Teams racing on Goodyear tires cashed in four times at the end of the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The four wins brought Goodyear’s industry-leading total to 23 in the first five POWERade Drag Racing Series events of the 2007 season.
“It was a good weekend for the teams using our Goodyear Eagles,” said Carolyn Ashbee, Goodyear’s sales and marketing manager for drag racing. “We had at least one car in the finals of seven of the nine categories.”
The drivers racing to victory on Goodyear tires included Frank Aragona (in Competition Eliminator), Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock).
The event was as remarkable for the list of drivers who failed to qualify as it was for anything that happened on race day. John Force failed to qualify in the Funny Car field for the first time since 1987, a streak of 395 races. Doug Kalitta did not make the field in Top Fuel, ending a streak of 164 events.
Jack Beckman bumped Force out of the field during Saturday’s final round of qualifying, making himself the answer to a trivia question certain to be popular among drag racing fans for years to come.
“The old saying is ‘May the best man win,’ and he did,” Force said of Beckman.
Aragona’s win was his fifth in national event competition. He said, “This was a great win. The car was awesome.”
Hight races for the Force team. His victory came against Ron Capps and it wasn’t easy. Hight’s Ford got a good start, then briefly lost traction before the midway point in the quarter-mile race. Hight said, “I never saw Capps. I did a quick pedal job.”
Capps holds an 88-point lead over Hight in the Funny Car standings.
Bernstein beat Bob Vandergriff in the Top Fuel final and moved to third place in the Top Fuel standings. The winner said, “This is a great turn of events for us. (After) not qualifying in Gainesville, we needed to make a good move.”
Anderson padded his advantage in the Pro Stock points chase. He leads teammate Jason Line by 129 tallies. It was a good time to win, since team owner Ken Black lives in Las Vegas and Anderson’s sponsor sponsored the race.
Mike Ashley turned in the fastest pass in Funny Car history during the second round of qualifying Friday. His speed was 334.32 mph. But the topsy-turvy world of Funny Car competition saw Ashley get knocked out in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations by Beckman.
The next race for the POWERade Drag Racing Series is scheduled for April 26-29 at Atlanta Dragway in Georgia.