Competition Plus’ Water-Cooler Topics From The NHRA New England Nationals at Epping, N.H.



1 – FORCE SAYS PROCK WILL REPLACE HIM – John Force, 75, beat his 28-year-old protégé Austin Prock in the Funny Car final at the NHRA New England Nationals. One opponent Force knows he can’t beat, though, is Father Time.

As he clutched his 157th Wally trophy in one hand and wrapped an arm around Prock, Force said Prock will be the one to replace him when he retires.

“I talk too much. I say too much shit. But this kid is going to replace me,” Force said of the 28-year-old class rookie who moved over from Top Fuel this season to substitute for three-time champion Robert Hight.

Force – drag racing’s winningest driver across all pro categories – did not specify when he will step from the seat. However, he did say, “My time’s pretty much up. I’ve done my time. I’m not going to quit tomorrow. I’ll be at Bristol [this coming weekend in Tennessee for the Thunder Valley Nationals]. But now I’m starting the process.

“You want a winner like Robert Hight and Brittany Force? Austin Prock, you support him. He’ll probably be the guy to replace me,” Force said at New England Dragway.

Force also said Hight will return to the Funny Car class, but again didn’t say when. And he said he is working right now to put a driver in the seat of a second Top Fuel dragster. Jordan Vandergriff reportedly has signed a contract with John Force Racing.



2 – IT’S ALL JFR IN FUNNY CAR SHOWDOWN – The New England Nationals featured an all-John Force Racing final round in Funny Car – Force’s 269th and Prock’s 12th overall and fourth in only his sixth appearance in the class. Each was seeking to match Matt Hagan as a two-timer this year.

They started the day 1-2 in the lineup, with Prock leading the field for the fifth time in seven races. But Force, the Winternationals winner who’s going to have to fend off Prock if he’s to win his 17th championship before retiring, put his PEAK Chevrolet Camaro in the winners circle.

Chris Cunningham, Force’s co-crew chief, said, “He’s 75, and he’s still kicking all these guys’ butts.”  

3 – KALITTA PREVAILS IN ANOTHER CLASSIC RUN AGAINST SCHUMACHER – Doug Kalitta and Tony Schumacher have faced each other 95 times – 19 in final rounds - in some of the sport’s most epic matches. But Sunday the dynamic was different. Kalitta is the reigning series champion and Schumacher is the class’ all-time winner who was in need of a feel-good weekend. Schumacher, the eight-time champion, didn’t have enough to stop Kalitta. The Mac Tools dragster driver grabbed that 54th victory that moved him into a tie with Steve Torrence for No. 4 on the Top Fuel victories list.

Schumacher, a two-time Epping winner and last year’s runner-up, was attempting to extend his class-best total to 87 victories. He was seeking his first triumph in 38 races, since the 2022 Seattle event that was his debut with the Maynard family.

Kalitta said that tuner Alan Johnson and his Mac Savage-led crew have given him such a strong race car that he is just hoping every week not to be the weak link of the Kalitta Motorsports group. He was no weak link this weekend, finally getting a victory at New England Dragway, which was the last of the dragstrips where he hadn’t won.

“It’s incredible,” Kalitta said. “We had a tribute to my cousin, Scott, yesterday and this was definitely true to him. Connie [uncle and team owner Connie Kalitta], Alan, Mac, the whole Mac Tools, Toyota, Revchem team, we’ve been digging hard. I’m just making sure I don’t screw up up there. They give me such a good car. Awesome weekend and super excited.”





4 – COUGHLIN ELITE OF ELITE – Troy Coughlin Jr. and Erica Enders assured Elite Motorsports a Pro Stock trophy, and in their fourth career final-round meeting, Coughlin claimed the victory. He used a stellar .013-of-a-second reaction time to record his first victory since last year’s Denver race. “It’s such a rush. I’m just tickled to death,” Coughlin said after earning his fifth overall victory and denying Enders her 49th in Pro Stock and second of the season.
5 – THE WRIGHT STUFF – Mason Wright, using Elite Motorsports power to double with Pro Stock’s Troy Coughlin in the winners circle, outran Jordan Lazic to earn the Congruity Pro Mod Series victory. On the way, he beat Mike Thielen, Kevin Rivenbark, and reigning series champion Kris Thorne to advance to the final round.
6 – YOU’RE OUT! WAIT, YOU’RE IN! – This weekend was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for Sidnei Frigo. The Brazilian businessman was planning to board a 6 a.m. Sunday flight home to São Paulo after coming eight-thousandths of a second short of qualifying for the Pro Modified starting grid. However, Chip King, the No. 7 qualifier, had crashed his car during qualifying and would not be able to compete Sunday. So Frigo, who had been No. 17 for the 16-car lineup, was inserted into the show to replace King. And Frigo made the most of it. He defeated Billy Banaka in the first round and Dmitry Samorukov in the second before Jordan Lazic took him out in the semifinal.   




