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NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS - NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES - FEBRUARY 21 - 23, 2020

NOTE: Click on the thumbnails to display the full-size images


THURSDAY - Pit Shots


We're working on yesterday's pit photos and they'll be up this afternoon. The first PRO qualifying session is on tap for 1:45 (MST) and the second at 5:15 (MST) this afternoon. Catch all the action live on NHRA.TV or watch the second PRO qualifying session on Fox Sports Racing at 8:00 PM (PST) on a tape-delayed basis.

John Force FC

The 19-time champion (John Force) is ready to rock and make another charge at the title held by teammate Robert Hight

Nitro Alley --- Justin Ashley TF

(LEFT) "Nitro Alley" A sea of big rigs, race cars and rental cars as far as the eye can see
(RIGHT) Justin Ashley's pit area as they prep the "Strutmaster" Top Fuel car

--- Tommy Johnson Jr.

(LEFT) Bob Tasca III brought two trailers full of cars and parts ready to race hard
(RIGHT) Tommy Johnson Jr.'s trailer with a short block getting readied on the tailgate

Antron Brown TF --- Ron Capps FC

(LEFT) Antron Brown's pit area as the new team co-owner moves into a new role in Top Fuel
(RIGHT) A rejuvenated Ron Capps Funny Car after the devastating trailer fire enroute to pre-season testing

Brittany Force TF --- John Force FC

(LEFT) Brittany Force's pit area as her dad (J. Force) surveys the new sponsorship wrap of "Flav-R-Pac"
(RIGHT) The John Force Funny Car pit area with the crew hard at work prepping for another national event

John Force FC --- Alexis DeJoria FC

(LEFT) Here's the 2020 version of John Force's "Blue DEF" Funny Car
(RIGHT) Alexis DeJoria A smiling crewman stands behind returning veteran Alex DeJoria's new ROKIT - ABK Funny Car

Doug Kalitta TF --- Terry Haddock FC

(LEFT) It's quiet in Doug Kalitta's pit area as a couple of crew members inspect some parts at the far end
(RIGHT) Beside Terry Haddock's trailer, his new flat-black "Strutmasters" Funny Car sits waiting to be mounted

Jim Maroney TF --- Mark Howard FC

(LEFT) The crew of local racer Jim Maroney prep the Top Fuel car under the guidance of nitro guru Johnny West (extreme left)

(RIGHT)

Mark Howard FC --- Terry Totten TF

(LEFT) It's the Mark Howard fuel Funny Car being worked on by "Mr. Magoo" Don Sosenka
(RIGHT) The Top Fuel car of Terry Totten

Terry McMillen TF --- Brittany Force TF

(LEFT) The latest version of Terry McMillen's "Insta-Gator" is up on the stands
(RIGHT) The Monster Energy body panels and front wing of Brittany Force sits on the tailgate waiting to be reinstalled for the next race

Jim Campbell FC --- Top Sportsman

(LEFT) The "Cattleman's Cut" awning indicates that it's the Jim Dunn-owned Funny Car of Jim Campbell
(RIGHT) It's a tough looking Top Sportsman Chevy truck owned by Will Robinson awaiting tech inspection. BAD news: the bellhousing failed (two years out of date)


FRIDAY - Qualifying

We've received the first batch of photos from "Big" Bob Snyder as he documents the 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ. Leading off the PRO qualifying on Friday were the Top Fuel Harleys, followed by the Pro Stock cars, the fuel Funny Cars, and finally, Top Fuel.


TOP FUEL HARLEY & PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #1


TFH - Tii Tharpe --- PRO - Jason Line

(LEFT) Leading off our race coverage is a hard launch by defending world champion in Top Fuel Harley, Tii Tharpe who's first competition pass of the season saw a quick loss of traction and a 10-second timeslip. (RIGHT) Making the second start of his "farewell" tour is KB Racing's Jason Line who carded a 6.619 - 208.01 on his first qualifier, only good enough for the #11 position.


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1


FC - Jeff Diehl --- FC - Jim Campbell

(LEFT) First out of the waterbox in the opening qualifying session for FUNNY CAR was Jeff Diehl in his flat-black "RATT" sponsored car. He shut off before the 330' mark and coasted to a 6.987 - 94.65 clocking. (RIGHT) In the second pair of the round, the new (second race) Jim Dunn car driven by Jim Campbell to an almost as slow 6.707 - 98.77 time.

