Matt Smith holds the Pro Stock Motorcycle top spot at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park. Smith ran 6.866 at 195.39 mph on his S&S Gen2 powered Victory Magnum in Friday’s only session as inclement weather cut the day short. Matthew qualified No. 1 here last year and hopes to lock-in his first No. 1 qualifier of this season.
“It was good to get the first run down,” Smith stated. “We have a top three bike every weekend. I’ve just got to do my job, be focused and hurt some feelings.” Matt has five final round appearances in his career at Summit Motorsports Park.
After not qualifying the last two races, Angelle Sampey rode her Team Liberty Racing S&S Gen2 powered Buell to a 6.899 at 193.24. Angelle and the Liberty team tested at nearby Dragway 42 this week and it’s obviously paid off.
Andrew Hines rounds out the top three with a 6.911 at 194.58 after initially taking the tree with his Harley out of gear. Andrew found first and finally took off, crossing the stripe well after teammate Eddie Krawiec’s own 6.91 lap, albeit it with a 5 for 4th.
Jerry Savoie is the first Suzuki with a 6.917 in 5th. Savoie missed this race last year to take care of business down at the alligator farm. Savoie’s teammate LE Tonglet won this race last year and currently sits 9th with a 6.952 at 193.
Watch this video of Smith’s run, an interview with Matt, and the #1 nitro runs:
Rick Hord is atop the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the event. Hord ran a 5.754-second pass at 254.76 mph in the lone qualifying session in his ’16 Corvette. “Fortunately, we were 10th pair out which gave us the opportunity to see what other racers were doing,” Hord stated. “As the session evolved it became more apparent that we could be more aggressive.”
Rickie Smith qualified second with a run of 5.790 at 249.16 and Jose Gonzalez qualified third at 5.791 and 254.28.
Brittany Force piloted her Monster Energy / Advance Auto Parts dragster to a 3.776-second pass at 324.44 mph which took her to the top of the Top Fuel category. She looks to secure her second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 10th of her career. “That pass was very important for our team,” Force stated. “With the rain you don’t know how many laps you’re going to get in before race day. The conditions were great, and we just went straight down there. That was an awesome run.
“Alan Johnson and Brian Husen always pull out great numbers like that. We went straight down there. It moved around a little bit toward the top end but I hung in there till 1,000 feet and we put a .77 on the board. I think the next car behind us was a .79. So, we’re pretty pumped about that. It was a stout run. It was definitely a big adjustment coming here after two weekends with hot conditions but Brian Husen and Alan Johnson and the whole team adjusted well.”
Eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher is in second after his U.S. Army ran a pass of 3.792 at 324.44. Points leader Steve Torrence is third with a 3.792 at 327.82 in his Capco Contractors dragster.
Funny Car points leader Courtney Force leads qualifying with her run of 3.935 at 327.66 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS. She is coming off a No. 1 qualifying position in Bristol and seeking her eighth No. 1 of the season.
“To be honest, I thought we were going to have a safe run, get it from A to B knowing about the weather and the rain coming,” said Courtney. “But I knew that (Crew chiefs) Brian Corradi and Dan Hood were going to shoot for a good run, especially after seeing Capps and Hagan run .96 and .98.
“That was a fantastic run. We had a chance to see what everyone else was doing and Corradi and Hood, they were shooting for the moon. It was a handful down there (at the finishline) but we were able to gather it up and get the No. 1 spot.”
Ron Capps is in second after his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T ran a 3.961 at 320.28 and teammate Matt Hagan is third with a 3.981 at 325.22.
Both Courtney and Brittany Force are looking for their first No. 1 qualifiers at Summit Racing Motorsports Park. The Force sisters have qualified No. 1 together three times in their careers, the most recent was earlier this season at the Charlotte Four-Wide Nationals. While they’re more than happy to sweep the top spots in qualifying, they’d really like to share the winners circle on Sunday.
“It’s exciting to share a No. 1 with Courtney and we’re hoping to hang on to that going into race day but really we want to go for a win,” explained Brittany. “That’s the one thing we both would love to do, to double up, especially this weekend, I’m with Advance Auto Parts and to have matching cars and to be able to be in the winners circle would be pretty awesome.”
John Force and Robert Hight both benefitted from changes made to their Chevrolets in the couple of days before the start of the Summit Nationals. Hight’s Auto Club of Southern California team made wholesale changes to the engine combination after bowing out of last week’s Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn., in the second round.
“We switched our whole combination back this week to what we ran last year,” Hight said after putting up a 4.017 at 322.27 mph in Friday’s only completed session. “We had bigger (cylinder) heads on it all year, different camshaft, different supercharger, lots of stuff different because we were trying to run fast and set records. We decided to make a change because the conditions aren’t there, the track’s not there, the records aren’t there. The best car out there right now is Courtney’s and they’re running Jimmy’s combination from last year.”
