2021 NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - DEJORIA, SALINAS AND SAMPEY PICK UP WINS AT NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS
Alexis DeJoria powered to her first win in more than four years, rolling to the victory in Funny Car on Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the 18th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the fifth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It was also the first time the race in Thunder Valley took place in October and during the playoffs.
DeJoria, who also qualified No. 1 for the first time since 2016, was impressive from start to finish this weekend in her 11,000-horsepower Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry and went 3.921-seconds at 327.66 mph in the final round to beat J.R. Todd, who went 3.939 at 326.22 in an all-Toyota Camry championship round. DeJoria knocked off Paul Lee and Robert Hight to reach the final round, making a weekend-best pass of 3.904 at 327.74 in the semifinals, rolling to her sixth career victory a round later.
“I was hungry and I know that feeling,” DeJoria said. “I was just happy to be there and I believed I was going to win. It’s one of the biggest wins of my career. Coming back after two years off, getting to work with my mentor and friend (Del Worsham), being able to do this, it’s huge. It’s just been a roller-coaster and it takes a toll on you.
"It’s very humbling, but I was just ready to win. I was calm and just excited, and when I’m in that headspace I do my best. This is definitely one of my favorite tracks and it’s just beautiful here. I just love it.”
Despite not winning, Todd made up major ground in advancing to the finals for the fifth time this season and 40th time in his career. He knocked off defending world champ Matt Hagan, John Force and points leader Ron Capps en route to the final round. He jumped to third in points and pulled to within 83 points of Capps with two races remaining in the 2021 season. Capps’ lead over Hagan is just one point.
In Top Fuel, Salinas picked up his second straight victory at Bristol Dragway, once again beating points leader Steve Torrence in the final round. Torrence ran into issues right off the starting line and Salinas’ run of 3.845 at 245.05 in his 11,000-horsepower Scrappers Racing dragster was enough to give Salinas his third career victory. He knocked off Antron Brown, Clay Millican and championship hopeful Brittany Force to reach the final round for the third straight time at Bristol. For the second straight time, he took care of business in Thunder Valley, staying fourth in Top Fuel points.
“It’s a great facility and I’m glad they welcome us here,” Salinas said. “This track loves me. I met so many nice people over the years here. We’ve got a great team, and all the parts and pieces, and I think I threw away 3-4 races at the beginning of the year trying to get my routine down. It’s hard when you’re running with all these guys, but I got a lot of help and I’ve made some big improvements. These guys in this class, they’re awesome. They cut good lights I found something that works perfectly for me and I think we’re getting there. I just try to race my lane and that’s it.”
Torrence, the three-time defending world champ and No. 1 qualifier, reached the final round for the 12th time this season and 74th in his career thanks to round wins against Cameron Ferre and Justin Ashley. By advancing to the championship round, Torrence also opened up a 73-point lead on Force heading to the last two races.
Sampey finished off a fantastic day in Pro Stock Motorcycle with her second victory in the Countdown to the Championship. In an all-female final round, Sampey beat Karen Stoffer on a holeshot on her Mission Foods/Vance & Hines Suzuki, as her run of 6.773-seconds at 196.85 held up. It gave Sampey her 45th career victory and second this season, as she pulled within 25 points of Matt Smith. That was a big moment, as was collecting the first Wally trophy for the class at Bristol. The category competed in exhibition races at the track in 1999 and 2000, but Sampey’s win marked the first points race for Pro Stock Motorcycle in Thunder Valley.
“I’ve been out here for so long, I've really learned to appreciate everything I get now,” Sampey said. “When I win a race, the emotions are 100 percent genuine because it’s a task to get it done. To get four round wins is really tough and it means so much to me. I love this sport so much and this team just works so hard. This mission was to catch back up in the points race and we made it happen. It was a fantastic day and it would be great to get the No. 1 back on the motorcycle.”
Sampey got to the final round with victories against Andrew Hines, Chris Bostick and Eddie Krawiec. Stoffer advanced to her second final round this season and 25th in her career thanks to round wins against Lance Bonham, Ron Tornow and points leader and defending world champ Smith in the semifinals. Smith also holds a 56-point lead against Steve Johnson heading to the final two events.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action Oct. 29-31 with the Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
SATURDAY - S. TORRENCE, DEJORIA, POLLACHECK EARN NO. 1 QUALIFIERS AT NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS
Top Fuel points leader and three-time defending world champ Steve Torrence powered to the track record on Saturday at Bristol Dragway, making the quickest run in Bristol history to qualify No. 1 at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Scotty Pollacheck (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 at the 18th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the fifth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. In all, five of the six possible track records were broken during qualifying on Saturday at Bristol, which is hosting its first NHRA playoff races in track history.
