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Saturday News and Notes, Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals

News, notes, quotes, photos, and video from the second day of the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway. Updated throughout the day.
18 May 2024
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Race coverage
Ken Quartuccio

News, notes, quotes, photos, and video from the second day of the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance at Route 66 Raceway. Updated throughout the day.

For the second year in a row Funny Car driver and full-time Chicago firefighter Chris King introduced some of his NHRA competitors to the challenges and thrills of being a firefighter. In conjunction with the Romeoville Fire Department, Romeoville Fire Academy and the Joliet Fire Department NHRA Top Fuel racers Cody Krohn, Krista Baldwin and Travis Shumaker along with Funny Car driver Buddy Hull joined King in an afternoon of drills and activities highlighting just a few of the incredible activities firefighters experience on Thursday, May 16.
“We want to thank Romeoville Fire Department and the Romeoville Fire Academy, along with Joliet Fire Department for supplying us with the equipment and facilities to host the event,” said King. “Everybody was excited, and it was great to have Cody, Buddy, Travis and Krista get an eye-opening experience to realize the physicality of being firefighters and how heavy the equipment is and a few of the things that I do on the job away from the track. They had fun, cutting cars, dragging hoses, chopping, dragging manikins, climbing ladders, and various tests that firefighters do every day and their job duties.”


Alex Taylor, co-host of the MotorTrend TV show Hot Rod Garage, and a participant in the PEAK Street Car Shooout at Route 66 Raceway, got a chance to warm up John Force’s 11,000 horsepower PEAK Funny Car on Friday.

“That was incredible,” Taylor said with a big grin. “I've never had the chance to sit in a fuel car that was actually running. It's one thing to hop in for a picture, but when you actually start the car, wow, there's a lot going on there.”

Taylor admitted she was a bit nervous leading up to the experience.

“Anytime I get in any kind of a race car or anything new is always a very intimidating factor,” Taylor said. “John has an incredible crew of guys that walked me through every step.”

Taylor spent several hours hanging out in the Force pit area and got to know two-time world champ Brittany Force.

“Brittany is really awesome,” Taylor said. “We've never really had the chance to have an interaction and sit down and talk, and the longer we talked, the more we realized that we have a lot in common. Our dads are very similar in a lot of aspects. She's really cool and super down to earth. I really enjoyed chatting with her."



After three runs, Ken Quartuccio continues to lead the field in the Congruity Pro Mod presented by LearnEV+ after Friday’s rousing 5.718 second run in his ’68 Camaro. Quartuccio reaffirmed his spot at the top of the standings by making the quickest run of Saturday's third session with a 5.746. The field is tightly bunched with Tony Wilson’s 5.827 holding down the 16-car bump spot. With one run remaining, there are a number of notable non-qualifiers including defending world champ Mike Castellana and Kevin Rivenbark, who recently won his first NHRA Pro Mod event.



Matt Hartford and Deric Kramer advanced to the semifinals of the GETTRX Pro Stock Allstar Callout on Saturday at Route 66 Raceway.

Eliminations opened with a rare pedal-fest as both Kramer and Cristian Cuadra shook the tires at the drop of the clutch pedal. Kramer recovered more quickly and won in spite of an off-pace 8.441.

Hartford then drove his GETTRX-backed Camaro to a 6.674 win against Aaron Stanfield, who also shook the tires in his JHG Camaro.

Troy Coughlin Jr. and Dallas Glenn then hooked up in a more traditional race with both drivers cleanly off the starting line. Coughlin was slightly quicker on both ends of the track  with a 6.592 to 6.604 victory.

In the final and most highly anticipated match of the day, Greg Anderson took a measure of revenge against Erica Enders with a 6.566 victory. Enders banked a hundredth of a second off the starting line, but rattled the tires, sending Anderson into the semifinals.

Following the round, the callouts were made for the semifinals and predictably, Anderson picked Coughlin leaving Hartford and Kramer to battle in the other. "One bad guy down and one more to do so I'm going to take TJ," said Anderson, referencing the rival Elite team."



The qualifying order did not change after Saturday’s third and final qualifying run in the Holley EFI Factory X class as Greg Stanfield remains No. 1 with Friday’s 7.101 run in his Rod Shop Camaro. Stanfield is followed closely by his son, Aaron, who posted a 7.119 in his Reher-Morrison themed Camaro. Aaron Stanfield also made the best run during Saturday’s third session with a 7.198 to help set the tone for final eliminations. Jesse Alexandra (pictured) posted a 7.354 in his supercharged Camaro.



The bump spot changed several times in the next-to-last session as the spread between the No. 1 and No. 16 qualifiers continued to shrink. Chassis builder John DeFlorian, driving the new GETTRX Camaro for Matt Hartford, nudged his way into the field with a 6.620 to knock out Mason McGaha, who was close behind at 6.622. Sienna Wildgust also barely missed the bump with a 6.623.

The best run of the round went to Greg Anderson with a 6.566 during the opening round of the Callout event, which counts towards qualifying. Jeg Coughlin Jr. also made a very competitive run with a 6.576 in his SCAG Power Equipment Camaro.



