Team Speed Society Racing NHRA Winternationals Post-Race Wrap Up
The weekend started with high hopes will all six of our Team Speed Society Racing drivers qualified for the season opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California. However, eliminations weren’t so kind to our guys and gals, each of the six falling before the finals in the three top eliminators.
In Pro Stock, Alex Laughlin came into eliminations from the fifth spot on the ladder and took a win in the opening round over Steve Graham before redlighting away a possible win against eventual runner-up Jason Line. Line was quicker than Laughlin but the race was close enough that Alex could have taken a holeshot win if his reaction time was .008 or quicker. He was just a tad too quick, though, turning on the dreaded red-bulb by .003 of a second.
In Funny Car, Jonnie Lindberg and Ron Capps both advanced to the second round, where they had to face each other. Lindberg appeared to take a stab at the tree, also turning on the red bulb, sending Capps to the semifinals, where he would face off with fellow DSR teammate and eventual race winner Matt Hagan. Capps gave Hagan a hell of a fight, coming up just short, 3.96 to Hagan’s winning 3.93.
In Top Fuel, polesitter Clay Millican took an easy round 1 win over Steve Chrisman which earned him a bye into the semifinals due to the uneven ladder. However, his weekend would come to a screeching halt when his engine dropped a cylinder at the hit and never recovered, leaving him down on power as eventual race winner Doug Kalitta pulled away for the win. Adding insult to injury, Kalitta’s 3.86 ET should have been a relatively easy win for Millican had his engine been firing on all 8 cylinders. Antron Brown would also make his way to the semifinals before falling to DSR teammate Tony Schumacher in a stellar race, with AB’s 3.73 coming up just a few thousandths of a second to Schumacher’s 3.71 thanks to Antron’s starting line advantage.
In a bizarre first round matchup with Scott Palmer, who had previously failed to beat her in eliminations, Leah Pritchett had her parachutes fall out on the starting line following her burnout. The team had fought ignition issues in the pits, but seemed to have them taken care of as they rolled to the line for the opening round. However, a mechanical failure caused the chute deployment and left Pritchett with no option but to drive down the track and watch as Palmer went up in smoke to take the uncontested round win.
While we would have loved to seen our drivers hoisting Wally’s after the race, it was great to see everybody qualifying well and making strong showings for the first race of the season. The tour’s next stop will be Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona in two weeks.