NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Saturday News and Notes from the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

News and notes from day two at the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway
08 Jun 2024
Kelly Wade
Race coverage
Chase Van Sant

The second day of action at Bristol Dragway started with Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series eliminations. Stock, Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Top Dragster have all been on track before the first round of Pro qualifying for today, and Pro Mod is scheduled for one final session early this evening to set the field.


Sunday eliminations at the Super Grip Thunder Valley Nationals have been moved to a 10:00 a.m. ET start time on Sunday.

Factory Stock

In the last session of qualifying for the Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown class, Chicago runner-up Lee Hartman recorded a very efficient 7.872-second pass at 174.21 mph in his COPO Camaro to take over the top spot and score the first-round bye run. Scott Libersher is next-quickest with a 7.924. Eliminations are scheduled to begin later this afternoon.

Pro Stock Q3

The factory hot rods open Pro qualifying for the day. Two drivers are looking to break into the field – Fernando Cuadra Jr., and Eric Latino – while all other competitors are aiming to go quicker and climb higher. Four drivers, though, will have the opportunity to not only hammer out a better qualifying time and/or position, they'll also be running for bragging rights and Countdown to the Championship points in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge.

In regular qualifying, Aaron Stanfield and his JHG Chevy put up a 207.15 mph to initially claim top speed of the meet, but Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his Scag Power Sports entry wanted to have a say. Coughlin's 207.72 stood through the round for top speed.

It was Greg Anderson, though, who jumped into the spotlight in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. His blistering 6.615-second pass took him right to the top spot.

"You don't get surprises like that very often – we overachieved," said Anderson. "But this is where I got my very first win ever, so there is a lot of magic at this place. It's good to be back, and the guys are doing a heck of a job with the race car. Thank you HendrickCars.com, Summit Racing, and Chevrolet. Let's see if we can win tomorrow."

When it was said and done, Cuadra Jr. bumped up and in on a 6.698, while Mason McGaha chattered the tires and his 6.702 of the day before was bumped out. Eric Latino improved with a 6.743, but it wasn't quite enough.

McGaha and Latino will have one more session to push their way into the 16-car field.

Pro Stock Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Round 1

Troy Coughlin Jr. and Dallas Glenn are identical as they leave the starting line, but at the finish line, it's Glenn with a 6.646 to beat a 6.666.

Jerry Tucker had a smoky engine malfunction in the later session of qualifying on Friday, and by the time he gets to make his run in the #2Fast2Tasty competition, he's actually on the outside of the fortunate 16 who will get to race on Sunday. His opponent, Erica Enders, wants her No. 1 qualifier back from Anderson, who snatched it from her in his run just a short time ago.

Tucker and his Outlaw Beers Chevy break into the field on a 6.684, but it's Enders who will advance to meet Glenn in the #2Fast2Tasty final. She lays down a 6.643.

Pro Stock Motorcycle Q3

Matt Smith is a beast out here this weekend, and his 6.759, 200.05 pass this session is not only enough to protect the top spot, it's also the first 200 mph pass for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class at Bristol Dragway. Seven drivers overall improved this session, including Richard Gadson who is now No. 2 on a crisp 6.825, John Hall (No. 5, 6.854), and Jianna Evaristo, who made a big move from the bottom of the line-up to No. 6 with a 6.865 on her Scrappers Racing Buell. Chris Bostick and Ryan Oehler also improved a bit, though both are in the bottom half.

Pro Stock Motorcycle Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Round 1

Angie Smith and her Denso Buell get an easy win here when Chase Van Sant cannot get his Trick Tools Suzuki to fire. The 6.895, 185.92 is Smith's best run of the weekend after not being able to make a pass in the second session on Friday.

It will be an all-Smith #2Fast2Tasty final round as Matt Smith's track-record breaking 6.759, 200.05 has no trouble getting past Gaige Herrera's 6.853, 197.33.

Top Fuel Q3

Jasmine Salinas and her Scrappers Racing Top Fuel dragster are a big hit in the third qualifying session. Her 3.838-second pass at 315.93 mph nets three bonus points as the best of the round and bumps her up to No. 5 in the line-up. Shawn Langdon is second-best repping Kalitta Motorsports with a 3.843, 314.17 for two bonus points. He moves into the fourth position.

Cameron Ferre makes his first pass down the racetrack for the new Jerry Freeman Top Fuel team, and although his 5.289 isn't going to give him a boost up the ladder, he and his team are on the board.

Josh Hart claims a bonus point as well, making a nice 3.847 run in his R+L Carriers rail. He's No. 10 for now.

Millican remains No. 1 heading into the final session.

Top Fuel Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Round 1

Shawn Langdon and Doug Kalitta kick off the Top Fuel portion of the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in a Kalitta Motorsports head-to-head battle. When Kalitta smokes the tires, Langdown surges ahead to the final on a 3.843 to 7.020 win.

Provisional low qualifier Clay Millican wants that #2Fast2Tasty trophy, but Tony Schumacher and the Michael Waltrip Brewing Co./Leatherwood Distillery dragster have plans to shut him down. Millican comes out on the winning end in a tire-smoking battle, 4.434 to 4.854.

