Testing For U.S. Nationals Gets Under Way
Antron Brown, Robert Hight and Andrew Hines were quickest in their respective categories Wednesday during the first of two days of National Hot Rod Association open testing at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series teams are utilizing the two-day session to prepare for the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the world’s most prestigious drag race, Sept. 1-6 at the multipurpose motorsports facility in Clermont, Ind.
The event, which will be showcased during 10 hours of coverage by ESPN2HD, is the first of six races involving 40 drivers in four classes in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
Brown, who finished fifth in the regular season point standings, powered his Matco Tools Dragster to a Top Fuel best performance of 3.911-seconds at 300.20 mph.
“Bar none, this is the biggest race of the year,” said Brown, of Don Schumacher Racing. “This is ‘The Racing Capital of the World’ and to be out here and have the Countdown start here you have to be ready because it is the Super Bowl of all of our races. It’s going to be really key to get as many (1,000-foot) laps down the racetrack and try to be perfect on what we have going on and make our program better.
“In Top Fuel there are 10 teams that are in the Countdown that can win the championship and we want to be there at the end to have a run in that final race. To do it you have to start here at the U. S. Nationals and give it all you’ve got.”
Rod Fuller, the only other Top Fuel driver to make a run, posted a 4.027-second effort at 233.60 mph in his Yas Marina Circuit Dragster.
In Funny Car, reigning world champion Hight turned in the best run of the day with a 4.092-second pass at 303.23 mph in his Auto Club Ford Mustang. Hight has advanced to the last four final rounds at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, posting wins in 2006 and 2008. Hight is seeded No. 2 in the class.
“It’s going pretty good,” said Hight, of John Force Racing. “We’re just working on our clutch setup. So far, so good. The NHRA has done a great job on this racetrack and we can get out there and learn a whole lot, so we’re looking forward to the two days. This is the NHRA’s premier event and we have had great success here. It’s always a hectic week, but I’m looking forward to it and all three of our Ford Mustangs are running well.“
Hight was referring to team-owner John Force – a 14-time NHRA world champion and the No. 1 seed – and daughter Ashley Force Hood.
Two other Funny Car drivers made laps as well. Del Worsham posted a 4.109-second pass with no speed reported in the Al-Anabi Toyota Camry, while Melanie Troxel ran 4.270/244.03 in the In-N-Out Dodge Charger.
Top seed Hines, a three-time NHRA world champion, posted a 6.898-second pass at 191.51 mph on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson V-Rod to lead four Pro Stock Motorcycle participants. Teammate Eddie Krawiec, the 2008 Pro Stock Bike world champion, ran a 6.948-second pass at 189.44 mph on his Harley-Davidson. Chip Ellis ran 7.016-seconds at 187.83 mph, while two-time Indy winner Steve Johnson had a best run of 7.113-seconds at 182.95 mph on a Suzuki.No Comment