MERRILL LEADS THUNDER VALLEY TO CHAMPIONSHIP
ENNIS, Texas – Alvie Merrill led the team from Thunder Valley Raceway Park to the Team Championships and pick up his own in the No-Electronics Quick class at this weekend’s NHRA Summit Racing Series South Central Division Finals at Texas Motorplex. Merrill, from Edmond, Okla., used a hole-shot starting line advantage, and a 6.367 second run on a 6.36 dial-in in his ’94 Camaro, to edge out Michael “Drew” Porcher, Conroe, Texas, in an ’88 S-10 running 6.232 at 111.83 mph. Merrill and his teammates from ThunderValley, Noble, Okla., gather up 71 points to defend their team championship from a year ago with North Star Dragway and Royal Purple Raceway finishing 2nd and 3rd.
TulsaRacewayParkhad a pair of drivers race to the winner’s circle as Brian Hughes and Thomas Klemme took home trophies in the Pro and Motorcycle classes. Hughes, Longview, Texas, powered his ’79 Firebird past Jack Mauldin Jr., Groesbeck, Texas, with a 6.435 second pass at 100.21 mph with Mauldin coming in at 6.402, 111.74 in his ’70 Nova. Klemme, Davenport, Iowa, road his ’76 K2 900 to a lap of 5.544 at 121.67 mph in out running Jason Moody, Tomball, Texas, going 6.396, 105.36 on his ’77 Kawasaki.
Jeromy Hefler out ofKennedale,Texas, joined in on the fun picking up the win inNo-Electronics Streetover Brad Young,Ft. Worth,Texas. Hefler drove the ’71 Capri that his brother Jeff won in last year, to a 7.843, 83.87 mph win with Young posting a 7.824, 80.33 in his ’67 Camaro.
In Super Pro it was Randell Reid running for Hobbs Raceway with a 0.019 second package in his ’07 dragster to defeat Dylan Lee,Austin,Texas. Reid’s lap of 4.725, 144.47 mph was too much forAustin’s 5.096 at 134.16. Reid went on to win the run off with the Pro winner Hughes and will advance to the NHRA Summit Racing Series National Championship next month at the Auto Club NHRA Finals inPomonaCalif., along with Merrill, Hefler, and Klemme where they will face the winner’s from the other six NHRA divisions for a purse of more than $100,000.
The following are the final results from the NHRA South Central Division Summit Racing Series Finals at Texas Motorplex:
North Star Dragway 52
Royal Purple Raceway 51
TulsaRaceway Park 42
HobbsMotorsports Park 40
No Problem Raceway 34
EdinburgInt’l Raceway 19
Randell Reid,Bridgeport,Texas, ‘07 dragster, 4.725 seconds, 144.47 mph def. Dylan Lee,Austin,Texas, ’05 dragster, 5.096, 134.16
Brian Hughes,Longview,Texas, ’79 Firebird, 6.435, 100.21 def. Jack Mauldin Jr,Groesbeck,Texas, ’70 Nova, 6.402, 111.74
Alvie Merrill,Edmond,Okla., ’94 Camaro, 6.367, 106.65 def. Michael “Drew” Porcher,Conroe,Texas, ’88 S-10, 6.232, 111.83
Jeromy Hefler,Kennedale,Texas’71 Capri, 7.843, 83.87 def. Brad Young,Ft. Worth,Texas, ’67 Camaro, 7.824, 80.33
Thomas Klemme,Davenport,Iowa, ’76 K2 900, 5.544, 121.67 def. Jason Moody,Tomball,Texas, ‘77Kawasaki, 6.396, 105.36
SUMMIT SERIES RACE OF CHAMPIONS CROWNED IN TEXAS
ENNIS,Texas– A pair ofTexasracers took home trophies today at Texas Motorplex inEnnis,Texas, at the NHRA Summit Racing Series South Central Division Finals. Today’s Race of Champions, which matches up the top points earners from each track in the region, saw Derrick Patton and Jay Robinson taking the wins in the Electronics and Non-Electronics categories respectively.
Patton, Highlands,Texas, and running for Royal Purple Raceway inBaytown,Texas, went 6.757 seconds in his ’70 Maverick at 110.93 mph to hold off Cory Lytle,Oklahoma City, in his ’02 dragster. Patton’s teammate Robinson,Santa Fe,Texas, followed with a final round win against David Olinde,Lakeland,La. Robinson’s ’73 Nova clocked in at 7.273 seconds, 81.30 mph to Olinde’s ’66 Chevy at 7.655, 89.52
Taryn Greene and Ashley Kellough made it a clean sweep for Texas as Greene, Burleson, Texas, covered the field in the High School class and out ran Micheal Martinez, Italy, Texas, in the final with an 8.267 second, 84.16 mph pass to Martinez, with a 10.532, 68.64. Greene is running for North Star Dragway andMansfieldLegacyHigh School. Kellough, from Texas Motorplex, won the annual Track Managers race over Dan Guterman fromTulsaRacewayParkrunning 10.154, 70.63
The following are the final results for the NHRA South Central Division Race of Champions Summit Racing Series event at Texas Motorplex:
Derrick Patton, Highlands,Texas, ’70 Maverick, 6.757 seconds, 110.92 mph def. Cory Lytle,Oklahoma City, ’02 dragster, 4.774, 144.72
Jay Robinson,Santa Fe,Texas, ’73 Nova, 7.273, 81.30 def. David Olinde,Lakeland,La., 66 Chevy, 7.655, 89.52
Taryn Greene,Burleson,Texas, ’01 Camaro, 8.267, 84.16 def. Micheal Martinez,Italy,Texas, ‘67 Chevelle, 10.532, 68.64
AshleyKellough,TexasMotorplex, 10.154, 70.63 def. Dan Guterman, 8.629, 54.94
Congratulations to the 2011 ET Finals team members. Please be sure you read the 2011 Rules and make sure you are fully aware of all of the expectations for the event. If you need to renew your NHRA membership or license, or need to fax information to Texas Motorplex please see the Contact Numbers and make sure this is handled prior to ET Finals. This year the 2011 ET Finals will be ran all 1/8 mile. Before registering for a certain class, please check the ET Class Breaks . One of the changes this year will be the way we take the Team Photo . Be sure you are aware of the new time and location. When you arrive for parking on Thursday, September 29 at Noon, Texas Motorplex parking officials will direct you to your team’s area. If you would like to know ahead of time where your team is parked, you can take a look at the pit layout parking map . If you are on Texas Motorplex ET Finals team and would like to purchase advance crew tickets, please e-mail AshleyK@texasmotorplex.com , otherwise, if you have not already purchased advance crew tickets you can do so at the gate when you arrive. We look forward to seeing everyone soon!
