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The latest update as of March 19, 2023

A few odds and ends on an "off" weekend

There wasn't a lot of detail attached to the "Action Against participant" statement on NHRA's nhraracer.com website, but the end result was that the Amalie Oil Gatornationals Top Fuel Champion, Mike Salinas was fined 20 points for apparently being underweight at some point during eliminations. Incorrect information was conveyed by NHRA to the "Scrappers Racing" team and that's what led to the penalty. The NHRA rulebook is quite clear that "the race team is always responsible for the weight of the car", henceforth the penalty, which is appealable, was levied.

There's a little more detail on the Competition Plus website, but no comments from Salinas have been made. We're not even sure if we'll ever hear/read about just when the weight infraction occured, but the mistake was made by NHRA and the team innocently took the incorrect information as correct.

The 20 point deduction effectively took away one round win from the event winner - and Salinas is still the official race winner - but he's now second in the points standings, four points behind runnerup Steve Torrence. It will be interesting to see if there is an appeal but based on what happened - or more exactly, what didn't happen when Tony Schumacher was fined $20,000 and 50 points after the Brainerd event last summer. That was a clearcut case of a team hurrying to make it to the next round of racing and they did intentionally leave some safety systems inactive. In retrospect, they would have been further ahead to have stayed in the pits. And, as far as we know, the team did not appeal the penalties.

3rd annual Funny Car Chaos Classic

With the coming week's weather forecast for the Dallas area being better - but far from perfect - we're keeping our fingers crossed that the event will finish on the rescheduled weekend. There are thunderstorms forecast for Thursday and showers for Friday, both days amounting to less than a quarter inch of rain, but with much warmer temperatures. The chance of precipitation on Saturday is nil, and Sunday - if an extra day is required to complete the race - has a very low probability of rain.

The racer numbers have held steady after just two competitors dropped off the Funny Car pre-entry list and four of the Fuel Altereds pulled out. That still leaves 66 serious race cars, plus numerous supporting classes to provide a performance extravaganza at the world's biggest Funny Car race. We've got at least one photographer on his way there and a second one might just make the trek down from Colorado. We'll have to wait and see on that point, but we will have photos, starting on Saturday.

Happening at the same time as the FCC race, the second event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule, and it leads off a min-Western Swing. Following the NHRA Arizona Nationals will be the Lucas Oil Winternationals at the In 'n Out Burger Pomona Dragstrip, then after a one-week break, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's going to be a four weeks for NHRA competitors and after the Las Vegas national event, a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Western Region event will be happening to make it four races in five weeks. The drag racing season is kicking it up a gear as the season gets going in a big way.

And we'll be covering the action as much as we can, with Bob Snyder and Dale Fackler on the road, and Bob Wilson at Northern Thunder headquarters working at the keyboard and watching all the action remotely. Remember: stay tuned to the "What's New" page for all the latest news from the world of drag racing.