. With the conditions it was one of those races where you have to get your car down the racetrack if you want to win. It’s a tribute to our Ford Mustang body. It’s a great car and we have great preparation by the team because the car is so consistent right now.”

Top qualifier Neff defeated Justin Schriefer, Bob Tasca and Jack Beckman in the first three rounds with a string of consistent 4.20-second performances.

“I’m feeling pretty good right now,” said Neff, who increased his series lead to 172 points over second-place Beckman. “We’ve been going to a lot of finals, and that’s like training. You get in a groove and now, everybody is feeling good.”

Worsham raced to his fifth victory of the season in Top Fuel, powering his Al-Anabi Racing dragster past David Grubnic in the final round. A three-time Funny Car winner here, Worsham joined Gary Scelzi as the only drivers to win in both nitro categories at Route 66 Raceway when he posted a 3.978 at 299.40 to hold off Grubnic’s Kalitta Motorsports machine, which trailed with a 4.055 at 294.50.

“What a day we had here,” said Worsham of his 30th career victory. “It started off not so good. We went down the track only one time out of four in qualifying, but when you have a guy like Alan Johnson (team manager) in your corner, you’re never out of it. It showed the depth of our team. To win for the fifth time this year is like a dream come true. When the whole [switch from Funny Car to Top Fuel] was announced I had mixed emotions. It was (team owner) Sheikh Khalid’s call and now he looks like a genius. I just feel very lucky to be in this spot. I never expected that we’d be able to do so much so soon this year.”

Anderson earned his second victory of the season and 67th of his career, denying Erica Enders her first win in her fourth career final round. Anderson took his first Route 66 Raceway victory with a holeshot victory as he drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.670 at 207.18 to cross the finish line in front of Enders, who had a quicker, but losing, 6.659 at 206.89 in her ZaZa Energy Chevy Cobalt.

“When the track temperature is 135 there is not a lot of traction and it becomes a crew chief’s race," Anderson said. "The driver has to find a way to make it happen too. I don’t know how it worked out, but it did. This was the last track I hadn’t won at and now I have, so that’s cool at least until we go to someplace new.”

Anderson beat Steve Spiess, Rodger Brogdon and Shane Gray to advance to the final round from the No. 1 qualifying position.

“My boys saved me all day and then I got lucky and did something as a driver,” said Anderson, who moved into second place in the series standings, 54 points behind leader Jason Line. “At least for one weekend I held the girl [Enders] off. I was scared to death racing her in the final. Don’t get me wrong; it is going to happen this year. She is the real deal and she’s going to win many races. I just didn’t go in the record books as being the first one to lose a final to her.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Tonglet rebounded from a DNQ at the last event to claim his second victory of the season and pick up his second consecutive win at this event. He pulled away from Chip Ellis in the final with a 7.047 at 188.46 on his Nitro Fish Suzuki. Ellis, whose last final round was in 2008 at Englishtown, N.J., finished in 7.153 at 185.49 on his Kuryakyn/Lartigue Racing Buell.

“We are back to our old motor from the end of last year,” said Tonglet, the defending Full Throttle Series world champ. “We had a bad race in Englishtown and blew up all of our motors so we had to get Vance and Hines to fix them all. We were just hoping to qualify after Norwalk. We were confident here after qualifying number three. For the final it stepped up and almost made a perfect run.”

Tonglet, who raced past Angie Smith, David Hope and Matt Smith in earlier rounds, said he had a lot of support from the Route 66 Raceway spectators.

“It means a lot to win here again,” said Tonglet, who earned his first career victory here one year ago. “Chicago is awesome. The fans are coming by the trailer now more often and they all know we are the world champs. To win here two years in a row is awesome.”

Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Eddie Krawiec lost in the second round and now leads Karen Stoffer by six points. Tonglet moved into a tie for fourth with three-time world champ Andrew Hines.

While the warm summertime conditions provided a bit of a challenge for crew chiefs and drivers to make the correct tune-up decisions for their hot rods, the climate proved to be a great atmosphere for the thousands of Chicagoland fans who flocked to the track over the race weekend. New Route 66 Raceway track president Scott Paddock enjoyed his first NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series experience.

"We couldn't be more excited about the four days of racing we saw this weekend at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals,” Paddock said. “Today's gorgeous weather was the perfect backdrop for Greg Anderson's first-ever win at Route 66 Raceway, as well as the other outstanding winners: Del Worsham, Mike Neff and LE Tonglet. A big thank you to the city of Joliet and to our fans for their tremendous support along with the NHRA, who continues to be a terrific partner to work with. We look forward to bringing back all the excitement of the NHRA Nationals in 2012."

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues July 22-24 at Bandimere Speedway near Denver with the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals.

Sunday's final results from the 14th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. The race is the 11th of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series-

Top Fuel -- Del Worsham, 3.978 seconds, 299.40 mph def. David Grubnic, 4.055 seconds, 294.50 mph.

Funny Car -- Mike Neff, Ford Mustang, 4.246, 293.22 def. Jeff Arend, Toyota Solara, 5.168, 186.54.

Pro Stock -- Greg Anderson, Pontiac GXP, 6.670, 207.18 def. Erica Enders, Chevy Cobalt, 6.659, 206.89.

Pro Stock Motorcycle -- LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.047, 188.46 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.153, 185.49.

