NHRA Full Throttle coverage is presented by Sonny's Racing Engines.
September 29 - October 2 (Pro Classes)
October 6-8, 2011 (Sportsman portion)
Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals
(David Smith photos)
Pro gallery is here.
Sportsman gallery is here.
Other Full Throttle gallerys are here.
Not only did the Pro Stock point leader collect his second career win at Maple Grove, he also set the national E.T. record with the quickest run in Pro Stock history Monday morning as his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP went 6.477 seconds at 212.49 mph. Line slowed to a 6.484 at 212.79 in the final round, but it was still enough to outrun Ronnie Humphrey, who posted a 6.530 at 212.16 in his Genuine Hot Rod Hardware GXP.
"That's the second time we qualified No. 1, set the record, and won the race, Line said. It feels really good to do that, because there is a very small club of guys who've done it. I like going into the last three races with the amount of points we have because it's not as much pressure. It's not over by any means but I wouldn't trade my position for anyone else's."
"My guys have done a phenomenal job," said Line. "I don't know what's going on, but this car can make a bad run and still go fast. The car is bad to the bone. I didn't mess it up too much, and it feels awful good right now.
The Top Fuel final round was the quickest side-by-side race in NHRA history as Del Worshams Al-Anabi Racing dragster recorded the quickest run in NHRA history, with a time of 3.735 at 323.81. However race winner Massey used a quicker reaction time on the starting line to combine with a performance of 3.770 at 323.12 in his FRAM dragster to take the victory.
"I just try to be consistent on the Tree no matter who I'm racing," said Massey of his fourth win of the season. "(Crew chiefs) Phil (Shuler) and Todd (Okuhara) do an awesome job tuning the FRAM dragster, and we get a lot of confidence from each other. We started off going for the record in qualifying, but at one point we said, 'You know, let's just try to win rounds.' The car was on a string. You could have put '3.77' on the wing.
This et proved to be the back up for Del's even quicker but oosing 3.735 in the final
"Alan Johnson and Del Worsham did an amazing job in the other lane to make their car run as fast as it did, Massey said. It makes it that much sweeter of a win, in a way, for the win light to come on in our lane with a 3.77. I saw his nose out there at about 200 feet and never saw him again until I looked over after the finish line."
Massey leads the Top Fuel point standings while Don Schumacher Racing teammate Antron Brown sits 65 points back in second and Al-Anabi Racing driver Larry Dixon is fourth.
In Funny Car, Auto Club driver Hight took his Ford Mustang to the winners circle for the first time in the Countdown since 2009. The 2009 champs 4.065 at 302.62 was just too much for Johnny Grays Service Central Dodge Charger as it lost traction and recorded a 9.836 at 73.91.
"We know that this was our last-chance race," said Hight. "If we lose early again here, it's over. You put yourself in such a hole when you lose first round in the first few races in the Countdown. It was also in our mind that we didn't win a single round in the Countdown last year. You've got to get that off your back.
Hight knows what its like to come from behind and win the championship. He did it in 2009 when he started from the 10th and final position in the Countdown and went on to win the championship, so this victory has him feeling confident even though his team is in fourth place.
DieHard Dodge Charger driver Matt Hagan leads the Funny Car point battle by two points over Castrol GTX Mustang driver Mike Neff and they are followed by Snap-on Tools Toyota pilot Cruz Pedregon, who sits third.
Rookie rider Arana, Jr. collected his second Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of the season in a rematch of the semifinals in Dallas with Matt Smith. The rookie of the year contender ran a 6.781 at 195.82 on his Lucas Oil Buell to beat veteran Smiths 6.795 at 194.24, also on a Buell.
Right now, we have a lot of momentum, Arana Jr. said. My runs have been improving and we plan to keep this streak going. This should help me for the rookie of the year and give me a good chance for the championship. I finally got to qualify No. 1 and win the race. Thats something Ive been trying to do all year long.
With the win, Arana, Jr. moved up to second in points, 35 behind leader Eddie Krawiec. With the runner-up finish, Smith moved up to third.
The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship continues Oct. 14-16 with the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.
Monday's final results from the 27th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway. The race is the 19th of 22 in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series-
Top Fuel -- Spencer Massey, 3.770 seconds, 323.12 mph def. Del Worsham, 3.735 seconds, 323.81 mph.
Funny Car -- Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.065, 302.62 def. Johnny Gray, Dodge Charger, 9.836, 73.91.
