Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Team Speed Society Qualifying Report

Posted by: Jeremy Patterson on 11/17/2021

The 2018 NHRA season is officially underway at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California, where the Lucas Oil Winternationals kick off the season for the 57th time. Qualifying has been great for all of our Team Speed Society Racing drivers, with all six of our drivers making the field for eliminations, which kick off in just a few short hours. You can watch live all day on NHRA’s All Access stream or catch the action on FS1 from 5-8pm ET!

Alex Laughlin kicks off the year flying new colors with Hot Wheels Car Care Products coming on board for the first part of the season. Gas Monkey Energy is also on board as a major sponsor for the Laughlin camp, with associate sponsors for 2018 including Technet Automotive Professionals, Fitzgerald Glider Kits, and of course, Speed Society. Alex drove his Elite Motorsports-powered Chevrolet Camaro to the #5 spot on the ladder with a solid 6.558 elapsed time at just a tick under 209 MPH. He will line up alongside Steve Graham in the opening round of eliminations. You’ll see in the video below, he and Tanner Gray, who have had a bitter rivalry for the better part of a year, have wasted no time in renewing their dispute after lining up beside one another in qualifying and exchanged words at the top end again. Laughlin and Gray are on opposite sides of the ladder, so if they are to line up to settle the score on the track, they’ll have to do it in the finals.

In Funny Car, the newest driver to the Speed Society Racing family, Ron Capps, drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger to the #5 spot with a stout 3.882 pass at 331.12 MPH. Capps, who races out of the DSR Racing stables, made a run at the championship in 2017 after winning the season points title in 2016, but came up just short in his bid to repeat as world champion. He will face off with #12 qualifier Shawn Langdon in the opening round of eliminations.

Jonnie Lindberg wheeled the new-look Head Racing Toyota Camry to the #13 spot in qualifying, earning himself a first round date with Courtney Force. Lindberg ran a 3.95 elapsed time at 321 MPH to put himself into the show, which saw 21 cars vying for the top sixteen spots. Look for crew chief and car owner Jim Head to turn up the wick in the first round and hopefully send Jonnie into the second round over Force.

In Top Fuel, Clay Millican and crew chief David Grubnic fired a direct hit to the sport’s premier class when they threw up a world record 3.628 elapsed time to take the #1 spot on the ladder, sending them into race day facing Steven Chrisman in round 1. Should Clay and the Great Clips/Parts Plus rocketship win that match up, he will have a bye into the semifinals due to only 14 cars making it onto the ladder.

Leah Pritchett is flying Mopar’s primary colors for the Winternationals and put the black and red machine into the #4 spot on the ladder, laying down a run of 3.687 seconds at 330 MPH. The Todd Okuhara/Joe Barlam tuned DSR dragster was on a pass in the final session before dropping a cylinder, causing it to slow on the back half of the run. Look for Pritchett to go for the throat when she lines up in round one alongside Scott Palmer, a team known for playing spoiler.

Just a tick off of Leah’s qualifying effort is Antron Brown, the three time world champion and Pritchett’s DSR teammate, sliding into the #6 spot with a 3.71 elapsed time in his Matco Tools-sponsored dragster. Brown will face Mike Salinas in the opening round and is on the opposite side of the ladder from Leah and Clay, so there’s a great possibility of an all-Team Speed Society final!

Eliminations kick off in just a little while, so hit that NHRA All Access pass to watch it live or tune in to FS1 this evening for the first eliminations broadcast of the season!