Results of Rain Delayed Finals from Lucas Oil Summernationals
Rookie Justin Ashley Claims 1st Top Fuel Victory
In Top Fuel, rookie Justin Ashley advanced to his first ever NHRA Top Fuel semi-final round with elimination wins over Shawn Langdon and Doug Kalitta at the rain delayed Summernationals last month at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. The final round matchup is a first ever meeting between Leah Pruett, who had eliminated Lex Joon and Billy Torrence (the most recent NHRA Top Fuel winner at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals) and the 25-year old rookie driver of the Strutmasters.com dragster. Ashley nailed a .055 RT to Pruett’s .102 RT and never looked back on his way to a final round matchup with T.J. Zizzo. On the top side of the ladder at the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals, Zizzo posted early victories over Terry Totten and Todd Patton to face off with a very fast Terry McMillen in the semi-final round. After McMillen gained an advantage with .053 RT, Zizzo never looked back and gave himself at shot at possibly winning twice at the Indianapolis track, since the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals is also the host for the rain-delayed final round on Sept. 3-6 at Lucas Oil Raceway
First-time finalists T.J. Zizzo driving his Rust-Oleum dragster battled rookie Justin Ashley driving for the Davis Motorsports team at Saturday’s rain-delayed final round to see who would become the 109th different winner in NHRA Top Fuel dragster. Already known for great starts, Ashley left first but Zizzo quickly caught the rookie before his engine let go just past mid track. Ashley claimed his first victory with a 3.95 ET, despite losing a blower belt just before the finish line.
Hagan Claims 35th Wally in NHRA Funny Car
The semi-final rounds in Funny Car saw fantastic passes by four seasoned pros with tons of experience racing each in NHRA over the years. First up was Bob Tasca III and Matt Hagan with Hagan leading the series 16-10 over Tasca. Tasca III seemed to have an advantage having claimed the Number One spot in qualifying. Moreover, Tasca had a .016 second advantage off the line, but Hagan quickly made up the difference at the Christmas Tree and claimed the win with a 3.946 ET. In the second final round, Jack Beckman lined up against Tommy Johnson, Jr. Beckman leads 27-15 in head-to-head matchups in prior NHRA events. Having saved his best run for the semi-finals, Beckman posted his quickest pass of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals and earned lane choice over Johnson, Jr. Although Johnson, Jr. grabbed the hole shot off the tree, Beckman had made up the distance by half track and never trailed from there.
Two Don Schumacher Racing teammates lined up to settle the score from the rain-delayed Funny Car finals from last month’s Summernationals. Fast Jack Beckman driving the 11,000-horsepower Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger left within a few thousandths before Matt Hagan’s SRT Hellcat Redeye Dodge. Hagan collected his 35th win of his career pulling away for a convincing 3.91 ET to Beckman’s 3.94 pass.
Green Claims Wally in E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod
As Pro Mod drivers worked their way up the initial elimination ladder for the 2020 E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod race series at the NHRA Lucas Oil Summernationals, excitement grew for a final round matchup between two veterans looking for their first class win. Jason Scruggs, the fulltime businessman and farmer from Tupelo MS, qualified for the Pro Mod final round after Clint Satterfield blew his start. However, the aggressive Scruggs didn’t back off posting his quickest run of the weekend with a 5.820 ET at 246.48 mph to advance to his first NHRA Pro Mod event. Scruggs is a multi-time national event winner and former eighth-mile world champion in the outlaw division of Pro Mod Extreme driving his un-restricted screw-blown Corvette. In the second semi-final round, Texan Chad Greene, who finished Top-10 in the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod division in 2019, faced Kristopher Thorne for the first time in their careers. Late off the light, Green made up the time lost to Thorne’s .013 RT with a 5.807 overall ET.
After heavy rains made it impossible to finish at last month’s Summernationals, Chad Green would have to wait for the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend to claim his first Wally in the E3 Spark Plugs series by outlasting the hard-charging Jason Scruggs. The Texas native could be the first driver to win twice in the E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod class during the same track over the same weekend of racing.