NHRA: Summer Nationals Continues NHRA Showstoppers

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The NHRA has been on a roll with sellouts and records falling at every track for several weeks now. The action at Englishtown did not disappoint.

On the Funny Car side this weekend, the question was whether the Don Schumacher teams would continue to dominate. For three events in row DSR Funny Cars faced off in the final round, would it be four? Even with that DSR domination of late, Courtney Force unloaded as the points leader this weekend.

Another week at the track, top speed and ET records went down on Friday. Ron Capps set the track ET record on his first run with a blistering 3.870 in his NAPA Mopar funny car. Robert Height set the top speed record with a 323.74mph run in his AAA Camaro in the first round for John Force Racing. That number only lasted until Matt Hagan went 326.71mph on his second run Friday night.

Qualifying ended with Ron Capps taking the number one spot, teammate Matt Hagan the second quickest followed by Robert Height, Del Worsham, Tommy Johnson Jr, Chad Head, Alexas DeJoria and Courtney Force completing the top eight. We had seventeen cars show up for the Summer Nationals this week making an impressive car count.

Eliminations on Sunday saw tough track conditions in the first couple rounds with several teams having a hard time keeping hooked up to the track. Robert Height, Courtney Force and Chad head all fell in the first round not being able to dial in the track conditions. All the DSR cars were able to navigate their way into the second round.

Second round action saw more difficulties with the track as only Jack Beckman and Ron Capps could top 300 mph. They were joined by the surprising Jeff Diehl and Del Worsham who took out last weeks winner Tommy Johnson Jr. In the semi’s only Beckman and Capps could get down the track and advanced to a fourth consecutive all DSR Funny Car final.

In the finals both drivers hit the light with .063 reaction times, but fast Jack lit the tires and Ron Capps cruised to his second straight victory. This is the second straight week for Capps to qualify number one and win the event. The NAPA crew has turned it on as the weather has heated up.

Top Fuel saw a field of fifteen dragsters show up, with fourteen actually making qualifying passes. Steve Torrance, under the guidance of Alan Johnson, has been making strides all season and had it all come together at Englishtown.

First round was more of a battle against conditions for the Top Fuel teams than each other as only one pair was able to make a side by side pass. Langdon was joined in the second round by Dom Lagana, Steve Torrance, Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, JR Todd and Tony Schumacher.  Round two saw everyone struggle with no clean passes by anyone. Langdon, Force, Schumacher and Torrance all limped into the semi finals.

Round three saw Steve Torrance against his fellow Alan Johnson directed team of Brittany Force. Force had an engine let go, while Torrance lost traction but was able to peddle it past the wounded Monster Energy machine. Schumacher and Langdon had a great side by side drag race with Langdon getting off the line half a tenth faster than the sarge, but Schumacher drove by the Red Fuel dragster to reach the finals.

Related Story: Leah Pritchett Gets more dates with DSR

In the finals Schumacher got off the line first but could not keep the tires hooked up and tried to pedal it. Langdon on the other hand was able to keep his advantage and even though he hazed the tires at the top end, crossed the line first to claim the Wally.

Pro Stock has been the KBM show all season having won every event. This weekend at the Summer Nationals would be no different with Jason Line, Greg Anderson and Bo Butner qualifying 1,2 and 3. The finals again came down the the Summit Racing pair of Line and Anderson with Anderson having lane choice. Line went red and Anderson takes the Wally for the 5th time in 2016.

Pro Stock Motorcycle saw the return of a past champion to the top of the class. Angelle Sampey was able to guide her Star Racing team to to their first Wally of the season and the first for Angelle since 2007. The emotional Sampey after the victory reminds us of how hard these drivers and teams work in the NHRA.

Next weekend the NHRA heads to Bristol Tennessee for the Thunder Valley Nationals on Fathers Day weekend. Anyone in the area should try to attend as they put on a show in the shadows of Bristol Motor Speedway. Remember to catch all the action on FS1.