- Sunday 07 July, 2013
Satisfying and delightlully nitrous with door cars.
NORWALK, Ohio – Track records in speed and elapsed time on Saturday, July 6, 2013 set the table for a Championship Sunday smorgasbord at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, part of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.
Because rain cut short National Hot Rod Association eliminations in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series on Saturday, those sweet Sportsman door cars and luscious dragsters piled extra rounds onto Sunday track action, also.
It's almost like a pot luck family reunion: Best food, best fun, with racing family we haven't seen for a year!
Fifteen-time Funny Car World Champion John Force qualified number 1 for the third time this season and the 143rd time in his career in the Castrol GTX Mustang on an elapsed time of 4.021 seconds at 317 mph logged under the lights Friday evening.
“We know we have to pull it back down tomorrow, and we will,” John Force said. “But we have a race to run.”
With teammate and son-in-law Robert Hight qualifying number 2 with a top speed track record of 318 mph, and daughter Courtney Force qualifying number 10 in Funny Car, one of the tricky parts of leading the John Force Racing Team is encouraging his daughter Brittany Force after she fell to number 17, missing the run with the big boys on Championship Sunday by one spot.
“But I told her, 'You're a 25-year-old kid,'” John Force said. “I had never gotten to the other end of the track. You have to take getting beat up with the good stuff.”
Experience and familiarity with a track help, John Force said. Because of his 18 years of match racing at Summit Motorsports Park, it feels like a second home track.
“I love racing here,” John Force said.
The Force family enjoyed the Bader Family Signature Fireworks together on Friday evening, John Force said.
“That was the most awesome, military, America ceremony,” John Force said. “I took Jacob down. I got to spend it with my grandson. My wife was so emotional when she got to see it.”
On Saturday all but two Top Fuel qualifiers logged three-second elapsed times.
Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., piloted the Kalitta Motorsports Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster to his 36th number 1 qualifying position, setting dual track records with a low elapsed time of 3.767 and a top speed of 327 mph.
“It seemed pretty tough out there today, getting down it,” Doug Kalitta said. “All that's behind us.”
Doug Kalitta said he's got a ton of confidence in his crew.
“They will know what to do to get this car down the track in the morning,” Doug Kalitta said. “I'm real happy to get that number 1 qualifier. Hope to turn it into a win. I think it's a good place to start from. There will be a level playing field tomorrow.”
Michael Ray, New Braunfels, Texas, rode the strength of a track-record-setting pass on Friday of 194 mph and 6.912 seconds to claim the number 1 qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle on his 2012 Sovereign, Star Racing Buell.
“After the first round this morning, we came back, looked at the bike, the tune-up was flawless,” Michael Ray said, adding since they felt comfortable, they parked the cycle.
“We're really clicking right now,” Michael Ray said. “We didn't want to take a chance on hurting the motor. We go out West again next week. I've always said first round Saturday is going to have close conditions to first round Sunday.”
In Pro Stock, 2012 World Champion Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., logged the low elapsed time in 6.592 seconds, and claimed the number one qualifier position in his 2013 Mopar Dodge Avenger.
But Mike Edwards, Coweta, Okla., wrote his name in the track record books in his Interstate Batteries, I Am Second 2013 Camaro with a top speed of 209 mph and the second qualifier position.
Fans exploring Nitro Alley felt a bombardment of racing emotions in the Summit Racing Equipment Power Experience, a ride simulator.
“That was amazing, said Matt Linkert, 14, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, calling the police car crash his favorite part.
“I thought it was really cool,” said Marissa Lowman, 21, a nurse from Pittsburgh, Pa., “It definitely gives you a feel for what it is like to ride dirt bikes and stuff.”
Matt Latino, 18, Port Perry, Ontario, Canada, said he liked the experience.
“It does give you a first person idea what it's like to drive all this kind of stuff, and to lose control while you ride,” Matt Latino said. “I like the drag race, but the dirt cars were fun. It was like you were sliding, drifting.”
“I really liked the bikes' drifting,” said Mark White, a business owner from Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. “That was really cool. And I liked the dirt bikes and stuff, when they did their jumps you could feel free until they landed, and then you could feel them go again.”
In addition to showcasing local racers in the Bear Motorsports Junior Dragsters presented by Wiseco, part of the Mr. Gasket $53,100 Super Series at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, Summit Racing Equipment displayed a Junior Funny Car built by Spitzer Chassis, said Tommy Dupree, events coordinator for Summit Racing Equipment.
The Summit Racing Junior Funny Car uses the same motor and other parts as the Junior Dragsters, Tommy Dupree said.
Along the Summit trackside fence, Justin Carpenter, a construction worker from Columbus, Ohio attending the event with seven family members, described the Top Fuel sound as “exhilarating.”
Farther toward the finish line, Art Jones, Rochester, N.Y., who crews on Pete D'Agnolo's Super Stock 1967 Camaro, grooved on the Pro racing.
“This is my first NHRA event,” Art Jones said. “We used to go to IHRA. I think I'm going to come to this event from now on.”