NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Coverage From the Bristol Dragway


Clay Millican piloted his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster to his first career Top Fuel victory Sunday at the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the 11th event of 24 on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

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Millican, a Tennessee native, raced a 3.825-second pass at 316.38 mph to defeat Leah Pritchett, who raced a 3.881 at 307.09 in her Papa John’s dragster. He became the 103rd different driver to win in Top Fuel. This was Millican’s 254th NHRA Top Fuel start and the ninth final round of his career.

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“I love what I do,” Millican said. “There were times I ever wondered if this was going to happen. I don’t deserve this credit. I’m really happy for David Grubnic and all of the boys who work on this car and I mean that one-hundred percent.”

Millican battled past Kyle Wurtzel, Brittany Force and Steve Torrence en route to the finals. Pritchett squared up against Troy Coughlin Jr., Scott Palmer and Shawn Langdon before falling to Millican in the final round. Millican is seventh in points while Pritchett moved from third to second with the runner-up finish. Torrence now has possession of the Top Fuel points lead.

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Defending Funny Car world champion Capps raced to his fifth victory this season and 55th of his career in the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. He won on a holeshot against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T with a pass of 4.054 at 317.05.

“We’ve gotten a few lucky rounds, but it’s been preparation in the off season,” Capps stated. “We had runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, drivers and crew chiefs combined. You read down the list of people we had to beat in a new car that was prepared. There are not very many teams that are that prepared to pull a car out and have a quicker set-up than we were.”

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Capps ties John Force with most Funny Car victories at Bristol Dragway with four apiece on their resume.

Before entering the final round, Capps defeated Alexis DeJoria, Robert Hight and teammate Matt Hagan. Beckman sailed past Cruz Pedregon, Courtney Force and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. before seeing Capps for the second consecutive final round. Beckman defeated Capps in the finals at the event in Englishtown.

In Pro Stock, Laughlin clinched his first Wally of the season and second of his career with a perfect reaction time in the finals. He powered his Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.718 at 205.04 to defeat Bo Butner in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro. Laughlin is the eighth different Pro Stock winner this season.

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“We didn’t really have anything handed to us; we had some good matchups all day,” Laughlin stated. “I definitely feel like I had a point to prove. We have a competitive car on the starting line. I came into this weekend with the confidence to win.”

Laughlin raced past Alan Johnson, No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin and rookie Tanner Gray before facing Butner in the final round. Butner lined up against Wally Stroupe and two-time world champion Erica Enders en route to his fourth final round appearance this season.

Troy Coughlin powered to the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series victory Sunday at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by the Real Pro Mod Association, was the seventh of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.

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Coughlin ran a 5.878-second pass at 253.09 mph in his JEGS Mail Order ’15 Corvette to defeat No. 1 qualifier Shane Molinari and his S&T Truck Repair Inc. ’68 Firebird’s 5.881 at 254.76 for his first win of the season.

“What can I say about those guys Steve Petty, Kyle, Mike, the Jegs.com team and everybody at Mac Tools – they’re a badass group of people,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had a fantastic car for the last race or so. We struggled a little bit in the middle part of the first half of the season, but it’s definitely coming around.”

It was Coughlin’s second consecutive final round appearance and 10th career win. He is currently second in points while Mike Castellan maintains the points lead after a quarterfinal finish.

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Sunday’s final results from the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the 11th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series: 

Top Fuel — Clay Millican, 3.825 seconds, 316.38 mph  def. Leah Pritchett, 3.881 seconds, 307.09 mph.

Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.054, 317.05  def. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.040, 319.29.

Pro Stock — Alex Laughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.718, 205.04  def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.729, 205.79.

Pro Modified — Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.878, 253.09  def. Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.881, 254.76.

Super Stock — Marty Rinehart Jr., Chevy Camaro, 9.980, 129.23  def. Greg Stanfield, Camaro, 8.731, 158.17.

Stock Eliminator — Jimmy Hidalgo Jr., Pontiac GTO, 10.990, 117.12  def. John Leach, Plymouth Roadrunner, Foul – Red Light.

Super Comp — David Morris, Dragster, 8.902, 159.89  def. John Labbous Jr, Dragster, 8.891, 171.75.

Super Gas — Steve Furr, Chevy Camaro, 9.914, 149.75  def. Jacob Elrod, Chevy Corvette, 9.896, 156.34.

Top Sportsman — Clayton Roberts, Chevy Cavalier, 7.542, 180.31  def.
Jeffrey Barker, Chevy Cobalt, 6.704, 197.28.

Top Dragster — Aaron Stanfield, Dragster, 6.370, 210.41  def. Angie Travis, Dragster, 6.288, 213.33.

Top Fuel Harley — Tii Tharpe, Dixie, 6.549, 205.01  def. Jay Turner, Dixie, 7.603, 134.20.

Torrence, Wilkerson And J. Coughlin Jr. Secured No. 1 Qualifying Positions At NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 11th event of 24 on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence’s pass of 3.772-seconds at 319.29 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster during the fourth qualifying session secured his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 15th of his career.

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“It’s been a really tricky weekend,” Torrence stated. “I think it will be a driver’s race tomorrow. I feel like we’re going to have to go out and earn the round wins and if you make it to the final you’re going to have to work hard. These 11,000 horsepower beasts don’t want to go down hot tracks and it takes a lot of finesse from crew chiefs and drivers have to be on their job.”