Pro Stock -- Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 6.484, 212.79 def. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.530, 212.16.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.781, 195.82 def. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.795, 194.24.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Mike Kosky, 5.285, 265.59 def. Joey Severance, 5.324, 269.24.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Frank Manzo, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.419, 264.60 def. Andy Bohl, Ford Mustang, 5.520, 259.51.
Competition Eliminator -- Bo Butner, Cobalt, 8.932, 111.57 def. Sal Biondo, Cavalier, broke.
Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took advantage of the fast conditions Saturday and took over the No. 1 qualifying spots in their respective categories at the third race of the six-race Countdown to the Championship, NHRAs playoffs.
Browns national record-setting pass of 3.766 at 325.30 came just one pair after reigning Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon set the national record right in front of him with a 3.769 at 323.43.
"I was sitting there watching 'Hot Rod' [Fuller], [Del] Worsham, and Morgan [Lucas] making great runs, and I knew it was out there," said Brown. "It felt awesome. It made a funky wiggle, and then it took off. The car put me back in the seat, and it was like, 'Let's go!' It was sashaying a little bit at the big end, and I'm like, 'Come on, baby. Don't scrub off speed.'
Brown, who will face fellow Indianapolis resident Bruce Litton in the opening round of eliminations Sunday, is currently fighting for the Top Fuel championship with teammates, Spencer Massey and Tony Schumacher, and on-track rivals Al-Anabi Racing teammates, Dixon and Del Worsham. Its anyones game with four races to go in the Countdown, so the 20-point bonus that comes with setting a national record, as long as no one betters the run during eliminations, is huge for the Matco Tools driver.
Dixon is qualified behind Brown in second, while Massey is third with a 3.771 at 316.82 and Worsham is fourth with his best qualifying lap of 3.780 at 327.90.
1. Antron Brown Matco Tools Dragster 3.766$ 325.30
Service Central Dodge Charger driver Johnny Gray, who is not a playoff driver in the Countdown, leads the 16-car Funny Car field with the third-quickest Funny Car pass in NHRA history. After competing in 177 national events in both Pro Stock and Funny Car, this is Grays first No. 1 qualifying position of his professional career.
"My car's not in the Countdown, but, the way I look at it, we just helped DSR by taking qualifying points away from Force's team, Gray said. "The track was awesome, and the air was really good. The car has run 4.02, 4.03 before. It made a little quiver at the (concrete-to-asphalt) transition last night, so the guys thought it would run good if we could just get rid of that. They gave me a great hot rod.
I'm also glad to do well in our second race with the Alex's Lemonade Stand car, Gray said. It's a great organization, and I felt awful when our car wouldn't run in Denver. After meeting some of those kids and seeing what they and their families were going through, it was a game-changer in my perspective at the races. Smoking the tires is really not a big deal."
Gray is followed by 2010 Funny Car champ John Force whos best run of qualifying was a 4.011 at 319.22, which set the track speed record, and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan sits third with a 4.012 at 316.67.
1. Johnny Gray Service Central Charger 4.010@ 318.62
In Pro Stock, championship point leader Jason Line secured his 24th career No. 1, and seventh of the season, when he set the track record with a 6.513 at 211.36 during Saturdays qualifying efforts.
I didnt realize that we had 7 No. 1s this year. Im proud of that, Line said. Thats why we go to the shop and work hard so we can come back out and do it again the next week.
With his second No. 1 at Maple Grove Raceway and fifth consecutive No. 1 this season, Line knows that his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP is ready for the first round match-up Sunday with Bob Benza.
Its exciting to have five low qualifiers in a row, Line said. It would appear that we have it figured out but if you listen to us in pit area you wouldnt think so. Our crew still debates every run. Hopefully we can turn this into another win tomorrow."
1. Jason Line Summit Racing
Equipment GXP 6.513@ 211.83
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Lucas Oil rookie rider Arana Jr. set the track E.T. record in Pro Stock Motorcycle on his way to the qualifying lead, with his 6.824 at 195.48 run during the third qualifying session, after struggling to get down the track during Fridays efforts.
After Dallas, we got back home and went through our old motor and we found out why we slowed down, Arana Jr. said. We had a bad crank sensor. It went bad again this weekend and when the bike shut off, I almost went over handle bars. Now we have it welded so it wont be a problem again.