For complete information on the event please see below:
Robert Hight got the week of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil started in unique fashion by spending two days in Dallas talking up the upcoming AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 22-25 at Texas Motorplex. In less than 48 hours, he took in some baseball, met a baseball legend, talked with the media, and welcomed a new dual-purpose facility to the AAA Texas family.
Hight flew in on Sunday afternoon and went to the Texas Rangers vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball game, which included a pre-game meeting with Texas Rangers ace C.J. Wilson and a quick hello from baseball legend Nolan Ryan. Hight and Wilson talked about racing, baseball, shooting, and their love for Southern California. After the nearly half-hour conversation with Wilson, Hight spent time with ESPNDallas.com columnist Richard Durrett, bringing him up to speed on Hight’s Countdown to the Championship aspirations and goals for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.
“Getting to talk with C.J. was pretty cool. We have a lot in common, and we talked about getting him out to a race in the near future. He knows a lot about race cars, and we had a great conversation about the mental aspects of baseball and racing. There is a lot of crossover in how professionals mentally approach how they perform, and also with the MLB playoff and the NHRA Countdown coming up, we talked about getting into that playoff mind-set,” said Hight.
“While we were talking, these two black Suburbans whipped up right beside us and stopped. President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush got out right next to us. He waved to us and walked right into the ballpark. That was pretty cool, too.”
Hight spent Monday visiting Dallas-Fort Worth-area media outlets talking about the race at Texas Motorplex as well as the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. In the afternoon, he welcomed Stone’s Premier Automotive to the AAA Texas family as a AAA Approved Auto Repair shop. This dual-purpose facility will open this week, and Hight met with owner Anthony Stone as well as some of his technicians and managers. Hight talked with Pete Hronas from RaceTalk on 1190AM and local ABC affiliate WFAA about the importance of battery maintenance in the Texas heat and how regular maintenance can go a long way to help prevent very large repair bills down the road.
“The people at Stone’s Premier Automotive were great. We wanted to tie in the AAA Texas sponsorship of the NHRA Fall Nationals to the media tour, so we invited the media to check out one of AAA Texas’ newest Approved Auto Repair shops. It is so hot in Texas, regular maintenance is very important. They are excited about the race coming up in September as well,” added Hight.
Robert Hight liked where his team sat at this point last year. They had won four races in the NHRA Funny Car season, and were second in points going into the Countdown to 1. But Hight and his Auto Club of Southern California Ford Mustang team faltered down the stretch. They didn’t win a single round in the Countdown, and ended up in eighth.
This year, Hight finds himself in a similar position — he has won four races and sits second in points with one race to go before the Countdown field is set. And Hight, the 2009 Funny Car champion, is optimistic that his team won’t repeat the 2010 disaster. “We just bombed last year in the Countdown,” said Hight, who drives for John Force Racing. “We were still in test-mode and trying new things and trying to refine things. This year, we have a better combination and know what we’re doing. We’re not trying things and changing things. We’re at the point where it’s either going to be good enough or not.”
Hight got off to a solid start this season, winning the opening race at Pomona, Calif. His teammate, Mike Neff, won the second event in Gainesville, Fla., and Hight then won the third race of the season at Las Vegas. That start helped Hight forget about the struggles of last season, and he went on to victories in Topeka, Kan. and Bristol, Tenn. “It was a long three months during the off-season, but getting that first win was big just to get back on track,” Hight said. Now, Hight is eyeing the Countdown.
The key, according to Hight, is simply winning races. When he won it back in 2009, he went into the Countdown in 10th position but won the championship by winning three of the six races. Once the Countdown field is set, NHRA resets the points regardless of where the qualifying drivers are at the end of the regular season. The points leader has a 30-point advantage over second place, and 10 points separate the rest of the field. The Countdown, which is similar to NASCAR’s Chase, was implemented for the 2007 season, and Hight believes it has worked well, even though he would have won the outright title under the old format in 2007. But, in ’09, he wouldn’t have had a chance to win it without the Countdown in place. “I’ve been on both sides of it,” Hight said. “But it’s exciting for the fans and especially the last couple of races with all the drama. It’s going to go down to the last day of the season. Nobody is going to sew this thing up early on; it’s too competitive for that. So it does add so much excitement that I think it’s been good.”
The Countdown includes a stop at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis on Sept. 22-25 for the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. The race week includes appearances by drag racing legends Kenny Bernstein, Billy Meyer and Raymond Beadle as part of the 60th anniversary of NHRA. Hight is already looking forward to the race, which is the second race of the Countdown. “AAA Texas is the sponsor of the race, it’s also my sponsor, it’s in the Countdown, so we need to win,” Hight said. “That would top it off, the AAA car winning that race, so that’s what we’re going to focus on.”