Meanwhile, Force’s crew changed the steering on his PEAK Coolant and Motor Chevy Camaro SS Friday morning and the 16-time champion responded by putting the car in the No. 3 spot after day one with a 3.991-second pass. “It was good,” Force said. “The important thing was to go A to B, especially since we were out so early and the rain was coming. The steering is a lot quicker (now). I got down there and just turned it a little and it moved hard so I had to steer it back. Steering is a lot more positive than it has been.
“It felt good to put up that number, especially here at Norwalk. I love this place. I’ve run a lot of races here and seen all the money Bader has put into the track to make it one of the best.”
Pro Stock Cars never made it on track.
Friday’s resultsafter the first one of three rounds of qualifying for the 12th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, 12th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Pro Stock Motorcycle— 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.866, 195.39; 2. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.899, 193.24; 3. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.911, 194.58; 4. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.915, 192.85; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.917, 195.39; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.929, 190.92; 7. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.938, 196.64; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.938, 194.66; 9. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.952, 193.63; 10. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.954, 193.85; 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.975, 195.70; 12. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.990, 191.51; 13. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.066, 191.13; 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 7.074, 190.92; 15. Ron Tornow, Buell, 7.158, 188.75; 16. Mark Paquette, Buell, 7.209, 187.29.
Not Qualified: 17. Marc Ingwersen, 7.428, 187.29; 18. Joey Gladstone, 12.376, 63.63; 19. Kelly Clontz, broke.
Pro Modified — 1. Rick Hord, Chevy Corvette, 5.754, 254.76; 2. Rickie Smith, Chevy Camaro, 5.790, 249.16; 3. Jose Gonzalez, Camaro, 5.791, 254.28; 4. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.793, 246.08; 5. Steven Whiteley, Camaro, 5.795, 251.49; 6. Eric Dillard, Pontiac Firebird, 5.799, 254.38; 7. Todd Tutterow, Camaro, 5.824, 245.90; 8. Chad Green, Camaro, 5.828, 244.34; 9. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 5.837, 253.04; 10. Danny Rowe, Camaro, 5.859, 249.58; 11. Harry Hruska, Camaro, 5.862, 248.11; 12. Jeremy Ray, Corvette, 5.864, 245.09; 13. Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.881, 251.63; 14. Troy Coughlin, Ford Mustang, 5.883, 252.14; 15. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 5.885, 241.54; 16. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.886, 247.43.
Not Qualified: 17. Jim Whiteley, 5.891, 244.96; 18. Steve Jackson, 5.895, 245.09; 19. Jeffery Barker, 5.909, 252.33; 20. Eric Latino, 5.916, 245.90; 21. Erica Enders, 5.924, 247.11; 22. Doug Winters, 6.015, 241.37; 23. Chuck Little, 6.085, 241.37; 24. Brandon Snider, 6.087, 238.26; 25. Clint Satterfield, 6.103, 243.85; 26. Bob Rahaim, 6.939, 141.73; 27. Sidnei Frigo, 8.411, 110.13; 28. Chip King, 10.166, 88.20; 29. Khalid alBalooshi, 11.425, 76.59.
Top Fuel— 1. Brittany Force, 3.776 seconds, 324.44 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.792, 330.63; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.792, 327.82; 4. Clay Millican, 3.800, 329.91; 5. Antron Brown, 3.805, 323.27; 6. Mike Salinas, 3.818, 313.07; 7. Pat Dakin, 3.833, 328.86; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.871, 309.13; 9. Leah Pritchett, 4.099, 271.73; 10. Scott Palmer, 5.854, 116.34; 11. Richie Crampton, 6.073, 104.42; 12. Blake Alexander, 7.041, 82.72; 13. Dom Lagana, 7.105, 85.82; 14. Terry McMillen, 7.432, 91.70; 15. Luigi Novelli, 7.996, 75.45; 16. Chris Karamesines, 9.544, 59.37. Not Qualified: 17. Kyle Wurtzel, 10.731, 64.88; 18. Audrey Worm, 12.635, 56.10.
Funny Car— 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.935, 327.66; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.961, 320.28; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.981, 325.22; 4. John Force, Camaro, 3.991, 325.22; 5. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.017, 322.27; 6. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.032, 314.61; 7. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.044, 315.27; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.101, 308.57; 9. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.143, 313.95; 10. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.148, 279.73; 11. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.198, 298.21; 12. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.258, 304.67; 13. John Smith, Camry, 4.302, 277.66; 14. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.997, 185.92; 15. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 5.409, 152.64; 16. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 6.489, 101.17. Not Qualified: 17. Shawn Langdon, 6.512, 106.74; 18. Cruz Pedregon, 10.971, 44.80.
story, photos and video by Tim Hailey with lots of help from NHRA and team reports