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The latest update as of December 12, 2018

More Friday photos from the Street Car Super Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway









The latest update as of November 17, 2018

Friday fotos from the Street Car Super Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Here's some great shots from Friday - second day of a four day extravaganza of doorslammer racing. There's lots of blanks underneath the pictures, but we'll get them filled in with details by tomorrow.

Dale Pedersen - P/M --- Dal Sangha - P/M

A pair of British Columbia cars lead off Friday's photos, with (LEFT) Dawson Creek's Dale Pedersen burning out in the ex-Paul Glandon Camaro. He cranked out a 5.913 - 250.32 in Thursday's first session and improved to a 5.88 - 250.00 on Friday night. After reaching the performance limit with his former small-block Monte Carlo, he's really stepped up with the turbo big-block. (RIGHT) It's Surrey, BC's Dal Sangha who upped his career marks on Thursday with a best of 5.852 - 255.73 to rank as one of the real threats for the title this weekend

Dave Kowalski - P/M --- Don Speer - P/M

(LEFT) One of the large contingent of Canadians in Pro Mod, Fort St. John, BC's Dave Kowalski in his 2016 Corvette, stopped the clocks with a 6.27 - 229.24 in the first qualifier Thursday, but failed to improve in the later round. No word yet on what he turned on Friday. (Right) A very different looking Pro Mod out of Iowa, a 1984 Olds, driven by Don Speer put down a 6.15 - 241.93 on Thursday

Jay Diedrich - P/M --- Michael Biehle - P/M

(LEFT) Jay Diedrich (RIGHT) Michael Biehle

Ed Thornton - P/M --- Rick Hord - P/M

(LEFT) Ed Thornton (RIGHT) Rick Hord

Rick Snavely - P/M --- Dave Hill - P/M

(LEFT) One of the real hitters in the class, Rick Snavely bombed the scoreboards with a 5.77 - 264.18 in the first qualifier on Thursday. (RIGHT) Looking only slightly less aerodynamic than your proverbial brick, Indiana's Dave Hill blasted out a very strong 5.795 - 250.13 in his '72 Olds 442. Whatever happened to the laws of physics?

F-15 Fighter Jet --- Roger Holder - P/M

(LEFT) One of the ever-present fighters out of the adjacent US Air Force base (Nellis AFB), does a flyover to check out the on-track action. Thankfully he didn't have to deploy any of his serious-looking weaponry. (RIGHT) Out of Bakersfield, Roger Holder came in to Vegas hot off his Pro Mod victory at the recent California Hot Rod Reunion and opened his SCSN account with a 6.01 - 248.52 and followed that up with a 5.90 - 255.00, both on Thursday

Mike Maggio - P/M --- Rodney Butler - P/M

(LEFT) Mike Maggio (RIGHT) Rodney Butler

The latest update as of November 16, 2018

Photos from the Street Car Super Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Here's some great shots from Thursday - first day of a four day extravaganza of doorslammer racing.

Scoreboard shot

Leading off with a bit of eye-candy, here's what Carl Stevens put up on the scoreboard during the "Run for The Money" session on Thursday night. In case you're wondering, he - and many others - weren't running strictly by the NHRA - or anyone else's - rulebook

Rick Hord - P/M --- Jay Boddie P/M

(LEFT) It's Rick Hord who ended up as low qualifier after the first session of Pro Mod with an awesome 5.639 - 260.31 (RIGHT) It's Jermaine Boddie in the hot looking '63 Nova who slotted into the Pro Mod field at the bottom of the ladder

Dal Sangha - P/M --- Dal Sangha - P/M

Two shots of Dal Sangha in his very fast 'Stang out of Surrey, BC. He obliterated his previous career best by a tonne with a very strong 5.85 - 254.00 in the no-holds-barred session, and carded a solid 6.016 - 251.63 earlier in "legal" trim

Ed Thornton - P/M --- Ed Thornton - P/M

(LEFT) & (RIGHT) Ed Thornton who blitzed the timers during the "Shootout" but could "only" post a 5.768 - 236.55 during the second qualifying session

Rodney Butler - P/M --- Mark Luton - P/M

(LEFT) Rodney Butler in his '68 Firebird had trouble throughout qualifying and could only manage to slide into the #22 spot with a hurting 6.870 - 143.49 time, while on the (RIGHT) Mark Luton fared even worse, with a best of 7.522 - 128.46 in his late model Mustang

Mike Maggio - P/M --- Jeff Rudolf - P/M

On the (LEFT) Mike Maggio started out slow with a 14-second pass in the first (RIGHT) Jeff Rudolf

Rick Snavely - P/M --- John deJonge - P/M

(LEFT) Rick Snavely (RIGHT) Here's a sharp looking new small-block 2016 Mustang out of Abbotsford, BC, wheeled by John deJonge to a "getting acquainted" 7.52 - 128.46 early shut off pass in the first qualifying session

Dean Bettenson - P/M ---

On the (LEFT) it's Red Deer, Alberta's Dean Bettenson in his "Bunker Junker" '57 Chev, leaving with the wheels up on a 6.150 - 229.04 pass in the first qualifying session

The latest update as of November 14, 2018

Elimination photos from the NHRA AAA Finals at Auto Club Raceway (Pomona, CA)

Here's the first round of eliminations in Top Fuel from the NHRA AAA Finals

Blake Alexander (near lane) - Mike Salinas (far lane) - T/F --- Doug Kalitta (near lane) - Antron Brown (far lane) - T/F

Bill Litton (near lane) - Leah Pritchett (far lane) - T/F --- Terry McMillen (near lane) - Clay Millican (far lane) - T/F

Shawn Reed (near lane) - Brittany Force (far lane) - T/F --- Steve Torrence (near lane) - Cameron Ferre (far lane) - T/F

Billy Torrence (near lane) - Richie Crampton (far lane) - T/F --- Scott Palmer (near lane) - Tony Schumacher (far lane) - T/F

Following hot on their heels, the Funny Cars put on a great show in their first round with a bit of drama thrown in for good measure.

Robert Hight (near lane) - Bob Tasca III (far lane) - F/C --- Victory celebration as J.R. Todd has just won the World Championship

Jim Campbell (near lane) - J.R. Todd (far lane) - F/C --- Ron Capps F/C

Ray Martin F/C --- Jack Beckman (near lane) - Jeff Arend (far lane) - F/C

Cruz Pedregon (near lane) - Tommy Johnson Jr. (far lane) - F/C --- Bob Bode (near lane) - Courtney Force (far lane) - F/C

John Force (near lane) - Tim Wilkerson (far lane) - F/C --- Shawn Langdon (near lane) - Matt Hagan (far lane) - F/C

After a very quick turnaround, the second round of Top Fuel went down

Clay Millican (near lane) - Blake Alexander (far lane) - T/F --- Steve Torrence (near lane) - Billy Torrence (far lane) - T/F

Tony Schumacher (near lane) - Bill Litton (broken - far lane) - T/F --- Brittany Force (near lane) - Antron Brown (far lane) - T/F

And the Funny Cars weren't far behind as they paired up for their quarter-final round

J.R. Todd (near lane) - Bob Tasca III (far lane) - F/C --- Ron Capps (near lane) - Shawn Langdon (far lane) - F/C

Tommy Johnson Jr. (near lane) - Courtney Force (far lane) - F/C --- John Force (near lane) - Tim Wilkerson (far lane) - F/C

The latest update as of November 12, 2018

Still more photos from the NHRA AAA Finals at Auto Club Raceway (Pomona, CA)

Vincent Nobile - P/S --- Fernando Cuadra - P/S

Deric Kramer - P/S --- Tanner Gray - P/S

Erica Enders - P/S --- Cameron Ferre - T/F

Mike Salinas - T/F --- Audrey Worm - T/F

Tony Schumacher - T/F --- Doug Kalitta - T/F

Brittany Force - T/F --- Antron Brown - T/F

Clay Millican - T/F --- Steve Torrence - T/F

Jeff Diehl - F/C --- Bob Bode - F/C

Jim Campbell - F/C --- Matt Hagan - F/C

Jeff Arend - F/C --- Shawn Langdon - F/C

Tim Wilkerson - F/C --- Robert Hight - F/C

Jack Beckman - F/C

The latest update as of November 11, 2018

More photos from the NHRA AAA Finals at Auto Club Raceway (Pomona, CA)

We're going to break into this rather solemn day with some of the latest photos from Saturday at the NHRA AAA Finals at Pomona

Shawn Cowie - B/AD --- Shawn Cowie - B/AD

First up is a pair of photos of Shawn Cowie shaking the tires so hard that the tires are barely touching the track surface. That contributed in no small part to his very untimely first round loss to the #17 qualifier (and eventual event winner!) James Stevens. For a really close at the tires, click on the left thumbnail.

Johnny Ahten - A/FD --- Krista Baldwin - A/FD

Tiffany Januik - B/AD --- Don St. Arnaud - A/FD

Shane Conway - A/FD --- Derek Milanesio - A/FD

Duane Shields - A/FD --- Garrett Bateman - A/FD

Julie Nataas - A/FD --- Shawn Cowie - B/AD

The latest update as of November 10, 2018

First photos from the NHRA AAA Finals at Auto Club Raceway (Pomona, CA)

The shot heard (almost all the way) around the world - Shawn Cowie - 281.36 MPH

Tyson Parker - TA/FC --- Ray Martin - TA/FC

Kris Hool - TA/FC --- Brian Hough - TA/FC

Ulf Lenaders - TA/FC --- Jay Payne - TA/FC

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- Greg Bellemeur - TA/FC

Kim Parker - A/FD --- Julie Nataas - A/FD

Duane Shields - A/FD --- Joey Severance - B/AD

The Scoreboard

Ray Martin - FC --- Ray Martin - FC
Ray Martin - FC

The latest update as of November 4, 2018

Saturday final qualifying highlights from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Kim Parker - A/FD --- Mike Burns - A/FD (near lane) - Brandon Greco - B/AD (far lane)

Leading off the final qualifying session, again on a solo was Kim Parker (LEFT) and she made good on her second attempt, with the quickest pass of the weekend, a 5.224 - 272.06 to jump into the #1 position by just .002 second over Shawn Cowie. The first pair of the round (RIGHT) saw nothing good for either racer, as Brandon Greco (far lane) smoked the tires for the third straight time and shut off, while on the near side, Mike Burns shook the tires and lifted and coasted to the stripe

Matt Sackman - A/FD (near lane) - Duane Shields - A/FD (far lane) --- Jackie Fricke - A/FD (near lane) - Johnny Ahten - A/FD (far lane)

Lots of A/Fuel cars at this race (seven out of the 11 entries) and it's no surprise to see two pairs of them going at it side-by-side in the next pair of frames. On the (LEFT) it's Matt Sackman (near lane) against Duane Shields (far lane), with Sackman staying consistent with a 5.379, while Shields moved up one notch to #5 with an improved 5.279 -270.21 effort

(RIGHT) We've got Jackie Fricke (near lane) and Johnny Ahten (far lane) and Ahten took that one, with a very good 5.264 - 271.79 to move up two spots into the top half of the field (#4), while Fricke slowed a little with a solid 5.324 - 260.61 as she fell from #5 to #6 on the ladder

Joey Severance - B/AD (near lane) - Shawn Cowie - B/AD (far lane)

For the umpeenth time in their careers, Joey Severance (near lane), and Shawn Cowie (far lane) ran together in the final pair of Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying. The drama ended quickly this time as Severance severely rattled the tires at the hit, while Cowie tried hard to reclaim the top spot in the field, falling a few thousandths short with an excellent 5.230 - 276.13 pass

Sean Bellemeur - TA/FC (near lane) - Jay Payne - TA/FC (far lane) --- Bret Williamson - TA/FC (near lane) - Rob Turner - TA/FC (far lane)

Funny car details to follow a little later

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- Ulf Leanders - TA/FC

Ray Martin - TA/FC --- Jirka Kaplan - TA/FC (near lane) - Steve Burck - TA/FC (far lane)

Shane Westerfield - TA/FC (near lane) - Annie Whiteley - TA/FC (far lane) --- John Lombardo Jr. - TA/FC (near lane) - Chris Marshall - TA/FC (far

The latest update as of November 3, 2018

Saturday qualifying highlights from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Day three of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing series at Las Vegas got underway with mostly sunny skies, warm temperatures (80 F at noon) and mediocre air conditions (reading just over 4000 ft corrected altitude). Following Thursday's two time trial sessions, and Friday's single qualifier, the Top Alcohol cars were primed to deliver their best performances in the final two rounds of qualifying, scheduled at 12:30 and 4:30.

Kim Parker - A/FD --- Mike Burns - A/FD

First out of the lanes (LEFT) was the Northwest A/Fuel hitter, Kim Parker, who chugged down track with at least a couple of cylinders out early in the run, resulting in a non-qualifying 5.520 - 258.56 clocking. On the (RIGHT) it's Arizona's Mike Burns in the ex-Cliff Bakx "The Bull" car. He came into the session on the bump spot after Friday's 5.413 - 272.56 pass, but this time around he lit the tires at the green, and coasted down the track, stopping before the finish line for an NTR timeslip

Fred Hanssen - B/AD --- Dan Mercier - A/FD

Another busted effort (LEFT) was put up by Norway's Fred Hanssen who followed up his first session 11-second pass without even making it to the starting line as he was shut off with problems after the burnout. Running in the other lane (RIGHT), Quebec's Dan Mercier followed up Friday's 5.388 effort with an almost identical 5.390 - 272.76 to stay in the #7 position

Matt Sackman - A/FD --- Duane Shields - A/FD

We finally had a good side-by-side showing with the next pair, as (LEFT) Matt Sackman in a Randy Meyer-owned car put down a good 5.381 - 269.83 (a little slower than yesterday's 5.35) as he fell back to the #6 spot, as (RIGHT) Duane Shields passed him into #5 on the ladder with a slightly better 5.342 - 265.90 time

Jackie Fricke - A/FD --- Joey Severance - B/AD

(LEFT) Slowing slightly from Friday's 5.265, Jackie Fricke carded a consistent 5.297 - 260.61 (slightly early shut off?) to remain in the #3 slot. On the (RIGHT) newly re-crowned World Champion Joey Severance tried a bit too hard as the tires rattled hard at the green and he shut off. In the other lane on that pass was Shawn Cowie who backed up his earlier top qualifying 5.226 pass with another great 5.234 - 274.66 run that solidified his hold on the #1 qualifying session going into the final round later in the day

Bret Williamson - TA/FC --- Sean Bellemeur - TA/FC

Moving over to the Funny (Car) side of things, (LEFT) Bret Williamson improved on Friday's desultory 11-second pass, with a pedaling 6.254 - 243.37 that only elevated him one spot to #12 (in the 8-car field). (RIGHT) Newly annointed World Champion Sean Bellemeur in the Bartone brothers car, went backwards from Friday's 9-second clocking, dropping into the 10's with a 10.14 number that left him at the bottom of the field and down to one shot to get in the show

Jay Payne - TA/FC --- Doug Gordon - TA/FC

Another racer with a long string of successes, Jay Payne (LEFT) stayed just above Bellemeur with an "improving" 9-second pass to move up one spot to lucky #13. And the pain continued with (RIGHT) Doug Gordon stuck outside the top eight as his 6-flat clocking was considerably slower than his first session 5.64 (and that was good only for the #10 spot)

Ulf Leanders - TA/FC --- Jirka Kaplan - TA/FC

(LEFT) It was a wasted run for Ulf Leanders as he banged the blower on the launch (note the burst panel in the hood departing the body) and coasted to an 11-second time. Not faring much better was Jirka Kaplan (RIGHT) who lit up the tires early and strolled down track at a 10-second pace as he fell back one spot on the ladder to #6

Annie Whiteley - TA/FC --- John Lombardo Jr. - TA/FC

The final two pairs of the round saw Annie Whiteley (LEFT) give up early with traction problems, and (RIGHT) John Lombardo Jr. consolidate his hold on the top spot with the second best run of the session 5.511 - 265.33 to solidly back up his earlier 5.484 pass. Not shown is Chris Marshall who nearly surpassed Lombardo, falling just .001 short with a stellar 5.485 time that set low e.t. for the session

The latest update as of November 2, 2018

Friday qualifying highlights from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Following up on a pair of time trial sessions on Thursday that saw five dragsters and eight funny cars making runs, it was time to get down to business with the first official qualifying session of the weekend. Facing some thin air (4322' corrected altitude) and warm track temps of 107 F, the racers gave it their best opening shots.

