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

The latest update as of October 7, 2021

It's been way too long between updates, but we'll try to fill in the blanks as we go along. After last weekend's NHRA regional event at Global Technology Raceway (Madison, IL), the Top Alcohol Dragsters and Funny Cars are down to just three more regional and three more national events on the calendar. To complicate matters, three of those six races are occurring this weekend, starting today at The Strip at Las Vegas (West Regional), tomorrow at Dallas (Ennis) (National event), and Saturday at the East Regional at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, MD. We won't know which drivers are competing at the regional events until qualifying results come in, but we do know there's 17 dragsters and 10 funny cars entered for the Texas NHRA FallNationals.

Making it a very tough field in Top Alcohol Dragster is that eight of the Top Ten drivers are entered, and on the Funny Car side, five of the top ten runners are will be in attendance. For the dragsters, it's 14 injected nitro cars versus three blown alcohol entries. Traditionally, conditions at the Texas Motorplex have favoured the nitro burners, as the two quickest blown cars in the field, Shawn Cowie and Joey Severance, have a mixed record at the track. Severance did win the 2018 event, and Cowie was runner-up in 2016, but other than that it's been more round one losses than wins for those two hard charging, high-revving racers.

With the National Championship picture coming into clear focus, the pressure will be on Cowie to stay in the hunt, as he's trailing the current points leader, Rachel Meyer by 119 points. It's a large gap, but as can be seen by the graphic further down the page, it's not quite insurmountable. Only one other competitor, currently in 2nd place, Jackie Fricke, who has an almost impossible path to the championship, as she needs to win both the Dallas and Las Vegas national events, and have Meyer lose in the semi-finals (or earlier) at Dallas.

Below Cowie (currently in 3rd place), everyone else in the dragster top ten has been mathematically eliminated from contention for the title. However, five of those drivers will be trying their best to upset the top three racers and claim the event victory. It will be a very interesting race with hot weather in the forecast, with a high of 93 (F) forecast for tomorrow and Saturday, before dropping to 84 (F) - with some cloud cover - on Sunday. Generally, the hotter the air and track temps, the more it plays into the favour of the blown cars, but the Meyer team has lots of experience at the Motorplex and can be expected to lay down the best e.t.'s and quite possibly wrap up the championship this weekend.

Besides the aforementioned "hitters" there are some incredibly quick A/Fuel cars coming to the Motorplex. Rachel Meyer's team-mate, Julie Nataas sits in the 4th spot in the standings, with three regional wins, but only a quartet of semi-final finishes in national events. She can run with the best though as she has the quickest (5.103) e.t. of the year in Top Alcohol. By comparison, Rachel has "only" a 5.141 to her credit. Two other competitors, #7 in points, Matt Cummings (driving the McPhillips family car, has a best of 5.123 at the recent Dewalt NHRA Carolina Nationals, while #10 in the standings, Robin Samsel is right behind with a season/career best 5.139 clocking. And just a half a tick behind Samsel, are Jackie Fricke (#2) on the table, and Karen Stalba (#5) are tied with identical bests of 5.147.

Contrasting all those super-quick e.t.'s from the injected nitro ranks, are the, unfortunately few, drivers still running supercharged on methanol. The season's quickest is Shawn Cowie, well ahead of all the other blown cars, with a best of 5.178, at the Seattle (West Regional), followed up with back-to-back 5.18's at the Brainered national event. Not one other supercharged has run in the 5-teens, with Joey Severance's 5.232, being nearly half a tenth quicker than James Stevens 5.278 quickest effort. Looking through the archives yields the information that Severance's career best is 5.121 (in 2019), the quickest ever Top Alcohol Dragster pass in history. Right behind, as could be expected, is Shawn Cowie, with a best of 5.151 (also in 2019).

All of the racers mentioned above will be at Dallas this weekend, with the exception of Karen Stalba, who is most likely finished on the national tour this year. It's very possible that everyone may better their season and in some cases, career best e.t.'s. Stay tuned; it's going to be quite a weekend of drag racing.

NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster & Funny Car Standings

TAD Top Ten standings - October 3, 2021

Here's a quick explanation of what the graphic means. Each racer is allowed to attend 10 national and 5 regional events and claim points from their best 7 national and 3 regional events. There is nothing stopping a racer from attending more races, but once they've reached their "10 and 5" quotas, their points earning ability is over. To condense the amount of space the graphic takes up on the page, I've eliminated the event locations and simply numbered them 1 - 10 and 1 - 5. Points in red are ones that have been waived, fields with a yellow background are events that have been entered (D = Dallas, LV = Las Vegas, P = Pomona). Fields with a red background are ones that the racer cannot attend before the season ends.

To make sense of all the possible points scenarios, here's the simple (as simple as I can make it) explanation. Points leader Rachel Meyer has a solid lead over her two challengers (remember, everyone else is already eliminated from title contention). However, she has only the Dallas event left to claim points, while Jackie Fricke has Dallas and Las Vegas, and Shawn Cowie has Dallas, plus, presumably, Las Vegas and Pomona left on his schedule.

If Meyer wins this weekend, then the championship is hers. That's the simplest scenario. But if she advances to the final found and loses to Shawn Cowie, then he has the very, very slim chance to wrest the championship away from her. All he would have to do then is win both Las Vegas and Pomona to take it. He could possibly - because the NHRA website does not spell out tiebreaking procedures - take the title with a win at Dallas and a win and a runner-up at the two remaining events. Before we even consider that happening, and it's effect on the points, let's take it one run and one round at a time.

TAFC Top Ten standings - October 3, 2021

In the Funny Car points battle it's come down to a head-to-head battle between defending national champion Doug Gordon and the current points leader, Sean Bellemeur. Going into this weekend, everyone below them in the standings is already mathematically eliminated from championship contention. It is somewhat surprising that Bellemeur isn't racing this weekend at Dallas, but he does hold the advantage as the season winds down. Interestingly, they both have four national event wins, one runner-up and two semi-finals to their credit. The 21-point difference in the standings is due to Bellemeur's "perfect" three win record in regional events, versus Gordon's two wins and a runner-up.

With Bellemeur's non-attendance at Dallas, the window of opportunity for Gordon to win back-to-back championships is a definite possibility. However, there are some very serious players entered this weekend, with Bob McCosh, Kris Hool, Nick Januik and Brian Hough all in the field. Anyone of them can run with the BETA Motorcycles team, as all of them have run in the 5.40's this year, and with the extra track prep at the Motorplex, it could be a true battle royale.