NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Jim Whiteley and his YNot Racing team scored their third win in a row in as many weeks during this past weekend’s O’Reilly Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago. The win extended Whiteley’s national points lead to 117 points and gives him an impressive 24-2 round win/loss record for the year.
Whiteley, from Grand Junction, qualified his Norm Grimes tuned blown alcohol dragster second in the field with a 5.323 second elapsed time at 271.57 mph, which stood for top speed of the meet.
The event also hosted the Jegs Sportsman All-Star race, an exhibition race that was ran during qualifying. Whiteley had won the event the previous two years, but lost a close race with Chris Demke in the semifinals.
The YNot team then turned their focus to rebounding during Sunday’s final eliminations. In round one, he defeated two-time US Nationals Champion Marty Thacker with a 5.323 at 270.27, then used a 5.343 at 269.62 to defeat rookie Greg Hunter in round two. His semifinal opponent would be title-contender Demke, where he returned the favor from Saturday’s loss, winning a close contest with a 5.319 at 267.16.
The final round would be a battle of the No. 1 and 2 qualifiers as Whiteley faced Randy Meyer in a rematch of last weekend’s Tulsa Regional final. Whiteley grabbed the jump off the line and never looked back, recording low e.t. of the event with a 5.294 at 270.05 mph to Meyer’s 5.332 at 268.28 mph.
“It was a tough weekend mentally with everything that was going on,” said Whiteley. “The track and conditions kind of gave us a different picture every round. On Sunday the track stayed pretty consistent, even after the weather had moved through.
“I can’t say enough about the job Norm and the guys are doing with the car,” Whiteley continued. “We battled some minor tire shake every run until the final. Randy [Meyer] really has his act together right now and we knew we were going to have to be on our game for him. It was a close race as expected and we’re happy to get another win for Goodyear, NGK Spark Plugs, J & A Services and Advanced Oil Field Services.”
Whiteley and the YNot Team will be looking for four in a row as their summer swing takes them to next weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment Nationals just outside of Cleveland.
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