"I've not won one of these things," said an optimistic Millican. "It's not going to be easy, but a win would be awesome. And a win today and tomorrow would just be unbelievable."

Funny Car Q3

Peak Antifreeze-branded John Force stakes his claim on this round of qualifying with a 4.119, 269.83 that is the quickest of the lot for the session. He'll pick up three bonus points, while Matt Hagan and his JHG Dodge are next-best on this thick and hot afternoon with a 4.140, 288.83 for a pair of extra marks. Bobby Bode lays down a good run for the conditions to catch the last remaining bonus point with a 4.153.

Funny Car Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Round 1

Both Austin Prock and Daniel Wilkerson driver into a bit of tire spin, but Prock and his Cornwell Tools Chevrolet set the win light flashing, 4.236 to 4.254.

On the other side of the ladder, Force's Peak Chevy wags the tail real good next to DHL Toyota driver J.R. Todd, but traction trouble befalls his opponent, and Force goes 4.119 to win over a 5.792. The final round of the Funny Car #2Fast2Tasty Challenge will be a rematch of the New England Nationals final that Force won two weeks ago.

Pro Stock Q4

Greg Anderson proves that his whopper 6.661 in the first session wasn't a fluke, and even as the day has warmed, he's still able to muster a 6.5628, 205.29 in the HendrickCars.com Chevrolet for three bonus points and the 126th No. 1 of his career. Erica Enders is next-best with a 6.644 for JHG/Melling Performance, and Jeg Coughlin Jr. is third best in his Scag Power Equipment Chevy. He clocks a 6.662.

The final session left two drivers locked out: Mason McGaha and Eric Latino will not race on Sunday.

Pro Stock Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Final

The final round of the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge pits Erica Enders against Dallas Glenn, and this time it's Enders with the win, 6.644 at a big speed 207.30 to Glenn's 6.663, 205.32. This is the third Mission Challenge win of the season for Enders.

"These points are definitely important," said Enders at the top end. "They all add up. My guys are giving me a really great hot rod, and these little moments equal big wins."

Pro Stock Motorcycle Q4

The quickest this session is again Matt Smith and his Denso Buell. His 6.802 at 199.05 brings in three more bonus points, while Richard Gadson rides his RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki to a big 6.825, 197.28 pass as second-best of the session. Reigning world champion Gaige Herrera clocks a 6.847, 1907.16 for a bonus point to close out qualifying. Matt Smith stays No. 1.

Pro Stock Motorcycle Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Final

In a battle between Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Angie does her burnout first in the right lane while husband Matt looks over. He leans into a burnout of his own, then looks over at his wife and blows her a kiss. She blows a kiss right back, and then it's Matt who lights the top bulb first. Angie follows, Matt goes right in, and then it's on. His .028-second reaction time is a blow as Angie is .111 on her side of the track, and he powers ahead for a 6.802, 199.05 win over a 6.951, 173.70.

Top Fuel Q4

Once again, it's Tennessee boy Clay Millican making the most of racing at his home track. He throws down a 3.839, 302.41 to claim top marks here for the Rick Ware Racing team. Shawn Langdon's 3.861 is rewarded with two bonus marks, while Justin Ashley and his Scag Power Equipment dragster work together for a solid 3.864 that nets a bonus mark. Although she doesn't get a bonus point here, Jasmine Salinas again makes a strong pass that surely has her dad smiling at home, a fourth-best 3.873.

Top Fuel Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Final

Millican's big 3.839 pays off against Langdon's 3.861, but at a price. Millican gets his first Mission Challenge title as the engine explodes in the lights.

"We blew the rat poop out of that thing coming up on the finish line," said Millican. "I got on the radio [before that] and said, 'We have a little bit of a rough idle happening.' When I get no reply to something like that, it means one thing: Stomp on that loud pedal."

Funny Car Q4

John Force continues his powerful resurgence with the quickest run of the round, a 4.033, to fish three bonus points out of the barrel for the Peak Antifreeze Chevy. Paul Lee is next-best this session, his 4.033 matches that of Force, but Force gets the extra point on speed, 315.27 to 312. 21. Austin Prock goes 4.049 for a point.

Funny Car Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Final

With revenge for the New England Nationals final on his mind, Austin Prock is first to leave the starting line, and it makes all the difference. John Force's quicker 4.033 at 315.27 is eclipsed by a 4.049, 312.57 to score the #2Fast2Tasty title to go along with his No. 1 qualifier award.

Sportsman winners crowned

Much of the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals competition was concluded on Saturday as the Lucas Oil Series was run to completion. 

Jimmy Hidalgo Jr. defeated Monty Bogan Jr. in Stock, Gene Brown got the nod over J.J. Brock in Super Gas, Ray Miller III defeated Vincent Nobile in Super Comp, Byron Warner knocked out Jeff Adkinson in Super Stock, and Matt Sackman defeated Vance Houston in Top Dragster.