Dan Provost - T/D --- Jirka Kaplan - TA/FC

Before we move into the Top Alcohol portion, here's a shot (LEFT) of Abbotsford, BC's Dan Provost, one of the serious challengers in Top Dragster with his RAD Torque Systems car, leaving with the wheels up enroute to a 6.76 - 201.43 clocking. While it placed him well down the qualifying list in the 64-car field (#40) it's consistency that counts in that category as it's essentially a very fast bracket race. (RIGHT) It's Calgary's Jirka Kaplan burning out prior to his great opening 5.530 - 263.77 pass that put him into the top spot.... temporarily

Steve Gasparelli - TA/FC --- Ulf Leanders - TA/FC

Running alongside Kaplan in that pair was (LEFT) Steve Gasparelli who trailed at 5.630 - 256.60, still good enough to pull in behind him on the qualifying list. But Gasparelli didn't stay in the #2 spot long as in the next pair, Sweden's Ulf Leanders cranked out a very good 5.531 - 265.59 to take over the spot

Steve Burck - TA/FC --- Ray Martin - TA/FC

Running beside Leanders was (LEFT) Texan Steve Burck who bumped everyone down a notch with a fine 5.516 - 264.08. In the next pair Ray Martin (RIGHT) in his Alaska-based "International Incident" (there's got to be a story in that name), put down a solid opening effort of 5.590 - 258.47 to drop into the #5 spot

Chris Marshall - TA/FC --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC

(LEFT) Seemingly coming out of nowhere (actually Mcminville, Oregon) just three years ago, Chris Marshall has rocketed to near the top of the class in Top Alcohol Funny Car, culminating in his first national event win at Seattle in August of this year. That event saw him top qualify (5.451), then mow down a very tough field with a series of 5.45 - 5.47 runs to take the trophy. Today's effort (5.514 - 266.64) was a little slower but still put him in the provisional #2 slot

(RIGHT) His final round opponent from that Seattle race (and 2017 world champion) Shane Westerfield ran in the final pair of the session and carded a very good 5.543 - 267.11 that was only good enough for the 7th spot in what was rapidly becoming a very tight field

Mike Burns - A/FD --- Matt Sackman - A/FD

Making what might be his first competition pass in "The Bull" A/Fuel Dragster, Mike Burns (LEFT) cranks out a career best e.t and speed at 5.413 - 272.56 to kick things off and take the top spot... at least until the first pair go down the track. Another racer without much seat time in an A/FD, Matt Sackman (RIGHT) laid down a better 5.356 - 271.73 to knock Burns down to #3 on the list

Johnny Ahten - A/FD --- Fred Hanssen - B/AD

Helping drop Mike Burns down was (LEFT) Johnny Ahten as he took over the top rung with a 5.308 - 268.06 to open his event account. The first of four blown alky dragsters came up next (RIGHT) and Norwegian Fred Hanssen ran into trouble early and clicked it off to an 11-second pass

Jackie Fricke - A/FD --- Duane Shields - A/FD

The next pair featured two A/Fuel cars, both in the Top Ten in the national standings, as (LEFT) Jackie Fricke put down a best (so far) of 5.265 - 268.87 to grab the #1 spot, while Duane Shields (RIGHT) trailed her at 5.366 - 271.19 to land in the #4 position

Joey Severance - B/AD --- Shawn Cowie - B/AD

Saving the best for last, the top two blown alcohol dragsters in the country (and #1 & #2 in the world championship standings), faced off yet again. On the (LEFT) Joey Severance put down a very good 5.247 - 276.41 to move everyone down a notch, except for (LEFT) Shawn Cowie who aced him at the finish line with an even better 5.226 - 276.29 to take the #1 spot after the first round of qualifying

The latest update as of October 30, 2018

Fuel Altered Qualifying from the California Hot Rod Reunion (Saturday)

Randy Bradford - 'Bradford's Fiat' - AA/FA --- Vince Generaleo - 'Nanook' - AA/FA

(LEFT) Randy Bradford in the "Bradford's Fiat" qualified in the #2 spot with a 6.720 pass, while (RIGHT) Vince Generaleo in the Hough family's "Nanook" sat at the bottom of the field (#10) with a 12.377 pass

Brian Hope - 'Pure Hell' - AA/FA --- Chris Bennett - 'Pure Heaven III' - AA/FA

Ron Hope - Rat Trap - AA/FA --- Rodney Flournoy - 'Godzilla' - AA/FA

David Giles - 'The Tramp' - AA/FA ---  - 'High Heaven' - AA/FA

Joe Morrison - '134 Coupe' - AA/FA --- Mike Boyd - 'Winged Express' - AA/FA

The latest update as of October 29, 2018

Funny Car Qualifying from the California Hot Rod Reunion (Saturday)

Bobby Cottrell - 'Bardahl Special' - AA/FC --- Geoff Monise - 'Quarter Pounder' - AA/FC

Bill Windham - 'Shakedown' - AA/FC --- (LEFT) Justin Taylor - 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' - AA/FC - (RIGHT) Matt Bynum - 'Nitro Nick' - AA/FC

Justin Taylor - 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' - AA/FC --- Rian Konno - 'Lemon, Zajanjian & Konno' - AA/FC

Steven Densham - 'Teachers Pet' - AA/FC --- Jon Capps - 'Smokey's Darkside' - AA/FC

Shawn Van Horn - 'Choo Choo Mama' - AA/FC --- Shawn Van Horn - 'Choo Choo Mama' - AA/FC

Matt Melendez - 'Cacklin' Critter' - AA/FC --- Dan Horan - 'The Patriot' - AA/FC

Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' - AA/FC --- Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler' - AA/FC

Brad Thompson - 'Jailbreak' - AA/FC --- Marc Meadors - 'Fuel Curve' - AA/FC

(LEFT lane) Cory Lee - 'The Pedaler' - AA/FC (RIGHT lane)- Tim Nemeth - 'The Iceman' - AA/FC --- Tim Nemeth - 'The Iceman' - AA/FC

John Hale - 'One Bad Texan' - AA/FC --- Kris Krabill - 'Cascade Automotive' - AA/FC

Jason Rupert - 'Rolling Thunder' - AA/FC

The latest update as of October 28, 2018

Top Fuel Qualifying from the California Hot Rod Reunion (Saturday)

Dan Horan - 'The Patriot' - AA/FD --- Rick McGee - 'Hannah Trucking' - AA/FD

Tyler Hilton - 'Great Expectations III' - AA/FD ---

--- Jim Young - 'Young Guns' - AA/FD

Phil Ruskowski - 'Trotac Marine' - AA?FD --- Rick White - 'CNC' - AA/FD

Jim Murphy - 'WWIII' - AA/FD --- Medny Fry - 'High Speed Motorsports' - AA/FD

Dusty Green - 'Nitro-Hemi' - AA/FD --- Adam Sorokin - 'Champion Speed Shop' AA/FD

The latest update as of October 27, 2018

Late update from the NHRA Toyota Nationals

The first round of eliminations in Top Alcohol Dragster is in the books and it's a case of good news/bad news for Shawn Cowie. While he won his first round match over Krista Baldwin by a wide margin, he lost the championship points lead to Joey Severance who took out his first round opponent, Dan Mercier, and took over the top spot in the standings by ONE point.

From here on in, until the final round of the AAA Finals at Pomona in two weeks time, one mis-step by either Cowie or Severance will virtually hand the championship to the other racer. And if they meet in a head-to-head race along the way, then it could easily be a "winner takes all" race. Drama? Tension? You bet; of the highest order for two very deserving and talented racers that have faced many pressure situations over the years they've competed. Stay tuned!

More from the California Hot Rod Reunion: Saturday Photos

Let's get the ball rolling with Pro Mod qualifying from the CHRR. Our ace photographer (Bob Snyder) ventured down to the top end and got some great 'chute shots for your viewing pleasure. Remember to click on the small images to see the larger ones. We will fill in the details on all the images over the weekend.... at least that's the plan.

Ed Thornton - '70 Camaro - Pro mod (near lane) - Roger Holder - '17 Camaro - Pro Mod (far lane) --- Jeremy Hanger - '59 Corvetyte - Pro Mod

Justin Wake - '53 Corvette - Pro Mod --- Mike Maggio - '68 Camaro - Pro Mod

Bret Williamson - '63 Corvette - Pro Mod --- Rick Snavely - '69 Camaro - Pro Mod

Garret Richards - '12 Mustang - Pro Mod --- Troy Perry - '70 Challenger - Pro Mod

Mike Doushgounian - '68 Camaro - Pro Mod --- Wade Sjostrom - '57 Bel Air - Pro Mod

John Durden - '59 Corvette - Pro Mod --- Karl Wilson - '93 Corvette - Pro Mod

Sean Renteria - '65 Valiant - Pro Mod --- Ed Marx - '53 Corvette - Pro Mod

Rob Cacioppo - '63 Corvette - Pro Mod --- Rob Moore - '60 Impala - Pro Mod

The latest update as of October 26, 2018

Friday night update from the NHRA Toyota Nationals at LVMS

After two qualifying sessions in Top Alcohol Dragster, Surrey, BC's Shawn Cowie sits at the top of the ladder, with a very strong 5.217 - 277.43 turned during the first session. He backed that up with a slightly slower 5.260 - 274.46 clocking in the second round.

Sitting right behind in the second spot is his points pursuer, and three-time defending T/AD champion, Joey Severance who improved from an opening 5.274 - 275.59 pass to a #2 qualifying 5.245 - 275.06 effort. It's to be noted that atmospheric conditions were somewhat less than ideal as 3664 feet of corrected air graced the first session, which degenerated into an even worse 4477 ft. in the second session.

There's one more qualifier on tap, at least on paper, as NHRA consistently cuts Top Alcohol (dragster and funny car) sessions when the program is running late so as to get the PRO cars on track during prime spectator and TV viewing times. Referring to NHRA's website shows two more qualifying sessions scheduled for tomorrow, but the second, set for 5:00 pm, must be the first round of eliminations as Sunday's roster doesn't show a first round.

If Cowie & Severance hold their positions at the top of the field, they should be able to advance to the second round without too much difficulty, and if all the dominoes fall in their favour, will meet each other in what should be a gangbuster final round. If that happens, the 2018 NHRA World Championship in Top Alcohol Dragster could come down to that single round of eliminations.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the weekend on the progress of these two hard-charging racers and of course, more - much more - from the California Hot Rod Reunion.

Friday Funny Fotos from the California Hot Rod Reunion

Bard Thompson - 'Jailbreak' AA/FC --- Dan Horan - 'Patriot' AA/FC

Our first pair of flopper pics feature (LEFT) Brad Thompson in his sharp looking "Jailbreak" Camaro, while Dan Horan (RIGHT) is in the "Patriot" as both racers launched hard during the first Nostalgia Funny Car qualifying session

Bobby Cottrell 'Austin & O'Brien' 'Bardahl Special' AA/FC --- Bill Windham 'Shakedown' AA/FC

A very familiar sight on the (LEFT) is Bobby Cottrell wheeling the "Bardahl Special" of Bucky Austin, and on the (RIGHT) it's a wheels-up launch for Bill Windham in the "Shakedown" Camaro

Justin Taylor 'Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty' AA/FC --- Rian Konno 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno' AA/FC

On the (LEFT) it's Justin Taylor in the Taylor family "Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty" Mustang, and on the (RIGHT) we've got Rian Konno, also in a 'Stang, sporting the colours of "Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno"

Cory Lee 'Gary Turner's Pedaler' AA/FC --- Mike Halstead 'Code Red III' AA/FC

To the (LEFT) we've got long-time nitro veteran "jack of all trades" Cory Lee in the Gary Turner-owned "Pedaler" Challenger, and on the (RIGHT) it's the "Code Red III" Camaro, driven by Mike Halstead

John Hale 'One Bad Texan' AA/FC --- Jeff Melendez 'Cacklin' Critter' AA/FC

(LEFT) It's John Hale in his "One Bad Texan", while on the (RIGHT) it's Jeff Melendez in the "Cacklin' Critter"

Matt Bynum 'Nitro Nick' AA/FC --- Shawn Van Horn 'Choo Choo Mama AA/FC

On the (LEFT) it's Matt Bynum in the "Nitro Nick" Firebird, while on the (RIGHT) it's Shawn Van Horn in the "Choo Choo Mama" entry

Tony Jurado 'Capitol Punishment' AA/FC --- Geoff Monise 'Quarter Pounder' AA/FC

(LEFT) it's Tony Jurado in the "Capitol Punishment", and on the (RIGHT) it's Geoff Monise in the "Quarter Pounder" Monza of (very) long-time SoCal racers Dale Van Gundy & Keith Clark

Jon Capps 'Smokey's Darkside' AA/FC --- Billy Morris 'Problem Child' AA/FC

On the (LEFT) it's Jon Capps in the "Smokey's Darkside" Challenger, and on the (RIGHT) it's Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" car

Ryan Hodgson - 'Pacemaker' AA/FC --- Jeff Arend - 'California Hustler' AA/FC

To the (LEFT) it's Edmonton's Ryan Hodgson (defending NHRA Heritage Series AA/FC Champion) in the "Pacemaker" Camaro, while to the (RIGHT) we see Jeff Arend in Don Nelson's "California Hustler" Firebird

Jeff Utterback - 'Pisano & Matsubara' AA/FC --- Kris Krabill - 'Cascade Automotive' AA/FC

On the (LEFT) it's Jeff Utterback in one of the most famous tribute cars around, the "Pisano & Matsubara" Vega, and on the (RIGHT) it's Kris (formerly Hollywood) Krabill in the "Cascade Automotive" Omni-bodied flopper

Marc Meadors - 'Fuel Curve' AA/FC --- Rian Konno - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno' AA/FC

With the light fading rapidly, and the ISO settings on the camera approaching infinity, we've got (LEFT) Marc Meadors in the "Fuel Curve" Camaro, and launching hard on the (RIGHT) is Rian Konno in the "Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno" Mustang

The latest update as of October 25, 2018

NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip (Las Vegas Motor Speedway)

The 2018 NHRA championship drag racing season has wound down to the final two events of the year and the penultimate race on the schedule kicked off under warm, sunny desert skies this morning. Today was just the hors d'oeuvre with the sportsman classes having the track to themselves, while tomorrow sees the first qualifying sessions for the Pro and Pro Sportsman racers.

There's still a number of World Championships at stake but the battle has been lost for most of the pro racers already, with just eight rounds of competition remaining before the end of the season on November 11th at the LA County Fairgrounds (Pomona, CA). In Top Fuel it's turning into a runaway for points leader Steve Torrence as his nearest pursuer, Clay Millican, is 169 points behind coming into Las Vegas. Below them, the third place holder in the standings, Tony Schumacher, is 210 points behind Torrence, and coming close to being mathematically eliminated. After him, the balance of the Top Ten are done and gone.

Funny Car on the other hand has a very close race developing as points leader (and defending champion) Robert Hight is just 11 points in front of the rapidly closing J.R. Todd and fighting to hang on to the lead. Still in the hunt are the #3 and #4 challengers, with Ron Capps and Tim Wilkerson lurking barely 100 points behind Todd. And the mathematical possibilities stretch all the way down to eighth place, where Matt Hagan sits 216 points in arrears.

Skipping past Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle to the Pro Sportsman ranks, the battle for supremacy in the Top Alcohol Dragster class is turning into high drama, as defending champion Joey Severance has pulled almost even with season-long points leader Shawn Cowie, trailing by just 10 points. In the more complicated points structure for the Lucas Oil Series racers, both Severance and Cowie can gain points at the final two events but can only do so by waiving previously earned national event points.

Looking at Cowie's record for 2018 shows that he earned 42 points at two events that he can waive, but Severance has a 31 and 42 point event that could be waived, giving him a slight advantage. In theory, Severance could take the championship by just ONE point if he can match Cowie's placings in the final two races. In all probability it will come down to a head-to-head matchup between the two, either this weekend or in two weeks time in Pomona.

We've got a treasure trove of photos from Bakersfield to go through and get posted over the next few days, but we can guarantee they will be worth waiting for. Here's a couple of highlight shots from Friday to whet your interest. Stay tuned for updates tomorrow and through the weekend.

