Jose Gonzalez sealed the deal in Bristol, capturing the Wally from the bottom of the qualifying sheet at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The win is Gonzalez’s second in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by J&A Services and his first since the 2018 NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in April.
Gonzalez defeated Bob Rahaim with a 5.848-second hit at 256.06-mph (top speed of the event). He got off the starting line first and got to the finish line well ahead of his opponent, who ran a 5.914 at 238.72. Rahaim qualified in the No. 14 position and also faced an uphill climb to reach the final.
The now two-time winner started off his day by knocking off No. 1 qualifier Todd Tutterow, who turned on the red light by .005-second. Gonzalez went on to beat Brandon Snider and Erica Enders to make the third final round of his career. He never cut worse than a .051-second reaction time.
Rahaim beat defending world champion Mike Janis, defending event winner Khalid AlBalooshi and Sidnei Frigo to reach the final. He was looking for his first event win since 2016 and the third of his career.
Series leader Stevie “Fast” Jackson bowed out in the second round against Frigo and second-place racer Tutterow didn’t advance past the second round. That allowed other racers to make up ground in the points. Gonzalez started the day in fifth and charged up the standings while racers ahead of him in the points, like Janis and Frigo, fell by the wayside.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series returns to action at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk on Friday.