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Lex Joon scores first round win in Top Fuel E1 at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Dutchman Lex Joon is heading to the second round for the first time after defeating Leah Pritchett in the first round of Top Fuel at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
16 Jun 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Race coverage
Lex Joon

Lex Joon scored the first round-win of his career in a wild ride against Leah Pritchett. The Dutchman had to pedal his Top Fuel dragster multiple times in the first round of the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, but that seemed tame compared to what Pritchett went through in her Mopar Top Fueler. Pritchett got sideways toward the top end but was able to straighten her car out before getting across the finish line.

Defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence made the quickest pass of the round, a 3.798-second hit that took down part-time racer Pat Dakin. He did that after swapping lanes in the aftermath of Pritchett’s wild ride, which prompted Antron Brown to also choose the left side of the track. Brown defeated Audrey Worm.

Related: Top Fuel Ladder

Mike Salinas laid down the hammer with a 3.800-second on a 110-degree track to send Scott Palmer packing. The Alan Johnson-tuned Scrappers Racing Top Fuel dragster raised eyebrows, as it often does, toasting a solid (but not quick enough) run made by the Magic Dry Top Fuel dragster of Palmer.

Terry McMillen got past Richie Crampton in a critical NHRA Countdown to the Championship matchup after leaving first. McMillen got dangerously close to the centerline, but the Amalie Motor Oil Top Fuel dragster drive hung on to turn on the win light. He left on Crampton, but their matchup came down to which car hung on longer – it was McMillen’s to the tune of 4.045 compared to a 4.781. He’ll meet up with No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta in the next round.

Dom Lagana upset Brittany Force with a 3.82-second pass and will get a chance to race another upset-minded racer in Joon. Lagana is racing in the second round for the third time this year after picking up victories in Charlotte and Atlanta. 

Clay Millican also got loose in his win over Austin Prock. Both racers had to pedal their dragsters and Millican got the better of the rookie to the tune of a 4.331-second pass and a win light. The two were side-by-side at 330-feet, but Millican jumped ahead at half-track and never trailed again.