The 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season will reach its midway point once the winners are crowned today at Summit Motorsports Park, and we’ll also be two-thirds of the way through the regular season and preparing to hit the homestretch in the race for the final 10 spots for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
Brittany Force will lead the Top Fuel field into battle today with her pack-leading Advance Auto Parts dragster with a scheduled date with Lex Joon, who last weekend upset Leah Pritchett in round one. Points leader Steve Torrence is slated to face rookie Jordan Vandergriff and last weekend Bristol winner, Mike Salinas, will pull up alongside Ohio veteran Pat Dakin. [Top Fuel ladder]
In Funny Car, low qualified Ron Capps is slated to square off against Bob Bode on the same side of the ladder as two of his Don Schumacher Racing teammates – Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman. John Force, gunning for his milestone 150th career win, will take on longtime rival Cruz Pedregon in round one with a potential date with his teammate, points leader Robert Hight, if Hight can get past world champ J.R. Todd. [Funny Car ladder]
In terms of performance, there isn’t much separating the top qualifiers in Pro Stock but during qualifying, the micro-arithmetic favored Deric Kramer and his American Ethanol team so they were awarded the green hat as the low qualifier. Kramer’s 6.559 was quickest but No. 8 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr. is just .013-second slower with a 6.572 so the Norwalk title is really up for grabs. For all the parity in the Pro Stock class, there have been just three winners in the first six events in including Kramer, Coughlin, and Bo Butner, who has grabbed the lion’s share of the titles with four wins. Butner did not qualify well in Norwalk and will have a tough round one match-up against promising rookie Fernando Cuadra Jr. ,who ran a career-best 6.571. Coughlin also has a tough draw against his teammate, Erica Enders, who had more drama than she asked for on Saturday when she suffered through a fire in her Elite Pro Mod car. Enders was checked out by medical personnel on the scene and returned for the final Pro Stock qualifying session less than an hour later. [Pro Stock ladder]
Harley-Davidson teammates Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines will look to continue their string of dominant performances at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, where they have combined to win seven Pro Stock Motorcycle titles in 12 years. Krawiec, the defending champ, will launch his bid for a repeat victory from the No. 1 spot after a 6.843 run on Saturday evening. Krawiec will be paired with Michael Ray, who is riding Matt Smith ‘s Victory-bodied bike. Hines, who is the runaway points leader in the class, finished in the No. 3 spot and will take on Marc Ingwersen. Perhaps the most intriguing match of the opening round features Angelle Sampey and Karen Stoffer. Sampey, a three-time world champion, is making progress in her first season as a member of the Vance & Hines Harley team while Stoffer is coming off a runner-up finish earlier this month in Chicago .This is a rematch of the 2015 Norwalk final, which went to Stoffer after Sampey fouled. [Pro Stock Motorcycle ladder]
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