Double vision! Shawn Langdon and Steve Torrence faced off twice, in the Traxxas Nitro T/F Shootout and for the Top Fuel Championship: Langdon prevailed in both. The nitro troops also got some bad news: Team Al-Anabi will be competing for at least another five years!
Indy, U.S. Nationals, The Big Go, no matter what name’s attached, it’s always been the highlight of the racing calendar and the 59th edition upheld that tradition.
If you think this one was great, just wait to see what NHRA has in store for the U.S. Nationals’ 60th Anniversary!
Please note that all winners are in the near lane.
Robert Hight picked this auspicious event to score his first victory of the season. He sent reigning F/C World Champ Jack Beckman packing with a 4.11/312.64. “Fast Jack” looped the hoops and shut ’er off.
Mike Edwards was experiencing severe shoulder pain throughout the race, having difficulty merely entering and exiting his racer, but did that show him down? No siree, Bob! He parlayed three holeshots, including in the final against V. Gaines (6.63/208.37 to 6.62/208.78), to score his 40th Pro Stock national event win.
In an all Team Viper finale, John Hall defeated team leader Matt Smith.
In a classic Pro Mod blower vs. nitrous battle, Mike Janis broke Ricky Smith’s three-race win streak to take the Wally. The final, featuring a pair of 5.95s, was whisker thin in the lights.
Two double-digit national event winners and the #1 and #2 qualifiers faced off for the Top Alcohol Dragster Championship. Jim Whiteley defeated Chris Demke 5.35/268.81 to 5.37/267.85.
The Whiteley family almost double-dipped in alcohol competition. Unfortunately Jim’s wife Annie (#2 qualifier) faced off against Frank Manzo (#1 qualifier) in the final. “Ace” scored his 11th Indy win with a 5.56/261.25 to Annie’s 5.57.257.78.
A pair of zoomy little roadsters faced off in the Comp crown. Jason Coan defeated Mike Farrell for his third national event championship.
Indy Comp Champ for 1997, Todd Frantz added the Super Stock championship to his resume by defeating Jeff Dona.
In a rare heads-up Stock Eliminator final, Brad Plourd’s H/SA defeated Mike McGinley 11.41 to 11.56. This was Mike’s first national event final and Brad’s 14th victory.
Frank Kohutek the ’99 Super Comp world champ, driving for Texan Tommy Phillips, added this Indy S/C victory to his resume by defeating Troy Stone.
Two-time Super Comp national event winner Phillip Smida II proved his shift to S/G was a shrewd move, defeating Marlin Snyder in the final S/G go.
Jack Beckman’s Traxxas Nitro F/C Shootout was dramatic to say the least. He drilled Cruz Pedregon on the tree than blew his Dodge body into little tiny shards of carbon fiber, just as he crossed the stripe.
Text by Pete Ward and Photos by Gary Nastase & Auto Imagery