Nighttime Is the Right Time to Run for Bonus Bucks
The Texas Motorplex hosted a special event for race fans on Saturday night of the NHRA FallNationals in Ennis, TX. Historically, “Night Lights” is part of the track’s multiple-day and evening celebrations that is capped off by fans releasing a decorated lantern into the sky as a reminder of how precious special moments are when they are spent together. Thousands participated in this year’s event as fans adorned their lanterns with hopes, dreams, and messages to create a profoundly unforgettable experience. Due to inclement weather, Night Lights was postponed to Saturday, which was good news for ticket holders as they were allowed to attend a pulse pounding evening for the Stampede of Speed Nitro Side Show.
With the stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series on-hand and preparing for the fourth race of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship, promoters put up bonus money for a breathtaking and record-setting qualifying round. The event featured some of the fastest race cars on the planet as they tried to use cooler track temperatures to set new class speed records. The pits were open for fans to get up close and personal with the team’s exotic 12,000-horsepower race cars. Saturday was the final day for teams and drivers from across the country to earn a spot in the highly competitive sixteen-car fields, which concluded on Saturday night. Drivers were given two final chances to make the show or be relegated to spectator status.
The frills-filled day of qualifying had Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) leading their respective classes after early qualifying sessions at the Texas NHRA FallNationals. Stampede of Speed bonuses would go to qualified drivers who made the best runs during the nighttime session. Low qualifiers and the bonus winners were the same as Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) swept both honors on the night and Steve Johnson held onto his Pro Stock Motorcycle lead from Q1. Under the lights, Brittany Force powered her Monster Energy dragster to a double track record 3.637 ET at 335.32 mph, which is the fifth quickest and seventh fastest pass in NHRA history.
Force and teammate Robert Hight both pocketed $15,000 qualifying bonuses for their efforts. In Pro Stock qualifying, rookie Dallas Glenn was poised to collect the $2500 bonus until Greg Anderson snatched the lead on the final run of the nighttime session. Steve Johnson earned his second straight Number One qualifying spot aboard the Brady Mechanical Services/Mac-Rak Suzuki but defending world champion Matt Smith collected the $1500 qualifying bonus with a 200 mph plus run under the lights.