7 – TODD’S TOYOTA BEATS ‘THAT FORD CAR’ – With four automakers represented this year in the Funny Car class, Kalitta Motorsports’ J.R. Todd stuck up for Toyota after his quarterfinal victory over Ford driver and home-area favorite Bob Tasca III, who also was on Todd’s heels in the standings coming into this race.

Todd said that what was most important about his Round 2 result was that he got to “turn on the win light with our Toyota GR Supra against that Ford car that for some reason everybody likes to talk about week in and week out.” 


8 – BUZZ AT HART’S PIT – Most drag racing fans would agree that Top Fuel’s Josh Hart is a pretty sweet guy. And Sunday he and his R + L Carriers dragster pit attracted a swarm – of bees. They clustered on his awning Sunday afternoon. The buzz about his chances to win for the first time since the fall 2021 Charlotte race faded early, as Tony Schumacher stung him in the second round.





9 – WANT TO BET? – This coming weekend’s Super Grip Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol, Tenn., will mark the NHRA’s debut in the world of wagering. Odds will be set and wagers will be accepted beginning with this eighth race of the 20-event 2024 season. As part of the PlayNHRA initiative, NHRA’s partnerships with leading sports books and fantasy sports providers will enable fans to sign up for free and legally bet on national events and other outcomes in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series. Brad Gerber, the sanctioning body’s vice-president and chief development officer, called the move “a huge and significant step forward for the NHRA and its fans.” He said, “This initiative will provide a destination for fans to enjoy the safest and most-regulated place to bet on NHRA drag racing, participate in fantasy games, and engage with our sport in so many new ways.” IC360, which has educated employees, race teams, and other stakeholders about sports betting, will monitor patterns in the process to ensure integrity. Alen Cisija, the NHRA’s attorney, said the group “is committed to maintaining the integrity of our sport. By partnering with IC360, as well as licensed and regulated sportsbooks and fantasy operators, NHRA will help ensure everyone who engages with PlayNHRA will enjoy a safe and well-regulated betting and gaming environment. This was a vital step in the creation and rollout of PlayNHRA.”

10 – ANOTHER ‘SELLOUT’ CROWD – New England Dragway at Epping, N.H., is about as far away as possible from Firebird Motorsports Park at Chandler, Ariz. But both have the distinction this year of owning two announced sellout crowds. Sunday’s attendance was the Mission Foods Drag Racing Series’ fourth full house, according to the sanctioning body – although tradition says motorsports has no such thing as a sellout crowd. But this turnout certainly backs up the racers’ praise for the loyal drag-racing fans in the Northeast.

Paul Lorenti, president of New England Dragway, said Sunday, “I’m grateful for all these fans to pick New England Dragway as the place they want to spend their Sunday. The crowd is awesome. They are so dedicated to us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.” SCAG’s Tim Wilkerson told the crowd, “God bless all of you for hanging out here. I know it’s stinkin’ hot up there in them stands. We appreciate you a lot.”

Incidentally, Lorenti was on the racetrack as a Super Street driver, and he made it to the semifinal round, when he lost to Ray Butler despite recording a perfect .000-second reaction time.




KALITTA APPROACHING MORE MILESTONES – Reigning NHRA Top Fuel champion finds himself in prime position to tie Steve Torrence for No. 4 on the all-time wins list this weekend.

His time from Friday night at New England Dragway held up through Saturday’s two rounds of qualifying to secure the No. 1 spot in the field. A win in Sunday’s New England Nationals at Epping, N.H., would give Kalitta 54 wins in Top Fuel, the same as Torrence.

