NHRA - National Hot Rod Association


Eliminations will now begin at 10 am Sunday for the NHRA New England Nationals

Leah Pruett, Robert Hight, Troy Coughlin Jr, and Steve Johnson pour on the power in Sonoma

After the first qualifying session, your provisional No. 1 qualifiers will head into Sunday with e.t.s that may be tough to beat — unless a cold front moves in off the Bay.
22 Jul 2022
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Race coverage
Leah Pruett Number one qualifier in Sonoma

The Pro session began with Pro Stock Motorcycle, and the starting line was busy with some coaching and last-minute thrashing out of Matt Smith Racing.  Angie Smith’s bike appeared to struggle with the external starter, as had Jiana Evaristo (née Salinas). When Angie Smith released the clutch, the problem only got worse, and the bike shut off without making a full run. Karen Stoffer went to the No. 3 spot with a 6.803 at 198.15 mph, and Angie Smith coasted to the side of the track.

“We don’t really know what happened to the bike, I did put a new tire on it to get a good run, but we’ll go back and look at the data and fix the bike before tomorrow.” — Angie Smith

Matt Smith talked about the changes he made to the team’s three bikes after the Denver race. In fact, he had a completely different bike. His matchup against Joey Gladstone was a rematch of the final round from Denver. Identical speeds were laid down for the two Suzukis, but Smith’s bike was stronger at the bottom end and carried him to the No. 1 spot.

Angelle Sampey and Steve Johnson matched up and made strong runs. Johnson has had a great motorcycle all year long, but the competition has closed the gap in the standings. Johnson pulled a 1.039 60-foot time and was getting it, his run was strong enough to move him to the No. 1 spot.

Qualifying order after Friday’s session

Steve Johnson 6.743 198.73

Matt Smith 6.758 200.74

Eddie Krawiec 6.785 198.23

Angelle Sampey 6.793 197.97

Karen Stoffer 6.803 198.15

Jerry Savoie 6.816 197.45

Joey Gladstone 6.827 200.74

Kelly Clontz 6.888 195.42

Jianna Evaristo 7.055 189.36

Scott Bottorff 7.150 187.83

Lance Bonham 7.178 189.31

Katie Sullivan 8.003 149.93

Ryan Oehler 8.797 106.05

Pro Stock

When asked what changes KB Racing made to its cars in the switch from Denver to Sonoma, Dave Connolly said, “You might be better off asking someone who ran well in Denver.” He went on to explain that “[KB Racing] always tries to make maximum power, but most of it is in gearing, the transmission, and clutch setup.”

As the sun began sliding down into a laser beam on the starting line, the Top 10 point qualifiers in Pro Stock began qualifying.

Chris McGaha returned to his old silver bullet car in Sonoma, where he got his first Pro Stock win. McGaha went No. 1 with the run.

Deric Kramer really laid into it on the burnout, and Troy Coughlin Jr. went to the top spot with his 6.549 at 210.87 mph run and took the top speed with him. Deric Kramer went to the No. 5 spot.

Every driver has muffed a burnout, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with Camrie Caruso’s starting line issue in Q1; she made a clean 6.579-second run at 210.18 that was almost as good as Matt Hartford’s 6.564 at 210.54 mph pass. Hartford went to the No. 3 spot, and Caruso went to No. 5.

Greg Anderson has been struggling to get the reaction times he needs to get win this year, and he is looking to improve his qualifying times, too. Anderson and Mason McGaha both made solid runs, but McGaha’s 6.551 at 210.57 mph was quicker and took him to No. 2. Anderson went to No. 6 with a 6.571 at 208.71 mph that sounded like a rev-limiter flutter at the top end.

Dallas Glenn and Kyle Koretsky paired off and seemed overly deliberate with their staging process. Announcer Alan Reinhart speculated there was a side bet? Koretsky got the better qualifying spot with his 6.553 at 209.36, which put him in the No. 3 slot.

The Elite Motorsports dynamic duo were the last pair to qualify; Erica Enders and Aaron Stanfield seem unstoppable this year. Stanfield went to No. 7 with a 6.564 at 209.88 mph, and Enders went to No. 10 with her 6.569 at 210.80 mph.

Qualifying order after Friday’s session

Troy Coughlin Jr 6.549 210.87

Mason McGaha 6.551 210.57

Kyle Koretsky 6.553 209.36

Chris McGaha 6.555 210.37

Matt Hartford 6.564 210.54

Bo Butner 6.564 210.41

Aaron Stanfield 6.564 209.88

Erica Enders 6.569 210.8

Greg Anderson 6.571 208.71

Dallas Glenn 6.572 208.3

Cristian Cuadra 6.577 209.07

Camrie Caruso 6.579 210.18

Deric Kramer 6.588 209.39

Fernando Cuadra 6.613 209.82

Fernando Cuadra Jr. 6.622 209.46

Steve Graham 6.635 209.17

Funny Car

Steven Densham and Jason Rupert lined up as the first pair, but Rupert’s car died after it fired, with what was reported as a bad ignition coil, and Densham made a solo run but shut off early.

Jeff Diehl and Paul Lee were up next, and Diehl and Lee both made cleaner runs, but Lee’s was cleaner longer. Diehl clicked off first at 300 feet with a 5.284 at 137.55, and Lee held on closer to the finish line with a 4.099 at 244.16 mph.

Terry Haddock’s Circle Racing Wheels Funny Car matched up with Blake Alexander. Alexander and Jim Head decided to sit out of Denver to avoid having to do the unique conversion of the car for the single race. Alexander went to the No. 1 spot, 3.898 at 326.56 mph, and Haddock went ka-boom at the eighth-mile with an explosion that blew out the windshield. Haddock waved the Safety Safari over as soon as he got out of the car, signaling that he needed them to pour water into the car to put the fire out and save as much as he could of the car.

