Bowen to drive Michael Bartone’s car at Nightfire Nationals

A sweating pigeon was at the Phlegm Building looking for some shade (it was 108 in the St. Louis area on Saturday and dropped into the high 90s on Sunday). It was holding in his beak a photo of Tony Lebor and Michael Bartone’s new Camaro nitro funny car.


The note scribbled on a White Castle slider wrapper said that after successful testing at U.S. 131, the plans are to make a competition debut of the Bowen Racing-built funny car at the historic Nightfire Nationals at Firebird Raceway in Boise, ID, with IHRA and DRO event winner Shawn Bowen driving. 

Wilkerson leaves Denver with two injured cars

Sunday in Denver was a tough day for Tim Wilkerson and the Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang team. They poured their hearts into preparing their back-up car for eliminations after a wheelstand ended with a bent A-arm in the final round of qualifying, but in the first round of eliminations at the Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, the feisty Ford was wheels-up once again, and when it came down hard, the second chassis was injured. It was a rough start to the three-race Western Swing that begins in Denver, brings the tour to Sonoma, and ends in Seattle.


"Right now, we have no car," said Wilkerson, whose race shop is all the way back in Springfield, Ill. "I called [chassis builder] Murf McKinney, and he has a third chassis that he is front-halving. He's going to try to get that done, and we'll be at his place on Wednesday to try to pick it up. Then we'll go straight to Sonoma. It looks like we could stop once, maybe, and be there [in Sonoma] Friday morning. We'll have to swap all the parts from one car to the other, and with any luck, we'll be able to make the second qualifier on Friday. If not, we'll be there Saturday to make those two runs."   

Rampy, Fletcher, Helms add to win totals at Denver

David Rampy, Dan Fletcher and Kevin Helms all added to their win counts while Bradley Johnson, Brad Basgall and Randy Cruickshank each captured their first NHRA National event win at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.


Rampy bagged his 96th national event win as he ran down Jessie Oman who got the jump in the Comp Eliminator final round. Oman took the early lead by .025 seconds but Rampy’s ‘32 roadster had the power at the top end to take the win in 7.720 seconds at 166.46 mph.


Fletcher, who hit the 100 wins milestone early this month, grabbed number 101 and his eighth at Bandimere Speedway as he knocked out Justin Jenkins in Super Stock. Fletcher pulled out a great .002 second reaction time then held on to win in 11.122 seconds as Jenkins ran too quick as he tried to chase down Fletcher.


In Stock it was Helms collecting his 26th national event win and 3rd up on the mountain. Helms went 11.296 in his Challenger to take out Scott Wells and his Camaro running 12.624. Helms doubled up at Bandimere back in 2005 when he won in both Stock and Super Stock.


Johnson used a nice .009 second reaction time to help secure his first win as Basgall and Cruickshank had similar reaction times (.010 Basgall, .011 Cruickshank) in their first national event victories. Johnson defeated Morgan Minor in a double breakout running 10.464 seconds at 152.18 to Minor’s 10.432, 145.97 for the Super Gas title. Basgall won easily over Jason Covington who had problems off the start in Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs and Cruickshank took the Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs when Bud Preuss left early with a redlight foul start.


Kris Whitfield and Troy Grant rounded out the winner’s circle as Whitfield defended his Mile-High win from a year ago in beating Gary Wamboldt in Super Comp and Grant put John Bianco on the trailer in Super Street. Whitfield took the early lead and the win in 9.544 seconds and Grant was .005 on the tree in forcing Bianco to break out by just .001 second. 

Hart and Burkhart take Epping wins

Top Alcohol and Funny Car standouts Josh Hart and Phil Burkhart celebrated in winner’s circle with their teams Saturday, July 22, at New England Dragway following their final round victories in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.


After beating out Rich McPhillips and Duane Shields in rounds one and two, Hart, Ocala, Fla., squared off against New Hampshire driver Dan Page of Hampstead in the Top Alcohol Dragster final round. The Florida runner blocked out the home crowd as he scored the hole shot victory racing to 5.322 seconds, 271.08 mph vs. Page, 5.296 seconds, 275.62 mph.


The North vs South battle continued into the final round of Top Alcohol Funny Car. This time New York driver, Phil Burkhart hailing from Yorkville brought the Wally Trophy back to the Northeast. Aryan Rochon, Wesley Chapel, Fla., triggered the light late at the tree .442 seconds; and Burkhart took full advantage, leaving him the dust. Burkhart crossed the finish line at 5.572 seconds, 266.27 mph. Rochon registered a pass of 5.728 seconds, 259.46 mph.


