Capps Falls to Hight in Funny Car at NHRA SpringNationals
After the rains hit at Houston Raceway Park on Sunday, officials had to postpone the remainder of the eliminations for the 34th annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil. The inclement weather soaked the track midway through the first round of Top Fuel eliminations before drivers in Nitro Funny Car and Pro Stock could take to the track for their initial runs. Monday was a delightful day with temperatures in the mid-70s, but a lot of Texas sunshine pushed track temperatures to nearly 110 degrees. That’s when things got really tricky for both the drivers and the teams. The somewhat green racetrack didn’t want to provide consistent traction, which left most drivers steering right then left while punching the throttle between lifting off the gas. For some, the run was over before they could reach the first marker.
Steve Torrence Gets Third Win of Season
In Top Fuel, reigning NHRA Camping World World Champion Steve Torrence was fast both days. Nonetheless, before the rains came on Sunday, it would be his father, Billy Torrence, who post the lowest ET of the event at 3.694 seconds for the fastest speed of the weekend at 329.50 mph. The elder Torrence was eliminated in the quarter finals by Clay Millican before Millican was eliminated by son Steve. Driving the Mobil 1 Toyota dragster, Doug Kalitta advanced to the final round by defeating Brittany Force, Antron Brown, and Shawn Langdon. Torrence entered the event holding a 19 to 17 edge over Kalitta in face-to-face runs and a 6-3 win/loss ratio in Top Fuel final rounds. Kalitta was off the tree with a slight edge but had to get out of it a tick off the line. Torrence claimed his 43rd career Wally, his third of the 2021 NHRA season, and his first ever at his home track.
Bob Tasca III Still Has Funny Car Points Lead
Robert Hight admitted that he was scratching his head all the way to Houston. After the John Force Racing team parked it for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hight wasn’t sure how competitive the team would be this year. As it turned out, the Peak team came out of the gate with gun blazing and team owner John Force claimed his 152nd Wally in Nitro Funny Car the last race at Charlotte in the zMAX Four-Wide. However, Houston was a different story and the Greatest of All Time was nipped at the line by a hard-charging J.R. Todd. Hight would advance to the final round by defeating Bobby Bode, Cruz Pedregon, and points leader Bob Tasca III. Ron Capps eliminated Paul Lee, Matt Hagan, and Tim Wilkerson. Any time a John Force Racing car and a Don Schumacher Racing car meet in the finals it's going to be good and this time it was Robert Hight earning his first victory of the 2021 season.
Identical Elapsed Times Twice Today in Pro Stock
In Pro Stock, Matt Hartford had an interesting Monday. It started with Hartford posting a 6.56 ET to beat Kenny Delco’s 6.63 ET. The second round likely made the day for the Total Seal Piston Rings Funny Car team when he eliminated the always tough Erica Enders in a very close race (6.57 ET to a 6.57 ET), but Hartford got off the tree .007-seconds sooner to advance to the semifinal round. When Aaron Stanfield had problems (11.99 ET) Hartford was headed to the finals. On the other side of the ladder, Deric Kramer started eliminated Bruno Massel to face the “Red Hot” Greg Anderson in his Hendricks sponsored Chevrolet Camaro. Fresh off his 96th victory at Atlanta Dragway, Anderson is now one win behind Warren Johnson for the most Wallys in NHRA Pro Stock history. Although both posted identical 6.56 ETs, Kramer got a holeshot win. In the semifinals, Kramer and Kyle Koretsky posted identical 6.576 ETs at 209 mph but Deric won with a .016 reaction time. In the Pro Stock Final, neither driver had a spectacular trip but Kramer had more problems getting to the finish line giving Matt Hartford the win.
TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals
The next race will be the TascaParts.com NHRA New England Nationals presented by Bandero Premium Tequila, June 11th - 13th in Epping, New Hampshire.