--- Home Page
--- What's New
--- Features
--- Features
--- E-mail

NOTE: Refresh this page each time you visit to ensure you see the latest updates

The latest update as of February 7, 2016

Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix

Nitro Spring Training

The nitro portion of this year's pre-season testing wrapped up yesterday afternoon at Phoenix's Wild Horse Pass track. After several years of pre-season testing at Florida's Bradenton International, the decision was made to shift westward this year. Logistically, with the Winternationals taking place next week just 300 miles west; financially, saving the cost of teams hauling from their home bases to Florida, back home, then all the way west to Pomona. and finally, perforamance-wise, with Phoenix being a national event track with their event scheduled just three weeks after the testing week.

While there weren't that many teams present, the quality of the performances was second to none. With very favourable weather conditions that saw high temps in the low 60's on Wednesday through to Saturday's mid 70's (17 to 25 C), and virtually no humidity, the cars were able to unleash all their horsepower on the obviously well-prepared track.

Leading the way in Funny Car was Tommy Johnson Jr's out-of-this-world 3.874 pass yesterday that for at least five days will stand as the quickest in the history of Funny Car racing. However, with similar weather forecast for next weekend's NHRA season-opening Cirlce K Winternationals, that mark may not last too long. And if Johnson doesn't erase it, there's at least five other drivers in the hunt for the top of the performance pinnacle.

Joining the "Make-A-Wish" driver in the 3.80-range during the four-day test session was Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman at 3.880, backed up with a pair of 3.89 passes, and two of the John Force Racing team cars. Robert Hight was very quick at 3.885 and fast (329.34 mph) while teammate Courtney Force clocked in at 3.890 - 323.19. Team leader John Force was close behind with bests of 3.912 and 3.914 for the week. The other two DSR cars, those of Ron Capps and the previous holder of the "quickest" crown (at 3.879), Matt Hagan, were not far behind the pacesetters with respective bests of 3.91 and 3.96 during testing.

In addition to the four DSR and three JFR cars present, the Kalitta camp appeared with 2015 World Champ Del Worsham and Alexis de Joria in her newly re-wrapped "Tequila Patron" car. Both drivers ran well into the 3's, but failed to equal the performances of the two dominating teams. Independent racers Tim Wilkerson and Chad Head also dropped into the 3-second zone, while veteran Cruz Pedregon never made a full pass, settling for a 4.14 best for the week.

Finishing licensing during testing were Jim Campbell in the Worsham Family race car, while Oregon's Brian Hough upgraded his Top Alcohol FC license to nitro FC, courtesy of the Tim Wilkerson team. Hough completed the procedure in fine style yesterday with a great 4.015 - 316.01 pass that was absolutely the ride of his life. Another nitro novice, Troy Coughlin Jr. jumped all the way up from Pro Mod to Top Fuel in the DSR "Red Fuel" car (Shawn Langdon's ride) and completed licensing with a very strong 3.853 - 321.81 pass to become the second member of the Coughlin clan, after his grandfather Jeg Sr. (who was present for the occasion) to hold a Top Fuel license.

And that's where today's update ends, as there just isn't time to cover the Top Fuel side of the test week, other than to report that Tony Schumacher's new "ARMY" car led the way with an awesome 3.683 pass and Dave Connolly put the only 330-mph speed on the board for the four days. We will be back tomorrow with the Top Fuel report and much more, including what's going on with NHRA's television coverage in Canada, and the latest from the IHRA.