New Jersey driver Shawn Fricke, Flemington, N.J., 8.906 seconds, 175.52 mph bested Edward McCleaft, Shinglehouse, Pa., 8.894 seconds, 172.56 mph in the final round of Super Comp.


Derry, New Hampshire, drivers Deborah DiGenova and Brian Khoury battled it out for the event Wally in the MX Industrial Top Dragster Challenge final round. DiGenova was quicker off the starting line finishing at 6.834 seconds, 193.35 mph. Khoury was too quick on the track and broke out clocking in at 6.965 seconds, 191.13 mph, handing DiGenova the Top Dragster win.


In the MXI/Magnaflux/Select Top Sportsman final round Larry Willard, Leominster, Mass., got off to a great start and never let Jeff Brooks, Fredericksburg, Va., catch up. The Massachusetts racer completed a winning pass of 7.333 seconds, 185.6 mph vs Brooks who followed up with 6.735 seconds, 203.58 mph.


The other drivers visiting the winner’s circle were Jason Lawrence in Super Street; John MacLean in Super Gas; Trevor Ervin in Stock; Billy Pires in Super Stock; Don Eckel in Comp Eliminator; Aiden Baker in Junior Dragster 6-9; Josh Leblanc in Junior Dragster 10-12; Kyle Murray in Jr. Dragster 13-17; Frank Berard Jr. in Pro Stock Snowmobile; Jason Kenny Super Gas Top 8;  Jason MacNeil Super Comp Top 8; Allison Smyth in Stock Presented by ATI Top 8; and T J Boucher Super Stock Presented By ATI Top 8.


The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series is set to return to the Northeast division on August 4 at Atco Raceway. 

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Quickest side-by-side Funny Car final?

Check out the incrementals of what is believed to be the quickest side-by-side run in NHRA Heritage Series Nitro Funny Car history from Saturday night’s final round at Mission Raceway. Newcomer Bobby Cottrell, diving the Austin & O’Brien “Northwest Hitter” Camaro, defeated former Heritage Series Champ Jason Rupert in his “Rolling Thunder” Camaro in a squeaker. Cottrell’s 5.539 259.14 pass led Rupert’s 5.563 254.23 from half track on, and take a look at the 1/8 mile speeds of 209.74 for Cottrell! His 5.539 elapsed time should reset the NHRA Heritage Series ET record for Cottrell as well as his 261.24 mph #1 qualifier, setting the Mission Raceway speed mark.

Cottrell (left) with team owner, Bucky Austin. 


With that 261.24 Cottrell became the seventh member of the Legends of Nitro 260 MPH Club for Nitro Funny Cars.


Many of the same funny cars head to Pacific Raceways for the Friday night Goodguys Pacific Northwest Nationals on July 28.

Romine leads DRO AA/FC Challenge points after second win

Paul Romine and the “Man O’ War” team took their second win of the season at the DRO AA/FC Challenge presented by Hemi Parts King at Cedar Falls Motorsports Park.


1. Paul Romine, Man O’ War Mustang                  218

2. John Hale, One Bad Texan Camaro                 189

3. Ronny Young, Blue Max Mopar                        185

4. Fred Farndon, Play It Loud Again Trans-Am    163

5. Anthony Bronge, Iowa Punisher ‘Vette              88

6. Bazz Young, Down-Under Thunder Camaro     77

7. Kevin Lennon, Shake and Bake Mopar             74


See all the results at here.


Next event on the schedule is the DRO AA/FC Challenge presented by DMPE on Aug. 11-12 at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, MI.  

Brown, Hight, Skillman and Krawiec get Mile-High wins

Robert Hight powered to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the 14th of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.


Brown surpassed Leah Pritchett to take the second spot in the Top Fuel standings, while Steve Torrence remains in first after a quarterfinal appearance this weekend. Hight jumped up to third in the standings with the victory, while Ron Capps and Matt Hagan retain their position in the top two.


Pritchett set a track ET record during qualifying, turning in a 3.733 at 326.24 mph during the last qualifying session.


Skillman sits in seventh in the standings as he became the first Pro Stock driver to win back-to-back races in 2017, while Bo Butner stays in first following his runner-up showing. Greg Anderson and Tanner Gray round out the top three in the points standings. Krawiec remains in second following his second victory in seven events, while LE Tonglet is still atop the standings despite a quarterfinal exit.


The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals at Sonoma Raceway July 28-30. 




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