Kalitta Claims 332.36 mph NHRA Track Record at Sonoma
Talk about the "little team" that could get it done. Part-time NHRA Top Fuel contenders Blake Alexander and his Pronto Auto Service team found victory lane for the team's second Wally of the 2018 Mello Yello Championship in Sonoma. Alexander defeated Antron Brown and Scott Palmer in earlier rounds to face off against the most experienced Top Fuel racer (Tony Schumacher) in NHRA history starting his 151st final round. With both drivers looking for his second win of the season, it was a matchup between the part-time team against the winningest driver of all time.
In his sophomore year in Top Fuel, Alexander is well-known for his reaction time leaving the "Christmas Tree". His average reaction time is .071 seconds, which only trails Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta this season. Ironically, Alexander, who was looking for a chance to redeem himself from losing on a late light at Denver for the Dodge Mile-High National just a week ago, benefitted from a Schumacher red light and coasted to the win. The Pronto team is closing in on the points needed to clinch a spot in the six-race Countdown to the Championship. In Funny Car, the president of John Force Racing, Robert Hight, claimed his second win of the season. Hight sits third in the championship behind points leader Courtney Force and Ron Capps.
First round Top Fuel matchup with Dough Kalitta against NHRA point's leader Steve Torrence saw Kalitta in the MAC Tools top fuel dragster ride a burst of speed to a 332.26 mph NHRA track record at the Toyota Sonoma Nationals. After Torrence red-lighted, Kalitta laid down the record setting run with nothing to lose. Ironically, Kalitta was eliminated by Tony Schumacher in round two. Schumacher was the first driver in history to exceed 330 mph in competition; and holds the current world record for the fastest 1/4 mile Top Fuel run at 337.58 mph at Brainerd MN. Team trailers head north this week to the NHRA Northwest Nationals outside Seattle on August 3-5 when Pacific Raceways hosts the event. As always, fans have an opportunity to connect with their favorite drivers and highly skilled mechanics in the shadows of majestic Mount Rainier. See you there.