Given the warm temperatures on Saturday, it was no surprise that the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle did not change as Matt Smith’s 6.703 from Q2 remains uncontested. There was movement in the field as Geno Scali, the 2003 world champ, worked his way into the field with a 7.392. Scali is making his return after nearly 20 years on the sidelines.

Chase Van Sant improved and made one of the best runs of the round with a 6.822 aboard his Tim Kulungian-tuned Trick Tools Suzuki and Chris Bostick also made an impressive run with a 6.867 on his Suzuki.

In the opening round of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, Richard Gadson put a slight holeshot on LE Tonglet and held on for a 6.829 to 6.819 victory while his RevZilla Vance & Hines teammate Gaige Herrera stopped John Hall, 6.744 to 6.811. Hall did all he could with a nearly perfect reaction time.



For the third-straight session, T.J. Zizzo and his Rust-Oleum team had the quickest Top Fuel dragster at Route 66 Raceway. After leading the field with a 3.734 on Friday, Zizzo drove to a 3.888 during Saturday’s warm and sunny first session.

Three-second runs were at a premium as Zizzo was joined by Jasmine Salinas at 3.897 and Brittany Force at 3.911. The final session will be interesting as Force is not currently qualified while Tony Stewart sits on the bump spot.

The final of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge will feature Justin Ashey and Clay Millican. Ashley, under the watchful eye of more than 700 SCAG guests, drovev to a 3.942 in his win over Antron Brown, who hazed the tires. Millican posted a 3.951 for the win after Doug Kalitta did not make it to the finish line under power.



It was tough sledding for the Funny Car teams as crew chiefs struggled to adjust to the warm temperatures. One driver who seemed to solve the equation is Blake Alexander, who wheeled Jim Head’s Pronto Ford to a 4.058 to lead the pack and earn three qualifying bonus points.

The Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge final will feature Matt Hagan and J.R. Todd. Daniel Wilkerson had Hagan covered with a 4.178, but a red-light start ended the match on the starting line. Hagan smoked the tires early and coasted to a 10.714 to advance.

Todd powered to the second-best run of the round with a 4.076 in his DHL Toyota to beat John Force, who struck the tires at mid-track,  ending what had been to that point a competitive race.



Erica Enders didn’t win the GETTRX Pro Stock Allstar NHRA Callout event, but she did manage to hold on to the top spot in qualifying for the 36th time in her career. Enders also had the quickest run of the final qualifying session with a 6.595 to cement her status as the favorite. Enders will take on chassis builder John DeFlorian who normally races in the Mountain Motor class, but is making a one-off appearance in Matt Hartford’s new entry.

Mason McGaha and rookie Sienna Wildgust were the non-qualifiers while as a sidenote, Jerry Don Tucker missed both of today’s qualifying runs as he chose to fly home to Oklahoma to attend his son’s graduation. He’s solidly qualified and expected to return in time to race on Sunday morning.

The final session also included the final of the GETTRX AllStar Callout, which went to Greg Anderson, who tied the quickest run of the round with a 6.955 to beat Matt Hartford’s 6.641. Anderson banked $40,000 for winning the specialty event.



Matt Smith stayed No. 1 in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, breaking the stranglehold that Gaige Herrera has had on the class for the last year and a half. Smith, who ran 6.70 yesterday, tuned up for Sunday with a 6.788.

The best run of the round went to Chase Van Sant, who clocked a 6.755, 198.82. Marc Ingwersen was also one of the few riders who improved in the final session with a 6.853 on his Ohio-based V-twin.

The final of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge produced the best run of the round as Gaige Herrera earned the title with a 6.733 in his win over RevZilla Vance & Hines teammate Richard Gadson, who was nearly perfect off the starting line and ran 6.795.



For the first time in his career, T.J. Zizzo will lead a Top Fuel field into Sunday’s final eliminations. Zizzo’s 3.735 run from Friday night held up during both of Saturday’s runs and he’ll be rewarded with a round one race against three-time NASCAR champ Tony Stewart who landed on the bump with a 3.852.

Clay Millican, Doug Kalitta, and Shawn Langdon round our the top four but one name that is noticeably absent from the qualifying sheet it Brittany Force, who ended a long 187 race qualifying streak when her 3.911 missed the show.

In the final of the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, Justin Ashley continues his mastery of the specialty race with a 3.831 win over Clay Millican, who smoked the tires.



On a day when Funny Car crew chiefs earn their paychecks, Austin Prock captured his fourth low qualifier award of the still-young season with a 5.907 run to hang on to the top spot. Prock, who’s Cornwell Tools Camaro is tuned by his father, Jimmy, also made the quickest run on Saturday after noon with a 3.907 to provided a solid baseline for what’s expected to be another warm day on Sunday.

The rest of the top four remained unchanged with Bob Tasca III, Paul Lee, and John Force hanging near the top of the order. Veteran Jack Wyatt holds down the bump spot at 4.677 and will race Prock in round one.

Also on Saturday afternoon, J.R. Todd scored his second win of the season in the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge when he topped John Force in the final. Despite his success, Todd will start eliminations from the No. 12 spot and will battle Alexis DeJoria in round one.