The second generation racer and Auto Club Road to the Future Award candidate, NHRAs rookie of the year award, recognizes his father, Hector Arana, Sr. who sits third with a 6.831 at 195.03, is the one to thank for his Lucas Oil Buells power and confidence he has as he heads into eliminations where Arana Jr. will face Bailey Whitaker in the opening round Sunday.
I have to thank my dad for everything. I would not be in this position without him, Arana Jr. said. I feel like Im in a position to win races because of him. Were looking to get the Wally this weekend.
Fridays qualifying leader Eddie Krawiec fell to second with his 6.826 at 197.97 and his Vance and Hines/Screamin Eagle Harley Davidson teammate, Andrew Hines, will start from fourth with a 6.845 at 193.54.
Eliminations for the Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway are scheduled for Sunday at 11 a.m.
1. Hector Arana
Jr Lucas Oil Buell 6.824 195.48
1. Bill Reichert Bars Leak/Rislone A/FD 5.232 269.24
Not Qualified ---------
1. Frank Manzo Al Anabi Racing Monte Carlo 5.491 263.46
1. David Yediny L/A 9.39 8.649 -0.741
Flying a special DieHard Gold Batteries paint scheme this weekend, Hagan ran a 4.012 second pass at 316.67 mph, the fourth quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history, during the team's second qualifying efforts on Friday to secure the provisional No. 1 spot.
"This is phenomenal," Hagan said. "We have a long ways to go to catch up to 'Superman' [Mike Neff] with Cruz [Pedregon] and all the other guys knocking on the door, so we're going to keep our fingers and toes crossed and stay at it."
"This is a great race track," Hagan said. "When I'm sitting in the race car in cool, dark conditions, it runs good most of the time. Tommy [DeLago] has a good handle on the tune-up. We're having fun. You probably can't tell while the car's running, but I have a big ol' smile underneath my helmet."
With Hagan's performance on Friday, he moved up one spot in the championship point standings tying Mike Neff for the lead. Neff has led the 7,000 horsepower class for most of the season and sits fifth in the qualifying standings with a 4.085 at 312.25 heading in Saturday.
Hagan's teammates Johnny Gray and Ron Capps are currently qualified behind him in second and third, while 2010 world champion John Force is currently fourth.
Matco Tools pilot Brown led the way in Top Fuel qualifying action Friday with his pass of 3.797 at 324.44 under the lights at Maple Grove Raceway.
"The conditions were really good tonight," said Brown. "We saw our Funny Car teammates go 4.02 and 4.01, and I thought, 'We'll be all right.' Our car actually didn't run that strong early."
The always animated Brown, who grew up just two hours outside of Reading, truly enjoyed setting the track speed record at what he considers to e one of his home tracks and he knows that if the conditions are right for the rest of the weekend, there is potential for national record setting runs.
Reigning Top Fuel champ Larry Dixon missed his chance to take the provisional No. 1 from Brown by just one one-thousandth of a second in his Al-Anabi dragster with his pass of 3.798 at 320.43. Current point leader Spencer Massey and his Fram dragster sit third with 3.817 at 322.27.
In Pro Stock, 2009 world champion Edwards led the way in his Penhall/K&N Filters/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP with a 6.541 at 211.66, setting both ends of the track record on his way to the provisional top spot.
"Actually hats off to my guys, the first run was really good. We went the wrong way on second one but the first was good," Edwards said. "We had a good first day, we'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm not racing the Summit guys, I'm racing whole field. The fact that we all ran the same just means there's a lot of hard work going on. Teams are doing all they can do to go fast. "
Pro Stock Motorcycle point leader Krawiec also set the track speed and E.T. record en route to the provisional lead in the two-wheel class with a 6.826 at 197.97 on his Vance & Hines/Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod.
"I'm excited, all I have to do here is make good clean laps down the track and we'll be good," Krawiec said. "We left a little on the plate tonight, but it's about making clean, good, consistent runs and showing the competitors what we're all about."
Krawiec is followed by 2009 Full Throttle champion Hector Arana who ran a 6.863 at 194.74 on his Lucas Oil Buell, while teammate Andrew Hines is third on his Harley Davidson with a 6.871 at 193.88.
MOHNTON, Pa. -- Due to extremely
wet ground conditions in the sportsman pit area, Super Comp, Super Stock, Stock
and Super Gas will not compete at Maple Grove Raceway during the Auto-Plus®
NHRA Nationals this weekend. Those four categories will be contested next week,
Oct. 7-8, at the facility with parking starting on Thursday, time runs on Friday
and eliminations on Saturday.