FC - Terry Haddock --- FC - Cruz Pedregon

(LEFT) Making an early appearance at this event, the never-say-die Terry Haddock made the field with a very early shutoff 5.612 - 125.56 pass. With only 16 cars in the pits, that guaranteed him a spot in eliminations.

(RIGHT) Wrapped in a new 100-year anniversary scheme, Cruz Pedregon put down a good opening number of 3.962 - 323.74 running alongside Bob Tasca III (not shown) who also ran well for the first side-by-side 3-second pass of qualifying.

FC - Paul Lee --- FC - Tim Wilkerson

(LEFT) With a full season of competiton on his agenda in 2020, Paul Lee ran hard to the 660' clocks, then got off the throttle as the car headed to the wall, and put up a 4.257 - 210.37 pass to start his weekend. (RIGHT) Showcasing an anniversary-themed wrap, Tim Wilkerson took over the early pole position with a good 3.934 at an early shutoff 307.72 mph.

FC - Tommy Johnson Jr. --- FC - Alexis DeJoria

(LEFT) With four 3-second passes recorded from the first four pairs of cars, Tommy Johnson Jr. upped the ante slightly with a 3.9145 - 324.12, while Robert Hight (not shown) ran the first "80" of the weekend, laying down a 3.867 - 330.55 to serve notice that he was ready to rumble.

(RIGHT) Another pair of 3-second runs followed, with returning veteran Alexis DeJoria putting down a consistent 3.972 - 325.30 time for the #8 position, while Matt Hagan (not shown) took over the #2 spot with a 3.882 - 324.75 pass.

FC - Jack Beckman --- FC - John Force

(LEFT) Closing out the first qualifying session, Jack Beckman (seen here on the burnout) smoked the tires early and coasted to a 6.511 - 107.15 pass. (RIGHT) His opponent, John Force lost traction at almost the same point, but headed for the wall before he stopped the clocks at a slightly better (less worse) time of 5.120 - 144.80.


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #1


TF - Terry Totten --- TF - Scott Palmer

(LEFT) Top Fuel qualifying opened with two single runs, led off by Terry Totten in Don Sosenka's "Mr. Magoo" car. Totten made a respectable pass, stopping the clocks at 4.126 - 269.08 to open the proceedings. (RIGHT) Next up and sporting a "stealth" black look with his new car, Scott Palmer had a run to forget as he launched on 7-cylinders and clicked it early to a 4.659 - 165.13.

TF Steve Torrence (left) - 
Billy Torrence (right) --- Torrence vs Torrence scoreboards

(LEFT) Making their season debut after skipping the Winternationals, Team Torrence came up together, and Steve (left side), outran Billy (right side) by two thousandths of a second, despite a slower speed (316.36 to 324.36). (RIGHT) The scoreboards tell the tale, with Steve's #1 qualifying 3.743 on the right side, and Billy's #2 qualifying 3.745 on the left.

TF - Billy Torrence --- TF - Antron Brown

(LEFT) Here's a closer look at Billy Torrence as he launches hard on his first competition pass of the 2020 season. (RIGHT) After a completely forgettable season opener in Pomona, Antron Brown had another off-pace pass at 11.189 - 66.17 to start his weekend on a sour note.

TF - Shawn Langdon --- TF - Shawn Reed

(LEFT) The gremlins continued to haunt Shawn Langdon in his return to Top Fuel. After a good first day at the Winternationals, he failed to get off the starting line on his last two qualifying attempts, then limped to a 6-second first round loss. Things didn't get any better here as his 5.993 effort showed that the problems were continuing for the DHL team.

(RIGHT) Shawn Reed 3.795 - 318.62

TF - Leah Pruett

Leah Pruett 4.096 - 214.96


Wheelstander & PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #2


Little Red Fire Truck --- PRO - Jeg Coughlin Jr.

