RAIN PUSHES NHRA NATIONALS IN READING OVER TO MONDAY
Mother Nature was the big winner on the scheduled final day of the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. Persistent rains began to fall before the completion of the semifinal and final rounds, forcing NHRA officials to push the remaining racing over to Monday at 10 AM.
Top Fuel will kick off the delayed action with the remaining Top Fuel semifinal race between Steve Torrence and Tony Schumacher. The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series finals will also be held on Monday. The race will be televised at 9:30 PM ET on Monday on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
Doug Kalitta from the Top Fuel category is the sole driver to have progressed to the final round of the first race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. His consistent runs in the 3.60s, including a time of 3.684 seconds at 332.84 mph, secured him a holeshot victory over Leah Pruett in the semifinals. Should Kalitta emerge victorious in the final round, he would celebrate his 50th career victory.
Funny Car low qualifier Bob Tasca III advanced to the semifinals by beating Alexis DeJoria and will race Chad Green.
Green secured victories against Terry Haddock and Tim Wilkerson. The second semifinal features Ron Capps, the points leader and back-to-back world champion, competing against Robert Hight following Capps' defeat of John Force in the second round. Hight's performance in the second round against Matt Hagan advanced him into the semis.
The only other remaining low qualifier, Pro Stock's Erica Enders, set a torrid pace en route to the semis by running 6.497 seconds at 210.83 mph in the first round. She will face Matt Hartford in the semifinals. The elimination of Dallas Glenn in the first round leaves Enders, Hartford, or Troy Coughlin Jr. competing for the points lead on Monday. Coughlin will go head-to-head with Kyle Koretsky in the other semifinal round.
Jianna Evaristo, who was ninth headed into the Countdown, scored the triumph of the century in the second round, taking out the seemingly unbeatable Gaige Herrera.
After setting new track records earlier in the weekend, Herrera encountered difficulties in the quarterfinals, allowing Evaristo to claim victory with a 6.894-second elapsed time at 196.44 mph. Evaristo will now face teammate and defending world champion Matt Smith in the semifinals. In the other semifinal matchup, Hector Arana Jr., who entered the weekend in third place in the standings, will compete against Chip Ellis.