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PRO STOCK’S LEE UNHURT AFTER ‘CHUTE-LESS CRASH INTO SAFETY NET

Veteran NHRA Pro Stock driver Tommy Lee was unhurt Saturday afternoon at Tennessee’s Bristol Dragway following a crash into the safety netting at the end of the quarter-mile course.

The accident happened during the third of four qualifying sessions at the Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley Nationals. Lee had clocked a 195-mph speed on the run.

MILLICAN TAKES BIG STEP TOWARD DEFENDING THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS TITLE

The script was written perfectly a year ago for Clay Millican and it looks like the popular driver from Tennessee is ready for a command performance.

Millican won his first NHRA Top Fuel title last season at zMAX Dragway at Bristol, Tenn., and would like nothing more than to defend it. He arrived at the Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals having won two of this year’s 10 Top Fuel titles with crew chief David Grubnic and the Great Clips/Parts Plus dragster team and didn’t let up Friday during the night qualifying session.

COURTNEY FORCE CONTINUES HOT STREAK IN HEAT, LEADS QUALIFYING AT BRISTOL

It took shadows to let performance begin to shine through Friday at zMAX Dragway for the opening day of the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at Bristol, Tenn.

In the opening late afternoon session, once again, nitro crew chiefs couldn’t connect with the knuckleballs thrown their way by NHRA’s new 2018 less sticky traction preparation.

C. FORCE, MILLICAN AND ANDERSON EARN PRELIMINARY NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT BRISTOL

Courtney Force continued to outrun the field in the Funny Car class by earning the preliminary No. 1 qualifier position at the 18th annual Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Clay Millican (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) are also preliminary No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 11th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

S. WHITELEY USES STRONG QUALIFYING EFFORT TO LEAD THE PRO MOD CLASS AFTER DAY ONE IN BRISTOL

Steven Whiteley secured the preliminary No. 1 qualifying position Friday 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 in his J&A Services / Y-Not Racing ‘18 Chevy Camaro to take the top spot.

ALLEN JOHNSON SETTLING INTO LIFE AFTER PRO STOCK

Allen Johnson didn’t walk completely away from drag racing.

Johnson, the 2012 NHRA Pro Stock world champion, will be competing in the Factory Stock Showdown during the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., June 15-17.

“This is something to do,” Johnson said. “This something to keep the fires burning a little bit for my dad and I.”

 

ELITE MOTORSPORTS NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR FOR BRISTOL PRO MOD

Elite Motorsports has been named the presenting sponsor for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service portion of the upcoming Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, which takes place this weekend at Bristol Dragway. It is the sixth of 12 races during the 2018 E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service season.
 
“Bristol Dragway is a great place for fans to take in all the thrilling action of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service,” said Brad Gerber, NHRA vice president and chief development officer. “Elite Motorsports has been a significant name in the Pro Stock world, and we are excited to see them move into the Pro Mod class as a race team and an event partner as well.”

PDRA AXES PRO EXTREME FOR 2018 SEASON

 

There was a time when PDRA believed in the Pro Extreme division, essentially a king of the hill doorslammer division. Today the PDRA revealed the thrill is gone.

PDRA has suspended Pro Extreme competition for this season, and the unforeseeable future.

“The competition is not there,” PDRA’s Bob Harris, VP of Operations said. “While the racers appreciated the PDRA paying the full payout for races for only a few Pro Extreme cars, they expressed they would rather enjoy strong competition than just show up for easy money. Our Pro Extreme racers have begun looking at other options. Terry Leggett and Jason Scruggs both plan to move to a roots style blower and run Pro Boost.

A LEGEND REMEMBERS A LEGEND: JOHN FORCE TALKS GOOSE

Although the Sunday death of Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen at age 81 reverberated throughout the sport of drag racing, it hit few harder than it did John Force, the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion. Force spoke at length with his PR representatives Elon Werner and Dave Densmore to collect his thoughts and feelings about McEwen. This is what he wanted us to share with the NHRA community.

As recently as three to four weeks ago, McEwen had called Force to talk about a recent spate of engine explosions and crashes that had left the Hall of Fame team owner and driver battered, bruised and besieged.

The conversation was typically candid. “Force,” McEwen said, “are you trying to kill yourself? Let’s talk, call me.” It was the kind of conversation in which the two had engaged in for more than 40 years.

WITH OR WITHOUT A DEAL, GARY PHILLIPS DELIVERS

 

Twenty-time Australian champion Gary Phillips isn’t a philosopher, but there is merit in some of his observations.

“All the money in the world cannot buy success, but it can help you buy parts,” Phillips said, as he instructed the reporter to keep up with his breakneck pace of servicing two cars destined for the final round at the Gulf Western 400 Thunder Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway outside of Brisbane.

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