After this weekend, Kalitta will need just six more starts to reach his 600th. Moreover, as of Saturday, the Mac Tools dragster driver is only 25 round-wins from 800, a plateau reached by only six others.   

“My guys really have this car running well. I’m just trying to do my part and go rounds on Sunday,” Kalitta said. “It’s probably too early to start counting points, but 20 points a round tomorrow, Sunday, is definitely what we’re looking for. I would love to win here at Epping. They have a great crowd here this weekend. Toyota, Mac Tools and all my sponsors, we’re hoping to have a good day tomorrow.”  


PROCK STAYS NO. 1  IN FUNNY CAR – With Austin Prock cementing his Funny Car No. 1 starting position before a reported “sellout” crowd, fields are set for Sunday’s eliminations, which are scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Eastern time. The Funny Car rookie had said Friday that he hoped his 3.837-second elapsed time and 336.23 mph “will stick for the weekend.”

And curiously, he seemed more competitive with class rival Bob Tasca III than his own teammate and boss John Force on Friday night. He said his run “was pretty awesome. Good speed, too. I finally nipped Tasca, you know. He’s been beating us up on the mile per hour. But 336, we’re happy with that.”


ENDERS LEADS PRO STOCK FIELD – Erica Enders’ record this season with No. 1 qualifiers in the Pro Stock class has been a tale of two extremes. She began the season by winning the Gatornationals from the No. 1 starting position. She earned the top spot at the most recent race, too, but she lost in the first round at Joliet. So after recording her third No. 1 designation for the year and her 37th overall this weekend (after leading in each of the four sessions), she’ll get her first test Sunday from Elite Motorsports mate Fernando Cuadra Jr. as she pursues her 49th victory.  

She said Friday night, “We've been struggling, and [team members have] really done their homework and gone to work on trying to figure out all of our race cars – and that was definitely directionally correct.

“It definitely helps running really well, especially on a Friday night session. We don't get to run when the sun goes down a lot in Pro Stock Stock, so it's definitely fun. And you know that that's probably going to be your best session,” she said. “It definitely gives you a lot of confidence. But more so than that, it's really fun and exciting for my guys, because it shows that what we're doing is paying off. We've been extremely frustrated the last couple of weeks, and that was a little bit of a cherry on top.”


QUARTUCCIO’S STILL NO. 1 ON GRID – Ken Quartuccio’s runs on Saturday didn’t match his record-setting 5.681-second, 252.47-mph clocking from Friday. Nevertheless, the Wallingford, Conn., resident will lead the Congruity Pro Modified Series field into eliminations Sunday.  

BONUS RACE CROWNS WINNERS – Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) are the latest Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge winners.

In the Top Fuel final round, Dan Mercier was out in front of Steve Torrence at the eighth-mile marker on the 1,000-foot course. But Torrence powered on to his first bonus-race victory of the season as Mercier started dropping cylinders near the finish line. The Quebec businessman no longer is an overwhelming underdog, and Torrence -– who, uncharacteristically, probably has felt like an underdog himself without a victory since the 2023 Seattle race -– affirmed that.

He said Mercier “doesn’t race all the time, but, man, he kicks our butt when he does, so I had to get up on the wheel. Props to that team. He doesn’t come out very often, but he kicks my butt. Proud to have them out here.

“Proud of these CAPCO boys. They were unbelievable,” Torrence said. “This Toyota dragster hasn’t been as good as it used to be, but we’re working on getting it back there and we’re working on getting Steve-O [himself] to drive this thing a little bit better. Heck, we won something this weekend, maybe we can win one tomorrow.”

Torrence finished qualifying in the No. 2 spot and will meet No. 15 qualifier Smax Smith in Sunday’s Round 1. Mercier is the No. 10 qualifier and will go against No. 7 Clay Millican.  

John Force rolled in deep as he lined up against Blake Alexander in the Funny Car Challenge’s final round and beat the young Jim Head driver on a holeshot by two-thousandths of a second. “I love racing these kids. They make me get out of bed every morning and get mental. The ol’ man still looks like he’s got a life,” the 75-year-old Force said of himself. “But it’s getting pretty close.” Force, the second-quickest starter, will square off against No. 15 Buddy Hull in the opening round of eliminations. From the No. 7 position, Alexander will race No. 10 Terry Haddock. “My guys, led by Daniel Hood, gave me a real good race car,” Force said Friday. “The only guy who lets them down is me, so I got to fix me.” He hasn’t let anyone down.

