NHRA Full Throttle coverage is presented by Sonny's Racing Engines.
Sept 22-25, 2011
Sunday wrap up
Pedregon held off an impressive line-up of cars to reach the final round, driving his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry past Todd Simpson, Bob Tasca and Melanie Troxel on his way to a final round matchup with Ron Capps. In the final Pedregon drove to an impressive 4.200 seconds at 302.48 mph past Capps to secure his first win of the season and 29th of his career. The win also propelled Pedregon from fourth to third in the point standings, just seven points behind leader Mike Neff with four races left in the season.
Funny Car points leader Neff lost in the first round to second-place driver in the standings Matt Hagan. Hagan was unable to get around Melanie Troxel in the second round though and only four points separate first-place Neff from Hagan.
In Top Fuel, Vandergriff raced to his first win in his 14th final round appearance, ending the longest streak of final round appearances before a win in NHRA history. Vandergriff powered his C&J Energy Services dragster to a 4.243 at 238.44 to hold of hometown favorite Spencer Massey in the final round.
Masseys final round appearance moved him to the top of the Top Fuel standings, just seven points ahead of second-place driver Antron Brown, who fell to Massey in the semifinal round of eliminations. Massey is the 41st different driver in NHRA history to lead the points in Top Fuel.
In a repeat matchup from the Pro Stock final round in Charlotte just one week previous Jason Line and Kurt Johnson met again in the finals, but this time it was Line who powered his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.633 at 208.46 to get his fifth win of the season and 26th of his career. The win also helped strengthen Lines lead to 112 points over second-place driver and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, who lost in the first round.
It was a huge day for us, said Line. Right now, I guarantee you that there is no way that anybody can be happier than me right now. Its just not possible. It was a big day for us. The fact that we could actually get it done was amazing. I drove like garbage all day long. I was the worst Ive driven all year. Finally, I managed to pull myself together for the final, the time that we needed it, and made a great run at the same time. It was just a really big day for us.
Having my mother, Aline, here this weekend made the win real sweet, said Phillips. I had talked to her on Monday about coming to the races, and at first she said it was too hot. Then on Friday morning, just before we were ready to run, she popped up at the race track. My mom made my weekend, even if we had not won. Im still a Mommas Boy.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing will return to action next week at the Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals, Sept. 29-Oct. 2 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
Top Fuel -- Bob Vandergriff, 4.243 seconds, 239.44 mph def. Spencer Massey, 5.200 seconds, 145.48 mph.
Funny Car -- Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Solara, 4.200, 302.48 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.270, 293.66.
Pro Stock -- Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 6.633, 208.46 def. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.663, 207.85.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.979, 194.46 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 7.010, 192.30.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Chase Copeland, 5.344, 275.62 def. Aaron Tatum, 5.546, 257.43.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Tony Bartone, Ford Mustang, 5.638, 260.06 def. Roger Bateman, Mustang, 5.667, 254.14.
Competition Eliminator -- Bruno Massel, Chevy Cobalt, 7.898, 130.92 def. Clint Neff, '23-T Ford, foul.
Super Stock -- Jerry Emmons, Chevy Cavalier, 9.865, 132.33 def. Chris Chaney, Cavalier, 9.863, 130.75.
Stock Eliminator -- Gary Emmons, Pontiac Firebird, 10.774, 114.55 def. Slate Cummings, Firebird, 10.472, 124.98.
Super Comp -- Richard Pierson, Dragster, 8.909, 167.14 def. Michael Johnston, Dragster, 8.898, 169.47.
Super Gas -- Tommy Phillips, Chevy Corvette, 9.947, 152.80 def. Jay Peppler, Ford Probe, 9.978, 147.23.
Top Dragster -- Phil Unruh, Dragster, 6.518, 202.64 def. Allen Constantine, Dragster, 6.689, 196.42.
ENNIS, Texas -- NHRA Fall Nationals
Schumacher claimed his sixth No. 1 of the season and 67th of his career by powering to a 3.863 second run at 319.07 mph in his U.S. Army dragster. The seven-time Top Fuel world champ, who has five wins at the famed all-concrete drag strip including the last two seasons, will try to earn his first victory of the year when he meets Scott Palmer in the first round of eliminations.
"I have to win because I've always said I don't what to have more No. 1s than wins," said Schumacher, who also has 67 career victories, his last coming last October in Las Vegas. "But really, this is awesome. We've got a great race car. I won my first race here in '99 and I'd been in eight finals before that, and I almost feel like that again. But it is what is it is. We were fourth [quickest] that last session, and we were way off. It had so much more in it, so I'm comfortable. We've got to beat Scott Palmer first, then see what happens. I'd love to have the trophy."
"We can't try any harder," Schumacher said. "We've gotten beat in some crazy ways this season, but I think you win championships by recognizing that those things are going to happen. We've won championships just about every way you can with the exception of not winning a race, and I don't want to try that. We have the best car this weekend, and we didn't only do it last night, we did it today, so we know how to go down a hot racetrack."