Torrence closed out qualifying with a stellar run of 3.667-seconds at 331.28 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, giving him his fourth No. 1 qualifier this season and 31st in his career. It was the third time the track record was set in Thunder Valley already this weekend in Top Fuel, with Brittany Force doing it on Friday and Mike Salinas following with a 3.668 at 329.83 in the opening round of qualifying on Saturday. Torrence, though, topped everyone and will open eliminations against Cameron Ferre as he attempts to win a fourth straight world title. Torrence is also seeking his 50th career Top Fuel victory.
“That run was really big for us,” Torrence said. “We’ve been picking at that over the last few races. It’s something you just don’t get overnight and you really have to work at going mid-3.60s. The track here is great and it’s exceptional. On that run, the car was super quick early and it really pulled hard out the back. That was a confidence builder for tomorrow, so you've got to go out and be able to throw down. We’re in the thick of this championship and we’re going to have to give it our best shot every time.”
Salinas finished in the second spot, while Force improved to a 3.672 at 333.58, setting the track speed record as well on Saturday.
In Funny Car, DeJoria celebrated a big moment as she claimed her first No. 1 qualifier since 2016, going 3.907 at 326.79 in her 11,000-horsepower Bandero Premium Tequila ROKiT Toyota Camry. It was a big step forward for DeJoria, earning her fifth career No. 1 spot in the process. The standout run to close out qualifying also puts DeJoria in a good spot to try and claim her first win of the season, as the team looks to finish the 2021 campaign on a good note. She’ll open eliminations against Paul Lee on Sunday at a track that has always been special for her.
“This track has a lot of good memories for me,” DeJoria said. “It was the place of my first final round I went to with Del (Worsham) back in 2012, and to come back here with our team and get a No. 1 qualifier at this track is huge. This alone is so gratifying and means so much, and it kind of feels like a win. It’s just a huge weight lifted off our shoulders. We’ve got three races left and we haven’t won a race yet, so it’s crunch time and we’ve got to do it now.”
Ron Capps qualified second, going 3.945 at 325.61 and points leader Matt Hagan will start raceday from the third spot, going 3.958 and breaking the track speed record with a run of 330.31.
Pollacheck grabbed the No. 1 spot from his teammate in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith, during the final pass of the day, earning his third No. 1 qualifier this season and fourth in his career on his Denso/Strutmaster/MSR Buell with a run of 6.859 at 197.80. He’s after his second win of the season and heads into raceday on a good note following his strong pass to close out qualifying.
“It’s so awesome to be here at Bristol and to be No. 1,” Pollacheck said. “To come here, someplace I’ve always seen on TV and I’ve always to come to because it looks so awesome, and end up with the No. 1 spot on the final qualifying run was pretty special. It was a good team effort and it was a good pass. It was a little surprising, but Matt told me afterward that if I rode it (well), it would go an .85.”
Smith, the defending world champ and current points leader, improved on his run from Friday, qualifying second with a 6.865 at 197.54 and Karen Stoffer jumped to third after going 6.867 at 189.26.
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Rickie Smith drove to the No. 1 position in his nitrous-powered Camaro, going 5.708 at 250.64 under the lights on Saturday to close out qualifying. Points leader Jose Gonzalez is second after his run of 5.733 at 250.32.
Eliminations for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals begin at 11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday at Bristol Dragway.
Sunday's first-round pairings for eliminations for the 20th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 18th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Steve Torrence, 3.667 seconds, 331.28 mph vs. 14. Cameron Ferre, 11.398, 70.10; 2. Mike Salinas, 3.668, 329.83 vs. 13. Antron Brown, 4.572, 172.45; 3. Brittany Force, 3.672, 333.58 vs. 12. Lex Joon, 4.271, 199.64; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.672, 329.58 vs. 11. Doug Kalitta, 4.203, 221.78; 5. Justin Ashley, 3.688, 330.80 vs. 10. Shawn Langdon, 3.763, 329.91; 6. Leah Pruett, 3.691, 327.11 vs. 9. Spencer Massey, 3.761, 322.19; 7. Josh Hart, 3.696, 330.88 vs. 8. Clay Millican, 3.711, 326.87.
Funny Car -- 1. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.907, 326.79 vs. 14. Paul Lee, Dodge Charger, 6.006, 112.69; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.945, 325.61 vs. 13. Blake Alexander, Ford Mustang, 5.732, 139.11; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.958, 330.31 vs. 12. J.R. Todd, Camry, 5.703, 122.17; 4. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.965, 295.27 vs. 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 5.653, 124.13; 5. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.968, 323.50 vs. 10. Cory Lee, Mustang, 4.195, 282.95; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.968, 322.73 vs. 9. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.004, 303.16; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.975, 320.13 vs. 8. Dave Richards, Mustang, 3.983, 315.27.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.859, 197.80 vs. Bye; 2. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.865, 197.54 vs. 15. Angie Smith, EBR, 8.952, 102.32; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.867, 194.41 vs. 14. Lance Bonham, Buell, 7.313, 183.74; 4. Andrew Hines, Buell, 6.906, 195.56 vs. 13. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.262, 169.66; 5. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.913, 193.27 vs. 12. Charles Poskey, Suzuki, 7.175, 190.83; 6. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.942, 193.60 vs. 11. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.084, 189.58; 7. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.965, 191.13 vs. 10. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.042, 193.13; 8. Eddie Krawiec, Buell, 6.966, 196.36 vs. 9. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.966, 193.35.