(LEFT) The Little Red Fire Truck owned and driven by Mike Mantel

(RIGHT) Jeg Coughlin Jr. 6.536 - 208.46


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2


FC - Jack Beckman --- FC - Ron Capps

(LEFT) Jack Beckman 3.889 - 329.42

(RIGHT) Ron Capps 3.953 - 326.40

FC - Paul Lee --- FC - Blake Alexander

(LEFT) Paul Lee 4.640 - 172.30

(RIGHT) Blake Alexander 6.672 - 93.91

FC - Bob Tasca III --- FC - Matt Hagan

(LEFT) Bob Tasca III 3.883 - 328.86

(RIGHT) Matt Hagan 3.859 - 331.81

FC - Robert Hight

Robert Hight 5.760 - 118.47


TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #2


TF - Terry McMillen --- TF - Clay Millican

(LEFT) Terry McMillen 3.696 - 326.79

(RIGHT) Clay Millican 3.772 - 319.14

TF - Austin Prock --- TF - Jim Maroney

(LEFT) Austin Prock 3.775 - 314.24

(RIGHT) Jim Maroney 4.129 - 227.00

TF - Justin Ashley --- TF - Leah Pruett

(LEFT) Justin Ashley 3.758 - 315.64

(RIGHT) Leah Pruett 3.680 - 328.06

TF - Brittany Force

Brittany Force 3.680 - 331.12



SATURDAY - Qualifying


TOP Fuel - Qualifying Session #3 (final)

TF - Doug Foley (near lane) - 
Scott Palmer (far lane) --- TF - Shawn Langdon (near lane) - 
Clay Millican (far lane)

(LEFT) Coming into the final qualifier, Doug Foley (near lane) was on the bubble, but he picked up a bunch of e.t. with a solid 3.878 - 311.13 pass to move up to the #13 spot. His opponent (far lane) Scott Palmer hazed the tires early and shut off to a 6-second pass to remain in the #11 spot.

(RIGHT) The next pair saw Shawn Langdon (near lane) finally shake the demons out of the DHL car and jumped from the last spot on the ladder all the way up to the #6 spot with a very good 3.733 - 325.45 pass. In the far lane, Clay Millican lost a spot, dropping to #10 as the chutes came out early on a 4.699 - 130.76 run.

TF - Antron Brown (near lane) - 
Shawn Reed (far lane) --- TF - Austin Prock (near lane) - 
Doug Kalitta (far lane)

(LEFT) You could title this pairing as "ZERO for TWO", with both Antron Brown (near lane) and Shawn Reed (far lane) running into trouble early and posting 7 and 8-second clockings. (RIGHT) And the next pair didn't fare much better, as Austin Prock (near lane) and Doug Kalitta (far lane) failed to break the 5-second barrier. (6.540 for Kalitta and 5.393 for Prock).

TF - Justin Ashley (near lane) - 
Terry McMillen (far lane) --- TF - Billy Torrence (near lane) - 
Brittany Force (far lane)

(LEFT) Things were looking up for a great side-by-sider as both cars ran well until the 660' mark, where (far lane) Terry McMillen's engine got unhappy, resulting in a 4-flat timeslip, while on near side, Justin Ashley laid down his best effort of the weekend, with an excellent 3.707 - 322.81 to move into the top half of the field at #5 on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Two of the heavy hitters faced off next, and while they both improved, Billy Torrence's (near lane), effort of 3.712 - 328.14 (his best qualifying pass) not helping him move up from #6, while in the far lane, Brittany Force bombed the scoreboard with low e.t. of qualifying at 3.670 - 327.11 to leapfrog over world champion Steve Torrence for the top qualifying spot.

TF - Leah Pruett (near lane) - 
Steve Torrence (far lane)

The final pair of qualifying matched up the #2 Steve Torrence - who held the top spot until Brittany Force usurped him in the previous pairing, against the #3 Leah Pruett but it didn't live up to the advance billing, as both cars were up in smoke early and limped to the 1000' mark in 6-seconds at less than 100 mph. Quite an anti-climax to what had been a very hit-and-miss final qualifying session.


FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #3 (final)

FC - Terry Haddock --- FC - Paul Lee

(LEFT) Coming into this final session, Terry Haddock sat in the #15 position, and he didn't get a chance to improve on his 5-second best, as he never got off the starting line as the engine simply died as he moved into stage

(RIGHT) Sitting uncomfortably in the "lucky" #13 spot, Paul Lee failed to better his previous best of 4.257 - 210.37, as he lit up the tires right at the hit and limped to a 10-second e.t.