In Pro Stock, Glenn beat Aaron Stanfield by eight-thousandths of a second in the quarter-mile rematch of the Joliet final round. Glenn, grateful because he said a bonus-race victory is “hard to come by,” said it was “great preparation” for what he can do in eliminations in his Rad Torque Systems Chevy Camaro. As the No. 3 starter, he’ll face No. 14 Brandon Foster in Round 1. “We’ve got a great hot rod in the heat,” Glenn said after his second Challenge victory.

KING WRECKS IN PRO MOD QUALIFYING – Chip King was uninjured following a hard crash during the third Pro Modified qualifying session Saturday at the New England Nationals.

The Roxboro, N.C., racer's brand-new Jerry Haas-built, supercharged Dodge Charger made a hard right just after the launch. Up on its left-side tires, it smashed into the wall nose-first. It was on fire as it bounced off the right-side wall and into the left lane well behind competitor Mike Stavrinos. King kept the wounded race car off the left-side wall.

King stepped from his car right away and walked around it, surveying the damage as the Safety Safari extinguished the flames. The total clean-up took about 30 minutes.

He had qualified in sixth place after two sessions, and he remained sixth. However, the fourth qualifying session saw him drop to seventh. King isn’t expected to compete, and Brazil’s Sidnei Frigo, the surprising 17th-place performer, is expected to replace him as an alternate.  



DRIVE TO DRIVE – Top Fuel rookie Jasmine Salinas chose to drive rather than fly to Epping, N.H., to get her first look at New England Dragway. “I love driving to races when I can,” she said. “From the moment we get out on the open road, I go into ‘race mode,’ so in a way, it kind of extends the entire experience.” She said that “seeing the landscape change as we headed east was breathtaking” and that it made her “feel recharged and centered” as she prepared for her on-track performance.

Her father, Mike Salinas, won here in this same car in 2022 and was runner-up in 2021. “It would be incredible to get a win at a track with winning ties to my family,” she said. “The team is feeling good about the progress we’ve been making so we’re feeling optimistic.”

Jasmine said, “This entire area is gorgeous, and you can feel the historical significance everywhere you go.”

She’s ready to make some history of her own Sunday. Salinas took the No. 12 slot in the order, and No. 5 Billy Torrence will be her first opponent Sunday.  



FARLEY BACK WITH UPGRADED PARTS – With help from Dom Lagana and Scott Palmer, Connecticut resident Scott Farley updated his equipment – including blocks, heads, and superchargers – on his “Scottrod Racing” Top Fuel dragster. Then he brought it out to New England Dragway and had problems Friday getting it staged. First thing Saturday, though, he took the final berth in the 16-car field. His short burnout and short spurt on that attempt were planned, but it got him into the show, with a 13.824-second elapsed time. Like Smax Smith, Farley opted out of the last session. Farley will race reigning champion and No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta.


REIGN OVER RAIN – New England Dragway President Paul Lorenti on Saturday basked in the blessing of a sunny weekend after the NHRA announced its third “sellout” crowd of the season. The Epping, N.H., facility took a hit last June, losing most of its show to rain, with the race finishing at Tennessee’s Bristol Dragway.  

 “I feel very honored that these people came last year in such bad conditions. There were droves of people coming in, and now we can give back to these people and give them a great event on a beautiful weekend. That makes me feel awesome,” Lorenti said.

“I think the numbers are up from previous years, and we’re so glad. We’re going to give them a great show.”

Funny Car owner-driver Ron Capps said, “Last year, it was heartbreaking to see all the weather come in, with the rain and the cold. All the fans that came out and withstood that weather only for us to get completely rained out, we just couldn’t wait to get back here and put on a great show for them. On top of that, everyone got together, and a fourth qualifying run has been added to this year’s Epping schedule. So, we’ll have that second Friday night qualifying session under the lights, which is the way it should be. The fans in New England are some of the most rabid, loyal drag racing fans around, and we love coming to this area.”

Saturday’s announcement marks the third time this year the sanctioning body said it had a sellout crowd. The previous two days came at Phoenix.




