Half the Wheels, Twice the Results: TF Harleys go A to B while others Fail

Although Friday’s first qualifying session for the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals wasn’t so pretty, Top Fuel Harleys have for the most part successfully negotiated a Bristol track that has proven confounding to Top Fuel and Funny Car. Sure, Bob “Opie” Malloy’s 6.41 at 220 mph doesn’t seem all that impressive, but look at the 4-wheeled time sheets. Their number one qualifiers basically held up from Friday night’s relatively cool session, while the Harley guys found ways to go quicker on NHRA’s 2018 “half-prep” in Saturday’s blistering heat in the cleavage of Bristol Dragway.

In fact, when given the opportunity, number two qualifier Jay “Bulldog” Turner had nothing bad to say about NHRA’s 2018 track prep changes. “It’s fine,” said Turner. “It doesn’t effect us at all. They’re doing a good job out there.”

And you know Turner isn’t putting lipstick on a Tennessee hog, as he was quick to remark at the Gatornationals how Gainesville has declined since he raced there last.

“My (high gear only) bike has historically done well on slippery tracks,” Bob Malloy told Sandra Alberti
Jay Turner was just .004 and 1 mph off of Malloy’s pace.

Doug and Julie Vancil—along with Mike and Patty Romine—have their Vance & Hines bike qualified third with a 6.43 at 219.
This picture shows exactly what happened to Friday’s top dog Tii Tharpe on Saturday—he was quick but slipped to fourth behind Vancil—shown blurry and ahead in this pic. Tharpe did improve slightly to a 6.49 at 219.
Dennis “The Nitro Menace” Fisher is enjoying the big new motor he broke innat Gateway with NHDRO, sitting fifth with a 6.60 at a relatively slow 210. He’ll face Tharpe in what promises to be an epic round 1 battle


Most stunning of the non-qualifiers was Ricky House—dead last of 16 attempting to make an 8 bike field. House had a larger (and untested) 197 cubic inch motor in the frame rails this weekend.
Rich Vreeland’s 6.70 got him into the field for about 2 minutes before he was bumped out
Despite exhibiting a lot of body English most of the weekend, Chris Smith made the field with a 6.62. He’ll face Turner in E1
Mullet Mike Beland in his “Nitro Randy” gear shows JTR tuner Rex Harris proper form for throwing your phone into a fountain.

