Hello all. We just completed the third race of our Countdown to the Championship playoff and boy are things tightening up in the point’s race. The Countdown is doing what NHRA wants and that is taking the points chase down to the final race of the season at Pomona in November.
We raced near St. Louis yesterday at Gateway Motorsports Park and we finally broke our winless streak and almost pulled another DSR double-up. Antron and the Matco/Toyota team got off the schneid and scored their third victory of the season and Jack Beckman and the Valvoline Dodge got back to another final round as they got closer to defending their championship.
The St. Louis race started early Thursday morning when our teams left the shop between 5-6 a.m. to drive to Madison, Ill. It’s about a four hour trip. After setting up at the track, many of our crew members took in the 49ers/Rams game at the Edwards Jones Dome on Thursday Night Football. It was neat for the guys to get away from racing and see the NFL game and relax away from the track.
It was a beautiful day for qualifying on Friday and we saw some great qualifying runs. We ran at 3 p.m. and our second session was delayed until 7:30pm so we got to race under the lights at Gateway Motorsports Park. There was a scary Pro Mod crash, but thankfully the driver suffered only a broken arm after a violent crash and many barrel rolls.
Leading qualifying for DSR on Friday was Matt Hagan and our Mopar/Rocky Boots team. Matt ran a 4.001 second pass at 320 mph under the lights to reset the Gateway track record. It was an awesome run and I would expect that we’ll see the Funny Car national record, which is 3.986-seconds, reset this year. Maybe at Reading this weekend.
Tony and the U.S. Army team led qualifying for the DSR dragsters by running 3.782 elapsed time, they had the number one spot until Shawn Langdon took it when they closed out Top Fuel qualifying Friday.
The first session on Saturday was fairly ugly with lots of tire smoke. The second session saw more full pulls. Matt was able to hold on the pole position for the fifth time this season. All of our other DSR teams qualified well and thankfully we had in-house matches in the opening round.
Following qualifying on Saturday, I joined my Mom, Don, friends and family at dinner to celebrate the birthday of NAPA crew chief Rahn Tobler and assistant crew chief John Collins. It was nice to get quality time together away from the race track.
We went into Sunday excited and hoping for a successful race day. Following the first round we had five DSR teams advancing to round two. Unfortunately Spencer and Johnny suffered early losses. The Battery Extender team struggled in St. Louis but will get regrouped for Reading.
In the second round, we saw Jack and Matt race each other for the second week in a row and for the second week in a row the Valvoline Max Life team earned the win. Ron and the NAPA team lost in a very close second round race with eventual race winner John Force. It’s tough to see all these close losses.
Tony and Antron had a big semifinal match-up with Antron and the Matco Tools/Toyota team turning on the win light against the U.S. Army team for the first time this season. It was the first time since Sonoma that Antron had advanced to the semifinals and his first final round since winning at Atlanta in May. Jack also got the win in a pedal fest over Del Worsham.
It was a bummer to see the Valvoline Max Life team lose in the finals, they have been winless so far this year but close many times. I have a feeling we will see them in a winners circle soon. They are peaking at the right time of year.
Antron had a tough race with Khalid alBalooshi, but thankfully, the Matco Tools/ Toyota team was able to turn on the win light and get their third win of the season. They won our 200th win in Gainesville and the rain -delayed race in Commerce, Ga. Yesterday’s win was DSR’s 217th and the 21st of the season and the 40th of Antron’s career.
Overall, we had a great time in St. Louis, I had many fans come up to me and talk to me about all things racing. It is always great to meet the faces I interact with on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you ever see me at the track, please feel free to say hi.
Today, our teams are back in Indy servicing for a few days before heading to Reading on Wednesday. Reading is known for its cool temperatures and low elapsed times and I can’t wait. For me, I am spending the week in classes for grad school before heading up to Reading on Friday for qualifying.
I hope you all have a great week.
Thanks for reading,
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