Nitro Class Heat at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals


Nitro Class Heat at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

About twenty minutes southwest of downtown Bristol, Thunder Valley Dragway lies nestled between two Tennessee mountain tops. The track has been a popular spot drag racing fans since it was originally built in 1965 adjacent to the famed Bristol Motor Speedway. With a seating capacity of 30,000, the dragstrip offers unique views and fun experiences in the Tower Suites. Tickets go fast for the Moonshine Lounge where guests enjoy local culture from behind the tree.

At an altitude of just over 3,000-feet above sea level, nitro teams went about their business in tuning the 11,000-horsepower engines for beautiful 70-degree weather with near 80 percent humidity, but with zero rain. At the end of the day on Sunday, Top Fuel driver Justin Ashley would prove the Thunder Valley pavement was near perfect for speed setting a track record at 336.49 mph.

It was however a very busy weekend for Top Fuel and Funny Car teams as both nitro classes were competing in two separate NHRA national events. NHRA officials had few options on Monday and due to the rain-soaked track at Epping, had to move the elimination rounds of the NHRA New England Nationals to Thunder Valley for completion. FuelTech Pro Mod drivers were also competing in two national events at the same venue.


Justin Ashley Doubles Up at Thunder Valley

Justin Ashley reached the final round after eliminating Doug Foley, Josh Hart and Austin Prock. Veteran NHRA racer Antron Brown earned his way to his second final round of the season with wins over defending champion Brittany Force, Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta. Ashley had a .001-seconds reaction time and set a new track record for speed. Brown’s blew up before the 100-foot mark.

At the end of weekend, Ashley was seen with three trophies, a pocket full of money, championship points and a handful of Countdown to the Championship bonus points. He won Top Fuel for the delayed NHRA New England Nationals and he won Top Fuel for the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, and he won Top Fuel for the 22nd annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. He also has a 64 point lead for NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.


Ron Capps Is the Winningest Driver at Bristol

Chad Green nailed a holeshot in the semifinal round but Ron Capps ran him down and Capps made his quickest run of the weekend in his NAPA Toyota Supra to take the win. Alexis DeJoria also made her quickest pass of the weekend over Robert Hight. Hight was late off the tree but his run quickly went up in smoke. DeJoria also beat Cruz Pedregon and Bobby Bode to make it to her second Funny Car final round this year

The back-to-back world champion gets out of the gate first and starts to pull away. DeJoria makes up a little ground but the team owner/driver hangs on to his NAPA Funny Car and claimed his 74th career Wally. With Sunday’s Wally, Ron Capps surpassed Top Fuel’s Tony Schumacher with more wins at Bristol than anyone in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series history.

Artwork courtesy of NHRA


UP COMING:

Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

Nitro, Stock and Pro Mod teams head north for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park on June 22-25 at Norwalk, OH. The #2Fast2Tasty Mission NHRA Challenge will run during Saturday’s qualifying rounds, as pro racers duel for bonus money and valuable Countdown to the Championship points.