NHRA Northwest Nationals
Thundering in the North West
By Jeff Burghardt
The NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series traveled 800 miles north of Sonoma, Ca to Seattle, WA for the 28th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals.
Top Fuel saw a new winner for the 2015 season. JR Todd and his Red Line Oil Kalitta motorsports team marched through the tough 16 car field on Sunday. In the opening round Todd took on the Great Clips/Parts Plus team of Clay Millican. Todd got off the starting line first and pulled away running a 3.763 at 327 mph to a 3.783 at 320 mph. In round two he would take on Terry McMillan and the Amalie oil team. Both drivers left the starting line together but Todd pulled away running a 3.830 at 308 mph to a 3.899 at 309 mph. As the semi-final round came up Todd would take the US Army dragster and 8-time series champion Tony Schumacher. Schumacher lost traction shortly after the two racers left the starting line and watched as Todd put up a 3.844 at 319 mph to advance to the final round. Todd would match up against Shawn Langdon and the Knuckle Sandwich team. Langdon won the season opener in Pomona, Ca but it was Todd’s day top shine as he took down Langdon with a 3.824 at 323 mph to a 3.902 at 307 Mph. This is Todd’s 9th career win and first of the 2015 season.
In Funny car a new track record was set by fast Jack Beckman in the Infinite Hero Dodge of Friday night during qualifying. Beckman laid down a 3.912 at 322 mph which is the quickest run in the history of funny car racing. Beckman was unable to back up his time within 1%, in order to make it a new national record. Beckman also trying to join an elite club of drivers who have swept the three race western swing (Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle). Beckman started eliminations off in unbelievable fashion when he posted a 3.978 at 316 mph to take down Terry Haddock. In round two the NAPA Dodge of Ron Capps would suffer similar fate as Beckman ran a 4.024 at 312 mph to a 4.108 at 302 mph. Beckman would then face teammate Tommy Johnson Jr in the Make-A-Wish dodge. (Both Cars are funded by Terry Chandler because she enjoys racing and to promote two great causes.) Johnson is the first driver to take down Beckman in two races thus ending his chance at sweeping the swing. Johnson ran a 4.070 at 314 mph to a 4.166 at 301 mph. In the Final Johnson would take on the DHL Toyota Camry of Del Worsham. Johnson got off the starting line first with a .040 to Worsham’s .087 and was able to barley hold Worsham off with a 4.073 at 308 mph to Worsham’s 4.042 at 307 mph. This is Johnson’s 12th win of his career and 2nd of the 2015 season.
In Pro Stock Chris Mcgaha picked up right where he left off seven days ago in Sonoma. He qualified on the pole with a 6.501 at 212 mph. He laid down the quickest run of the opening two rounds of racing with a 6.488 at 213 mph in round 1 and a 6.524 at 212 mph in round 2. In the Semi-final round he took down Shane Gray with a 6.533 at 212 mph to a very ab normal 15.389 at 67 mph. In the Final round he would take on 5-time series champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. Jeg left the starting line first with a .018 to a .029 but that was threw only moment Jeg lead. Mcgaha passed him around the 60ft mark and ran a 6.507 at 212 to a 6,532 at 212 mph. This is Mcgaha’s 2nd career win and two in a row.
THE GREATEST GENERATION
The Lucas Oil Top Fuel team led by driver Richie Crampton brought 94 year old WW2 Veteran Joe Reilly out the races as a part of the Greatest Generation foundation. Reilly served in the US Army – 101st Airborne and the 501st Parachute Infantry. He fought in the battles of Normandy, Northern France & Holland, the Battle of the Bulge, and Central Germany.
The Series heads off to Brainerd, Minnesota for the 34th running of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug 20-23.