It seems the biggest event on the NHRA Full Throttle drag racing series calendar has become a two week affair as rain halted fourth and fifth rounds of qualifying. Here's a review of the first three rounds at Indianapolis and where we are heading into Saturday and then Sunday's eliminations plus who's in or out of the Countdown (playoffs).
Spencer Massey from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) snagged the top spot with a low elapsed time (ET) of 3.76 at 324 mph during the third round. So far, top speed goes to Tony Schumacher of DSR with a run that topped out at 326 mph. That run also gave Tony second overall on ET of 3.77. The battle for 10th and final position for the playoffs has Bob Vandergriff in eighth and Clay Millican in 14th. The two are separated by only three points in the standings. Also, Massey won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout with a $100,000 payout for this contest that's a race within a race - defeating Steve Torrence in the final.
Like Massey, Courtney Force of John Force Racing grabbed the #1 qualifying position with a third round ET run of 4.04 and 317 mph, which is also the top speed. Jack Beckman of DSR who had the #1 spot, is second with a 4.05 ET. There are at least four cars trying to capture one of the two remaining playoff berths left. Tim Wilkerson looks like he's in the best position sitting third in qualifying so far. Jeff Arend, Bob Tasca and Matt Hagan sit ninth, tenth and twelfth currently in the qualifying order. Number two in points, Robert Hight of JFR, is on the outside looking in at this juncture. Also, Cruz Pedregon, who is seventh in points, has not qualified yet.
The hottest driver in Pro Stock is Erica Enders with Cagnazzi Racing and she has held on to the provisional #1 qualifying position heading into the fourth and fifth rounds. She has an ET of 6.62 and top speed of 208 mph. Vincent Nobile sits second with a 6.63. 51 points separate the seventh through twelfth place cars in the point standings. Shane Gray, Ron Krisher, V. Gaines and Jeg Coughlin are ninth through twelfth in qualifying at Indy. Ronnie Humphey is at a precarious 16th and Larry Morgan is not currently qualified.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
No surprises at the top as the Harleys versus Hectors show continues. Andrew Hines' Harley has the top spot on the qualifying ladder with a 6.92 ET and top speed of 194 mph, followed by Hector Arana Jr. with a 6.93. Arana Sr. is third and Eddie Krawiec on the other Harley, rounds out the top four. Realistically, three riders are vying for the last two positions in the playoffs. Matt Smith and Shawn Gann seem to be in with the eighth and ninth spot, respectively. John Hall is precariously sitting on the bump at 16th.
The fourth and fifth rounds of Indy qualifying will be Saturday with the finals scheduled for Sunday September 9th. The Traxxas Funny Car Shootout will be Saturday with round one and round two set right before the fourth round and fifth rounds of qualifying. The Traxxas final will be right after the fifth round of nitro qualifying. Final eliminations start at 11:00 AM Sunday. All remaining U.S. Nationals race coverage will be telecast at 3:00 PM to 8:00PM Eastern Time on ESPN2 Sunday September 9th.
Sources - NHRA
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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