1 – KALITTA MAINTAINS HIS HOLD IN TOP FUEL - Two-time Top Fuel champion Brittany Force, stung one race ago when she failed to qualify at Joliet’s Route 66 Raceway, rebounded in bold fashion Friday at the New England Nationals at Epping, N.H., with a track-record speed of 335.57 mph and an elapsed time of 3.715 seconds that looked like it could ensure the provisional No. 1 qualifying spot. (She rewrote her own track mark.)

But Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence had other ideas, as they put on a second dazzling side-by-side display Friday to bump Force to the tentative No. 3 spot.
Kalitta took the day-best honors in his Mac Tools dragster at 3.700 seconds at 332.84 mph. Torrence countered with a 3.702-second E.T. at a 335.23-mph speed that challenged Force’s record. Earlier in the day, they had dueled for the Nos. 1 and 2 berths. Kalitta topped Torrence then, too, 3.751 to 3.758. But Torrence once again had the better speed (333.91 to Kalitta’s 331.61).

"We went into that session first and as the cars were running, I'm like, 'I'm not sure where I'm going here. But definitely cars are going around us," Kalitta said. "But I was real confident, real hopeful, obviously. Because I think Clay in front of me smoked the tires, so it was just one of those deals that car left good and smooth. And yeah, I was really happy once I figured out we got quick time. And yeah, this is a pretty cool area up here and it's attractive and definitely on the radar to try to get to the final and get another shot at winning."



2 – JOHN FORCE RACING IN CHARGE IN FUNNY CAR –John Force and Austin Prock were 1-2 following the first Funny Car qualifying session at the New England Nationals. And at the end of the day, they were 1-2 – but they flipped places. Prock, driver of the AAA Chevy Camaro, will enter the final day of qualifying at Epping, N.H.’s New England Dragway as the provisional No. 1 qualifier. Team boss Force had a three-thousandths-of-a-second edge (3.903 to 3.906 seconds) in the first session. Although Force improved in the second go to 3.865, Prock improved more. He's at the top of the order with a 3.837-second elapsed time.

"It's pretty surreal," Prock said."I'm just holding onto the wheel. It's all the kudos to this AAA team this weekend and Cornwall team in the past. They're just doing such a great job and my dad and brother just making really smart decisions and the teams with Nate Hedall and the teams putting the car together the same way every time. It's really impressive watching this team work. It really is cinematic. Everyone's in the right spot at the right time and they just get the job done.".


3 – ENDERS DOUBLES DOWN ON PERFORMANCE – Erica Enders established the Pro Stock category’s low elapsed time and top speed of the meet at 6.510 seconds in her first pass down the New England Dragway quarter-mile. And she did even better in her next attempt, to earn the provisional top-qualifying position with a 6.488-second, 211.79-mph showing. If it holds up through two more qualifying sessions Saturday, Enders will have her third No. 1 start of the season and 37th of her career.

"When I let go of the clutch pedal, it was wheels up and that sensation makes you think, okay, we're on a run here," Enders said. "So I definitely knew when I unclutched it that it was good and if I could keep it in the groove, it's a little bumpy down through there in the left lane and you just got to stay in the groove and hit your shifts. So fortunately we were able to do that. And we thought we could go 49 there and we were close, right, 48 8. But my guys were really excited on the radio and that's fun for me because we've been struggling and they've really done their homework and gone to work on trying to figure out all of our race cars and that was definitely directionally correct."



4 – PRO MOD RECORDS FALL – Ken Quartuccio set both ends of the Pro Modified class’ nine-year-old track record in the opening qualifying session for the Congruity Pro Mod Drag Racing Series PGT Trucking-sponsored event here. Quartuccio used a 5.681-second, 252.47-mph pass to erase Pete Farber’s feat of 5.83, 250.13, set Aug. 8, 2015, to take command of the early leaderboard. This is the fourth of 10 races on the schedule, but the first full slate of action at Epping. With persistent rain here last season, this class was able to get in just two qualifying sessions before the conclusion of the event was moved to Bristol, Tenn. 

