Post-Race Report Event 11: NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol Dragway Bristol, Tenn.

Shawn Langdon Sunday.jpg

Shawn Langdon Sunday

Langdon claims two more round wins in quest for top ten

Race Recap: The Global Electronic Technology team with driver Shawn Langdon came into Bristol looking to cut down the gap even more on the chase for the top ten in the standings. Statistically, Bristol was one of Langdon’s best tracks as he had claimed victory at Thunder Valley two of the past three seasons.

Qualifying proved to be a struggle for the Global Electronic Technology team as tire smoke and dropped cylinders forced runs to be aborted. Langdon was able to sneak into the field in the 15th position, which forced a first round bout with his teammate Doug Kalitta.

The all-Team Kalitta pairing became a pedal fest as both drivers hit tire smoke at nearly the same point. Langdon pedaled and was able to regain traction and get to the stripe first. Defending champion Antron Brown was the next foe and Langdon again proved the master of pedaling as he was able to get his Global Electronic Technology dragster hooked back up to earn his second trip to the semi-finals this season.

In the semi-finals, Langdon got a reaction time advantage over his opponent, Leah Pritchett. However, Langdon’s Global Electronic Technology machine suffered the loss of a cylinder and Pritchett’s machine was running on all eight, which allowed her to drive around Langdon despite his excellent work at the starting line. 

Qualified: No. 15 (4.023 sec., 244.07 mph) 

E1: Langdon defeated Kalitta – 4.183 sec., 255.53 mph to 4.414 sec., 206.33 mph

E2: Langdon defeated Brown – 4.251 sec., 258.37 mph to 4.310 sec., 263.26 mph

E3: Langdon defeated by Pritchett – 3.901 sec., 308.00 mph to 3.798 sec., 319.90 mph

Quotable: “The track was very difficult. It threw a lot of curveballs at the crew chiefs this weekend and we did the best we could and tried to make the right calls. We were able to win some pedal-fests the first couple rounds and then we dropped a cylinder in the semis. We feel like we’re starting to roll. We made up some points toward trying to get in the top 10 for the Countdown, so we felt good about that.  We’re coming. We’re making moves. We’re learning every weekend. When we get this thing right, it’s going to be a bad hot rod.”

Point Standings: 11th; trails Terry McMillen by 101 points for 10th

 Doug Kalitta sunday

Kalitta on the wrong side of tough first round race versus teammate

Race Recap: After earning a semi-final finish in Englishtown, Doug Kalitta and the Mac Tools team turned to Bristol to continue that run of good fortune.

The strong performance continued in qualifying as the Mac Tools team set on the provisional no.1 qualifying spot after day one of the Thunder Valley Nationals. Kalitta nearly scored a record-earning first Bristol no.1 qualifier, but lost the top spot in the very last pass of the final qualifying session on Saturday, which ended up moving Kalitta to the second spot and a first round date with teammate Shawn Langdon. Kalitta’s 326.71 MPH run did hold for top speed on the weekend.

In the tough first round draw, Kalitta was able to get the early advantage on Langdon. However, near the 330 foot mark, the Mac Tools ride began to lose traction. Kalitta pedaled twice but was unable to get the machine to corporate forcing him to lift and yield the round win to Langdon. 

Qualified: No. 2 (3.781 sec., 326.71 mph) 

E1: Kalitta defeated by Langdon – 4.414 sec., 206.33 mph to 4.183 sec., 255.53 mph 

Quotable: “The Mac Tools team saw some very tough conditions out there today, and Shawn just got to the line first. We will regroup and be ready to go in Norwalk in a couple days.”

Point Standings: Fifth; trails Tony Schumacher by 123 points for fourth; leads Brittany Force by 29 points for sixth

Troy Coghlin Sunday 

Coughlin Jr. loses close first round race

Race Recap: With Englishtown in the rear-view mirror, the SealMaster team and driver Troy Coughlin Jr. looked to continue the growing process at his first race at Thunder Valley.

Qualifying did not go as planned as extreme conditions in Bristol caused several machines to have difficulty getting down the track. Coughlin was able to wheel the SealMaster machine to a 4.014 second pass and that was good enough to seed the SealMaster team in the 14th position. 

Their first opponent was Leah Pritchett. Coughlin Jr. was able to get the jump at the starting line. The SealMaster machine crossed the 60 foot and 330 foot marks still ahead, but soon after suffered tire smoke. Coughlin Jr. attempted to pedal twice, but the engine went silent and he was forced to watch Pritchett cross the line just in front of his dragster. 

Qualified: No. 14 (4.014 sec., 230.53 mph) 

E1: Coughlin Jr. defeated by Pritchett – 4.378 sec., 189.26 mph to 4.378 sec., 186.51 mph

Quotable: “It is a bummer the way the day ended up for the SealMaster Toyota. We are making strides. I am getting used to the car and how it acts; it is the first time we have pedaled it in eliminations. We will carry the momentum of experience on to Norwalk.”

Point Standings: Eighth; trails Clay Millican by 196 points for seventh; leads Scott Palmer by 11 points for ninth

 JR Todd Sunday

Todd suffers opening round loss

Race Recap: The DHL team looked to continue to master a new tune-up at tricky Bristol Dragway. 

Despite rain showers in the forecast, the track stayed mostly dry and very hot all weekend. With track tempatures among the hottest we have seen this season, avoiding tire smoke was the key. The DHL team and J.R. Todd started strong with a bonus point earning run in the first session of qualifying and another clean run in the final session that gave them confidence heading into eliminations.

Todd’s first draw was Courtney Force. Todd got the early advantage and led past the 60 foot mark before the DHL Toyota began dropping cylinders. Force was able to drive around Todd and take the opening round win.

Qualified: No. 13 (4.067 sec., 307.72 mph) 

E1: Todd defeated by C. Force – 4.305 sec., 240.89 mph to 4.132 sec., 255.43 mph

Quotable: “Definitely not the weekend we were looking for with the DHL Toyota Camry. It would have been awesome to win on Father’s Day for my dad and Connie, but we will go on to Norwalk and keep working on this thing and hopefully keep protecting our spot in the top ten.”

Point Standings: Ninth; trails Tim Wilkerson by 14 points for eighth; leads Cruz Pedregon by 79 points for 10th

 alexis dejoria sunday

DeJoria defeated early in Bristol

Race Recap: The Tequila Patrón team and driver Alexis DeJoria ended qualifying strong at the Thunder Valley Nationals. As one of just seven drivers to dip into the 3-second range on the hot Bristol track surface, DeJoria claimed a bonus point and confidence heading into the first round of eliminations.

Defending Funny Car champion Ron Capps was the first draw. DeJoria’s Toyota Camry dropped a cylinder early in the run which allowed Capps to blaze ahead and claim the round victory. 

Qualified: No. 7 (3.998 sec., 295.08 mph)

E1: DeJoria defeated by Capps – 4.246 sec., 278.75 mph to 4.104 sec., 315.34 mph

Point Standings: 14th; trails Jim Campbell by 51 points for 13th