Persistent rain showers put a halt to eliminations at the 28thannual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals today. The NHRA announced that eliminations will resume with the final pair of Top Fuel dragsters in the second round, Doug Kalitta versus Shawn Langdon, at 11 a.m. They will be followed by the second round of Funny Car. The start of racing action today was delayed from 11 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. because of rain and the first rounds of Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock were able to be completed. The rain returned before the first round of Pro Stock Motorcycle could be contested.
The Castrol backed Funny Cars of John Force and Mike Neff advanced to the second round and will have lane choice over Todd Lesenko and Jim Head, respectively. Neff and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang recorded the second quickest winning time of the first round a blistering 4.032 second run. At the top end after outrunning Tony Pedregon, the driver and crew chief was excited about the racing conditions.
“Those are awesome conditions. You saw the dragsters and how they were running. I have to be honest I started to get real nervous when I saw those Funny Cars smoking the tires like that especially Courtney,” said Neff. “That is a very consistent car and I know what they are doing. My set up is real close to theirs. To see that happen in front of you, you always have those jitters first round especially right now. That just adds to it. I am just happy to through first round and make a good solid run.”
Rookie of the Year front-runner Courtney Force smoked the tires versus 2011 Funny Car champion Matt Hagan and Robert Hight was defeated by teammate John Force in the opening session. Force’s time of 4.081 was fourth quickest of the session and will give him lane choice over rookie Todd Lesenko in the second round when racing resumes. Lesenko will become the 133rd different opponent John Force and the Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang have faced.
Tickets issued for today will be good for admission tomorrow. On Monday all tickets will be sold for $25 and will be general admission. Kids 15 and under will be offered free admission. Parking will also be free tomorrow at Maple Grove Raceway.