FC - Cruz Pedregpn (near lane) - 
Blake Alexander (far lane) --- FC - Alexis DeJoria (near lane) - 
Ron Capps (far lane)

(LEFT) In the near lane, Cruz Pedregon showed some consistency as he nearly matched his previous best (3.962 - 323.74) with a solid 3.964 - 325.14, but it couldn't move him off the #11 position. Blake Alexander (far lane) fared even worse as his 6-second pass left him in the #12 spot after a previous best of 3.974 - 319.75 in the Jim Head car.

(RIGHT) A great side by side match followed, as Alexis DeJoria, (near lane) ran her best of the weekend 3.916 - 316.30 to drop one spot to #10, as Ron Capps (far lane) moved up three positions with a great 3.896 - 327.66 effort.

FC - J.R. Todd (near lane) - 
Jack Beckman (far lane) --- FC - Tommy Johnson Jr. (near lane) - 
Bob Tasca III (far lane)

(LEFT) The hits didn't keep coming though as the next duo smoked the tires in unison and shut off to 5-second (Jack Beckman) (far lane) and 8-second (J.R. Todd) (near lane) clockings.

(RIGHT) It was one for two in the next matchup, as Tommy Johnson Jr. (near lane) made a big jump from #8 to #4 on the ladder, with an excellent 3.868 - 323.81 pass, while Bob Tasca III lost a spot to #5 with a 6-second pass, losing traction well before the 330' mark.

FC - Tim Wilkerson (near lane) - 
Robert Hight (far lane) --- FC - John Force (near lane) - 
Matt Hagan (far lane)

(LEFT) It was another one-sided pairing, as Tim Wilkerson (near lane), improved a fraction to 3.889 from a previous best of 3.893, at a big speed of 329.10 to hold on to the #7 spot, while Robert Hight was up in smoked very early and coasted to a 7-second time.

(RIGHT) The final pair of the session saw neither racer go anywhere quickly, as John Force (near lane) and Matt Hagan (far lane), had a tire-smoking duel that saw 7- and 8-second clocking adorning the scoreboards. Speeds weren't even into triple digits either. And that was it for Funny Car qualifying.


PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #3 (final)

PRO - Erica Enders --- PRO - Jeg Coughlin Jr.

(LEFT) Running in the second to last pairing of Pro Stock qualifying, Erica Enders made her best run of the event, racking up a 6.554 - 208.33 to hold on to the #2 position in the field.

(RIGHT) Closing out qualifying was the most dominating car in the class (so far) in 2020, as Jeg Coughlin Jr. slowed slightly from his top qualifying 6.536, with a best of the session 6.553 time. That run kept his streak alive, as he has run low e.t. of every qualifying session this session (seven) and every elimination round (four) to this point. An amazing performance from the JEG's team.


TOP FUEL HARLEY - Qualifying Session #3 (final)

TFH - Mike Scott --- TFH - Randal Andras

(LEFT) As the final session of Top Fuel Harley qualifying began, the staging lanes were less than full, as only six of the eight entrants were in line. And up to this point, there hadn't been very many competitive passes made by the bikes, and Calgary AB's Mike Scott failed to put a decent number on the boards for the third time as his 9-second pass left him in the #7 spot in the 8-bike field.

(RIGHT) In the last qualifying pair, #1 qualified Randal Andras lost power early and coasted to a 9-second clocking, while Ricky House (not shown) took over the top spot with low e.t. of the weekend at 6.285 - 226.22.



SUNDAY - Eliminations


BIG TIRE SHOOTOUT

Big Tire Shootout --- Big Tire Shootout crash

While these pictures weren't the final round of the "Big Tire Shootout" exhibition, they aptly portrayed what can happen when you combine a very powerful turbocharged engine with small tires. When the turbo power kicks in full-tilt, it can overpower even a big tire car. Thankfully, the driver walked away from this wreck after a series of scary moments that culminated in a hard smack into the guardwall.


STOCK & SUPER STOCK

STK - Jon Irving (near lane) vs 
Brad Burton (far lane) --- SS - Justin Lamb (near lane) vs 
Kyle Rizzoli (far lane)

(LEFT) After six gruelling rounds of eliminations, Snohomish, WA's Brad Burton (far lane) overcame the handicap head start of Jon Irving (near lane) for the Stock Eliminator victory. Burton's wheelstanding D/SA '72 Firebird ran just over his dial-in as Irving gave away what could have been a sure victory by breaking out after leaving first by .032 in his I/SA '73 Satellite.

