Hot, Cold, and Lots of Rain at New England Nationals

Hot, Cold, and Lots of Rain at New England Nationals

NHRA officials immediately began finding ways to work around New England’s summertime weather patterns with schedule changes for Friday’s opening rounds of qualifying for the NHRA New England Nationals at Epping, New Hampshire. Pro classes were moved up with Funny Car being first to try and find traction on the tricky pavement at New England Dragway.

Due to the possibility of rain, qualifying for NHRA Top Fuel was also bumped up as well as the opening round of qualifying for the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by Type A Motorsports was re-scheduled to follow the nitro drivers on track. The Lucas Oil Drag Series began racing at 9:15 am on Friday.

The fourth of twelve rounds of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, a new specialty race that pits the semifinalists from a previous round in a head-to-head redemption format, remained scheduled for Saturday’s final round of qualifying for Top Fuel and Funny Car. With the NHRA’s hopes of completing qualifying rounds, Final eliminations set were moved up to begin at 11 am Sunday.

Strange Days for Qualifying at Epping

Unfortunately, the New England weather managed to throw curve balls at the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series for days. On Friday for the first round of qualifying, unseasonable 90-degree temperatures heated up the New England Raceway pavement causes tuners to hunt for traction. In Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Mod, it is much harder to adapt to going slower than it is to go full bore.

Tony Stewart Racing’s driver of the Rush Truck Centers Top Fuel dragster continued to put together impressive runs at the NHRA New England Nationals on Friday. Leah Pruett posted a 3.856-seconds elapsed time at 319.37 mph in her 11,000 horsepower TSR dragster. With only two other drivers recording three-second passes, Pruett was the provisional Number One qualifier on the very hot New England pavement.

Veteran Pro Mod racer Chad Green has been very fast all season driving the Bond-Coat nitro Funny Car and will be competing in his third round of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in Saturday’s final round of qualifying for the New England Nationals. Green became the provisional Number One qualifier on the hot track with 4.100 ET at 310.98 mph in his Ford Mustang on Friday. Similar to Pruett’s run in Top Fuel, Green was one of the few drivers to find speed on the tricky track.

On Saturday at Epping, the New Hampshire weather went from Hot & Humid to Cold & Damp causing the tricky New England Raceway to suddenly have tons of grip – too much stick for most drivers. For certain, the track’s record ETs held by Steve Torrence and Robert Hight were never in danger. In fact, Chad Green’s 4.100 ET remained on top of Funny Car, but in Top Fuel, veteran Antron Brown posted 3.729 ET at 329.99 mph to better Pruett’s time from Friday. Shawn Langdon’s 3.738 ET bumped the TSR driver to third.

NHRA Finals Moved to Monday But...

With a 40 degree drop in temperature from Friday to Saturday at the New Hampshire track, the gray skies came with a forecast for rain. Fortunately, most of Saturday’s qualifying round was completed before the skies open up. In fact, the semifinal rounds of Round Four of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge saw a lot of tire shake, multiple throttle lifting and very slow elapsed times with Clay Millican and Leah Pruett taking home purse money in Top Fuel and Ron Capps and Tim Wilkerson posting round one wins in Funny Car. No bonus points were awarded. Rain continued overnight. When NHRA officials arrived at New England Dragway on Sunday, everyone was greeted by gray skies and lots of rain. So, racing was pushed to 10 am Monday but the constant rain continued to keep everyone huddeled under tarps.

Epping Finals Moved to Thunder Valley

Since there was nothing dry in the forecast, NHRA officials were forced to move the Elimination Rounds of the NHRA New England Nationals to Bristol to be combined with the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on June 9-11. The first round of eliminations from Epping in Top Fuel and Funny Car will now take place during the second qualifying round in Bristol at 8 pm ET on Friday. The second round of eliminations will run during the third qualifying session at 2 pm on Saturday in Bristol. The semifinals will run between qualifying sessions on Saturday, with the finals of the NHRA New England Nationals in Top Fuel and Funny Car slated to run during the final qualifying session at 5:30 pm on Saturday at Bristol Dragway.

FuelTech Pro Mod Also Moved to Bristol

Eliminations in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports from New England Dragway will also take place during qualifying on Friday and Saturday in Bristol. Although the Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes did not compete at Epping, N.H., but both will be back in action this coming weekend at the Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn. Along with the nitro classes, both stock classes will participate in the #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge at Bristol offering Countdown bonus points and $10,000 purse money for the professional classes. Race schedules will be blended with Friday and Saturday qualifying sessions. Although drivers from the stock classes are set, nitro class participants are to be determined.

Artwork courtesy of NHRA


NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Teams head south to Bristol Dragway for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on June 9-11. With the elimination rounds from the New England Nationals moved to Bristol, there will be three jam-packed days of nitro, stock and FuelTech Pro Mod racing. Plus, race fans can enjoy a full slate of classes at Round Five of the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge.