DINWIDDIE, Va. - Notes from round 1 qualifying in Pro Stock at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals listing lane, driver name, elapsed time, top speed, and position in order following run:
Left Lane: Jeg Coughlin Runs 17.219/70.46, Now #2
Right Lane: Pat Herold Runs 6.728/205.51, Now #1
We're actually ahead of the schedule. Considering how this event has worked out to this point, that's very welcome news.
It's just like old times as we begin our first Pro session of the weekend. Former Pro Stock driver / VMP mover and shaker Don Beverly is circulating through the staging lanes talking to his old friends. It's great to see him again.
Sitting right in front of the first car in the left lane (Jeg Coughlin) is Steve Johns, former Jenkins Competition right hand man and former World Champ in Comp. It's rare to see him at a race as he's usually back at Cagnazzi Central thinking of new ways to make horsepower.
This could be a significant session, though not all in the Pro Stock pits think there's a record to be had. The temperature is rising steadily, and the track has been in full sunlight for a half hour or more. Also, the left lane has bitten a whole bunch of the previous racers so don't be surprised if the best times in this session come out of the right lane.
This didn't start out well at all. Jeg blows the tires off and clicks it off after a 1.626 60 foot. Herold makes a good pass, at least until the finish line.
Distracted by some programming glitches, I only saw the last part of what happened.
I saw Herold's car go hard into the right side wall as the chutes were just filling. The view disappeared due to the cloud of carbon fiber, dust, and etcetera. We've received word that Mahoney is out of the car and talking so that's the best news we could hope for.
We now hear that the car overturned and slid for some distance on its roof, but that the Don Ness chassis did exactly what it was supposed to and the driver walked away.
Left Lane: John Mahoney Runs 6.952/198.32, Now #2
Right Lane: Jerry Haas Runs 7.380/197.97, Now #3
Haas's car (the Jim Cunningham Ford) goes bananas as he lets the clutch out.
Left Lane: Tommy Brown Runs 6.735/205.98, Now #3
Right Lane: Kenny Koretsky Runs 6.658/208.26, Now #1
Left Lane: Bob Benza No Time, Now #8
Right Lane: Barry Grant Runs 6.713/206.48, Now #2
The cars later in the session have a real advantage as the starting line gets better and better with every pair.
Benza has big problems right off the line, posting a 1.522 60 foot and clicks it off just past that point.
Grant runs right down the track on an uneventful run. He runs his personal best for MPH.
Left Lane: Steve Schmidt Runs 23.687/31.34, Now #8
Right Lane: Tony Rizzo No Time, Now #10
Schmidt shakes so hard I'll bet he'll still be seing double tomorrow.
Rizzo breaks after the burnout and is pushed back for Steve's single pass.
Before the next pair fires, the Safety Safari rolls their equipment. There is a wide trail of oil in the right lane from the water box to the 330 clocks. This might get interesting as it was the "good" one up until now. It's 2:50 pm and we're going to be down for a bit.
Left Lane: Tommy Lee Runs 13.982/59.85, Now #7
Right Lane: Dave Northrop Runs 43.364/25.10, Now #10
Pat Herold seems to be unhurt from his accident, as we hear he was clear enough of mind to even crack a joke after he got out of the car. "The brakes work a lot better when the tires are on the ground", he commented. It's good to know that he's OK though we're really sorry that such bad luck has struck the unsponsored team.
Robert Hight takes advantage of the down time to take a stroll down the right lane all the way past the half-track point.
That was a nasty spill, but finally we're ready to race.
Wacky racers on each side. Northrop carded a 1.395 sixty, Lee was a lot better at .998 but went sideways soon after.
The hopes for a landmark session are fading fast. Both Naylor and Pawuk are rolled back out of the water. Northrop's car is slowly rolling down the lane and finally takes the first turn.
Left Lane: Max Naylor Runs 6.909/165.56, Now #5
Right Lane: Mark Pawuk No Time, Now #14
3:37 p.m. and so far this is an exercise in bad luck and slow motion.
Pawuk makes a longer than normal burnout, apparently attempting to bring his side of the track into better traction conditions.
Pawuk barely gets off the line and has a 2.193 sixty foot. Naylor gets downtrack without any noticeable problem but is out of the throttle before the finish line.
Pawuk's car is rolled back as he never got further than a few hundred feet downtrack. He's now out of the car as it waits for a tow and he's standing on the right side just past the water box. His hands are on his hips and he's shaking his head. I'd say he's not a happy racer right now.