(RIGHT) It's another wheelie picture, with #2 in the world in 2019, Kyle Rizzoli (far lane) leaving hard in his SS/CA '69 Camaro enroute to the Super Stock win over the SS/AS '10 Cobalt of Justin Lamb (near lane). Both racers ran right on their dial-in, but Rizzoli's .001 light (versus Lamb's .042) sealed the deal.


SUPER GAS & SUPER COMP

SG - Matthew Larson (near lane) vs 
Ed Olpin Jr. (far lane) --- SC - Val Torres (near lane) vs 
Cal Belden (far lane)

(LEFT) It's a pair of topless '63 'Vettes (the de rigeur choice in S/G due to the wide-open peripheral vision) in the Super Gas final, and it was a reaction time victory for Ed Olpin Jr. (far lane) over Matthew Larson (near lane). Olpin's near-perfect .001 leave (.052 for Larson) coupled with a .043 over the index defeated Larson's closer .032, and when the math all added up it was a four hundredths of a second margin for the winner.

(RIGHT) The Super Comp final featured another incredible light, as Val Torres (near lane) was perfect on the tree (.000), while opponent Cal Belden (far lane) cut it just a smidgen too close, red-lighting by just .005 to hand the automatic win to Torres. With his 8th national event victory in hand, Torres coasted slowly into the winner's circle with a 13-second e.t., while Belden added insult to injury by breaking out (-.003) on the big end to lose the race at both ends of the track.


TOP SPORTSMAN & TOP DRAGSTER

TS - Ed Olpin (near lane) vs 
Paul Mitsos (far lane) --- TD - Art Hoover (near lane) vs 
Phil Unruh (far lane)

(LEFT) Top Sportsman showcased a wide assortment of door cars and when the finalists rolled out of the lanes, it was MountainView Tires Paul Mitsos (far lane) taking the win in his '08 Dodge Stratus, cutting a great .003 light and running less than three hundredths off his dial-in. In the other (near) lane, Ed Olpin in his '68 Camaro cut a very good - but not good enough - light at .023, and ran just a little more off his dial-in (.035) to give Mitsos the win by a total margin of .027 seconds.

(RIGHT) As the name implies, this final featured two Top Dragsters, with Art Hoover (near lane) cutting the better reaction time, (.012 to .059) and forcing his opposition Phil Unruh (far lane) to break out in a vain attempt to catch him at the stripe. Hoover's 6.603 - 198.93 pass was just three thousandths from his dial, while Unruh's 6.346 - 223.21 was four thousandths too quick. A close race and interesting for the spectators to watch a high-speed bracket race.


COMPETITION & TOP FUEL HARLEY

COMP - Doug Lambeck (near lane) vs
Dean Carter (far lane) --- TFH - Jay Turner (near lane) vs 
Ricky House (far lane)

(LEFT) With the odd-sized 15-car field, Competition Eliminator featured plenty of bye runs, as both finalists, Doug Lambeck (near lane) in his D/SMA '08 Sunfire and Dean Carter (far lane) B/ND front-engine dragster, received two free runs in the four rounds before they met in the final. You might be wondering how a 15-car field could go five rounds of eliminations.... and the simple answer is that the field was set up for 32-cars and that's the ladder the NHRA went with. Still wondering? Don't ask me! Both drivers cut average lights but Carter gave up a bunch of index, going .646 under to cover Lambeck's .575 under effort. Check out the NHRA rulebook for an explanation of how the index system works in Comp... but allow an hour or two to absorb it all.

(RIGHT) The final round of Top Fuel Harley was a bit of a non-event as Ricky House (far lane) redlighted to give the automatic win to national record holder Jay Turner who ran into lots of trouble after launching and coasted across the finish line in 9-secons at less than 100 mph. The entire TFH eliminator started off on the wrong foot, with one no show, one broke before staging, one broke after staging, and one 15-second run in the opening round of eliminations. The only bright spot of that opening round was Turner's awesome 6.193 - 237.75 pass that he nearly duplicated in the semi-final with a 6.209 - 233.76. To put those runs in perspective, no one else ran quicker than 6.63 in eliminations.


PRO STOCK

PS - Bo Butner (near lane) vs 
Erica Enders (far lane)


FUNNY CAR

FC - Tommy Johnson Jr. (near lane) vs 
Jack Beckman (far lane)


TOP FUEL

TF - Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs 
Steve Torrence (far lane)

Going into the final round, everything seemed to be working in Doug Kalitta's favour. He opened the season two weeks ago with a convincing victory at the Lucas Oil Winternationals, and had worked his way through the full 16-car field with quicker passes in each round leading up to the final. His race day performance was especially impressive after qualifying in the #8 position, with a decent 3.740 in the opening session, but failed to get past the 300' mark on his other two attempts.

Sunday was a different story however, as his first round 3.711 took out Shawn Reed, then Doug dropped into the 3.60's in the next stanza, taking out low qualifier Brittany Force on a holeshot, 3.695 to 3.685 to advance to the semifinals. In that crucial round, he took out Antron Brown with his best run of the weekend, dropping a 3.672 - 330.55 on the cylinder-dropping Brown to move into the final, with lane choice, against Steve Torrence.

Torrence meanwhile was hitting all the right notes throughout qualifying and eliminations. After a successful test session at Wild Horse three weeks ago, he and dad Billy decided to sit out the Winternationals. That decision sent some shockwaves through the drag racing community, and the reasons offered by Team Torrence for their non-appearance were difficult to accept at face value, but that was their choice. Right or wrong.

Pushing the politics to the side and getting down to business, Steve and Billy Torrence came off the trailer with all guns blazing, and ran side-by-side 3.74's in the first qualifying session, to take the #3 and #4 positions respectively. Then Steve cranked out a very strong 3.671 - 326.48 to take the pole after Friday's second session. He only lost the top spot to Brittany Force in Saturday's lone session by one-thousandth of a second, to start Sunday's eliminations from the #2 spot.

Despite taking an easy first round win over Jim Maroney by a 3.717 to 4.436 verdict, Steve was only the seventh quickest car of the round, with Brittany Force (3.643) and Leah Pruett (3.654) well in front of his performance. In fact, Torrence was outrun by father Billy, who put down a 3.683 to march towards what would be a semi-final match between the two Torrences. In the second round, Steve held lane choice over Shawn Langdon only by virtue of his slightly quicker speed, but got past Langdon in a tire-smoking pedalling duel at a less than scintillating 4.570 - 203.31 e.t.

That win set up the semi-final against Billy who had advanced over a tardy Leah Pruett in a 3.703 - 3.688 race that was decided by Leah's .205 reaction time. Going into the semi without lane choice on what was proving to be a tricky surface, Steve parlayed a superior light (.067 to .095) over his Dad as they ran nearly identical elapsed times and speeds: Steve's 3.698 - 329.58 took the winlight by half a car length over Billy's 3.699 - 329.91 pass.

That brought Doug Kalitta, on a seven-round winning streak, and holding lane choice, up against the 2019 World Champion, Steve Torrence, in what was shaping up to be quite a battle for the second title of the 2020 season. Both drivers reacted identically, but tire haze at half track undid Kalitta's bid for the win and Torrence cruised to victory with a blower banging 3.679 - 321.27 over Kalitta's slowing 4.052 - 218.90 in what was a fitting end to an exciting event.

Jay Mageau & Bob Snyder --- Clay Millican & Bob Snyder

Here's a couple of selfies from Bob Snyder's cell phone. On the left is well-known Canadian Nitro Nostalgia Funny Car owner/driver Jay Mageau, enjoying the Arizona sun for a while before he heads back to the Great White North. To the right is an even better known Top Fuel driver, Clay Millican who looks like he's "photobombing" Bob's picture.



MONDAY - Testing

An old Yogi Berra saying goes: "it ain't over until it's over".... and in the case of NHRA Mello Yello events, that is very true. After four days of prepping and racing at Wild Horse Motorsports Park, quite a few of the big show nitro teams remained on the property to test on Monday. Ace Reporter Bob Snyder was there - with his camera and notebook - to document all the action.... or at least all that happened before he left to beat the rush hour going home. Besides the eight nitro teams in attendance, a Pro Stock (?) car, and a couple of Top Dragsters made laps.


TF - Doug Kalitta --- TF - Doug Kalitta

Following up on a very succesful start to the season (Winternationals win and Arizona Nats runner-up) Doug Kalitta turned over the Kalitta #1 car to Shawn Langdon for the day and watched him run a best of 3.76. On the left side, it looks like it took a little extra help to get Shawn going in reverse after a burnout.

FC - John Force --- FC - Robert Hight

(LEFT) It's the "Old Truck Driver" hisself, as John Force as he made what must be his millionth lap in a nitro flopper, but his two efforts on the day ended with a best of only 4.67.

(RIGHT) The President of John Force Racing, on the other hand, put down a big number as Robert Hight cranked out a 3.88 - 328 mph.

TF - Austin Prock --- TD - Chris Menapeace

(LEFT) Coming off a real high with a runner-up finish at the Winternationals, second year pro Austin Prock fell hard with a tiresmoking first round loss at the Arizona Nationals. Consequently, they were out testing the Montana Brands Top Fueler before heading east to Gainesville.

(RIGHT) Coming out in an ex-Jerry Darien Top Alcohol dragster that's now set up for Top Dragster, Chris Menapeace (Clay Millican crewman), ran a very good 6.18 opening lap before handing the car over to Sarah Moldenhauer (more on that further down the page).

--- TF - Josh Hart --- TF - Josh Hart

(LEFT) Here's the newest Top Fuel licensee, as A/Fuel Dragster pilot, Josh Hart took the next step at Wild Horse Pass on Monday.

(RIGHT) Running a Bob Vandergriff Racing car adorned with new bodywork, Josh fulfilled the T/F requirements with two very good passes: a 3.74 and 3.77.

FC - Alexis DeJoria --- FC - Alexis DeJoria

Starting her return to NHRA competition on a strong note, Alexis DeJoria went to the semi-finals at Pomona, but dropped a first round match at Phoenix. With the car seemingly stuck in the low 3.90's, some testing in Arizona was on the menu. However it was a case of "same old, same old" as her best of the day was a 3.93. Not bad, but still off the pace she needs to run deep into eliminations on a regular basis.

TS - Jason McGaha --- FC - John Force

(LEFT) The lettering on the "passenger" door says Jason McGaha but without any identifying numbers or lettering, there's no way of knowing what class the car or driver will run in. There is Harlow-Sammons on the door, but that's the only clue we've got.

(RIGHT) Another shot of John Force, who as reported above, could only run a best of 4.67 on the day.

TF - Austin Prock --- Clay Millican - Back-Up Boy

(LEFT) Another shot of a hard launch by Austin Prock but we don't have any numbers on how well the car ran.

(RIGHT) Taking a big step out of his comfort zone was the Parts Plus Top Fuel pilot, Clay Millican who served as the "Back-Up Boy" for Sarah Moldenhauer. After a few hours of fun, Clay had to head for the airport to catch a flight home.

TD - Sarah Moldenhauer --- FC - Bob Tasca III

(LEFT) Here's Sarah Moldenhauer who was upgrading her license from Super Comp in the new (to him) Chris Menapeace Top Dragster.

(RIGHT) Working out the bugs in the new car/crew combination, Bob Tasca III saw some good numbers come up on the boards as a 3.88 - 327 mph was displayed. A good way to head into the next event on the schedule, the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals.

TF - Joey Haas --- TF - Joey Haas

The big story of the day from our reporter's perspective were a pair licensing passes for Joey Haas in the Terry Totten car. After a hard wheels-up launch, Haas got up on the tires quickly and ran a very impressive 3.95 - 292 mph. The plan is for him to finish licensing after the 4-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas in early April. Good to see a VERY low-buck team run some serious numbers on a well-prepared track.

FC - J.R. Todd

Following consecutive first round losses at the Winternationals and Phoenix, the Kalitta/DHL Funny Car, piloted by former (2018) world champion J.R. Todd laid down a best of 3.94 on the day.

TD - Jennifer Wiens --- TD - Jennifer Wiens

The test session wasn't limited to strictly BIG SHOW nitro cars as Las Vegas-based Top Dragster racer Jennifer Wiens was out testing her car after running as quick as 6.14 - 230 mph during qualifying at the Arizona Nationals. She ran even better than that in the first round of eliminations, but a 6.09 - 229 on a 6.14 dial-in left a first round runner-up.