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Torrence will square up against Chris Karamesines in the first round of eliminations Sunday afternoon.

Doug Kalitta is second after a pass of 3.781 at 326.71 in his Mac Tools dragster and Leah Pritchett is third in her Papa Johns dragster with a run of 3.795 at 288.03.

Wilkerson sits atop the Funny Car class with his pass of 3.895 at 328.22 from Friday night in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. This is his first No. 1 qualifier of the season and 19th of his career.

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“It’ll be an interesting day tomorrow,” Wilkerson said. “This place is really trying. Don’t think you’ve heard one crew chief say, ‘Wow. This is the easiest thing in the world.’ I’m very optimistic of how we can run tomorrow. I told my guys I hope I’ve got them worn out by the time four o’clock rolls around tomorrow.”

Wilkerson will face Bob Bode at the starting line in the first round.

Robert Hight qualified second in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS with a pass of 3.918 at 324.28. Matt Hagan ran a time of 3.925 at 326.00 in his Sandvik Coromant Dodge Charger R/T to qualify third.

In Pro Stock, Coughlin’s pass of 6.694 at 204.85 in his JEGS.com / Elite Performance Chevy Camaro from Friday stood strong through Saturday to clench his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 23rd of his career.

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“It feels great to stay on the pole after Friday night’s run,” Coughlin said. “Couldn’t be more proud of the entire JEGS.com team; they’ve been really thrashing. We’d love nothing more than to turn this green hat into a yellow hat with our first race win this season.”

Bo Butner is seeded second with a pass of 6.697 at 205.72 in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro. Two-time world champion Erica Enders ran a 6.704 at 205.66 to qualify third in her Elite Performance Chevy Camaro.

First round of eliminations are slated to begin at noon on Sunday at Bristol Dragway. Catch the action at 6:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).

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Shane Molinari secured the No. 1 qualifier Saturday at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. This weekend’s Pro Mod Racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the seventh of 12 events this season.

Molinari’s pass of 5.837 seconds at 256.70 mph in his S&T Truck Repair Inc. ’68 Firebird during the final round of qualifying secured him lane choice during the first elimination session Saturday afternoon. He defeated Jim Whiteley in the first round with a 5.934 at 227.50.

“We’re just going to make another lap (tomorrow) and see what happens,” Molinari said. “We’re going to go A to B, that’s it; that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Sidnei Frigo, who bettered Pete Farber, will be Molinari’s next opponent in eliminations on Sunday.

The No. 2 qualifier, Troy Coughlin, also advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Mike Janis with his pass of 5.842 at 254.86 in his JEGS Mail Order ’15 Corvette. Coughlin will line up against Bob Rahaim in the second round.


Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations for the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.772 seconds, 319.29 mph  vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, 4.263, 236.13; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.781, 326.71  vs. 15. Shawn Langdon, 4.023, 244.07; 3. Leah Pritchett, 3.795,309.34  vs. 14. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.014, 236.75; 4. Clay Millican, 3.810, 321.12  vs. 13. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.955, 265.48; 5. Brittany Force, 3.818, 318.69  vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.901, 315.42; 6.Tony Schumacher, 3.825, 322.27  vs. 11. Scott Palmer, 3.883, 321.88; 7. Antron Brown, 3.834, 318.62 vs. 10. Pat Dakin, 3.869, 301.60; 8. Kebin Kinsley, 3.835, 311.27  vs. 9. Mike Salinas, 3.856, 316.75.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Terry Haddock, 4.586, 183.02.

Funny Car — 1. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.895, 328.22  vs. 16. Bob Bode, Dodge Charger, 8.365, 86.82; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.918, 324.28  vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 7.634, 89.65; 3. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.925, 326.00  vs. 14. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.996, 162.49; 4.
Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.952, 324.90  vs. 13. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 4.067, 308.00; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.959, 322.96  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.048, 310.77; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.983, 322.96  vs. 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.043, 311.27; 7. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.998,
295.08  vs. 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.032, 316.15; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.000, 315.93 vs. 9. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.024, 303.98.

Pro Stock — 1. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Camaro, 6.694, 205.79  vs. Bye; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.697,206.51  vs. 13. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 7.300, 187.78; 3. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.704, 205.82  vs.12. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.786, 202.97; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.711, 205.47  vs. 11.Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.778, 205.38; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.721, 205.22  vs. 10. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.757, 205.54; 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.725, 205.91  vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.757, 204.79; 7. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.730, 205.60  vs. 8. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.740, 204.54.

ROUND ONE — Sidnei Frigo, Chevy Corvette, 5.927, 249.90 def. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 5.960, 244.34; Troy Coughlin, Corvette, 5.842, 254.86 def. Mike Janis, Chevy Camaro, 7.884, 122.87; Shane Molinari, Pontiac Firebird, 5.934, 227.50 def. Jim Whiteley, Camaro, 11.197, 107.31; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 5.898, 246.03 def. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.901, 243.94; Michael Bowman, Chevy Chevelle, 5.955, 256.50 def. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 6.036, 243.28; Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.867, 246.48 def. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.928, 244.96; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 5.939, 245.67 def. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.932, 244.96; Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.855, 246.98 def. Michael Biehle, Ford Mustang, 5.895, 252.05.

Kalitta, Wilkerson And Jeg Coughlin Lead Friday Qualifying At The NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals 

Doug Kalitta is the current Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Friday evening at the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) are also provisional qualifying leaders at the 11th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

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