Luke Balogh - '554 Special Coupe'

All the way down from North Vancouver, BC came Luke Balogh in his absolutely flawless replica of the famed "mooneyham & Sharp" 554 Coupe. And it's not only a looker, but it can blaze the tires with the best of them. Unfortunately his efforts were all for naught as he qualified near the bottom of the Nostalgia Eliminator I field and was a no-show for eliminations

The latest update as of October 24, 2018

California Hot Rod Reunion - first fotos

Yes, we know the 27th annual California Hot Rod Reunion ended early Sunday evening but it's taken a while for Bob Snyder to go through the mountain (okay, a couple of high-capacity memory cards) of photos and send along a few teasers to start the ball rolling. We're expecting quite a few more great shots from Bakersfield to come in over the next few days. Looks like it's going to be another busy week at Northern Thunder.

What better way to start our report(s) from the Reunion than by highlighting the winners. Check 'em out and don't forget to click on the "thumbnails" to see the larger images lurking in the background. More tomorrow, with any luck!

Brian Hope - 'Pure Hell' - AA/FA

Coming all the way from Tennessee to California, Brian Hope in the tribute to Rich Guasco "Pure Hell" outlasted a ten-car field of the crowd pleasing AA/Fuel Altereds. Qualifying was a strange affair as the fuel altereds couldn't find much grip during their sessions, with top dog David Giles running only a 6.64 against the 6.00 index. Hope started from the #3 slot, with a slightly less than stellar 7.02 clocking.

Eliminations were difficult to decipher from this distance (1500 miles away in Victoria, BC), and we haven't had the time to go through the video feed that Competition Plus so graciously provided over the weekend to figure out what happened, but we do know that Hope laid down a very solid 6.23 - 213.57 in the 9-car (one no show) first round, the took a NTR (no time recorded) bye in the 4-car second round, before taking out veteran Rodney Flournoy (from the "burn it to the ground" days of nitro flopper racing in the 70's and early 80's). That final match wasn't close as Hope's 6.45 - 203.55 train-lengthed Flournoy's 8.86 e.t.

Roger Holder - Pro Mod

Bakersfield's own Roger Holder in his 2017 Camaro came into Pro Mod eliminations as a definite underdog, starting from the #11 qualifying position (5.970 - 253.56), but steadily advanced through the field on Sunday, taking out #6 Rick Snavely in the first round (5.96 to a fading 6.42). He followed that up with a consistent 5.94 pass that erased #14 Rob Cacioppo in the quarter-final round, then advanced to the finals when #2 qualifier Jeremy Hanger could only muster a 10-second clocking against Holder's 5.95 effort. The final match was definitely a weird one as Holder put a HOLESHOT on low qualifier Ed Thornton (.107 to a .558 !) then outlasted him by an 8.133 - 123.37 to 9.135 - 101.79 margin for the victory.

Drew Austin - Pro-Max A/FD

Despite it being a thin field in terms of car count, the competition was fierce in the A/Fuel Dragster category. Rising star Drew Austin in the Austin-family "Pro Max" entry, took the top spot on the ladder with a very strong 5.850 - 232.83, then followed it with a first-round bye (only 9-cars), clocking low e.t. of the round with an excellent 5.972 - 232.95 pass.

He backed up that time with an almost identical 5.976 - 231.95 to cruise into the three-car semi-final. At least it was planned to be, but perennial contender (and multi-time champion) Kin Bates was a no-show, which left Austin, and his final round opponent Wayne Ramay with bye runs, which saw them both stage, then shut off on the line. The final round saw one of the few close matchups of the day as Ramay left first (.026 to .080), but Austin powered down track to a winning 5.862 - 233.88 time over Ramay's very game 6.05 - 225.63 effort.

Scott White - AA/GS

Coming out of the #6 spot (6.94 - 203.37) on the 8-car AA/Gas Supercharged ladder, Seaside, Oregon's Scott White in his gorgeous green '41 Willys, picked up a ton in his first round race to easily defeat Mike Oconnor's 7.07 - 170.99 with a much improved 6.439 - 210.05 clocking. Only five of the eight qualifiers managed to make the call for that round and White took advantage of that fact with a bye into the finals, at a consistent 6.43 - 212.63. He took out Gary Reinero in that final round by a 6.44 - 214.69 to 6.701 - 211.93 margin for the event title.

Mendy Fry - High Speed Motorsports AA/FD

Taking all the marbles off the table was Mendy Fry in the "High Speed Motorports" AA/Fuel Dragster, as she had the season championship wrapped up before qualifying began. Then the beat kept going as she qualified in the #1 position (5.592 - 239.14), before marching through the field with two even quicker passes before "slowing" to a 5.610 - 2569.36 in her final round match against the "Circuit Breaker" of worthy challenger Rick McGee who made it close with a quicker leave (.036 to .103) but a slower e.t as his 5.749 - 256.50 fell about two car lengths short of Fry as they blasted through the traps.

Jason Rupert - Rupert & Littlefield - Rolling Thunder AA/FC

Dominating the event to finish his NHRA Heritage Series season on a strong note, Jason Rupert in the Brad Littlefield-tuned Rupert & Littlefield "Rolling Thunder" AA/Funny Car, entry steamrollered the competition with a series of 5.60 passes for the event win. The team started eliminations from the #6 position, with a pretty good 5.733 - 251.77 timeslip, but really turned up the wick in the first round with a 5.63 pass at only 232.79 to obliterate Tony Jurado's decent 5.82 - 246.57 run.

The latest update as of October 13, 2018

Lucas Oil Series Top Alcohol Dragster National Championship - LATEST UPDATE - 11:00 AM PDT

When we first started working on this story, on September 27th, there were four racers with at least a mathematical chance of winning the 2018 Top Alcohol Dragster title. That short list narrowed down to three following the Fall Nationals event at the Texas Motorplex last weekend, when Josh Hart lost in the first round of eliminations.

"Then there were two".... when Shawn Cowie won in the first round of eliminations at the Carolina Nationals earlier today, removing Troy Coughlin Jr. from the title hunt. Now it's just down to two racers, the defending (and three-time running) champion Joey Severance and perennial second-place finisher Shawn Cowie.

The tables have been turned somewhat this year as Cowie has held the points lead from the start after winning the season-opening Winternationals and at times he's had more than a 100-point edge over Severance. That lead narrowed considerably last week, as the two contenders met in the semi-final round at Texas, where Severance took a very narrow holeshot win over Cowie. Severance left first (.040 to .087 light), then turned on the winlight by a true win margin of just .036 seconds - slightly less than a carlength - to move into the final round. He took that round and gained 32 points on Cowie in the process, leaving himself just 43 points behind heading into this week's race in Charlotte.

Lucas Oil Series Top Alcohol Dragster National Championship - LATEST UPDATE - 4:00 PM PDT

The second round of Top Alcohol Dragster eliminations at the Carolina Nationals is in the books and the news for the Mundie's Towing team out of Surrey, BC is not good. Points leader Shawn Cowie went into the round with lane choice over A/Fuel pilot Justin Ashley but failed to capitalize on his (perceived) advantage and fell behind right from the start. Ashley left first by nearly seven hundredths, then steadily pulled away as Cowie must have encountered severe tire shake, judging by his numbers: 5.695 coupled with a 269.73 trap speed.

Looking into the detailed results on the NHRA website shows that Cowie was quicker to the 60' mark (.937 to .952), then fell off badly before the next incremental (the 330' clocks) as his 2.640 badly trailed Ashley's 2.459 time. Putting it in perspective, fellow blown alky driver Severance did the first 330' in 2.352 in the second round, and Cowie ran it in 2.342 in the first round. Despite a hard charge on the top end, Cowie fell well short of catching the A/Fuel Dragster of Ashley and lost a major chance to hold off Severance's march towards the points lead.

Earlier in the second round of T/AD, Severance did take advantage of a red-lighting Julie Natass and advanced to the semi-final round (tomorrow), and in the process, cut Cowie's lead to just 21 points. If Severance can get past Troy Coughlin Jr in the semis, he will reduce the margin to just 10 points behind Cowie, and if he can take the event win, he will take over the points lead by 11 points heading into the final two events of the season. It is to be noted that both Severance and Cowie are pre-entered for both Las Vegas and Pomona so it could come down to the wire in their battle for the 2018 championship.

Our next update will be tomorrow evening when we update the points standings, and prognosticate about the respective chances for Cowie or Severance to claim the title. Stay tuned for that story.

The latest update as of October 1, 2018


Photos courtesy of Bob Snyder Drag Photos

For their second "major" event of the season, the folks at Barona Drag Strip put on a nitro show that attracted a total of seven AA/Fuel Altereds, four AA/Funny Cars, and a pair of AA/Fuel Dragsters. All cars were running NHRA Heritage series specs over a 500-foot distance (actual track length 1/8-mile) due to a rather short braking area. The clocks were set up at the 500-ft mark so the e.t.'s might seem a little quick, and the miles per hour a little slow, especially since almost everyone shut off before the finish line.

The format was simple: everybody makes two runs, and the quickest pair of Fuel Altereds come back to run the final. At least it was simple on paper, but circumstances like breakage made for quite a few singles and not too many close side-by-side matches. Despite those downsides, everyone had a good time and the near-capacity crowd was seriously entertained. To see some hand-held video shot from the stands, check out this posting on YouTube


Here's two shots of Eric Gates in his "Agent Orange" AA/FA, burning out (LEFT), then launching (RIGHT) in the first session, on a solo pass. The numbers on the scoreboard - remember, with the finish line clocks at 500 feet - came up at 3.84 - 139.81. His erstwhile opponent, Robert Winefski in the "Coyote Express", was unable to get his car to fire


The second pairing of the evening saw a rather close race, with James Generaolo in the "Impatient" entry, backing up after the burnout (LEFT), taking the win light with a very stout 3.50 - 145.67 pass, as Keith Wilson in the "Witch Doctor" (RIGHT), was closing fast with a 3.75 - 154.90 clocking


Next up was a match between Chris Bennett in the iconic "Pure Heaven" '32 Bantam (LEFT), against Mark Whynaught (not shown), who took the measure of the "Heaven" by a 3.58 - 148.58 to 4.03 - 130.73 margin. On the (RIGHT) it's "Nitro" Jim Holtz doing a five-cylinder burnout before idling across the finish line after failing to engage reverse


Holtz's opponent in that pairing was the "Coyote Express" of Robert Winefski which finally got fired up and running, only to experience a very wild, out-of-shape, up-on-two-wheels ride to the finish line that clocked in at 4.32 - 88.52 mph


The "Plastic Fantastics" took to the stage next, with Geoff Monise in the Van Gundy & Clark "Quarter Pounder" (LEFT) facing the "Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno" entry (RIGHT) in a side-by-side 3-second matchup. Konno took the winlight with a solid 3.76 e.t. at only 116.23 mph, to Monise's 3.93 at an even slower 107.70 mph speed


The other flopper pairing of the first round saw another fabled entry, the "Pisano & Matsubara" Vega that is now operated by a descendant of original owner Joe Pisano and driven by itinerant funny car pilot Jeff Utterback. His scheduled opponent, Rick (O) Rogers in the "Fighting Irish" Camaro fell victim to the "no reverse" virus that seemed to be sweeping through the staging lanes


On the (LEFT) it's Pete Wittenberg in the "Circuit Breaker", starting to lose traction as he passed the xmas tree, enroute to a less than stellar 8.85 - 52.21 clocking. To the (RIGHT) it's Keith Wilson in the "Witch Doctor" burning out before his second pass which saw him take out Chris Bennett in the "Pure Heaven" by a margin of 3.82 - 155.46 to a (can't see the damn scoreboard because the videographer was behind a telephone pole!) "NTR" e.t. and speed


(LEFT) It's the "Coyote Express" again, and driver Robert Winefski had another troubled pass, this time a 5.60 - 64.67 as he started to smoke the tires early, pedalled it, and headed for the centerline before shutting off and coasting. Having even worse luck in the other lane (not shown) was "Nitro" Jim Holtz as he wasn't able to find reverse again and was forced to idle down to the return road after some valiant attempts to rock the car into reverse.

(RIGHT) Another troubled single followed as James Generalao in "Impatient" followed up a hard launch with a move to the centerline, followed by an abrupt shut off that threw the chute out as he coasted across the line at 5.43 - 78.09. His scheduled opponent, Eric Gates in the "Agent Orange" failed to fire


Mark Whynaught (LEFT) looked good on the burnout, but that's as far as it went as he - you guessed it - couldn't get into reverse after the tire heater and had to shut off without making a pass. On the (RIGHT) Geoff Monise upped the volume considerably, as he pounded out low e.t. and top speed of the meet in the "Quarter Pounder" carding a very strong 3.48 at 167.76 mph to easily cover (not shown) Rian Konno's early shutoff 4.32 - 89.46 pass


The final pair of Funny Cars came out next, and (LEFT) the "Fighting Irish" laid down a strong burnout, but driver Rick Rogers wasn't able to get back to the starting line afterwards (clutch issues). His opponent Jeff Utterback in the "Pisano & Matsubara" car at least got mos of the way back after the burnout, but sounded like it was leaning out and Utterback shut off before getting back to the line to put an end to the night for the floppers.

(RIGHT) It's "Nitro" Jim Holtz again, but we're not sure why as he didn't show up in the video after his first two attempts and we don't have any information on what he did on this pass (or at least an attempt at one)

The dragsters came out once more and engaged in what turned out to be a coasting contest, as Rick White only went 100' before shutting off to a 7.01 - 52.70, while Pete Wittenberg in the "Circuit Breaker" went nearly 300' before giving up and coasting across, unfortunately on the "telephone pole side" of the track, hence no e.t. or speed to report

The final pairing of the night, featuring the two quickest Fuel Altereds, turned into a single, as the quickest cars of the night James Generalao (3.50), Mark Whynaught (3.58), and Keith Wilson (3.75), were unable to make the call so the fourth best runner, Eric Gates in the "Agent Orange" (best of 3.84) made a hard launch, then clicked off early to a 4.71 - 83.29 to close out the show. Despite the lack of competitive runs in the final round, the crowd still thoroughly enjoyed the "nitro at night" exhibition.

The latest update as of September 27, 2018

Lucas Oil Series National Championship - TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER

We're now down to the final four national events in the NHRA season, and all four will include the Top Alcohol classes, making for an exciting finish to the Lucas Oil Series national championship chase in 2018. In addition, there are three Lucas series regional events on tap, but since the top eight racers in the standings have already competed in the maximum number of claim-able races, the regional events won't enter into the championship conversation.

The points criteria for the alcohol categories national championship is that a racer may claim points at seven national and three regional events. However, they are allowed to waive points at up to three additional national events and two regional events. Therefore, they can compete at 10 national events, and five regional events. There is nothing preventing a racer from attending more races, though few choose to do so, but when they reach 10 national, and five regional events, they are not allowed to claim any further points.

As previously mentioned, the top eight racers have "maxed" their regional points, but all of them can still improve their points totals at the remaining national events. And in the case of the #1 (Shawn Cowie) and #3 (Joey Severance) contenders, they have only attended six national races and hold a definite advantage over the other racers. The #2 (Troy Coughlin Jr.) and #4 (Josh Hart) racers have already competed at seven nationals but can still improve their places in the standings with good performances at three of the remaining events.

Just below the top four racers in the standings is #5 (Megan Meyer) who is entered in the Carolina Nationals (October 12 - 14) and can increase her point total by a maximum of 54 (with an event victory), leaving her a minimum of 32 points behind the current leader (Shawn Cowie) and unable to finish higher than second in the final standings. With the four racers above her on the points ladder still having three or four races to improve their totals, Megan's chance to advance from #5 are slim indeed.

Looking at the pre-entries for the next two races shows that the top four racers will all be comepeting at the Texas and Carolina races, which will add some serious drama to those events. Not leaving anything to chance, both Cowie and Sevcerance have already entered the final two races of the season (Las Vegas and Pomona) and may end up going head-to-head for the championship at one or both of those events. It could be quite a dramatic finish to the 2018 season. It is to be noted that Coughlin and Hart will have one possible points-earning race available to them after the Carolina event, but neither has entered either of the final races at this point.

So just what are the points ramifications at this juncture of the season? Starting from the top, they are as follows:

# 1 - Shawn Cowie currently has 647 points and could increase that number to 850 if he could win the remaining four events

# 2 - Troy Coughlin Jr. currently has 593 points and could increase that number to 744 if he could win his three remaining events

# 3 - Joey Severance currently has 572 points and could increase that number to 808 if he could win the four remaining events

# 4 - Josh Hart currently has 563 points and could increase that number to 713 if he could win his three remaining events

Here's the breakdown on how each racer could waive previous events and increase their point totals:

# 1 - Shawn Cowie can waive Las Vegas (42 points), Atlanta (53), Indy (42). He has three national event wins.

# 2 - Troy Coughlin Jr. can waive Gainesville (42 points), Atlanta (31), Indy (31). He has one win and one runner-up (national events).