5 – IT SMAX OF EXCITEMENT – The inimitable Smax Smith is back at the dragstrip. The colorful British-born Canadian who earned the FIA (European) Top Fuel championship is making his first NHRA appearance in five years. He competed here last in 2019, in the Leverich Family Dragster. He and his Ant Hill Mob crew are back with the Michigan-headquartered family, celebrating Smith’s upcoming 70th birthday August 9, his team’s 50th anniversary, and the Leverich family’s 65th anniversary in the sport.
“The stars have aligned to bring Smax back after a five-year absence, hungrier than ever, behind the wheel of the Leverich Top Fuel dragster, fresh off a career-best weekend with Mike Bucher driving,” Smith’s son, Aidan Heatley-Smith, said. His dad, he said, is “looking to beat the team’s personal best and collect Smax’s final milestone: the 300-mph [elapsed time] to 1000 foot. He’s more than excited about his return, as there isn’t much going on other than one or two events at our local track, not far from his home town in Ayr, Ontario, Canada.”
The advent of COVID-19 and subsequent U.S.-Canada border closings prompted Smith to purchase a new dragster. “What better thing to do with your time than buy your own Top Fuel dragster?” he said. “We have been doing some match racing locally in Canada, with help from Gary Leverich and team to get us on the right track.”
But Smith – once dubbed “the John Force of England” – wanted to come back for these milestone moments. And he is here at New England Dragway, with support from Bill Zinger at Blendtek Ingredients, Randolph Packing Co., CP Carrillo, Six B Apparel, Hussey Performance Gaskets, Hutchinson Haulage, 917 Trucking, Vodka Friday, Majors Mashburn Nitro Sports, Burrowmax, Mark’s Mixers, Smith Systems Inc., Capco, Dom Lagana / 142 Speed Shop, and Justice for Josh.
Smith started 13th (among 13 in the Top Fuel class) in 2016, but rain postponed the event until Monday. A remarkably large crowd showed up that Monday, but Smith was a no-show because he couldn’t afford to take off a day from his job as a window-washer. But in 2017, Smith returned to Epping and qualified 14th. He defeated Tony Schumacher – the 2014-15 winner of this race – in the opening round. However, Smith was unable to make the call for his Round 2 meeting with Shawn Langdon. He didn’t make a full pass under power Friday, but he is 14th out of 15 overnight. Tony Schumacher is 15th. So once again at Epping, Smith has better luck than the 86-time winner.  
While Smith might not be on current NHRA fans’ radar screens, he understands: “Most of the stuff I’ve done is European.” He claimed the 2003 FIA Top Fuel title as a rookie, the first to do so. That was the same year later NHRA Top Fuel competitor Urs Erbacher, of Switzerland, won the first of his three consecutive Top Methanol Funny Car crowns. And it was two years before Lex Joon became the FIA Top Fuel champion (2005).  



6 – STEWART LOSES COLLEAGUE – Top Fuel driver and two-car team owner Tony Stewart is racing with a heavy heart this weekend, following the passing of longtime friend and associate Jerry Gappens. News of Gappens’ death was announced Wednesday. He was General Manager of Stewart’s Eldora Speedway at Rossburg, Ohio.
Many throughout racing remember Gappens, 63, from his days with Speedway Motorsports as senior vice president of events and marketing of Charlotte Motor Speedway for 15 years (1993-2007) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway at Loudon for eight years (2008-2015). Before taking the Eldora Raceway position, he was the promoter at Indiana’s Gas City I-69 Speedway quarter-mile dirt oval.
“Jerry came to Eldora with a wealth of experience and an equal amount of humility,” Stewart said. “No job was too big or too small. His attention to detail was impressive, and he made sure the fan experience at Eldora was exceptional, always finding ways to make improvements with each and every event he oversaw. With Jerry at the helm, Eldora Speedway was in great hands. The Eldora community prays for Jerry’s wife, Cheryl, their children Denny, Wes, Allison and Brad, and their family. Jerry’s presence was immeasurable, and he is sorely missed by all of us.”
Stewart’s car will be carrying a decal in memory of Gappens at the Bristol race.
7 – SAYING GOODBYE – Rosalee Noble, recipient this March of the Pat Garlits Award along with husband Terry Noble for their work with the Drag Racing Association of Women (D.R.A.W.) since 1985, passed away Thursday. Competition Plus wishes to express its condolences to Terry Noble and family.
Rosalee Noble was D.R.A.W.’s President and also served as Fundraising Chairman. Before that, she was its Vice-President, Secretary, and Newsletter Editor.  She and Terry had been active in drag racing since 1968.
Rosalee, a resident of Charleston, Ill., was inducted in 2020 into her home state’s Coles County Dragway Hall of Fame. That’s where she and Terry first became active in the sport. And it’s where in 1991 they debuted their 1982 Buick LeSabre station wagon. Nicknamed “The Care Wagon,” the car ended up in the winners circle many times en route to a couple of track championships. The Nobles used the car to bring attention to D.R.A.W. and its mission to provide financial and emotional support to individuals involved in drag racing accidents at the racetrack.
Away from the dragstrip, Terry and Rosalee have been heavily involved in helping find homes and care for stray dogs and other animals.  