Master raconteur and font of nitro knowledge Bob Spina

Top Fuel Harley qualifying results

Top Fuel Harley eliminations ladder

Steve Whitely
Steven Whiteley held on to the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday during the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by presented by J&A Service portion of the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Elite Motorsports, is the sixth of 12 events this season.
Whiteley ran a 5.823-second pass at 250.51 mph in the second qualifying session on Friday in his J&A Services / Y-Not Racing ‘18 Chevy Camaro to take over the top spot. “I’m pretty happy to run low E.T. of session three knowing that our No. 1 qualifying run from Friday would not be taken down in these conditions,” Whiteley said. “We pretty much used today as a few test sessions so that we have more data headed into race day.”
Whiteley entered the weekend 14th in the points standings as he locked in his first No. 1 qualifier in 2018. Rick Hord qualified second with a 5.855 pass at 251.72 and Mike Castellana ended up third with a run of 5.855 at 249.58 on Friday.
Clay Millican
Clay Millican’s success at Bristol Dragway continued Saturday as he stayed No. 1 Top Fuel qualifier. Millican powered to the top spot with a run of 3.817-seconds at 322.88 mph in his Great Clips/Strutmasters dragster during his second qualifying pass on Friday. The defending event winner notched his fifth No. 1 qualifier on the season, as he sets his sights on his third event victory in the past four events.
“The way our car went down the track today with some of the other teams struggling is pretty incredible,” Millican said. “This has just been a great racecar for us right now, and our goal is to put four good runs in a row together for tomorrow.” Millican matches up with Terry Totten in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations.
Tony Schumacher slotted into second in Top Fuel qualifying with a 3.830 at 323.66 in his U.S. Army dragster as he prepares for Terry McMillen in round one.
Courtney Force, shown in the 4-wide at zMAX
Courtney Force remained atop the Funny Car category lead with a pass of 3.993 at 325.92 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro recorded during her second qualifying run Friday, as she was the only driver in the class to run under the four-second mark during the two days of qualifying. The current points leader secured her seventh No. 1 qualifier of the year and fifth in the past six events.
“This has been a great start to the season for my team, we have a good thing going and we are really excited with the direction our season is headed,” Force said. “We have a few wins and are in a good spot with the points lead, but we know we have to stay focused one round at a time to keep this success going.” Force will face off against Jonnie Lindberg in the first round.
J.R. Todd sits in second with a 4.072 at 313.15 in his DHL Toyota Camry during the second qualifying session on Friday, as he is slated to take on Del Worsham on Sunday.
Greg Anderson held on to the lead in the Pro Stock class after driving to a 6.674 at 205.35 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro during his second pass on Friday. The four-time world champion locked in his seventh No. 1 qualifying spot of the season and the 100th of his career.
“Getting to 100 No. 1 qualifiers has taken a lot of hard work and late nights, but it’s a team award and we are definitely going to celebrate this milestone,” Anderson said. “We know it’s going to be hot and rough out there, so it’s going to come down to who can handle this track best on race day.” Anderson will take on Wally Stroupe in the first round of eliminations.
Jeg Coughlin Jr. finds ended up qualifying second following his 6.683 at 205.22 in his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro during the second session on Friday.
Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Pro Modified — 1. Steven Whiteley, Chevy Camaro, 5.823, 250.51 vs. 16. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.952, 242.32; 2. Rick Hord, Chevy Corvette, 5.855, 251.72 vs. 15. Jeffery Barker, Pontiac GXP, 5.945, 250.78; 3. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.855, 249.58 vs. 14. Chad Green, Camaro, 5.939, 245.63; 4. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.861, 244.69 vs. 13. Troy Coughlin, Ford Mustang, 5.928, 249.58; 5. Jeremy Ray, Corvette, 5.870, 244.47 vs. 12. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 5.925, 254.09; 6. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.872, 245.18 vs. 11. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 5.919, 246.75; 7. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.872, 245.40 vs. 10. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.908, 246.62; 8. Eric Dillard, Pontiac Firebird, 5.885, 252.85 vs. 9. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.886, 251.58.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Chip King, 5.954, 242.28; 18. Michael Biehle, 5.958, 246.75; 19. Jim Whiteley, 5.960, 241.07; 20. Pete Farber, 5.964, 239.44; 21. Steve Jackson, 5.989, 242.36; 22. Doug Winters, 5.993, 239.31; 23. Brandon Snider, 6.004, 241.45; 24. Clint Satterfield, 6.015, 245.05; 25. Steve Matusek, 6.017, 243.50; 26. Richie Stevens, 6.034, 243.46; 27. Chuck Little, 6.117, 233.76; 28. Harry Hruska, 6.928, 170.69; 29. Erica Enders, 7.881, 120.44.
Top Fuel — 1. Clay Millican, 3.817 seconds, 322.88 mph vs. 16. Terry Totten, 6.899, 84.96; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.830, 323.66 vs. 15. Terry McMillen, 4.724, 159.34; 3. Antron Brown, 3.832, 319.67 vs. 14. Richie Crampton, 4.626, 169.81; 4. Scott Palmer, 3.863, 319.82 vs. 13. Bill Litton, 4.111, 302.82; 5. Brittany Force, 3.875, 320.20 vs. 12. Doug Kalitta, 4.091, 243.81; 6. Steve Torrence, 3.879, 321.81 vs. 11. Shawn Reed, 4.019, 263.62; 7. Dom Lagana, 3.886, 321.19 vs. 10. Pat Dakin, 4.002, 306.53; 8. Mike Salinas, 3.917, 314.97 vs. 9. Leah Pritchett, 4.001, 296.31.
Funny Car — 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.993, 325.92 vs. 16. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.771, 202.82; 2. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.072, 313.15 vs. 15. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.335, 231.91; 3. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.077, 316.97 vs. 14. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.298, 290.13; 4. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.078, 312.06 vs. 13. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.262, 251.81; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.109, 304.05 vs. 12. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.215, 295.98; 6. John Force, Camaro, 4.115, 313.51 vs. 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.193, 301.07; 7. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.130, 307.86 vs. 10. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 4.191, 299.00; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.167, 303.03 vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.188, 296.24.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 9.984, 92.31.
Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.674, 205.44 vs. 16. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.552, 133.18; 2. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.683, 205.26 vs. 15. Tommy Lee, Camaro, 7.012, 195.39; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.685, 204.82 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.866, 201.49; 4. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.688, 205.60 vs. 13. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.800, 203.12; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.692, 203.58 vs. 12. Tim Freeman, Camaro, 6.744, 203.46; 6. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.700, 204.57 vs. 11. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.710, 205.26; 7. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.703, 205.22 vs. 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.706, 206.13; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.703, 204.08 vs. 9. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.704, 205.07.

Leave a Reply