# 3 - Joey Severance can waive Pomona (31 points), Topeka (42), Brainerd (31). He has two wins and one runner-up (national events).

# 4 - Josh Hart can waive Charlotte (53 points), Chicago (10), Norwalk (42). He has two wins and two runners-up (national events).

Of special note is the fact that Cowie could conceivably "run the table" and finish the season with a "perfect" point total of 850, representing seven national and three regional event wins. That would be the first time in Top Alcohol Dragster history, and the first time in Top Alcohol overall since Frank "Ace" Manzo last performed the feat in 2011. One other interesting note that comees out of the points table is that Josh Hart failed to qualify at the Chicago race, receiving only 10 appearance points, and stands to gain a considerable amount if he can follow-up his U.S. Nationals (Indy) vcitory with a win at Dallas and/or Charlotte.

Of course, these prognostications will be changing round by round over the course of the next seven weeks and we will do our best to keep as up to date as possible and keep re-calculating the chances of the racers left in contention for the national championship. Stay tuned as we start changing the totals in ten days time.

Next up is our look at the NHRA professional classes and we can already see who's falling by the wayside in the countdown chase with two events in the books and just four to go in 2018. We'll get working on that story tomorrow.

The latest update as of September 18, 2018

Funny Car Chaos: from Northstar Dragway (Denton, Texas)

Photos courtesy of Bob Snyder Drag Photos


Before the weather closed in and wiped out Friday's on-track action, our photographer, the intrepid "Big" Bob Snyder had time to take a few shots of the cars as they arrived at Northstar Dragway. On the (LEFT) is the "Smokey the Bear" entry of Waco, Texas' Robert Slaughter while on the (RIGHT) is Albuquerque's Lyle Greenberg in his beautiful "Cone Hunter" Corvette. Unfortunately, the pits was as far as Greenberg got as the engine locked up (presumably due to an oil system problem) on a warmup before qualifying began


The last pit picture before the skies caved in shows North Carolina's Brian Cunningham on the (LEFT) with his gorgeous ex-Peter Gallen ("Poverty Stricken") "Gone Ballistic" Monza. That was all Mother Nature wrote for the day as heavy rain and high winds wiped out any possibility of Friday qualifying, forcing the event into a one-shot, one-day deal.


With the sun out and the track dry on Saturday afternoon, the first - and only - round of qualifying got under way with Wichita's Daniel Butherus in the "Rat-A-Tude" entry trying to scare the photographers as he took aim at the left guardwall on the launch (LEFT), and Nebraska's Matt Nissen backed up after his burnout (RIGHT). Butherus failed to make the "A" field, carding only a 5.72 - 120 (good for #9 on the "B" side), while Nissen ran a little harder at 4.75 - 122 mph for the #5 spot in the "B" field.

One of, if not the, toughest car on the Funny Car Chaos circuit is Reno, Nevada's "Little City 'Cuda" of Chris Morel. He set the pace in qualifying with a very strong 3.865 at 204.45 mph


The "Wicked Quick" '55 Chevy of North Dakota's Jim Chase showed some serious horsepower, nearly breaking into the 3-second zone, with a 4.03 - 182 mph for the #3 spot on the "A" side


Varying results for this pair, as (LEFT) Arkansas' Rick Krafft in the "Invader" Corvette laid down a troubled 11.61 - 43 mph to slide into the "B' side in the #12 spot, while on the (RIGHT), Nick Poloson pounded out a much stronger 4.108 - 180 in the "Bucket List" to take the #7 spot in the "A" main


Two good passes put Nick Johnson in the "Prairie Fire" (LEFT) into the #7 spot on the "B" side (4.86 - 141), while Andy Mears in the "Dragon Slayer" (RIGHT) ran a little harder, landing in the #2 slot at 4.54 - 141 mph


(LEFT) Launching hard with the wheels up, Jordan Ballew in his "Ballew Thunder" Nova grabbed the #4 spot in the "B" field with a 4.59 - 151, while on the (RIGHT) we saw NHRA Top Fuel racer (among many other driving gigs) Kebin Kinsley in the "Wild Child" Mustang take the fifth spot on the "A" side with a very good 4.06 - 187 clocking


(LEFT) Making his one-shot qualifier count, New Mexico's Ray Stringer in his "Blown Cent-Less" entry, squeezed into the "A" field in the #8 slot, with a 4.33 - 170 pass, while (RIGHT) Ken Singleton in the "High Risk" car continued his streak of strong performances with a #2 qualifying 3.88 at 196 mph

Mike Newkirk in the "Girl Watcher" entry (LEFT) came down from Kansas and made his mark on the show with a #6 qualifying ("A" field) effort at 4.102 - 166. (MIDDLE) Not sure if the back-up boy lost his shoes in the glue, but it's definitely not the correct footwear for the track. (RIGHT) The "Hombre" Vega of Mike Buchanan made a very troubled qualifying run, limping across the finish line (just barely!) in 20.78 at 10 mph


On the (LEFT), it's Dave Gallegos in the flat black "Nitro Clown" Camaro looking plenty tough but falling to breakage and not qualifying. Having much better luck (RIGHT) was the Addison, Texas Camaro of former big show flopper pilot John Hale as he took the "One Bad Texan" all the way to the final round of the "A" field after qualifying fourth with a great 4.04 - 193 pass


(LEFT) Lighting up the scoreboards BIG time, Allan Middendorf put down the quickest e.t. of qualifying, but his awesome Jake 'The Snake' Sanders tuned "American Outlaw" entry hit the wall before the finish line and the run was disallowed, putting him at the bottom of the "B" field. (RIGHT) The cool looking (note the old school Hilborn "Shotgun" injector), "Shazam" Corvette of Larry Eoff broke on his qualifier and didn't make it to the first round


On the (LEFT) side it's the Jackson family's "High Heaven" entry, wheeled by Keith Jackson, enroute to a 4.76 - 169 qualifying run, good enough for #6 in the "B" field. (RIGHT) It's a slick-looking new car for Missouri's John Umlauf that broke on this pass and failed to make it into eliminations


(LEFT) The truly vintage looking mid-70s UNsupercharged Mustang flopper "Pop-Bang-Boom" of New Mexico's Steve Northrop landed in the #11 spot on the "B" side with a mediocre 7.17 at 94 mph. On the (RIGHT), we've got the match race between Ray Kelley's jet dragster ("Game X-Change") (far lane) and the turbocharged diesel dragster of John Robinson (near lane)

And that was it for qualifying, with eliminations scheduled to start at 6:30 pm. With six broken cars, 15 cars in the "B" field and the top eight runners in the "A" field, three rounds of racing were on tap under the lights. The 8-car "A" group ran under a standard elimination format with three rounds of competition, while the "B" side had seven pairs and one bye in the first round, but only the four quickest winners from that round advanced to the semi-finals. Then the two winners from that round faced off in the "B" final.


Eliminations started with the "A" field, and Ray Stringer (Blown Cent-Less) (LEFT) fell by the wayside quickly, running a solid 4.36 at 168 that was unforunately no match for John Hale's ("One Bad Texan") that broke into the 3's with a very strong 3.96 - 195 mph flashing up on the scoreboard. On the (RIGHT) Kebin Kinsley ("Wild Child") similarly fell to Chris Morel who dropped an absolute bomb on the field with the best run of the night, a 3.75 coupled with a huge speed of 208 mph


(LEFT) Looking very cool under the lights, the early Chevy ("Wicked Quick") of Bismarck's Jim Chase burned out before facing (RIGHT) the ("Bucket List") of Nick Poloson (far lane). Both racers cut good lights, but Chase faded early to an 8.55 clocking at only 50 mph, which sank without a trace under the barrage of Poloson's much stronger 4.60 - 154


(LEFT) The first round of the "A" field finished with the beatuiful "High Risk" of Oklahoma's Ken Singleton (near lane) keeping up the pace as he blasted out a 3.90 - 196 to dispose of Mike Newkirk's (far lane) valiant, but losing, effort of 4.14 at 174 mph. (RIGHT) The first race of the "B" show saw Mark Billington take his "Sons of Thunder" entry on a bye run to a 4.89 - 94 mph (early shut off) that unfortunately wasn't quick enough to make the semi-final round


Keith Jackson (LEFT) got a freebie in the first round as his opponent, Mike Buchanan couldn't engage reverse after his burnout, and Jackson made the most of his free ride with the quickest run of the night for the "B" field, a very good 4.13 at 178 mph that garnered him a spot, and lane choice, in the semi-final. (RIGHT) After a mediocre qualifying pass, Rick Krafft in the "Invader" 'Vette, also got a free pass down the 660 as his opponent Matt NIssen shut off after the burnout, but Krafft failed to take advantage as his 5.99 at 74 mph wasn't nearly good enough to advance to the next round


(LEFT) The "Pop-Bang-Boom" entry of Steve Northrop likewise failed to advance as he redlighted, then coasted to a 7.79 at 74 mph as he headed back to New Mexico in the slow lane. On the (RIGHT), Nancy Matter (near lane) in the "Guardian for Heroes" Firebird, took out the "American Dream" 'Cuda (far lane) of San Antonio's Larry Bradford by a 5.28 - 134 to 5.99 - 91 margin. A good effort for the Dale Pulde tuned Matter but not nearly enough to advance to the semi-finals


A very familiar looking car (LEFT) showed up with a new name and owner/driver as "(Formerly) Fearless" Fred Farndon came in with his recently purchased ex-Shawn Bowen "Violator" and encountered nothing but trouble in the heavy hitting car. He took out the timing cones on his qualifying pass, then crawled down the track (11.74 at 42 mph) in his first round loss. On the (RIGHT), it's Daniel Butherus in the "Rat-A-Tude" starting his burnout prior to a first round loss to Andy Mears, running 4.83 - 153 to Mears' 4.60 - 150


Here's two shots of the "quickest" (3.724 e.t. DQ'd due to boundary infraction) car on the grounds burning out, then launching with the flames over the roof - something you DO NOT see in NHRA Nostalgia FC racing - in his first round race. Unfortunately for the "Amercian Outlaw" team of Allan Middendorf, he was timed out while staging, and lost the race despite a 5.17 pass, while his opponent (Jeff Cameron) left the line with a "sleepy" .722 light and no time recorded in a truly weird final race of the first round of the "B" field


After clocking low e.t. and top speed of the meet in the previous round, Chris Morel in his gorgeous "Little City 'Cuda" fell to the "One Bad Texan" Camaro of John Hale (far lane), by a wide margin: 3.97 - 192 for the Texan to Morel's tractionless, shutting off 8.61 - 54 mph pass


(LEFT) The "Bucket List" car of Nick Poloson fell in the semi-finals to eventual "A" field winner Ken Singleton, despite clocking a very strong 4.04 - 195. Poloson redlighted, then was outrun to the finish line by Singleton's even stronger 3.90 - 195 mph clocking. (RIGHT) In one of the "B" field's semi-finals, Keith Jackson (far lane) laid down a solid 4.21 - 176 to take out the "Ballew Thunder" entry of Jordan Bellew which fell short with a 4.74 at 146 mph


On the (LEFT) side, it's Nick Johnson's beautiful "Prairie Fire" leaving late (.220 light) and falling behind the (almost out of the frame) "Dragon Slayer" Chevy of the "B" field runner-up, Andy Mears. Besides cutting an almost perfect (.004) light, Mears outran Johnson by a 4.55 - 152 to a 4.943 - 141 mph count. On the (RIGHT), we've got the "B" field final, with Colorado's Keith Jackson in the family's iconic "High Heaven" (near lane) entry pounding out a convincing win with a 4.18 - 177 pass to Mears' valiant, but losing, 4.52 at 153 mph pass


After the Game X-Change jet dragster of Ray Kelley did his pyrotechnic thing (LEFT), the final pair of the night (actually, MORNING as it was past 1:00 AM by this point), lined up for the A Event Final, and Ken Singleton (near lane) in his "High Risk" blown alky Monte Carlo took the measure of the "One Bad Texan" nitro-powered Camaro of John Hale by an ultra-thin margin: 3.93 - 195 to a very close 3.94 at 193 mph

And just like that, the 2018 Funny Car Chaos season reached the finish line. With seven or possibly eight races on the agenda for 2019, the Chaos brand is rapidly moving to the forefront of non-Big Show Funny Car racing with it's appealing combination of minimal rules, maximum entertainment, and a racer and fan-friendly atmosphere. Somehow, some way, we've got to see one of these events in person next year, instead of experiencing it vicariously through the internet.

The latest update as of August 5, 2018

More Funny Car Chaos: this time from Central Illinois Dragway (Saturday eliminations)














Jim Gifford 'Nor'Easters' (near lane) vs. Steve Timoszyk 'Detroit Tiger' (far lane) ---

On the left (near lane) - with some serious flames out of the headers - is Jim Gifford in the "Nor'Easter" car, while in the far lane is Steve Timoszyk in a tribute to Poncho Renden's very popular Tom Prock-driven "Detroit Tiger" Monza.



The latest update as of August 2, 2018

More Funny Car Chaos: this time from Central Illinois Dragway (Friday Qualifying)

As reported on the home page, this past weekend saw the FUNNY CAR CHAOS gang invade Central Illinois Dragway for a no-holds barred fuel flopper fest under the lights on Friday and Saturday nights. The final qualifying showed two alky and six nitro cars in the A Field, and at least one of the alky cars advanced to the semi-final round. Parity in the ranks indeed.

Steve Timoszyk - 'Detroit Tiger' --- Rick 'Big Shoe' Wilson - 'UFO' Corvette

On the left, it's Steve Timoszyk in the "Detroit Tiger" Monza, and on the right, it's Rick 'Big Shoe' Wilson in the "UFO" Corvette

Mike McIntire Jr - 'McAttack' --- Jim Gifford and Bill Dee's 'Nor'Easter

To the left is the hard-running "McAttack" Camaro of Mike McIntire Jr., and on the right is Jim Gifford in Bill Dee's "Nor'Easter" Corvette


Two fer one here: Joey Haas (Jr) in the "Nimrod" Mustang, burning out, then staging under the careful direction of his "back-up technician"


One more take on the "Nimrod" as Joey Haas launches ... a little too close to the centreline(left), while on the right, it's Bazz Young in the "Down Under Thunder" Camaro


Another doubleheader with Mark McElwee in his "Buzzy's Nitro Bomber" (there's got to be a story behind that title) Nova/Chevy II blazing the hides and launching with the front wheels skimming the surface


On the left, it's Brian Cunningham in the "Gone Ballistic" Monza, while it's Bill Naves in his "Shooting Star" on the right


On the left side, it's the seldom-seen (lately) "One Bad Texan" Camaro of John Hale, while on the right side, it's Joe Haas (Sr) in the Lew Arrington "Brutus" tribute Mustang


On the left, it's George Reidnauer in his "Excalibur" Corvette (near lane) running against the "UFO" of Rick Wilson (far lane), and on the right, it's Jim Gifford in the "Nor'Easter" (near lane) up against the "Detroit Tiger" of Steve Timsozyk.




The latest update as of July 25, 2018

NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car points standings

Here's the latest (unofficial) points standings in the NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car championship. It took a little sleuthing to fill in the blanks for the events that weren't well-reported, but we're sure we've got the numbers right, with the possible exception of a point or two for Shawn Bowen, driver of the "Bartone & Lebor" Camaro from New York.

A point to keep in mind is that racers can only claim their best six results in the seven-race series, but at this point only three drivers will be able to hit the six-race mark (Cottrell, Bowen, and Boychuk). Of those, only Shawn Bowen may - if he attends Boise - have the option of deleting his lowest point outing from his points tally. Even though there is a mathematical chance for Dan Horan to overtake Cottrell and Bowen for the top spot, his chances range from very slim to none. Tim Boychuk is an every longer shot to overtake the two points leaders.