Left Lane: Rickie Smith Runs 6.711/205.29, Now #3
Right Lane: Tom Martino Runs 6.701/207.43, Now #2
We'll try another pair. Rickie is driving Troy Humphrey's Haas Cavalier. He looks pretty spiffy in a Captain America style stars and stripes driving suit.
And we get two cars to the finish line under power! This was starting to remind me of a bad fuel session. Of course, both of these racers are among the most respected in the pits for being able to read and respond to a race track.
Before the next pair pulls into the water, the Safety Safari decides to to a quick touch up of the track. The tractor is out on the track, circling between the starting line and the 330 mark. One pass is all it takes and we're back to racing.
Weather conditions: air temperature 62 degrees, relative humidity 37 percent, barometer 29.87 inches, adjusted altitude 354 feet, track temperature 92 degrees.
Left Lane: Ron Krisher Runs 6.671/206.29, Now #2
Right Lane: Erica Enders Runs 7.468/139.72, Now #11
Krisher's a real pro, but it would be hard for someone who's had a previous problem this year not to be thinking about track condition.
Erica's car is ready for Halloween in its orange and black scheme.
Both cars get off the line well, but Erica lifts somewhere past half track.
Ron Krisher's incremental times: 60ft-0.982 sec., 330ft-2.785, 660ft-4.286/164.19mph, 1,000ft-5.579
Erica Enders' incremental times: 60ft-0.997 sec., 330ft-2.802, 660ft-4.346/149.43mph, 1,000ft-5.929
Left Lane: Warren Johnson Runs 6.638/207.27, Now #1
Right Lane: Richie Stevens Runs 6.660/207.37, Now #3
Speaking of seeing it all, WJ has probably raced on conditions exactly like this a few times in the past. Whether he can translate that knowledge to this run is another question. It could easily be said that he's missed more often than not this year.
Neither car wants to stage. Hey, it's just qualifying, guys.
Well, even if Warren has missed a few times this year he reminds all of us why he's known as the Professor. His car leaves harder than it has for a long time. That's the quickest he's ever gone, by the way.
Warren Johnson's incremental times: 60ft-0.978 sec., 330ft-2.771, 660ft-4.265/164.61mph, 1,000ft-5.552
Richie makes a good pass but gets his doors blown off, more or less.
Left Lane: Larry Morgan Runs 6.641/207.46, Now #2
Right Lane: V. Gaines Runs 6.658/207.53, Now #4
Morgan fires a shot. This is getting good, just as advertised.
Left Lane: Greg Stanfield Runs 6.637/207.94, Now #1
Right Lane: Jim Yates Runs 6.658/207.02, Now #6
Lots of horsepower on the line. Stanfield makes a hard charge off the line and jumps to the top of the order. Wonder what this guy could do with a high dollar sponsorship like some of his competition?
Yates lays down a good pass in the right lane.
Left Lane: Allen Johnson Runs 6.631/207.46, Now #1
Right Lane: Mike Edwards Runs 13.471/58.41, Now #19
AJ gets pretty much all of it and rockets to the top.
Edwards blows the tires off though he still posts a 1.001 60 foot.
Allen Johnson's incremental times: 60ft-0.977 sec., 330ft-2.769, 660ft-4.261/164.97mph, 1,000ft-5.546
Left Lane: Kurt Johnson Runs 6.626/208.68, Now #1
Right Lane: Dave Connolly Runs 6.656/207.46, Now #6
The hits just keep on coming. The next pair is licking their respective chops, I guar-an-tee you.
Left Lane: Greg Anderson Runs 6.598/208.49, Now #1
Right Lane: Jason Line Runs 6.602/209.26, Now #2
It's a battle of the Summit cars, the pair like King Kong cloned.
They take lots of time staging, as the crew chiefs carefully measure the wheelie bar height.
We just saw the quickest and fastest runs in Pro Stock history, though they came in both lanes. Greg stuns us with his ET and Jason chips in with a booming MPH.
Line lowers his brand new shiny record, but his boss shows him why he IS the boss. How does it feel to be the quickest guy there is, go even faster, but not have it matter after the other car crosses the finish line?
Greg's statistics: 0.975; 2.756; 4.241; 165.94, 5.520 Jason: 0.983; 2.765; 4.250; 166.01, 5.526
NHRA Pro Stock cars have now entered the rare atmosphere of the 6.50's and 209 mph. After the heroics of Reading, VMP is making a bid to be known as the fastest carburetor track on earth.
After all the team has accomplished, it's tough to find new words to congratulate the team on the excellence they have just displayed. Big congratulations to the entire organization.