“I’m appreciative of Jim [Head] for deciding to send it, and I was just holding on for dear life,” said Alexander.

Jim Campbell lined against Tim Wilkerson after the track was dried from the water used on Haddock’s car. Tim Wilkerson set the tone for his weekend with a 3.903 at 325.45, which was good enough for the No. 2 spot, while Campbell had to click it off early.

“It was about three hundredths slower than we wanted, but we’ll be back tomorrow and make adjustments,” said Wilkerson’s team.

Alexis DeJoria and JR Todd were next up with their pair of Toyota GR Supra Funny Cars. DeJoria made a strong 3.867 at 330.63 run next to Todd’s short-lived pass. DeJoria’s run took her to the No. 1 spot.

“That wasn’t too bad,” said Del Worsham to his father after DeJoria’s run.

Bob Tasca III has been making progress over the last few races, but Cruz Pedregon fared better in the first round with a 3.900 at 323.58 mph that was straight and true and took him blazing past the finish line and delivered him to the No. 3 position.

John Force and Ron Capps matched up as team owners, and the crowd witnessed Force and Capps both make strong starts, but Force let out some flames, and Capps made a stronger finish with a 3.846 at 334.48. “You get one shot and you let her go and see if it holds,” said Capps’ crew chief Dean Antonelli.

The final Funny Car pair was Robert Hight and Matt Hagan, who seemed destined to be a preview of Sunday’s final. Hight’s pass surpassed everything Hagan’s car was capable of, and we saw the Auto Club Chevy go to the top spot with a 3.825 at 332.75 to Hagan’s 4.018 at 314.02 mph.

“We just went back and looked at some of the stuff we did earlier this year when we had a track this good, and we just hit it,” said Jimmy Prock.


Qualifying order after Friday’s session

Robert Hight 3.825 332.75

Ron Capps 3.846 334.48

Alexis DeJoria 3.867 330.63

Blake Alexander 3.898 326.56

Cruz Pedregon 3.900 323.58

Tim Wilkerson 3.903 325.45

Matt Hagan 4.018 314.02

Paul Lee 4.099 244.16

Terry Haddock 4.325 244.21

JR Todd 4.432 194.97

John Force 4.788 159.89

Jeff Diehl 5.284 137.55

Steven Densham 6.707 98.61

Jim Campbell 7.159 87.04

Bob Tasca III 99.999 9999

Top Fuel

The session began with Ron August Jr. from Pleasanton, Calif. He got off to a nice start on his solo run and made a solid 3.916 at 306.40 mph.

The first Top Fuel pair was Scott Palmer and Jim Maroney. Palmer has two cars out here this weekend that are looking to be part of the Sunday show. Palmer went up in smoke right off the line, but Maroney made a slightly quicker run than August at 4.012 at 269.89.

The third pair was Alex Laughlin and Cameron Ferre, Laughlin was in Palmer’s second car and Ferre in Haddock’s second car. Laughlin clearly got a taste of nitro, and he’s not ready to go back to Pro Stock. His 3.840 at 314.97 put him in the top spot after Ferre was unable to make a complete run.

“Going into Denver, we decided to play it safe, but this is Havoline country with Chevron right down the street,” said Laughlin.

Next up were former teammates Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher. Brown comes to his second Sonoma as a team owner, and Schumacher is here in the car that he did a wheelstand with in Denver. Brown’s run ended with flames down early at 7.865 at 73.30, and Schumacher’s 4.839 at 144.10 mph run went slightly longer, but both teams headed back to the pits with disappointment instead of data.

Doug Kalitta showed a defacto home-track success with Alan Johnson Performance Engineering just south of Sonoma. Kalitta went 3.694 at 331.45 and rocketed to the top. Clay Millican clicked off early and ran 4.687 at 155.27

“It’s no secret we haven’t run up to our expectations, but that run was a good indication of the progress we’re making. We love showing off for these fans,” said Alan Johnson.

“Super excited, definitely excited to be back in Sonoma. My Mac Tool guys are digging hard, and the competition is tough,” said Doug Kalitta.

Shawn Langdon and Austin Prock both had dragsters that hit the track hard. Langdon’s shut off with a 6.366 at 104.32, and Prock’s shut off with just a 5.839 at 105.84 mph.

Leah Pruett and Josh Hart were the second-to-last pair. Pruett came out of Denver with a confidence that she clearly carried into California with a No. 1-spot-worthy run of 3.689 at 327.59.

“We are on a little bit of high right now,” said Neal Strasbaugh.

Steve Torrence ran a good, but not great 3.710 at 326.08. Justin Ashley went 3.861 at only 268.33.

Brittany Force and Mike Salinas both had flames go out early as both teams chose tunes that were too much for the track, and Pruett stays in the No. 1 spot.

Qualifying order after Friday’s session

Leah Pruett 3.689 327.59

Doug Kalitta 3.694 331.45

Steve Torrence 3.710 326.08

Alex Laughlin 3.840 314.97

Justin Ashley 3.861 268.33

Ron August Jr 3.916 306.4

Jim Maroney 4.012 269.89

Clay Millican 4.687 155.27

Tony Schumacher 4.839 144.1

Austin Prock 5.839 105.84

Shawn Langdon 6.366 104.32

Josh Hart 6.518 95.85

Brittany Force 6.693 84.46

Mike Salinas 7.319 75.91

Antron Brown 7.865 73.3

Cameron Ferre 8.907 72.97

Scott Palmer 9.910 84.3