The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk featured some of the wildest final rounds of the year in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Jackie Fricke was able to celebrate her second Top Alcohol Dragster win by idling down the track, and Andy Bohl also eased to his fourth Top Alcohol Funny Car title after Chris Foster slowed.
The big story of the event revolved around Nick Folk and Jeff Strickland, who each doubled up. Folk bagged wins in Super Stock and Super Comp, and Strickland scored in Stock and Top Dragster. It was just the second time that two drivers have doubled, following the 2015 JEGS NHRA SPORTSnationals in Columbus, where Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Todd Frantz accomplished a similar feat.
As if the Strickland and Folk doubles didn’t provide enough drama, Bruno Massel Jr. earned his second win of the season when he stopped former Pro Stock ace Larry Morgan in the Comp final, and Rob Kropfeld won in Super Gas with an 11-second reaction time after title-round opponent Trevor Larson fouled. Finally, 2015 Top Sportsman national champ Jeffrey Barker continued his pursuit of a second title with another win.
After qualifying No. 6, Fricke advanced to the Top Alcohol Dragster final with progressively quicker runs of 5.350, 5.294, and 5.275 in her wins against John Gutierrez, Mia Tedesco, and Marth Thacker, respectively. In the final, she cruised to the victory with a 23-second elapsed time after opponent Chris Demke stalled on the burnout. [Watch video]
Bohl earned his spot in the Top Alcohol Funny Car final round thanks to a 5.514 at 271.02 mph that bested Phil Burkart Jr. in the semifinals, and he won the final with an early shutoff 5.631, 248.93 after Foster slowed. Bohl also helped his own cause with a .014 reaction time in the final. [Watch video]
Driving Eugene Kelly’s B/A Dodge, Morgan made it to his first final in Comp since the 1986 fall Pomona race. With Massel down .023-second in index due to Competition Index Control penalties, Morgan had a fair shot, but an early red-light ended his day. Massel, who was taking a rare break from his day job as the pit reporter on the NHRA on FOX broadcasts, won for the second time this season in his AutoGeek.com Cobalt. Massel’s other win came at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. [Watch video]
Folk became the 23rd driver to double when he drove to wins in Super Comp and Super Stock. As an added bonus, he became the sixth driver to win NHRA races in six different categories, joining Justin Lamb, Peter Biondo, Scotty Richardson, Dan Fletcher, and Pro Stock legend Coughlin, who has won in seven classes. Folk scored in Super Stock with his GT/EA Cobalt after Zack Running fouled by .001-second, then he won the Super Comp title in his dragster following an 8.925 to 8.888 final-round victory against Tony Helms. Folk cut a .006 light in the final and still found himself second off the line to Helms’ .002 light. [Watch video]
After winning the Stock and Top Dragster titles a year ago in Gainesville, Strickland turned in an encore performance in Norwalk when he drove his GMPartsNow.com Camaro to the Stock title. Later in the day, he claimed a second Wally in the Top Dragster presented by Racing RVs class. The Stock win came at the expense of ageless veteran Jim Boburka, who spun the tires at the start and ran well off his 9.51 dial. Strickland returned a while later to stop Kathy Fisher in the Top Dragster final, winning with a 6.338 on his 6.44 dial. Fisher, driving one of the quickest cars in the class, broke out with a 5.995 on her 6.00 dial. [Watch video]
The craziest run of the day was almost certainly the Super Gas final, where Kropfeld won without ever leaving the starting line. The final officially ended when Larson fouled by four-thousandths. Kropfeld sat motionless for 11 seconds before finally idling to a 27-second elapsed time for the win. Later, he explained that he had accidentally added 30 seconds into his delay-box timer. [Watch video]
A week after losing in the final in Bristol by a thousandth of a second, Barker returned in Norwalk and finished the job with a final-round win against Ricky Adkins to claim the Top Sportsman presented by Racing RVs title. Barker combined a .019 light and a 6.599 on his 6.59 dial for the victory after Adkins broke out by a thousandth of a second. Barker now has six Top Sportsman wins to his credit, including two this season. [Watch video]