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Bill Reichert, 5.380, 260.56 def. Jim Whiteley, 5.428, 265.27.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Tony Bartone, Ford Mustang, 5.633, 256.36 def. John Lombardo Jr., Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.701, 253.99.

Competition Eliminator -- David Rampy, Bantam, 7.332, 171.36 def. Arnie Martel, GTO, 7.685, 167.99.

Super Stock -- Michael Mans, Pontiac Firebird, 9.570, 138.86 def. Chris Chaney, Chevy Cavalier, 9.881, 129.80.

Stock Eliminator -- Slate Cummings, Pontiac Firebird, 10.358, 127.33 def. Joe Sorensen, Chevy Camaro, 10.439, 127.32.

Super Comp -- Kevin Kleineweber, Chevy Lumina, 8.901, 171.77 def. Larry Bernshausen, Dragster, 8.891, 163.35.

Super Gas -- Jimmy Lewis, Chevy Corvette, 9.910, 151.12 def. Rusty Cook, Corvette, 9.928, 165.01.

Super Street -- Scotty Rienschield, Chevy Corvette, 10.909, 144.58 def. Dan Carter, Chevy Camaro, 10.933, 130.43.

Saturday final qualifying

Defending Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson claimed his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season Saturday at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, ending a drought of 43 races without a top spot that dates back to the 2009 season.
Anderson took his fifth No. 1 at Route 66 Raceway and the 74th of his career with his Friday run of 6.586 seconds at 209.14 mph in a Pontiac GXP. Anderson will face Ronnie

Humphrey in the first round of eliminations as he tries to claim his first win at the Chicago track, the only one on the circuit where the four-time champ has not won.

Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their categories into Sunday's 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

In Top Fuel, Massey claimed his second No. 1 of the season and third of his career with his performance of 3.819 at 319.29 from Friday. He will meet local favorite TJ Zizzo of nearby Linconshire in the opening round.

Neff, who is leading the Funny Car series point standings while serving as both driver and crew chief for his Ford Mustang, took his fifth top qualifying position of his career and first since 2009 as no one bettered his Friday run of 4.110 seconds at 298.01 mph. Neff, a three-time winner this season, will race Terry Haddock in the first round.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana Jr. earned his second consecutive No. 1 of the season by riding his Buell to a 6.950 at 191.65. The rookie rider will face GT Tonglet in the opening round.


Massey, Neff, Anderson, Arana lead Friday Chicago fields

Friday, July 08, 2011

Spencer Massey raced to the qualifying lead in Top Fuel Friday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

Mike Neff (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.

Massey powered his Fram/Prestone dragster to a performance of 3.819 seconds at 319.29 mph and continued his impressive early season streak of consecutive runs down the dragstrip without losing traction or suffering a mechanical failure to 38. The streak started during qualifying at the Atlanta event in May.


“I have to think about before each run because it’s so many runs in a row,” Massey said. “This track has always been killer, and there’s been great numbers put down here, so I figured this thing could run an 82 or 83 and if it stuck it was going to make it. It surprised me with an 81, but I’ll take an 81 and a No. 1 anytime.”

If the run holds during Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, which also includes another night session, it would be the second pole of the season for Massey and the third of his career.

“[Crew chiefs] Todd and Phil don’t really know how to back it down that much,” Massey said. “Not only does it go down the racetrack, but they are killer numbers. That’s unbelievable. For any kind of nitro car that’s been this many runs in a row, that’s impressive, and they aren’t just running down the track with conservative numbers, but they are really getting after it. It is just a testament to Todd and Phil and this Don Schumacher Racing team.”

Series leader Neff posted a 4.110 at 298.01 mph in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang to top the Funny Car lineup.

“The conditions did come around a lot for that second session and the track cooled of about 20 degrees,” said Neff, who hasn’t qualified No. 1 since 2009 in Brainerd. “That is pretty much where we thought we would run. The asphalt is still pretty new out there. We spun the tires real hard when we hit the asphalt. We were being a little more conservative here tonight knowing that tomorrow night we will have much better conditions than we had tonight. I just wanted to get down the track and make sure we were qualified for tomorrow. Tomorrow night, we will have a better chance to run quicker with better conditions.”

Anderson, who hasn’t qualified No. 1 since 2009 in Sonoma, led Pro Stock with a 6.586 at 208.97 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP.

“It’s not official yet, but it feels good for a night, anyway,” Anderson said. “If we can get lucky and hold on tomorrow, it will be the first time [we’ve claimed a No. 1 qualifying position] in more than a year. That’s a little odd for me I guess. This class is tough, and it is a knock-down, drag-out brawl every weekend. There’s tough cars and tough drivers, and you never know who’s going to run low and win an event, so it’s just a great class right now, and it’s fun to be a part of.”

Rookie rider Arana Jr. paced the Pro Stock Motorcycle category with a 6.950 at 188.86 mph on his Lucas Oil Buell, seeking his second straight No. 1 qualifying effort.

"I'm finally getting some seat time, getting comfortable on the bike," Arana Jr. said. "It's all coming together. We have a new motor, Gracie, named after my mother. That's all we've done. We've stayed consistent, and it's paid off."

Saturday’s two qualifying sessions will be at 4 and 7 p.m. Sunday’s eliminations start at 11 a.m.

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