8 – HADDOCK HAPPY – Terry Haddock clocked his career-best elapsed time in the Friday evening session at 3.958 seconds in a 315.64-mph effort. It topped his 3.989 run at Gainesville this March. What made it even more gratifying is that he did it after flattening his left-side headers in a brush with the guard wall during his first run of the weekend.
Afterward, Haddock said, “I'm feeling that we are so blessed by God to be able to come out here and race with the best in the world and be competitive. The 3.95’s awesome. My guys have been working so hard. We've been picking away at this.
“This is a tough sport,” he said, “and this year we've been trying to stay home when there's no sponsors. I want to be a grown-up, for lack of a better word. I really want to race every day, but I don't know how. But we're trying to race when we have funding, and it shows it in the performance of the car. When it's funded correctly, it can run good and we can be competitive with these guys. Thank you to T and D Express and all the people that let us race. There's so many of 'em.”
9 – DID YOU NOTICE? McKailen Haddock lost his shoes while backing up dad Terry Haddock during the first qualifying session Friday.  ... Elite Motorsports’ Fernando Cuadra Jr. was the lone member of his family racing Friday? His younger Pro Stock-driving brothers, twins Cristian and David, reportedly are overseas, tending to business for the family company, Corral Boots/Cuadra/Columbia Impex. ... Kyle Koretsky, who is taking the season off to focus on his growing family, was on hand Friday from eastern Pennsylvania to cheer on his KB Titan Racing colleagues. ... Neither Mike Smith in Funny Car nor Scott Farley in Top Fuel could get their cars to back up on the first-session burnout.  It happened again in Q2 for Smith. His crew tried to push the car back to the starting line but ended up shutting the engine off. So Smith never got the car staged in his first two tries.
10 – TRASH TALK? BIG DEAL: ANDERSON – The Pro Stock class has a lot going for it on the dragstrip, but it keeps drawing attention because of the way the KB Titan Racing and Elite Motorsports folks continue sniping at each other.
This week, the social-media mill ground out some more chaff about Elite (in a posting that since has been deleted). KB Titan principal Greg Anderson, the class points leader, said. “Bottom line is if it creates animosity or whatever, big deal. Is that bad for the class? Is that bad for the sport? No, we don't have to love each other. We don't have to love each other to go race. We don't have to be best friends. We can not like whoever's in the other lane, whether it be one of our teammates or whether it be somebody from across town. I don't think it's going to hurt racing one little bit.
“I've got 20-some employees, and I'm not going to tell every one of 'em what they can or can't say,” Anderson said. As for the latest salvo, he said, “I didn't have anything to do with it, but it sure looked to me like just guys having fun. And I don't have a problem with that. It was all done tongue in cheek. I don't think there's any problem with that.
“Obviously, you got to draw a line somewhere, and you can't just go to the races looking for a fight. But I don't think there's anything wrong with a little bit of harmless chitter-chatter at the end of the race. All that does is breed a little extra competition and maybe makes you dig down and find that extra gear. Sometimes it gets a little extra juice flowing. You just go try and race and settle your scores on the racetrack. I see no problem with that at all, and as long as the result is great racing on the racetrack, if that's what it takes, let's do it. Game on.
“I'm certainly big enough to take whatever's thrown at me,” he said, “so I'm not worried about it. It doesn't bother me at all. But certainly nothing done viciously. So, I'm not going to step in and say, ‘Guys, watch what you say,’ because I think so far it's fine.”
Of fighting and sniping, Anderson said, “That's popular. That's what people like to see. I don't know that everybody wants to see everybody putting their hands out and singing Kum Bah Yah together. I think people like to see maybe a little animosity out there. It's good for the sport right now, and as long as it doesn't go over the line, it's all good.”