DieHard Race Week Start-Up, Bristol
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Oh, baby, what a year the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series is enjoying! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, here comes the 12th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers. Bristol Dragway IS Thunder Valley because it’s a path that’s cut between mountains that provide the most incredible surround sound that you may ever experience.
According to our friends at Merriam-Webster, acoustics is defined as “a science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound.” Well, I’m not sure enough science exists to explain the sound made when an NHRA (the producer) driver (the controller) stands on the throttle (the transmitter), unleashing the sound of 7,000 horsepower that fans (the receivers) absorb and that leaves them trying to understand what they just heard (the effect)! Good luck with that one!
Having said that, this weekend’s Father’s Day event can and will provide another chapter of memorable moments in this book of 2012, and it is so very easy to see it (and hear it) firsthand. Tickets for the weekend can be had simply by calling Bristol Dragway, 432-989-6902, or by visiting their website, www.bristoldragway.com.
If you can’t make it, then turn up the surround sound at home (and if you don’t have it … I encourage you to get it!) and check it out on the networks of ESPN: live second-session qualifying on ESPN3.com at 7:30 p.m. (all times ET) on Friday; qualifying recap on ESPN2 at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday; live final eliminations on ESPN3.com at noon on Sunday; and an eliminations recap on ESPN at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Here are some of the stories we will be following this weekend:
Top Fuel: Steve Torrence is on a tear. Twice a winner in the last three races, the Capco Contractors driver will honor the late John Mitchell this weekend (he passed away on June 2) by wrapping his car to resemble one of Mitchell’s Montana Express dragsters from the 1990s. Mitchell was instrumental in the beginnings of many of today’s stars, including Torrence’s crew chief, Richard Hogan. Other favorites for the weekend have to be FRAM’s Spencer Massey, the quickest and fastest driver in the class; GEICO’s Morgan Lucas; Tony Schumacher, who would like to give the Army a 237th birthday present while exorcising a 32-race winless streak; and Brandon Bernstein, who is winless since the 2009 Richmond, Va., event and has put his MavTV/Lucas Oil dragster into two semi’s and one final at the last three events.
Funny Car: Ron Capps (aka Mr. 3.96 thanks to the quickest run in history in Englishtown) is the guy to beat. Sure, the NAPA car has only one win, but five straight finals means the momentum is all his right now. Service Central’s Johnny Gray is the most recent winner. For those keeping season statistics, after six straight John Force Racing wins to start the season (Robert Hight – four, Mike Neff – one, John Force – one), Don Schumacher Racing has grabbed the last three (Capps, Jack Beckman, and Gray). In the standings, seven of the two mega teams’ eight combined cars are in the top 10 in points. Only the defending Full Throttle champ is on the outside looking in. With just eight races left to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, Matt Hagan better get the Aaron’s ride rocking pretty quick. Auto Club’s Hight is the points leader and defending event champion.
Pro Stock: It’s last call for K&N Horsepower Challenge voting. The $50,000-to-win specialty race may not take place at our next stop in Bristol (it will be held in Norwalk), but you only have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 17, to cast your vote for the eighth and final driver to make that race. Drivers already locked in are Jason Line, Mike Edwards, Greg Anderson, and Allen Johnson. Three more drivers will be locked in after qualifying points are doled out, leaving one spot open for your input. Log on to www.NHRA.com/knhpchallenge.aspx to cast your vote. Anderson debuted his new Chevy Camaro by giving Ken Black his 100th victory at our last race. This week, Line debuts his new Bowtie. With two wins already this year, Johnson and Edwards have enough horsepower to make a run. And how cool would it be to see Erica Enders earn her first win on Father’s Day? I’d say very cool!
Short of being with my daughters, Carly, Abby, and Josie, I can’t think of a better way to spend Father’s Day than going on an acoustical adventure in Thunder Valley!