FRIDAY - B. FORCE, WILKERSON, M. SMITH GRAB PROVISIONAL NO. 1 SPOTS AT BRISTOL
Brittany Force made the quickest run in track history at Bristol Dragway on Friday, powering to the provisional No. 1 spot in Top Fuel at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
unny Car) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also the provisional No. 1 qualifiers at the 18th of 20 races during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season and the fifth race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Force blistered the track record at Thunder Valley with an impressive run of 3.682-seconds at 328.94 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac dragster, sending her back to the No. 1 spot. If it holds, it would give the former world champ an incredible 12 No. 1 qualifiers this season and 10 in the last 11 races. She entered the weekend 52 points back of points leader Steve Torrence and Friday was the start of what Force hopes is a big weekend.
“Twelve No. 1 qualifiers is an accomplishment for our entire team,” said Force, who is after her 32nd career No. 1 qualifier. “That’s huge and it’s hard work from every one of our guys. It’s not easy to pull that off and we’ve done a good job at it, and now our focus is hopefully on two rounds on Saturday and then raceday. Our mindset is we’re excited. We’re in the hunt for this championship and we’re going to fight for it. This team is an incredible group and I’m lucky to have them.”
In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson drove to the No. 1 spot in his 11,000-horsepower Levi, Ray & Shop Ford Shelby Mustang with a pass of 3.965-seconds at 295.27 mph. If it holds, it would give Wilkerson his first No. 1 qualifier since 2019 and 21st in his career as he tries to finish his 2021 season on a good note. Wilkerson has one victory during the Countdown to the Championship this year and is after a second with three Funny Car races remaining. Robert Hight is currently second after going 3.968 at 323.50, while his teammate, John Force, is right behind with an identical 3.968 at a slower 322.73.
Picking up right where he left off in Dallas, Pro Stock Motorcycle went to the top on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR with a run of 6.900 at 197.51. This weekend marks the first official race for the class at Thunder Valley and Smith, the defending world champ and current points leader, made a strong first impression. If it holds, it would be the fourth No. 1 qualifier for Smith this season and 47th in his career.
After a slow start in the Countdown to the Championship, Smith is back to his usual impressive form, winning in Dallas and putting together a strong run in Bristol to open the weekend. It is the fourth of six playoff races in the class and Smith had an eight-point lead on Steve Johnson entering the weekend.
Chris Bostick is currently second after going 6.927 at 193.27, while Johnson is currently third with a solid pass of 6.942 at 193.60.
Qualifying continues at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Friday's results after the first one of three rounds of qualifying for the 20th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, 18th of 20 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Brittany Force, 3.682 seconds, 328.94 mph; 2. Justin Ashley, 3.726, 329.50; 3. Steve Torrence, 3.727, 323.12; 4. Clay Millican, 3.747, 326.87; 5. Leah Pruett, 3.752, 321.42; 6. Billy Torrence, 3.777, 297.61; 7. Josh Hart, 3.779, 323.74; 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.791, 320.58; 9. Lex Joon, 4.271, 199.64; 10. Doug Kalitta, 6.323, 94.00; 11. Antron Brown, 7.275, 86.08; 12. Spencer Massey, 7.425, 85.03; 13. Mike Salinas, 8.337, 68.40; 14. Cameron Ferre, broke.
Funny Car -- 1. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.965, 295.27; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.968, 323.50; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.968, 322.73; 4. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 4.004, 303.16; 5. Dave Richards, Mustang, 4.109, 302.21; 6. Cory Lee, Mustang, 4.195, 282.95; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 5.469, 131.52; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 5.653, 124.13; 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 5.703, 122.17; 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 5.752, 122.36; 11. Paul Lee, Charger, 6.006, 112.69; 12. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 6.495, 99.71; 13. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, broke; 14. Matt Hagan, Charger, broke.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.900, 197.51; 2. Chris Bostick, Suzuki, 6.927, 193.27; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.942, 193.60; 4. Andrew Hines, Buell, 6.957, 194.60; 5. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.964, 194.58; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Buell, 6.966, 196.36; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.975, 193.82; 8. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.989, 193.35; 9. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 7.086, 191.67; 10. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.181, 188.65; 11. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.240, 183.94; 12. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.262, 169.66; 13. Charles Poskey, Suzuki, 7.317, 190.70; 14. Angie Smith, EBR, 8.952, 102.32; 15. Lance Bonham, Buell, 9.005, 98.11.
SPORTSMAN QUALIFYING -
SUPER STOCK (Q-1)
1 4739 GT/JA Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '87 Cama 9.816 10.80 -0.984
2 6 SS/HA Jeff Dona, Gordonville MO, '98 Firebird 9.667 10.60 -0.933
3 3713 GT/JA Logan Belanger, Elizabeth IN, '05 Cavalier 9.878 10.80 -0.922
4 4300 FSS/K Lloyd Wofford, Jonesboro AR, '10 Challeng 9.667 10.55 -0.883
5 2963 FGT/F Don Barber, Hohenwald TN, '96 Averger 9.274 10.10 -0.826
6 3800 GT/KA Mike Taylor, Somerset KY, '09 Cobalt 10.083 10.90 -0.817
7 114T GT/JA Troy Huntzberry, Hagerstown MD, '87 Camaro10.021 10.80 -0.779
8 1949 GT/HA Ronnie Huntzberry, Hagerstown MD, '06 Cob 9.746 10.50 -0.754
9 26 GT/GA Mark Alvey, Chesterfield VA, '05 Cavalier 9.660 10.40 -0.740
10 3618 GT/GA Austin Alvey, Taylorsville KY, '05 Sunfire 9.666 10.40 -0.734
1 1967 H/SA Jim Marshall, Indian Land SC, '79 Nova 11.175 12.15 -0.975
2 280 J/SA Johnny Fisher, Raleigh NC, '80 Cordoba 11.518 12.45 -0.932
3 46 B/SA Conner Statler, Bossier City LA, '15 Cama 10.446 11.25 -0.804
4 2952 B/SA Jeff Longhany, Wade NC, '00 Corvette 10.453 11.25 -0.797
5 1656 FS/AA Kenneth Miele, Selma NC, '08 Mustang 8.610 9.40 -0.790
6 2007 FS/E Daren Poole-Adams, Shelby NC, '19 Camaro 10.162 10.95 -0.788
7 4053 FS/B F.J. Acosta, Belle Rose LA, '15 Camaro 9.226 10.00 -0.774
8 4860 G/SA Jimmy Hidalgo, Donaldsonville LA, '91 Cor 11.236 12.00 -0.764
9 2124 FS/B Jeff Strickland, Red Bay AL, '21 Camaro 9.263 10.00 -0.737
10 3321 B/SA Marion Stephenson, Williamsport IN, '15 C 10.523 11.25 -0.727
TOP DRAGSTER (FINAL)
1 4369 Holden Laris, Raceland LA, Dragster-Chevy 6.115 228.61 228.61
2 6 Al Peavler, Olney IL, American-Chevy 6.157 224.70 224.70
3 41 Aaron Stanfield, Bossier City LA, Dragster-Che 6.159 221.82 223.14
4 46 Darian Boesch, Kenner LA, Dragster-Chevy 6.167 201.01 224.85
5 3195 Blake Peavler, Olney IL, American-Chevy 6.181 225.37 225.48
6 2114 Steve Furr, Harrisburg NC, Dragster-Chevy 6.188 224.55 224.55
7 4360 Ross Laris, Raceland LA, Dragster-Chevy 6.193 223.25 223.43
8 2124 Jeff Strickland, Red Bay AL, American-Chevy 6.293 219.12 219.12
9 203 Corey Ferrell, Pounding Mill VA, Diamond-Chevy 6.294 226.89 226.89
10 3230 Frank Carpinelli, N. Canton OH, Dragster-Chevy 6.499 219.01 219.01
SUPER COMP (E1 WINNERS)
1 372B S/C Jessica Bogacki, Carterville IL, Dragster 8.903 8.90 0.003
2 42 S/C Vernon Rowland, Blanchard OK, Dragster-Ch 8.904 8.90 0.004
3 2708 S/C Lauren Freer, Mooresville NC, Dragster-Ch 8.905 8.90 0.005
4 5444 S/C Kris Whitfield, Littleton CO, Dragster-Ch 8.906 8.90 0.006
5 1046 S/C Jack Sepanek, Moosic PA, Dragster-Chevy 8.906 8.90 0.006
6 2833 S/C Billy Upton, Taylors SC, Dragster-Chevy 8.907 8.90 0.007
7 2438 S/C Allan Ackles, Bradenton FL, Dragster-Chevy 8.907 8.90 0.007
8 2409 S/C Jonathan Anderson, Williamson GA, Dragste 8.913 8.90 0.013
9 337B S/C Tyler Bohannon, Louisville KY, Pipe Rack- 8.921 8.90 0.021
10 2958 S/C Baylee Mize, Harriman TN, Dragster-Chevy 8.923 8.90 0.023