1Bobby Cottrell11875118---118429
2Shawn Bowen5396977876400
3Dan Horan32------11794243
4Tim Boychuk325476---55217
5Mark Sanders3677------57170
6Jeff Arend37118---------156
7Scott Stanger---5355------108
8Garth Widdison---5251------103
9Jon Rice---5152------103
10John Smith---------95---95
11Ryan Hodgson94------------94
12Billy Morris10---74------84
13Steven Densham75------------75
14Rian Konno71------------71
15Chris Davis10---53------63
16Greg Jacobsmeyer---------56---56
17Jason Rupert54------------54
18Eric Stevens---------54---54
19Tim Nemeth------------5353
20Mike Halstead53------------53
21Paul Romine52------------52
22Geoff Monise32------------32
23Matt Bynum31------------31
24Cory Lee31---------31
25Brad Thompson31------------31
26Kris Krabill10------------10
27Steve Eston10------------10
28Bill Windham10------------10
29Don Hudson10------------10
30Rick Rogers10------------10
31John Weaver10------------10
32Scott Cousimano10------------10

The latest update as of July 22, 2018

NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car race eliminations

We arrived at the track in the early afternoon since Funny Car eliminations weren't scheduled to begin until 5:00 pm. As we pulled in the gate, we noticed a distinct lull in the action as nothing, other than the safety/cleanup crew working on the top end, was happening. It's never a good sign to see them at work down on the top end, as it usually means serious carnage - thankfully only mechanical usually - of some sort.

This time it was the Nostalgia Top Fuel dragster of Victoria's Phil Ruskowksi who was on a very good pass until #1 cylinder went far too lean, burnt the exhaust valve, took the crown off the piston, and started eating the intake valve until the combustion process backed up into the blower manifold. Then BOOM! and $10K worth of Littlefield blower shattered, starting a pretty healthy fire that kept burning past the finish line.

Thankfully, Phil was unhurt, but the hard-working crew - who seemed to be constantly thrashing on the car since they arrived yesterday - went back to work once more. This time to do a post-mortem on the damaged parts, and in the end, start prepping for the next scheduled event - Boise and the Nightfire Nationals in three weeks time.

Just down the road in the Funny Car pits, Tim Nemeth had his qualifying damage repaired in the "Iceman" (it was down to the bare block late Friday night), and was ready to meet low qualifer Bobby Cottrell in his first round matchup. Not so good news came from the Rocky Mountain Funny Car group, as their five race cars was down to four. Despite their best efforts, the White Trash team, with Troy Sitko driving, was done for the weekend. Utilizing a somewhat unique Bruno-drive (a torque convertor replaces the standard pedal clutch) they found the convertor hub completely thrashed, seals that wouldn't seal, and no one in the pits had parts to lend them to effect repairs. As Troy said, "never have I worked so hard to accomplish so little" and that summed up that team's weekend.

With the Rocky Mountain gang down to four cars, and the Northwest funny cars sitting with nine entrants, it was decided to run both groups "Chicago-style". Each car runs twice - in random pairings - and the two quickest cars in their respective groups meet in the final round. In a departure from normal fashion, the Rocky Mountain group decided to make their 6.75 index a "loose" one - as the Northwest group does with their 6.70 index - allowing racers to go under the index, and giving the nod to the racers closest (over or under) to their respective indexes. Simple to understand, isn't it?

With the start of funny car eliminations imminent as 5:00 approached, the grandstands, which had remained very sparsely populated on Friday night, began to fill up as final track prep got underway. Following the anthems, the first pair of Nitro Funny Cars sprang to life and the main event began with a pair of ground-pounding, eardrum assaulting burnouts.

Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car Eliminations - Quarter-finals


In the first pairing, Shawn Bowen (left) in the Bartone & Lebor entry, took on Tim Boychuk in the "Happy Hour" car, shown leaving with the wheels up (right), and took the win with a very strong 5.77 - 249.16 over Boychuk's close, but losing, 5.84 - 242.45 effort. The round win kept Bowen in the championship lead by nine points.


In what was the closest race of the night, Mark Sanders in the "Mr. Explosive" Mustang, (left) lost a very close match with Dan Horan (right, far lane), 5.67 - 257.28 (Low E.T. and Top Speed of the Meet) to a great, but losing, 5.69 - 253.02 count for Sanders.


In the final pairing of the opening stanza, championship contender Bobby Cottrell (left) took on the local favourite Tim Nemeth in his popular "Iceman" entry (right) and pounded out a solid 5.71 - 256.11 win, over Nemeth's trailing - but best of the season - 5.83 - 243.83 effort.

Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car Eliminations - Semi-finals


Opening the second round, Shawn Bowen (left) was under pressure to get past Dan Horan (right) to advance to the final round, and maintain his slim points lead. He gave it his best shot, leaving first and cranking out his best e.t. of the weekend, with a very solid 5.75 - 247.46 to give Horan all he could handle. However, the "Patriot" entry was up to the challenge and held on for a very narrow (.0032 sec) win with an even better 5.73 - 249.16 clocking. It wasn't as quick or fast as his first round numbers, but enough for Horan to take the round win and keep himself in the championship hunt.


The only other car left in eliminations was that of Bobby Cottrell (above - left and right) in the "Bardahl Special" and he didn't take it easy on his bye run, putting down the low elapsed time of the event, a 5.67 at 254.38 mph to hold lane choice for his final round match against Dan Horan.

Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car Eliminations - Final


And then we were down to two, as the last pair standing: Cottrell and Horan, pulled into the burnout box a little after 9:30. With the sun long gone, and the lights on, everyone was waiting for the nitro flames to light up the night. With not much light to work with, and not enough flash to reach the far lane, we've only got shots of Bobby Cottrell burning out, and staging under the direction of car owner/crew chief Bucky "The Northwest Hitter" Austin prior to winning the final with a another great pass, 5.71 - 252.58 over a very worthy challenger, Dan Horan, who faded on the top end with a 5.97 - 207.37 clocking.

The latest update as of July 21, 2018

NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car race updates - Testing & Qualifying

Our first visit to Mission Raceway since last year's Funny Car race started out under a mix of sun and cloud, which gradually turned into a warm, but not hot, afternoon. The first impression of the raceway, circa 2018, was all the missing trees adjacent to the staging lanes. It's put a huge hole in the vista, but has opened up views of the river. However, the addition of a big steel fence has taken away much of the ambience of the venue, and in the process removed quite a bit of shade from the large canopied trees.

Another disappointment was the lack of Funny Cars in attendance, with just 20 on the property: six Nostaliga Nitro Funny Cars, five Rocky Mountain Funny Car association cars, and nine Northwest BB/Funny Car association members. From the nitro-burniung side, Jason Rupert was missing, along with last weekend's runner-up in Edmonton, Ryan Hodgson (defending NHRA Heritage series champion), and Edmonton semi-finalist Jay Mageau in his "Prospector" Corvette.

Bolstering the somewhat thin turnout were two unexpected competitors, as Shawn Bowen in the "Bartone & Lebor" entry, and California's Dan Horan not only showed up, but laid down some impressive numbers. They were out for test runs in the afternoon; Bowen seeing the Mission track for the first time, and Horan making his second visit to the facility.

Shawn Bowen - Bartone & Lebor --- Mark Sanders - Mr. Explosive

Dan Horan (not pictured) was the first nitro car out of the pits, hitting the track just after 2:00 pm. The car left hard, went 3.84 to half track, then shut off well before the finish line. On the left, the second fuel car to test, that of Shawn Bowen came out an hour later, laid down a hard burnout, then was shut off just as he prepared to stage the car. Looked like an oil pressure problem from our vantage point. Just before 4:00, west coast favourite Mark "Mr. Explosive" Sanders, (right) made a strong pull to the 500 ft mark, then clicked it off to a 7.58 - 121.26 clocking.

Phil Davis --- silver Corvette

Some local doorslammers, including (on the left) Phil Davis in his beautiful flamed Willys, made passes during the afternoon. Davis stopped the clocks with a solid 7.74 at 176.15, while we didn't catch the name or numbers for the silver 'Vette on the right.

Hart Braker Too --- Grant Howell

Making a series of license passes, was the new (unidentified) driver in Don Harter's "Hart Braker Too" Arrow, culminating in a final
7.53 - 182.81 pass in the late afternoon. On the right, there's another local doorslammer, Grant Howell, who posted a 7.71 - 175.71 time.

Bobby Cottrell - Bardhal Special & Dan Horan - Patriot --- Tim Nemeth - Iceman

As the Nitro Funny Cars began lining up in the staging lanes for the first qualifying session at 6:00 pm, a pair of them (left) featured Bobby Cottrell and Dan Horan at the head of the line. On the (right) it's Tim Nemeth stopping at the end of his burnout in the "Iceman" entry. His opening effort didn't produce the results the "Iceman" team were looking for, as a 6.32 - 198.67 was punctuated by a lot of smoke and hurt engine parts on the top end.

Tim Boychuk - Happy Hour --- Dan Horan - Patriot

Facing Nemeth inb the first pair down the track in qualifying session number one, was (left) Tim Boychuk in the "Happy Hour" Camaro, and he opened his scorecard with a soliud 5.95 - 241.61 pass in the late afternoon heat. In the next pair, Mark Sanders (not pictured) put down a very strong 5.72 - 251.67 number, as Dan Horan (right) smoked the tires and quickly shut off to a 14.79 - 66.30 in the "Patriot".

Bobby Cottrell - Bardahl Special --- Shawn Bowen - Bartone & Lebor

A very familiar sight for Northwest drag racing fans (left), Bucky Austin's Camaro, with Bobby Cottrell at the wheel, lights up the tires prior to his first qualifying effort - the quickest of the session - 5.69 - 253.24. On the (right) we've got Shawn Bowen speeding down track on his way to an engine-hurting 5.81 at a slowing 226.39 mph.

With only six cars in the lanes (and the pits) it was a very quick round with little downtime, despite lots of smoke on the top end, and at least two severely damaged engines. Looks like the nostalgia guys are learning to keep the oil contained these days. The qualifying list stretched from Bobby Cottrell at #1 with a 5.69 to Dan Horan on the bottom at 14.69. With only one more qualifying session scheduled at 9:00 pm, the pressure was on the slower teams as they returned to the pits.

The latest update as of July 20, 2018

NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car race updates

With just two races remaining in the NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Funny Car season after this weekend's event at Mission Raceway Park, almost all the serious contenders are expected to be in the pits and ready to fight for the championship. Realistically though, only two drivers, Shawn Bowen and Bobby Cottrell, have a chance for the 2018 title. Three of the next four racers in the standings will be competing this weekend so there will almost certainly be some shuffling of the points deck come Saturday night.

With a maximum of 118 points available at this race, there are chances for racers to move up - or down - the list, and an early round loss could put a serious dent in a team's championship aspirations. Of note is the position occupied by the three-time series champion, Jason Rupert, who sits all the way down in 17th place currently. He's not going to be a factor in the title chase - other than to upset a few applecarts - if the car runs the way it's shown it's capable of recently. A final round 5.62 at 261 mph in Seattle two weeks ago is a seriously stout number for anyone to handle.

After Mission, the Funny Cars will compete at Boise's famed Firebird Raceway in their 47th annual Nightfire Nationals, before finishing the season at Bakersfield's California Hot Rod Reunion. A leveling factor is at work in the points as racers can only count their best six of seven events. That helps racers who can't afford to travel to every event - with almost all of the west coast racers skipping Beech Bend Raceway's Holley National Hot Rod Reunion - and the midwest and further east racers - usually not attending the Mission race. With costs of traveling and racing far exceeding the financial returns in the class - and serious sponsorship being nearly non-existent - the series regulars have to pick their spots, while racing smarter, and not necessarily more often.

The latest update as of July 19, 2018

Lucas Oil Canadian National Open & NHRA Heritage Series Funny Car race

The only news today is that we're heading out to Mission Raceway Park tomorrow morning for the Lucas Oils Canadian National Open, which features a (hopefully) full field of Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars (part of the NHRA Heritage Series), and two fields of nostalgia-style blown alky floppers. The Rocky Mountain Nostalgia Funny Car contingent will make the trek across the mountains for their annual foray to the horsepower friendly sea-level air, and 1/4-mile concrete surface at MRP. Joining them will be the Northwest US-based BB/Funny Car Association, with the two groups paired off in random fashion, running well into the six-second zone while putting on a hugely entertaining show, featuring awesome side-by-side burnouts, from the likes of the "Tiki Warrior" and the "Mad Viking", and many, many others.

The latest update as of July 18, 2018

MORE coverage from the 11th annual Good Vibrations Funny Car Nationals at Keystone Raceway Park

Here's a few shots from testing on the Friday night. The race itself was a one-day affair, starting at noon Saturday.


Now on to the main event: Saturday's "Chicago-style" racing, where everyone runs twice, then the quickest cars in each category face off in the final. Before the on-track action, there was the obligatory lineup of the competitors, down both sides of the track to the 1/8-th mile mark. Always a good photo-op as Bob Snyder's shows us.














The latest update as of July 17, 2018

11th annual Good Vibrations Funny Car Nationals at Keystone Raceway Park

Our intrepid road-tripping photographer, Bob Snyder was at it again last weekend, flying across the country to Pennsylvania for the biggest alky flopper race in the country. As always, he was kind enough to provide us with some information and photos from his trip. We've got a heap of them to go through, but for tonight, here's the final rounds in the Blown and Injected categories.

NOTE: There were 28 cars pre-entered, but due to a "cavalcade of circumstances", the two-car "Boston Strangler" team was unable to make the trek down to Keystone from New England Dragway where they performed the previous weekend.


The 11th annual Good Vibrations Funny Car Nationals at Keystone Raceway Park, most likely the largest Alcohol Funny Car race of its kind in this era, went off Saturday with the legendary Bret Kepner as the guest announcer. A total of 26 funny cars battled for Injected and Supercharged bragging rights.


After two rounds of "all-run" passes, the Chicago-style final in Injected Funny Car saw Frank Barnard taking the win over Willie Johnson's 'No Money No Funny', 7.97 to a close, but losing, 8.03. (image left) The Blown final featured Chris Massarella's 'Total Insanity' Monza throwing a giant holeshot on Bill Walls, winning with a 7.03 (on the 7.00 index) while Walls in his 'Nitro Flyer 2' tried too hard to catch Chris with a breakout 6.87 e.t. (image right)

The latest update as of July 16, 2018

Final coverage from the 6th Annual PRO MODS vs FUEL ALTEREDS Showdown!

Saturday Eliminations










The latest update as of July 15, 2018

United Nitro Funny Cars points standings after Race 4 of 5 (Edmonton, AB)

1Bobby Cottrell989896----292
2Tim Boychuk77363250195
3Jason Rupert545478----186
4Steven Densham337633----142
5Billy Morris105735----102
6Wally Giavia103257----99
7Mark Sanders35----54----87
8Geoff Monise323310----75
9Bill Windham313110----72
10Matt Bynum56------------56
11Kris Krabill----1031----41
12Ryan Hodgson------------3030
13Chris Davis----1010----20
14Elaine Sellers----10--------10
---Tim Nemeth--------10----10
---Justin Taylor--------10----10

The latest update as of July 8, 2018

United Nitro Funny Cars rock 'n roll at Pacific Raceways under the lights

We haven't seen the elimination results yet, but there are pictures of Bobby Cottrell and Bucky Austin posing with the winner's trophy so we can take that picture as proof of their victory. A quick glance at one of the (very) shaky cell phone videos posted on Facebook appear to show that #8 qualifier, Kris Krabill, in the "Darkside" entry was a no-show against low qualifier - 5.627 - 258.86 - Jason Rupert, but other than that, we have no names or numbers for the balance of eliminations. We'll dig up the info and possibly some pics later today. For now, here's the qualifying results:

Nitro Funny Car Qualifying - 2nd (final) Session - 4:16 PM - July 7, 2018

1766Jason RupertAnaheim Hills, CA5.627258.86
2743Wally GiaviaKlamath Falls, OR5.665252.66
3736Bobby CottrellWhittier, CA5.691257.43
47000Billy MorrisLa Quinn, CA5.697244.34
56006Mark SandersMaple Valley, WA5.741248.48
6700Steven DenshamOceanside, CA69 Camaro5.841242.71
7666Tim BoychukScottsdale, AZ5.863230.69
8732Kris KrabillKent, WA5.891251.30
97111Bill WindhamEl Dorado Hills, CA5.942235.23
107787Geoff MoniseAnaheim, CA77 Monza5.953233.52
116460Tim NemethChilliwack, BC6.049238.51
126470Chris DavisSpokane, WA6.168230.96
137392Justin TaylorAlbany, OR6.801153.39

Nitro Funny Car Qualifying - 1st Session - 12:28 PM - July 7, 2018

1743Wally GiaviaKlamath Falls, OR5.665252.66
2700Steven DenshamOceanside, CA69 Camaro5.841242.71
3666Tim BoychukyScottsdale, AZ5.863230.69
4732Kris KrabillKent, WA5.891251.30
5736Bobby CottrellWhittier, CA5.908194.21
67111Bill WindhamEl Dorado Hills, CA5.942235.23
77787Geoff MoniseAnaheim, CA77 Monza5.953233.52
86470Chris DavisSpokane, WA6.168230.96
97392Justin TaylorAlbany, OR6.801153.39
106006Mark SandersMaple Valley, WA7.519113.07
116460Tim NemethChilliwack, BC8.99194.16
127000Billy MorrisLa Quinn, CA12.96560.48
13766Jason RupertAnaheim Hills, CA14.67343.13

The latest update as of July 7, 2018

United Nitro Funny Cars rock Spokane; get soaked in Seattle


It's often been said that a "picture is worth a thousand words". And in the case of last night's non-event at Pacific Raceways, the first night of the biggest UNFC race of the season, the picture (courtesy of good friend Dyan Lover) truly fits that description. Our latest look at the Weather Network forecast shows a low (30%) chance of rain this afternoon, decreasing to 20% in the evening. With temps in the low 70's (F) it's shaping up to be a great night of NITRO funny car racing. What could possibly be more classic than Saturday night under the lights with nitro funny cars at Seattle?

