For the 30th time the NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series made its way to the Pacific Northwest for the annual visit to Pacific Raceway for the NHRA Northwest Nationals.
In Top Fuel Antron Brown and the Matco tools team mowed down the competition on Sunday. Brown qualified number one for the event and paired off against Ron Smith. Brown cruised to the round win with a 3.745 @ 326 mph to a 4.632 @ 192 mph. He would then match up against Mike Salinas and the Scrappers team. Brown put a 3.786 @ 325 mph on the board while Salinas had an engine expire and lit on fire as he put a 4.191 @ 204 mph on the board. Brown’s semi-final match up would be against the Great Clips team of Clay Millican. Millican kept him honest with a 3.794 @ 318 mph but it was not enough as Brown ran a 3.781 @ 325 mph. In the final round he would take on Terry McMillan and the Amalie oil team. This was McMillan’s second career final round. McMillan knocked off the points leader Steve Torrence in the opening round then took down Doug Kalitta before taking down Leah Pritchett in the semi-finals. The Cinderella story for the independent team struck midnight in the final. Brown got off the starting line first with a .074 to a .094 reaction time and was just able to hold off McMillan’s 3.772 @ 318 mph to his 3.776 @ 326 mph. This marks Brown’s 65th career victory and third at Pacific Raceway.
In Funny Car Robert Hight and the Auto Club team dominated the weekend by being the quickest car in seven of the eight passes down the race track. Hight qualified on the pole and took on Jeff Diehl. Hight made short work of the tire smoking Diehl with a blistering 3.897 @ 314 mph. In round two he would pair up against his teammate and boss, John Force and the Peak Antifreeze team. Both drivers left the starting line with identical reaction times but Hight powered out in front with a 3.937 @ 323 mph to Force’s 3.978 @ 322 mph. Hight would then take on his other teammate Courtney Force in the semi-final round. Force’s Advance Auto parts Chevy put a solid 3.939 @ 325 mph on the board but it was not enough to catch Hight’s 3.905 @ 323 mph. In the final round Hight would square off with the 2015 event winner Tommy Johnson. Johnson took down Jim Campbell in the Oberto Beef Jerky Dodge in round one, then motored past teammate and reigning series champion Ron Capps and the NAPA team to advance and take down teammate Matt Hagan in the semi-final round. In the final round Johnson got off the starting line first with a .045 to a .085 reaction time but Hight made that up in a hurry and all Johnson could do was watch as Hight put up the quickest run of the day on Sunday, a 3.890 @328 mph to a 3.978 @ 323 mph. This was Hight’s 39th career victory and first in Seattle. Hight made his first career final round appearance at Pacific Raceway back in 2005 but fell short to his teammate, the late Eric Medlen.
In Pro Stock the number two qualifier Drew Skillman came out on top besting two time series champion Erica Enders in the final round with one of the slightest margins of victory of the season. This was Skillman’s sixth career win and third this season.
The next stop for the Mello Yello drag racing series is Brainerd, Minnesota for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 17-20.