NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Brandon Welch learns lesson after first 3-second Top Fuel run at Winternationals

The first-year Top Fuel racer crossed a significant personal milestone Friday. He's hoping for a smoother Saturday.
08 Feb 2020
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor


Brandon Welch earned his Top Fuel dragster license in Las Vegas a week ago and made his professional debut in the category Friday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com. It didn't go quite as planned. 

He ran a 3.841-second pass at 272.17-mph, his first 3-second pass in a Top Fuel dragster. The Better Diesel team did not get a chance to celebrate the achievement because of the detonation that occurred midway through the run. 


"Oh, just a block, a crankshaft, seven rods, a couple of cylinder heads and an intake manifold," said Welch when asked what the damage was. "It broke a rod and when that happens, a lot of other things break."

"We're finding where our parts that were grandfathered in from the Funny car that are maybe not good enough for the cylinder pressures of a Top Fuel car. So, we're kind of retiring all those early -- that run was a lesson that we just can't do that and we've got to just run all new parts on it to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Welch enters Saturday in the No. 9 position and can improve should he decide to make a full pull. The team may decide to make a half-track hit to make sure everything looks right ahead of eliminations on Sunday.

"I think it's a fight between my ego and my id," said Welch. My id's telling me I want a 320-mph run and I want to throw a 3.70 on the board. But I gotta remember that I'm already qualified and in the show, tomorrow and I'm likely going to be mid-pack. So, well see what happens. I'd love to make a good run because this is our home race and I've got a lot of guests coming and this is the first time my kids have seen me drive a race car in a few years. I'll say it's a game-time decision."