Two great posters put out by the association deserve a place on this page while we wait and hope that someone will provide some photos (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean, etc) to go with the results that we're able to receive through the "magic" of Facebook.

We can call it that as when this website started in 1997, news and photos travelled at a snail's pace through cyberspace. Remember dial-up connections that were so slow that you could eat dinner while waiting for a hi-res photo to download?

We'll post the results from Spokane later today, and tomorrow we'll have what news we can gather from Seattle, maybe including photos. If these events are run next year, WE WILL BE THERE in person, instead of sitting on a sunny deck at home, sipping on an ice-cold G&T and contemplating the state of drag racing in 2018. Stay tuned for more updates as soon as we get them.

--- --- ---

The latest update as of July 6, 2018

More coverage from the 6th Annual PRO MODS vs FUEL ALTEREDS Showdown!


Friday Qualifying - Second Session








The latest update as of July 4, 2018

Coverage from the 6th Annual PRO MODS vs FUEL ALTEREDS Showdown!

In a world filled with increasingly strange doings, we can dial back the weird a couple of notches and feature some relatively normal drag racing: The 6th annual Northstar Dragway (Denton, TX) PRO MOD vs FUEL ALTERED Showdown. The rules are very simple: NONE. The format is straightforward: 12 Pro Mods and 12 Fuel Altereds qualify and they race heads-up in the first round; winners advance to the second round; and the quickest of each breed face off in the final.

You want flames? They got 'em. Nitro and nitrous. You want big smokey burnouts? Definitely! You want cool cars that you never see at the "major" events? They're all here! You want oildowns? NO, but they do happen from time to time. You want close exciting, unpredictable racing? It's all here at one of the quickest 1/8-th mile tracks in the country.

Here's just a teaser of the action from the first (of two) qualifying sessions on Friday evening. On Saturday, the cars came out for their final qualifier in the afternoon, then eliminations in the evening. We'll have lots of pictures and results posted over the next few days. As always: stay tuned!

The great pictures are courtesy of our good friends from Phoenix: Bob and Ginger Snyder. Check out their work (lot of it!) at
Bob Snyder Drag Photos

Friday Qualifying - First Session









The latest update as of June 12, 2018

Coverage from the second FUNNY CAR CHAOS event of the 2018 season


Friday Qualifying - First Session






Friday Qualifying - Second Session








Saturday Eliminations









The latest update as of June 6, 2018

Coverage from the second FUNNY CAR CHAOS event of the 2018 season

It appears that the FUNNY CAR CHAOS gang have borrowed a phrase from an old "spaghetti western" movie for their rule book. It can be pretty much summed up with the following statement from the association's website. Rules: There are NO rules in regards to engine combination, body style, etc. The ONLY rules we will enforce are SAFETY.

In addition, they have a list of "encouragements" to augment the show. They are as follows: Highly Encouraged: Huge Burnouts! Dry Hops! Throttle Whacking Warm Ups! Back Up Girls! Staging Duels! Let's Have Fun!. What a concept! And it seems to be working, judging by the fan reaction and the overflowing grandstands.

We've got a bushel of great photos courtesy of Bob and Ginger Snyder, but we're still waiting on the results, other than the winners and runner-ups in the "A" and "B" fields. The plan for the event was to have 24 floppers in attendance which would give them more than enough cars (accounting for breakage) to fill two 8-car fields. Unfortunately, despite a large number of pre-entries, only 17 cars appeared and there were barely enough to produce the promised elimination fields. Despite the shortage of cars, the show went off with some great racing.

Here's a couple of photos to get the ball rolling, with many more to come over the next few days.

Amarillo A Final --- Amarillo B Final

On the left, we've got the A Final with Ken Singleton in the "High Risk" car (near lane) taking the event win over Lyle Greenberg in the "Cone Hunter Corvette (far lane). On the right side, there's the B Final which featured Nick Poloson in the "Bucket List (near lane) taking the win over Ray Stringer in the ""Blown Cent-Less" car (far lane).

Ken Singleton 'High Risk' winners circle --- Nick Poloson 'Bucket List' winners circle

Here's the respective winners circle photos, with Ken Singleton and team on the left, and Nick Poloson and his crew on the right.

Photos are provided courtesy of Bob Snyder, our ace photographer in the Southwestern U.S.A. Check out more of his work on his Bob Snyder Drag Photos website.

The latest update as of April 17, 2018

Coverage from the first UNITED NITRO FUNNY CARS event of the 2018 season

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Photos are provided courtesy of Bob Snyder, our ace photographer in the Southwestern U.S.A. Check out more of his work on his Bob Snyder Drag Photos website.

Lyle Greenberg - TA/FC - 'Cone Hunter' --- Lyle Greenberg - TA/FC - 'Cone Hunter'

James Maher BB/FC --- Hunter Jones TA/FC

Ray Stringer TA/FC --- Ray Stringer TA/FC

Jim Maroney - 'Candies & Highes' AA/FC --- Jim Maroney - 'Candies & Hughes' AA/FC

Rick Nasby AA/FA - 'Full Metal Jacket' --- Western Fuel Altereds

Western Fuel Altereds --- Western Fuel Altereds

Kevin Boyer TFH --- Doorslammer Wagon

JD St Cyr - 'Fassl-Pierce' tribute FC --- James Maher BB/FC 'Junior Vibes'

Steven Densham (near lane) vs Matt Bynum (far lane) --- Steven Densham (near lane) vs Matt Bynum (far lane)

Geoff Monise 'Quarter Pounder' --- Geoff Monise (Near lane) vs Tim Boychuk (far lane)

Bobby Cottrell 'Bardahl Special' --- Bill Windham (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell (far lane)

Jason Rupert (near lane) vs Mark Sanders (far lane)

Ed Middlebrook - AA/FA - 'Myth Racing' --- Assassin (near lane) vs Full Metal Jacket (far lane)

Tim Boychuk 'Happy Hour' AA/FC

Bobby Cottrell 'Bardahl Special' --- Jason Rupert (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell (far lane)

Hunter Jones TA/FC --- Kevin Knowles AA/FA

Jerry Hall 'Instant Rush' AA/FA --- Rick Nasby - 'Full Metal Jacket' AA/FA

Kevin Boyer - 'ACE Racing' TF/H --- 'Little Red Fire Truck' wheelstander

Tim Boychuk (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell (far lane)

The latest update as of April 15, 2018

Coverage from the first UNITED NITRO FUNNY CARS event of the 2018 season

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This report and photos are provided courtesy of Bob Snyder, our correspondent and ace photographer in the Southwestern U.S.A. Check out more of his work on his Bob Snyder Drag Photos website.

The two-day event started with a single qualifying session on Friday evening. Just a coincidence that it happened to fall on Friday the 13th. With eleven cars on hand the fireworks under the night sky promised to be intense.

Mark Sanders 'Mr. Explosive' --- Tim Boychuk 'Happy Hour'

Mark Sanders (far lane) vs Tim Boychuk (near lane)

Leading off were Mark "Mr. Explosive" Sanders (far lane) against Canada's Tim Boychuk (near lane) in his "Happy Hour" entry. Breaking out of the gate first was Boychuk with an early shut-off 5.810 at only 224.10 mph to take the stripe ahead of a solid but slower 5.904 coupled with a 207.91 mph trap speed for Sanders. Mr. Explosive upped the ante on Saturday with a much better 5.844 - 240.21 to take the #4 spot on the final qualifying list.

Steven Densham 'Teachers Pet' --- Steven Densham 'Teachers Pet' (far lane) vs Wally Giavia 'G-Men' (near lane)

Next up was a bit of a "David vs Goliath" (or, if you prefer, Steven vs Wally) battle, with the would-be giant killer Wally Giavia in the "G-Men" Dodge Omni (near lane) against the very fast "Teachers Pet" Camaro of Steven Densham. It was no contest as Giavia's 7.162 -132.11 was train-lengthed by Densham's strong 5.851 at a relatively big speed of 241.67 mph. On Saturday, Giavia improved to a 6.317 - 170.23 but was still well behind the pack, finishing up last on the 10-car list.

Billy Morris 'Problem Child' (near lane) vs Bobby Cottrell 'Bardahl Special' (far lane)

This year's March Meet champion in the Bucky Austin owned and tuned "Bardahl Special" (far lane), blasted out low e.t. of the night with a very strong 5.698 at 247.34 mph to easily outdistance Billy Morris in his "Shakedown" Camaro which came up well short at 6.502 - 151.07. Morris sorted out his problems (somewhat) on Saturday with a decent 6.047 - 220.37 to take the #9 position in the qualifying order.

Jason Rupert 'Rolling Thunder' --- Jason Rupert 'Rolling Thunder' (far lane) vs Matt Bynum 'Nitro Nick' (near lane)

Multi-time series champion (NHRA Heritage and IHRA Nitro Jam) Jason Rupert in the "Littlefield & Rupert" "Rolling Thunder" Camaro put up the best speed of the night at 250.27 mph, coupled with a 5.845 e.t. to outrun Matt Bynum in the "Nitro Nick" Camaro, which cleared the traps at an early shutoff 5.970 - 209.92. Bynum did come back on Saturday afternoon with an excellent 5.825 - 249.49 pass to move ahead of Rupert on the qualifying sheet and take the #3 spot.

Bill Windham 'Shakedown' --- Bill Windham 'Shakedown' (near lane) vs Geoff Monise 'Quarter Pounder' (far lane)

The final pairing of the evening saw Bill Windham in the "Shakedown" Camaro run strong until the 1000 ft mark, before shutting off to a 6.172 - 183.84 to fall behind Geoff Monise in the Van Gundy & Clark "Quarter Pounder" Monza's solid 5.929 - 242.19 pass. It was a close matchup until Windham gave up the chase, letting Monise turn on the winlight.

After all the smoke cleared on Saturday afternoon, this was the final qualifying list.

1736Bobby CottrellWhittier CA69 Camaro5.698247.34247.34
2666Tim BoychukScottsdale AZ69 Camaro5.810224.10241.07
3707Matt BynumYpsilanti MI70 Camaro5.825249.49249.49
46006Mark SandersMaple Valley WA70 Mustang5.844240.21240.21
5766Jason RupertAnaheim CA69 Camaro5.845250.37250.37
6700Steven DenshamOceanside CA69 Camaro5.851241.67244.34
77787Geoff MoniseAnaheim CA77 Monza5.929242.19242.19
87111Bill WindhamEl Dorado Hills CA69 Camaro5.932231.56231.56
97000William MorrisLa Quinta CA69 Camaro6.047220.37220.37
10743Wally GiaviaKlamath Falls OR79 Omni6.317170.23170.23

The latest update as of March 19, 2018

Exclusive coverage from the first NITRO OUTLAW DRAG RACING ASSOCIATION event


This exclusive report and photos are provided courtesy of Bob Snyder, our correspondent and ace photographer in the Southwestern U.S.A. Check out more of his work on his Bob Snyder Drag Photos website.

This past weekend saw Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park hold the opening round of the NDHRA (National Diesel Hot Rod Association) series along with the first race of the Nitro Outlaw Drag Racing Association. The new Nitro series was formed to help with the problem of so much breakage using a "big-show" tuneup, with the main difference in specs being a cut to only 80% Nitro in the tank. Six cars were to be at the opener but one Top Fuel racer (Lex "The Flying Dutchman" Joon) had a problem with getting a rig to make the trip to Phoenix.

Chris Bennett --- Todd Simpson FC

Cory Mac(lenathan) and Bill Litton in Top Fuelers, and Chris Bennett, Todd Simpson and Jack Wyatt in their Funny Cars made up the all-run field. They started out with all competitors making single runs to get a "no pressure" feel of the new combo and track, with Bill Litton running quickest at 4.08 and an early shutoff 247 mph.

Cory Mac TF --- Jack Wyatt vs Todd Simpson

Round one of competition featured one single pass, followed by two pairings, with the quickest Funny Car to face the quickest Top Fueler in the final round. Chris Bennett had some serious shake on his single which broke a chassis piece that took out his left rear slick, but was able to bring the damaged race car to a safe stop. Jack Wyatt and Cory Mac (with a 4.10 at 303 mph became the finalists as Todd Simpson and Bill Litton both had issues.

Jack Wyatt FC vs Cory Mac TF - Final --- Jack Wyatt FC vs Cory Mac TF - Final

In the final, Cory Mac ran a 4.08 at 301 mph to win over a troubled Jack Wyatt and take the inaugural event win for the fledging association. The next stop for this group will be at the Texas Motorplex (Ennis, TX) on April 28th, again as part of an NDHRA race.


The latest update as of March 18, 2018

49th annual NHRA (Amalie Oils) Gatornationals

Barely two days before qualifying started at the Gatornationals, the 3rd of 24 races on the 2018 NHRA schedule, a rather sudden - but not really surprising - announcement came down about a new penalty for centerline and/or timing block infractions. There's been a continuing increase in such incidents over the past few years and the latest crash resulting from crossing the centerline (the John Force - Jonnie Lindberg crash at Phoenix last month) is presumed to have caused the NHRA to enact the rule change.

It applies to racers in all categories at national events and will result in increasing penalties - from 5 to 10 to 15 points - for subsequent infractions. No monetary penalties will be added. There was no mention whether it will be extended to regional or divisional events, but that can be expected if the number of centerline violations continue unabated.

In our opinion, this move is overdue as speeds continue to increase, racers push ever harder attempting to win, and if their competitive instincts aren't tempered somewhat, it will only be a matter of time until a racer is seriously injured or killed. Thankfully, a centerline crossing hasn't resulted in a fatality for a very long time, but that's down to luck as much as good engineering, and constantly improved safety regulations.

It only took until the first round of eliminations for the rule to kick in, as Steve Torrence had the dubious honour of being the first recipient of a five-point penalty. Sadly, the next infraction in the second round of Top Fuel involved Mike Salinas, and he not only received the points deduction, but ended up with a crashed race car as he not only crossed the centerline, but hit the wall. He did the right thing by getting off the throttle when he smoked the tires right off the line, but got too excited when he saw opponent Richie Crampton going up in smoke also, and got back on the throttle too hard and too soon, putting the car sideways, up on two wheels, across the line and into the opposite wall. No word yet on how badly damaged the car (and more importantly, the driver) fared.

The latest update as of March 12, 2018

Better late than never: the 60th annual March Meet

We've got almost all the photos from the March Meet and now it's time to arrange them from latest to earliest, starting with Sunday's eliminations. With Saturday being almost a total washout, the Nostalgia Funny Cars had their work cut out for them, with four rounds on tap, instead of the usual three. We'll kick off our coverage with the first round of the plastic fantastics.

