The NHRA Mello Yello drag racing series made its way up Interstate 5 to Pacific Raceway near Seattle, Washington for the Protect the Harvest Northwest Nationals. Mother Nature unfortunately ended Sunday’s racing action with only the final rounds left to be run. NHRA made the decision to finish the final rounds for Top Fuel and Funny Car in Brainerd, Minnesota in two weeks. Pro Stock will finish their final round in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Before the rain fell elimination rounds took place and two drivers earned their way through the Top Fuel ladder. The number four qualifier Antron Brown marched his Matco tools dragster through TJ Zizzo and the Rust-O-leum team in the opening round with a 3.702 @324 mph. In round two he took down Clay Millican and the Great Clips/Parts Plus team with a stellar 3.685 @328 mph. In the semifinal round he defeated Morgan Lucas with a 3.736 @ 322 mph. On the opposite side of the ladder Steven Torrence piloted his Capco contractor’s dragster past Scott Palmer in round one with a 3.715 @ 328 mph. In round two he put up a 3.699 @ 328 mph to defeat Richie Crampton’s Lucas Oil dragster. Torrence then defeated last week’s winner JR Todd in the semifinal round with a 3.695 @ 330 mph. Torrence will have lane choice when they arrive in Brainerd.
The Funny Car class put on an impressive display all weekend, even putting up a new national record. Del Worsham and his DHL Toyota Camry qualified on the pole with the quickest Funny Car run in the history of the sport with a 3.832 @ 330 mph. Worsham put up solid numbers with a 3.861 @ 331 mph in round one to advance past Tim Gibbons. In round two Worsham ran his slowest run of the day with a 3.881 @ 328 mph to edge out Robert Hight. He then motored past Matt Hagan with a 3.864 @ 330 mph. On the opposite side of the ladder Ron Capps and his NAPA Dodge powered past Brandon Welch in the opening round with a 3.856 @ 330 mph. He then took down last year’s event winner Tommy Johnson Jr with a 3.865 @ 328 mph. In the semifinal round Capps ended the fairy tale weekend for Jeff Diehl. Diehl, a part time racer, had assistance from multiple teams to get his car put together for his match up with Capps. The car launched off the starting line and blew the blower; all he could do was watch Capps put a 3.890 @ 327 mph on the board.
Pro Stock featured some upsets as none of the KB Racing Camaro’s made it to the final round. Vincent Nobile and Aaron Strong both motored their way to the final round. Both drivers took down past champions. Nobile took out two-time champion Jason Line on his way to the final. Strong took out both two-time champion Erica Enders and four-time champion Greg Anderson to earn his spot in the final round.
In the opening round of Funny Car competition, Courtney Force, daughter of 16-time champion John Force, had a high speed incident on track. Her Traxxas Chevrolet lost traction and as she pedaled the car in hopes of running down opponent Jeff Diehl the car turned sideways towards the left hand guard rail and she wheeled it back and slapped the wall hard, moving the concrete barriers several feet. Force climbed from her car, she was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for injuries to her right knee and left elbow. Force put out a statement after being released from the hospital: “I am beat up pretty good. My arm, my shoulder, and my right knee are banged up.”
Force is expected to race in two weeks at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd.