MILLICAN, CAPPS AND LAUGHLIN TAKE HOME WALLYS AT THE NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
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.