Nostalgia Funny Car - Round One eliminations

Dan Horan AA/FC --- Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Rolling Thunder'

The first pair out of the lanes saw Dan Horan (left) break before staging, leaving Jason Rupert to single for the automatic win. Jason didn't spare the horses, but overpowered the track right off the starting line and coasted to an 18-second time

Steven Densham AA/FC - 'Teachers Pet' --- Geoff Monise AA/FC - 'Quarter Pounder'

In the next pairing, Steven Densham in the "Teachers Pet" (left) laid down a big number with a 5.69 - 252.24 to easily erase Geoff Monise (right - pictured Thursday) and his late-leaving early shut-off 7.10 - 113.74 losing effort

Brad Thompson AA/FC - 'Jailbreak'

With a decided disadvantage against Bobby Cottrell based on qualifying positions (#16 vs #1) Brad Thompson tried his best with the "Jailbreak" Camaro, but was more than half a tenth late at the tree, and gave up before the 1000 ft mark, with a 6.04 - 181.32 clocking

Bobby Cottrell AA/FC - 'Bardahl Special' --- 5.62 - 254.47

Low qualifier Bobby Cottrell cruised into the quarter-finals in his Bucky Austin-tuned car with a 5.62 - 254.47 time on the boards. Unfortunately for the crew, that time was barely visible through the cloud of piston smoke as they knew they were going to have to thrash to make the next round

Rian Konno AA/FC - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno' --- Jeff Arend AA/FC - 'California Hustler'

In a big upset, the heavily favoured #2 qualified "California Hustler" owned by Don Nelson and driven by NHRA big show veteran Jeff Arend (left - pictured Friday) was dispatched in a close race by the Roland Leong-tuned Mustang of Rian Konno. The scoreboards favoured Arend by a margin of 5.75 - 256.89 versus Konno's 5.84 - 241.89 but the devil was truly in the details, as Konno's .016 light put a big holeshot on Arend's rather tardy .141 launch

Paul Romine AA/FC - 'Man O' War' --- Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr. Explosive'

After nearly identical leaves, Indiana's Paul Romine in his "Man O' War"steadily opened a lead over the "Mr. Explosive" Mustang of Washington State's Mark Sanders until Sanders threw in the towel and slowed to a 6.53 - 156.92 time, as Romine powered on to a 5.81 - 232.63 win

Tim Boychuk AA/FC - 'Happy Hour' --- Ryan Hodgson AA/FC - 'Pacemaker'

Despite the hometowns on the entry list, this was truly an all-Edmonton battle, with defending NHRA Heritage Series champion, Ryan Hodgson (right) taking out the "Happy Hour" entry of Tim Boychuk (left) by a decisive 5.70 -257.33 to a 6.00 - 216.34 margin

Shawn Bowen AA/FC - 'Bartone & Lebor' --- Matt Bynum AA/FC - 'Nitro Nick'

The closest race of the round featured Shawn Bowen (left - pictured Friday) in the Bartone & Lebor (yes, that Bartone) taking on Matt Bynum in the "Nitro Nick" car (right - pictured Thursday). Bowen left first by just .037, and turned on the win light with a great 5.68 - 251.06 over Bynum's hard-charging 5.71 pass coupled with a (slightly suspect IMHO) Top Speed of the Meet 259.61 mph

Cory Lee AA/FC - 'Pedaler'

Unfortunately we don't (yet) have a picture of the winner of the final pair in the first round as Mike Halstead in Lee Jennings' "Code Red" didn't show up in our inbox. Halstead took the win easily over Cory Lee (pictured Thursday) in Gary Turner's "Pedaler" entry, carding a solid 5.89 - 253.28 over Lee's slowing and losing 7.88 - 118.06 pass

Nostalgia Top Fuel - Round One eliminations

Pete Wittenberg AA/FD - 'Circuit Breaker'

Eventual winner Pete Wittenberg in his sophomore season behind the wheel of the "Circuit Breaker" easily dispatched first round opponent Brendan Murry (not shown) with a solid 5.84 e.t. at a slowing 221.92 mph, as Murray had nothing for him at 9.27 and 94.48

Bret Williamson AA/FD --- Dan Horan AA/FD

Moving past his first round opponent with ease was Bret Williamson who laid down a 5.79 at only 212.19 mph. Unable to muster much of a fight was Dan Horan (picture from Thursday) who trailed badly at 6.44 - 215.13

Mendy Fry AA/FD - 'High Speed Motorsports' --- Adam Sorokin AA/FD - 'Champion Speed Shop'

After taking the top qualifying spot with a 5.73 e.t. coupled with only a 219.51 trap speed, Mendy Fry (left - pictured Friday) in the "High Speed Motorsports" entry, laid down a bomb in the first round, obliterating Adam Sorokin (right) in the "Champion Speed Shop" entry. The verdict: 5.69 - 261.42 (good for Top Speed of the Meet) for Fry, against Sorokin's well-back 6.11 - 219.04 effort

Jim Murphy AA/FD - 'WWII' --- Rick White AA/FD

The final pairing of the opening stanza (I've been waiting for months to use that very well-worn drag racing cliche) saw the 2017 NHRA Heritage Series champion (and 2017 March Meet runner-up) Jim Murphy (left) in his ultra-tough "WW II" take out Rick White (right - pictured Friday) in the Forever Young" entry by a wide margin at 5.84 - 321.08 over White's 6.22 - 242.71 futile effort

Kin Bates A/FD

We only got two pictures of A/FD's this weekend (Kin Bates and Shawn Corbari), but this one of Kin Bates shows him enroute to the win in the very tough 16-car field. Bates qualified second behind Drew Austin's (yes, that Austin family) incredible 5.81 e.t., with his own very strong 5.89 coupled with a huge speed of 235.10 mph. From there, he marched through the field, cranking out two straight 235-mph speeds, and crossed the finish line in the final with a 5.84 - 233.88 effort

Here's a selection of Sportsman shots and at the very bottom of the report, the AA/Fuel Altered (the Awful-Awfuls) final

Tire Shake! --- Blake Reynolds 7.0 PRO

If you think only the big boys can shake the tires HARD, guess again as the photo on the left was taken during 7.0 PRO eliminations. On the right is Blake Reynolds in his very cool '48 Fiat

Gasser Wheelie --- Wheelie Truck

On the left is an unidentified Gasser reaching for the sky, while a FlatDeck Wheelie Truck does it on the right

Bill Becker C/G - '33 Willys --- Jeep

We've got Bill Becker in his C/Gas '33 Willys panel on the left, and on the right, an unidentified stock-appearing Jeep

Tod Barker B/G - '48 Anglia --- David Wilson B/G

On the left, it's Tod Barker in his cool B/Gas '48 Anglia, who suffered an unfortunate deep stage disqualification in the first round, while to the right, it's David Wilson in his '40 Ford pickup. Wilson broke and didn't advance either

Ed 'The Outlaw' Jones --- Terminal Velocity JET Car

The exhibition cars fill the gaps near the end of the show, and Bakersfield pays homage to two of the showier of them. Ed "The Outlaw" Jones keeps the wheels up on his venerable "Jelly Belly" firetruck, while the "Terminal Velocity" Jet Dragster lights up the late afternoon

Eric Gates vs Dan Hix AA/FA Final

Here's the final round of AA/Fuel Altered. In the near lane we've got the winner, Dan Hix shown pulling out to a big early lead over runner-up Eric Gates. It was pretty much a done deal at the green, with Gates really late with a .204 light against Hix's so-so .153 leave. From there on, Hix train-lengthed Gates, with a 6.30 at only 168.10 mph over Gates' shutting off 8.91 - 93.32 effort

The latest update as of March 10, 2018

Better late than never: the 60th annual March Meet

Let's get started with a few pics from Wednesday's test session which mostly consisted of AA/FCs, 5.90 FCs, and an AA/FA or two.

Steve Easton AA/FC - 'Burnin' Money' --- Brad Thompson AA/FC - 'Jailbreak'

Aussie Steve Easton made it out on Wednesday to ignite (a whole bunch) more cash in Bob Godfrey's "Burnin' Money" 'Cuda (left). During the second qualifying session on Friday, the engine went BANG, the body flew away, and their weekend was over. Here's the link to the in-car Facebook video of the carnage. On the right side Brad Thompson shows off the System 1 colours on his "Jailbreak" Camaro

Shawn van Horn AA/FC - 'Choo Choo Mama' --- Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr Explosive'

A new car/driver is Shawn van Horn's "Choo Choo Mama" Trans-Am (left), while perennial hard charger Mark Sanders blasts off in his veteran "Mr. Explosive" Mustang (right)

Billy Morris AA/FC - 'Problem Child' --- Don Hudson AA/FC - 'The Beachcomber'

On the left is a new addition to the nostalgia flopper ranks with Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" while on the right, Don Hudson has the "Beachcomber" looking as sharp as ever

Shane Harter in Dave --- Richard Wilson A/G 'Voodoo Hemi'

This year it's Shawn Harter behind the wheel of Dave "Nasty" Benjamin's always tough AA/Fuel Altered (on the left) and Richard Wilson's awesome "Voodoo Hemi" launching with a shower of sparks (on the right)

Jeff Paulin H/R --- Dennis Jauregui H/R

Now it's Bob Snyder's wife Ginger, providing us with some great sportsman shots

Bruce Boardman D/G --- 777E Slingshot --- 7678
Smoke Screen

Proceedings came to a rather untidy end as an errant - and as yet unnamed - A/Fuel Dragster left a very large trail of oil from half track to well past the finish line. With the temperatures dropping and the dew point rapidly approaching, it was decided to not throw good money after bad and the hard-working Famoso crew called it a wrap for the day

Day two of the March Meet saw all the categories, save the blown fuel cars, participating in their first qualifying sessions. The fuel cars did get out on the Famoso Raceway surface for a "bonus" test session, and most of the racers took advantage of the extra practice available.

Shawn Van Horn 590 FC --- Claude Lavoie 590 FC

It's Shawn van Horn on the left and Edmonton's Claude Lavoie on the right with their 5.90 indexed Funny Cars

Geoff Monise AA/FC - 'Quarter Pounder' --- Don Hudson AA/FC - 'Beachcomber'

Newcomer Geoff Monise in the QuarterPounder Monza is on the left, while Don Hudson's 'Beachcomber' resides on the right side of this pair

Jim Murphy AA/FD - 'WWII' --- Chris Bennett AA/FA - 'High Heaven'

Dean Oberg 'Holy Toledo' 590 FC vs John Evans TF --- Todd Miller AA/FA

Dan Horan AA/FC --- Rian Konno AA/FC - 'Kazanjian & Lemon'

Vince Gerealao AA/FA --- Kris Krabill AA/FC - 'Smokey's Darkside'

Tim Boychuk AA/FC - 'Happy Hour' --- Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Littlefield & Rupert'

Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr. Explosive' --- Dan Horan AA/FD

Mark Whynaught AA/FA --- Eric Gates AA/FA

Brad Thompson TF - 'Rain for Rent' --- Cory Lee AA/FC - 'Pedaler'

Claude Lavoie AA/FC --- Pete Wittenberg AA/FD - 'Circuit Breaker'

Steve Easton AA/FC - 'Burnin' Money' --- Dean Oberg 590 FC - 'Holy Toledo'

Matt Bynum AA/FC - 'Nitro Nick' --- Ryan Hodgson AA/FC - 'Pacemaker'

Chris Davis AA/FC --- Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Rolling Thunder'

Eric Gates AA/FA --- Todd Miller AA/FA

Phil Ruskowski AA/FD --- Brad Thompson T/F - 'Warren, Coburn & Miller'

Dyan Lover & Ginger Snyder

Here's two of the women behind the lenses, with Port Alberni's Dyan Lover on the left and Phoenix's Ginger Snyder on the right

Friday was the first day of qualifying for Top Fuel, Fuel Altered and Funny Car at the March Meet and the weather threatened to break throughout the day. With an even worse forecast for Saturday's final qualifying sessions, the smart money was on making their first shot(s) count on Friday, instead of gambling on the final day of time trials. Unfortunately, a few racers got caught out as the track got colder and slipperier when the sun went down.

Bobby Cottrell AA/FC - 'Bardahl' --- Pete Wittenberg AA/FD

We may as well cut to the chase and spoil the surprise: here's the winners: Bobby Cottrell in Bucky Austin's "Bardahl Special" on the left, while upset-underdog-darkhorse (pick an appropriate adjective) Pete Wittenberg in the "Circuit Breaker" AA/Fuel Dragster is on the right

Dean Oberg 590 FC - 'Holy Toledo'

Here's Dean Oberg charging out in his 5.90 indexed Funny Car. Yes, it is a replica of a 1967 Jeep, but it's definitely a period-correct flopper. The next batch of photos were provided by Bob's wfie Ginger Snyder who certainly knows her way around a camera. Great work Ginger!

Shawn Bowen AA/FC - 'Bartone & Lebor' --- Kris Krabill AA/FC - 'Smokey's Darkside'

The nostalgia funny cars had the luxury of two qualifying sessions on Friday (other nitro categories got just one), and Shawn Bowen (left) made the most of his chances, ending up in the lucky #7 spot with a 5.788 at 246.88 clocking, while Kris Krabill (right) just missed making the cut, at #17 with a 6.154 - 225.79 in the "Smokey's Darkside" Challenger

Billy Morris AA/FC - 'Problem Child' --- Paul Romine AA/FC - 'Man O' War'

Newcomer Billy Morris in the "Problem Child" Camaro was well down the list at #20, missing the show with a best of 6.518 - 210.21 (left), while veteran fuel racer Paul Romine in his "Man O' War" Mustang qualified solidly at #12 with a 5.890 at 234.00 pass

Bill Windham AA/FC - 'Shakedown' --- Steve Densham AA/FC - 'Teachers Pet'

Jeff Arend AA/FC - 'California Hustler --- Mark Sanders AA/FC - 'Mr. Explosive'

Jason Rupert AA/FC - 'Rolling Thunder' --- Don Knoblauch

Bobby Cottrell AA/FC - 'Bardahl Special' --- John Weaver AA/FC

Don Hudson AA/FC - 'Beachcomber' --- Rian Konno AA/FC - 'Kazanjian, Lemon & Konno'

Jeff Utterback 590 FC - 'Pisano & Matsubara' --- Claude Lavoie 590 FC

Shawn Corbari A/FD --- Mendy Fry AA/FD - 'High Speed Motorsports'

Phil Ruskowski AA/FD --- Dusty Green AA/FD - 'Nitro-Hemi'

Rick White AA/FD

Shawn Bowen AA/FC - 'Bartone & Lebor' --- Steven Densham AA/FC - 'Teachers Pet'

Rick Rogers AA/FC - 'Fighting Irish' --- Cory Lee AA/FC - 'Pedaler'

Scott Cousimano AA/FC - Nitro Mafia --- Don Knoblauch AA/FC

We've got two of the ten (or so) non-qualifiers in this next pairing. On the left, it's Scott Cousimano in the "Nitro Mafia" '78 Arrow, while on the right, it's Don Knoblauch in his flat-black version. Cousimano got on the list with a 9-second time, while Knoblauch couldn't back up after the burnout on his first attempt, then left before the tree came down on his last shot and didn't get a timeslip

Shawn van Horn 590 FC - 'Choo Choo Mama' --- Claude Lavoie 590 FC

There was a second nitro funny car field at this event, with four cars running in the 5.90 index class. Here's the quickest qualifiers, with Shawn van Horn in his "Choo Choo Mama" on the left, and Edmonton's Claude Lavoie in his very cool '72 Satellite on the right. Despite qualifying at the top of the field, both cars were gone after the first round of eliminations

Dean Oberg 590 FC - 'Holy Toledo' --- Brad Thompson TF - 'Rain for Rent'

This is definitely an odd couple: Dean Oberg (again) in his recreation of Ed Lenarth's "Secret Weapon", now running with the moniker "Holy Toledo" on the left, while Brad Thompson wheeled the "Rain for Rent" of Warren, Coburn & Miller

Shane Harter AA/FA - 'Nasty Benjamin' --- Jim Holtz AA/FA - 'Trouble Maker'

Now it's all Fuel Altereds, all the time (at least until the end of this report

Todd Miller AA/FA --- Rodney Flournoy AA/FA - Godzilla'

Tom Padilla AA/FA - 'Red DRagon' --- Eric Gates AA/FA

Jeremy Sullivan AA/FA --- Keith Wilson AA/FA - 'Witch Doctor'

James Day AA/FA - 'Black Sunshine' --- Dan Hix  AA/FA

Robert Winefsky AA/FA - 'Coyote Express' --- Backup Girl

The last car for this part of the report is another newcomer from Arizona, Robert Winefsky who went all the way to the semi-final in his big event debut in the beautiful Coyote Express. And yes, we know it's 2018 but we can still show a backup girl photo... or two, if we can find some more...

Tim Marshall RIP

Saturday was mostly a washout as only a dozen funny cars made it down the track between the persistent rain showers throughout the day. At the end of a very long, cold, and wet day, a small group gathered near the starting line to honour the recent passing of one of the great photographers in the sport of drag racing, Tim Marshall. RIP, my friend.

The latest update as of February 25, 2018

NHRA Arizona Nationals underway at Phoenix

While there were a series of great performances during qualifying, including many career bests, and several resets of the Top Fuel national speed record, the first round of eliminations provided more than its fair share of upsets. Greg Carrillo over Tony Schumacher. Richard "Nitroholic" Townsend over Jack "(not so) Fast" Beckman, and everybody's favourite underdog, Scott Palmer, over Richie Crampton. Also advancing to the quarter final round were Billy Torrence, in his first appearance in nearly two years, and Blake Alexander, in his first race behind the wheel of Bob Vandergriff's car. It's beginning to look like this season might not be as predictable as some people had expected.

The trend continued in the second round, with Greg Carrillo knocking off another of the DSR heavy hitters, Antron Brown, and Soctt Palmer followed with an easy victory over Leah Pritchett (in yet another DSR car). The semifinals will feature an all-Torrence match between father and son, and a guaranteed first-time finalist: either local racer Greg Carrillo or the (relatively) low-budget entry of Missouri's Soctt Palmer. This is definitely getting interesting.

The latest update as of February 9, 2018

NHRA Winternationals underway at Pomona

The action at the traditional season opener in Pomona, the 58th annual Winternationals, has begun in earnest with the first rounds of Pro qualifying completed. Yesterday's opening day saw the Top Alcohol cars make their first attempts, at the end of a long day of Sportsman qualifying. The action continues later this afternoon with the second qualifiers for the Pro cars, Top Fuel Harleys, and the Top Alky gang(s).

There's not enough time to write anything about Pomona until tomorrow, and we've just received the Friday photos from last week's "Spring Training" test session at Phoenix, so it's going to be a busy weekend here, and much busier of course in Pomona. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the weekend.

The latest update as of February 6, 2018

NHRA Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park - SUNDAY

Our good friend Bob Snyder ran into a series of misadventures over the weekend, culminated by locking his keys inside his van in the parking lot at the track.... 45 miles from home. It was a long night and that was one contributing factor in our delayed coverage of the Nitro Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. That said, here's the best shots from Sunday, when the Top Alochol and Top Fuel Harleys took to the track, and some of the lesser known racers brought out their cars.

Julie Nataas AFD --- Jordan Vandergriff AFD

Julie Nataas (left) and Jordan Vandergriff (right)

Greg Anderson PS --- Jason Line PS

Greg Anderson (left) and Jason Line (right)

Shawn Cowie TAD --- Scott Palmer TF

Shawn Cowie (left) and Scott Palmer (right)

Jack Beckman FC --- John Force FC

Jack Beckman (left) and John Force right

Sean Bellemeur TAFC --- Tiffany Januik TAD

Sean Bellemeur (left) and Tiffany Januik (right)

Nick Januik TAFC --- Matt Bynum NFC

Nick Januik in his Top Alcohol Funny Car (left) and Matt Bynum driving the "Nitro Nick" nostalgia flopper(right)

Bo Butner in Harry Hruska's PM --- Ray Martin

Bo Butner driving Harry Hruska's Pro Mod (left) and Ray Martin's "Intentional Incident" (right)

Ray Martin TAFC launch --- Ray Martin TAFC burnout

Two more shots from earlier in the day of Ray Martin's Top Alcohol Funny Car

The latest update as of February 4, 2018

NHRA Spring Training continues at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park - SATURDAY

Jonnie Lindberg FC --- Terry McMillen TF

Jonnie Lindberg (left), Terry McMillen (right)

Bill Litton TF --- Cruz Pedregon FC

Bill Litton (left), Cruz Pedregon (right)

Shawn Langdon FC --- Courtney Force FC

Shawn Langdon (left), Courtney Force (right)

--- Bob Tasca FC --- Robert Hight FC

Bob Tasca III (left), Robert Hight (right)

--- Jack Beckman (left) Tommy Johnson (right) FC ---

Jack Beckman left lane Tommy Johnson right lane

Tommy Johnson FC --- Terry Brian TF

Tommy Johnson (left), Terry Brian (right)

Scott Palmer TF --- Jack Beckman FC

Scott Palmer (left), Jack Beckman (right)

Ron Capps FC --- John Force FC

Ron Capps (left), John Force (right)

Tommy Johnson FC --- Mike Salinas TF

Tommy Johnson (left), Mike Salinas (right)

Bo Butner PM --- Jeg Coughlin PS

Bo Butner (left, driving Harry Hruska's Pro Mod car), Jeg Coughlin (right)

--- Greg Carrillo TF ---

Greg Carrillo

The latest update as of February 3, 2018

NHRA Spring Training continues at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park - FRIDAY

We're working on going through all the great Friday photos that Bob Snyder sent us from "Spring Training". It might be tomorrow before they're all posted, but stay tuned.

Day two at Wild Horse Pass is in the books and the action heated up considerably during the second go-round. At the end of the day a total of 15 Top Fuel drivers and 14 Nitro Funny Car pilots had made at least one pass. Pro Stock showed much less participation with only six drivers making an attempt so far. Notable by their absence - at least on the track as they are in the pits - were KB Racing teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line.

Of the Top Ten drivers in the 2017 Top Fuel standings, all made at least one pass so far, with #7 Shawn Langdon switching allegiance and jumping into the Global Technologies funny car of Kalitta Motorsports. On the fuel coupe side of the pits, all of the Top Tenners, except Tim Wilkerson have tested the track, but he will be back in his car Saturday after letting recently licensed Chad Green get some more seat time. Green showed that he's a quick learner after moving up from Pro Mod, with his best pass of the day being a 3.90 at 313 mph.

Joining the regular competitors were part-timers, like Top Fuel's Blake Alexander in Bob Vandergriff's car, who ripped off a very strong 3.77 pass that ended at the 800 ft. mark. He followed up that effort with an even better 3.755 at "only" 284 mph. Rookie Greg Carillo, who made his TF debut at Denver last year didn't get past the 100 ft. mark before igniting the tires. Finally, Terry Brian made his first pass towards upgrading his Fuel Altered license to Top Fuel and shut off very early to a high 7-second number.

Cruz Pedregon FC --- Ron Capps FC

Cruz Pedregon left, and Ron Capps (right)

Courtney Force FC --- JR Todd FC

Courtney Force (left), and JR Todd (right)

Steve Torrence TF --- Mike Salinas TF

Steve Torrence (left), and Mike Salinas (right)

Clay Millican TF - Matt Hagan FC --- Tommy Johnson FC

Clay Millican vs Matt Hagan (left), and Tommy Johnson (right)

Robert Hight FC --- Erica Enders PS

Robert HIght (left), Erica Enders (right)

Courtney Force FC --- Cruz Pedregon FC

Courtney Force (left), Cruz Pedregon (right)

Jack Beckman FC --- Shawn Langdon FC

Jack Beckman (left), Shawn Langdon (right)

Tony Schumacher TF --- Terry McMillen TF

Tony Schumacher (left), Terry McMillen (right)

John Force FC --- Matt Hagan FC

John Force (left), Matt Hagan (right)

Greg Carrillo TF --- Bo Butner PM

Greg Carrillo (left), Bo Butner in Harry Hruska's car (right)

Ron Capps FC --- Jeg Coughlin PS

Ron Capps (left), Jeg Coughlin (right)

Deric Kramer PS --- Doug Kalitta TF

Deric Kramer (left), Doug Kalitta (right)

Richard Townsend FC --- Brittany Force TF

Richard Townsend (left), Brittany Force (right)

Tim Wilkerson FC --- Matt Hagan - JR Todd FC

Tim Wilkerson (left), Matt Hagan and JR Todd (right)

Bob Tasca FC --- Blake Alexander TF

Bob Tasca (left), Blake Alexander (right)

Courtney Force - Cruz Pedregon FC --- Terry McMillen TF

Courtney Force and Cruz Pedregon (left), Terry McMillen (right)

Richie Crampton TF --- Jack Beckman FC

Richie Crampton (left), Jack Beckman (right)

The latest update as of February 2, 2018

NHRA Spring Training starts at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park - THURSDAY

Judging by the pictures we've received from ace photog and good friend, Bob Snyder, it looks like a nice time to be in Phoenix for the unofficial/official kickoff of the 2018 NHRA drag racing season. Lots of race cars, new faces, new paint schemes - actually wraps nowadays - and some rather stout numbers coming out of the Arizona desert facility. We'll be working as time permits this weekend to bring photos and reports from the "Spring Training" event.

Remember to refresh this page each time you visit - and you really should come back to see the latest news and photos from Phoenix - throughout the weekend. To see full-size images, click on the smaller images on the page.

Erica Enders PS - 6.559 - 210.57 --- Alex Laughlin PS - 6.590 - 209.04

As you can see from the scoreboard insets, two-time World Champion Erica Enders led the gas-burning brigade with a very nice 6.55 - 210 mph pass, while Alex Laughlin slotted in behind her with a solid 6.59 at 209 mph. Sporting the "Speed Society" colours that he first ran at last year's World Finals, Laughlin presents a much-needed new look in the Pro Stock class.

Robert Hight FC - 3.880 - 324.05 --- Shawn Langdon FC

Moving on up to the nitro floppers, 2017 World Champion Robert Hight picked up almost where he left off last season with a very quick out-of-the-box 3.88 at 324 mph, while Funny Car rookie Shawn Langdon didn't fare so well on his first pass, with hard tire shake, clocking in at 8-seconds.

Robert Hight FC - 3.880 - 324.05 --- Leah Pritchett TF - 3.740 - 308.28

Here's a couple of the fast - actually not always as fast as the floppers - cars, with Steve Torrence opening the season with a 3.77 at only 268 mph. Shortly after that blast, Leah Pritchett came out in her new Pennzoil-Army colours (bye bye Papa John's) and put down a very respectable 3.74 at 308 mph to start her test week.

Courtney Force FC --- Cruz Pedregon FC

Courtney Force (left) began the season with a jarring wakeup call, with hard tire shake and a timeslip that read 7.49, as new tuner Brian Corradi began to acclimatize himself to the JFR (John Force Racing) camp. With Snap-On Tools extending their long running sponsorship for another three years, Cruz Pedregon (right) rolled into Phoenix ready to rock and prepare for much improved results in 2018. His first lap didn't quite match up to his expectations, with a 5-second time showing up on the scoreboards.

JR Todd FC --- Ron Capps FC

Not much to report on this pair either, as they didn't factor on the top run charts on their first attempts. JR Todd left, and "RunnerUp" Ron Capps on the right, both shut off early, but Todd did manage to break into the 3's later in the day with a 3.995 pass.

Antron Brown TF --- Tony Schumacher TF - 3.717 - 330.15

Don Schumacher Racing teammates, Antron Brown left, and Tony Schumacher, right, both carded some strong numbers on their first runs of the new season. Brown posted an early shutoff 3.816, while Schumacher called that and raised him a full tenth at 3.717, coupled with the first 330 mph pass of the day, to show he was serious about contending for his first championship since 2014. Lagter in the day, Brown leapfrogged over "The Sarge" with a best of the day 3.714 at 328.46 mph.

Vincent Nobile PS --- Deric Kramer PS

Two Pro Stock regulars who didn't have much impact on the scoreboards on Thursday were Vincent Nobile (shaking off the rust after sitting out the Countdown portion of the 2017 NHRA schedule) and Deric Kramer on the right. Nobile was "credited" with a 6.271 on one pass, but the unanimous consensus of the timeslip was "bogus". Kramer did put down a solid 6.64 later in the day.

Jonnie Lindberg FC - 3.960 - 298.04 --- Bob Tasca FC

Two fresh new looks from the nitro flopper contingent saw Jonnie Lindberg, left, put down a 3.96 at 298 in his first pass of testing in Jim "The Mad Scientist" Head's always experimental car. On the right, returning to full-time competition with a new sponsorship from Ford, Bob Tasca III was shut off with a fuel leak in his first go-round.

Tommy Johnson FC - 3.938 - 298.67 --- Matt Hagan FC - 3.940 - 281.19

A pair of DSR stablemates, Tommy Johnson on the left, and Matt Hagan (right), showed they were ready to rumble with two early shutoff runs in the 3's. Johnson's solid 3.93 at 298 mph was nearly eclipsed by Hagan's almost-as-quick 3.94 at just 281 mph. Two very good starts to the season for the veteran racers.

Bo Butner PS - 6.602 - 209.46 --- Alex Laughlin PS - 6.580 - 209.10

Defending World Champion Bo Butner opened his 2018 account with a solid, but unspectacular 6.602 pass, but was overshadowed by an ever-improving Alex Laughlin, who moved into second spot on the test "ladder" with a strong 6.580 clocking.

Mike Salinas TF --- Richard Townsend FC

A rather odd pairing here, with Mike Salinas on the left, preparing for his first season of full-time NHRA competition. Mike earned his Top Fuel license nearly ten years ago, and made his NHRA debut in 2011, and finally decided to join the tour full time after qualifying at all seven events he attended in 2017. On the right side is the still unwrapped "Nitroholic" of veteran nostalgia flopper racer Richard Townsend who made two runs (a 4.63 and a 5.88) towards upgrading his license to "big show" status.

Jeg Coughlin PS - 6.619 - 208.52 --- Bo Butner PS

After a tire shake afflicted first pass, Jeg Coughlin rolled to a decent 6.61 at just 208 mph on his second attempt, while Bo Butner went in the wrong direction, slowing from his earlier 6.60 to a 6.62 on his second lap.

Doug Kalitta TF - 3.729 - 315.34 --- Richie Crampton TF

After an early shutoff in his first attempt, Doug Kalitta stayed on the pedal to nearly the finish line, clicking it just a tad soon with a very good 3.729 at only 315 mph. On the right side, in the new look "Kalitta Air" Top Fuel car, Richie Crampton improved from a 5-second first pass to a 4.27 - still well off the pace - as he and tuner Connie Kalitta sort out a new combination.

Tommy Johnson FC - 3.913 - 312.78 --- Matt Hagan FC - 3.879 - 330.72

On the left side, Tommy Johnson improved slightly over his earlier 3.93 pass with a 3.913 at 312 mph, while Matt Hagan jumped up BIG time with a quick 3.879 e.t., coupled with the top speed of the day at 330.72 mph.

That's all from Thursday's first open test day at Phoenix's Wild Horse Pass Motorports Park. We're hoping to see Friday's photos before the end of the day, and after that, there's still two more days of action before the alky cars hit the strip.

John Force FC

Hold on a minute. Where's all the JFR (John Force Racing) cars? Yes, there was one shot of Robert Hight near the top of the page, but where are Courtney, Brittany, or John. OKay, here's one shot of the "Old Truck Driver" hisself, John Force, launching into his 45th (or thereabouts) season of nitro drag racing. He ended the day with best numbers of 3.963 at 305.22 mph.

The latest update as of January 21, 2018

Happy New Year! - 20th Anniversary Edition

As the year goes on we'll dig through the Northern Thunder archives and post a few tidbits of "What's New" rants and other bits from the early days of this website. It's been a long ride and I've mellowed quite a bit over the years, but it will be interesting, and at times embarassing, to look back at the beginning of the website. Stay tuned!

For now, you can just click on the January 27th 1998 edition of "What's New" to see what we were reporting about at that time. Please note that none of the links on that page are currently working and you'll have to hit the back button to return to this page.

NHRA season kicks off in less than two weeks

Yes, it's almost that time again, and we'll be watching with interest to see who shows up at Phoenix in preparation for the season-opening Winternationals. A quick check of the NHRA website this morning revealed that there are still ZERO official entries in Top Fuel and just FOUR in Funny Car. The best entry numbers in the blown/injected classes were Top Alcohol Funny with 11 cars, and Pro Stock with 10 contestants.

Obviously these numbers will swell considerably before the gates open at Pomona on February 6th, but it is more than a little odd that there are so few cars/drivers entered this close to the event date. A quick look at the two following events shows a similar entry shortage in the pro and semi-pro classes. The only exception is the first Pro Mod race of the season at Gainesville, which is fully subscribed with the maximum 28 entries.

An even stranger development is the very sudden announcement that the Old Bridge Township dragstrip at Englishtown is shutting down it's drag racing programs after more than 50 years in the straight-line business. There has to be more, a lot more, to this story than the media releases by the track owners, and the response from NHRA. Let's wait and see how it all turns out. At this point it appears to be a done deal, but we've seen so many times over the years how things have turned around very quickly in the fastest moving sport on earth. As always, stay tuned for new developments over the coming weeks. The epitaphs for Raceway Park may be just a tad premature.

LATE Update

Entries for the NHRA Winternationals are literally "flooding" in with Top Fuel "leading" the way with TWO cars entered. That's a bazillion percent more than the ZERO entries that have been showing on NHRA.com for the past two weeks. If this is the sign of a developing trend, we might even see a full 16-car field by the time eliminations start on February 11th.

To see previous updates, go to the What's Old page

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