Del Worsham's leading run from Friday of 3.869 at 319.07 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster fell to second and Rod Fuller improved to third with a 3.880 at 319.52 in his Yas Marina/C&J Energy Services dragster. Series leader Antron Brown, who has won four of the last five races, will start 11th in his Matco Tools dragster.
Two-time Funny Car world champ Pedregon earned his fifth No. 1 of the season and 44th of his career as no one was able to improve on his Friday performance of 4.086 at 307.86 in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Solara. Pedregon's car was among the top five quickest in both sessions on Saturday.
"I'm just so happy right now," said Pedregon, who has earned two victories in six finals at the Motorplex in his career. "It one thing to make a great run, but it's another to come out and make good respectable runs, which is something we really haven't done this year. Hopefully, it will show well for us tomorrow. We've been good at making one or two good runs, but then we fizzle out during the race. We made good decisions and the track hung in there even with the heat. Texas Motorplex still has plenty of grip."
"I remember coming here with the McDonald's car and later with Joe Gibbs, and we brought some good cars here, but this is probably one of the best cars I've ever had here, and we're going try like heck to close the deal," Pedregon said. "There's a lot of competition, and there are some interesting first-round matchups with points implications that could be good for us, but we need to do our part, too."
Johnny Gray and Jon Capps held on to the second and third spots in the lineup, while Alexis DeJoria failed to qualify in her debut event behind the wheel of the Patron Toyota.
In Pro Stock, Line earned his sixth No. 1 of the season, and fourth consecutive, with a track record performance of 6.553 at 211.20 in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP.
"When we got here in the morning we thought we might have a chance [to go quicker], but it didn't happen," said Line, who has never won at the Motorplex. "But it worked out good. We're happy about qualifying No. 1 four times in a row because I've never done that before. It was pretty cool, and we know we have a good car."
"Mike Edwards ran better today than I thought he was going to run," Line said. "He ran really well. For the first time in a while, we don't have the best car going into Sunday. We definitely need to work on it and try to go a little faster because Mike made a couple of really good runs today."
Auto Club Road to the Future Award candidate Arana Jr. earned his fourth No. 1 qualifying position of the season in Pro Stock Motorcycle, setting a track record time of 6.828 with a speed of 195.42 on his Lucas Oil Buell.
"We found our tune-up and got back to where we needed to be," Arana Jr. said. "The one thing we did different today was to leave [the starting line] at a higher rpm. The bike just came to us. The power has always been there, but we had been lost on the starting line. But we got that straightened out, and now, as you guys can see, we're back on the pole.
Andrew Hines dropped to second with his Friday run of 6.850 at 196.62 on his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson and Hector Arana Sr. was third on his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.856 at 195.76. Series leader Eddie Krawiec will start sixth on his Harley-Davidson.
Two Countdown to the Championship playoff contenders - Morgan Lucas in Top Fuel and Shane Gray in Pro Stock - failed to qualify for Sunday's eliminations.
September 20, 2011
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 22-25
SCHEDULE: THURSDAY, Sept. 22-LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying at 10 a.m.
FRIDAY, Sept. 23-LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 8:30 a.m. FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifying at 2:15 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, Sept. 24-LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations begin at 8 a.m. FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifying at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 25 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m. FULL THROTTLE SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
TELEVISION: Sunday, Sept. 25, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 45 minutes of qualifying highlights at 1:15 a.m. (ET). Sunday, Sept. 25, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will re-air one hour of qualifying highlights at 2 p.m. (ET). Sunday, Sept. 25, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of race coverage starting at 7 p.m. (ET).
2010 EVENT WINNERS: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; LE Tonglet, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
TRACK RECORDS: Top Fuel - 3.784 seconds by Brandon Bernstein, Sept. 10; 312.96 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. 10 Funny Car - 4.062 seconds by Matt Hagan, Sept. 10; 309.49 mph by Del Worsham, Sept. 10 Pro Stock - 6.578 seconds by Ron Krisher, Sept. 10; 209.79 mph by Allen Johnson, Sept. 10 Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.899 seconds by Eddie Krawiec, Sept. 10; 195.03 mph by Krawiec, Sept. 10
NATIONAL RECORDS: Top Fuel - 3.770 sec. by Larry Dixon, Feb. 11, Pomona, Calif.; 327.90 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. 11, Charlotte, N.C. Funny Car- 3.995 sec. by Matt Hagan, Sept. 11, Charlotte, N.C.; 318.99 mph by Jack Beckman, Sept. 11, Charlotte, N.C. Pro Stock - 6.495 sec. by Rodger Brogdon, March 11, Gainesville, Fla.; 213.57 mph by Erica Enders, March 11, Gainesville, Fla. PS Motorcycle - 6.777 sec. by Hector Arana, March 11, Gainesville, Fla.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March 11, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) MOTORPLEX (668-6775). Tickets also are available at texasmotorplex.com.
RESERVED SEATS - Thursday: Adult, $10; Youth (12 years and under), $5. Friday: Adult, $30-50; Youth (12 years and under), $5-22. Saturday: Adult, $30-60; Youth (12 years and under), $5-30. Sunday: Adult, $32-66; Youth (12 years and under), $5-33.