As we welcomed the transition into October, Maple Grove Raceway in Reading PA welcomed race fans to the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals. The weekend was eventful, to say the least, for a lot of different reasons!
NHRA welcomed a new event sponsor, Auto-Plus, and the sponsor and fans certainly got their money’s worth at this picturesque track in eastern Pennsylvania. All the big names were there, as well as legends like Shirley Muldowney and Don “Big Daddy” Garlits, who signed thousands of autographs at the Auto-Plus tent on the Manufacturers’ Midway.
With weather being a huge factor, drivers had their work cut out for them each time they stepped up to the starting line. Thursday was a complete wash out, as track and NHRA officials worked hard to dry things out for the weekend. And when the cars were running, you couldn’t help but look over the grandstands at the skies and hope the clouds would stay away just long enough to get in a full day. Unfortunately, the rain came early on Sunday, washing out semi-finals and finals, and making us wait until Monday to see who won a Wally and earned critical Countdown to the Championship points.
Even when things were dry, the air was cool. In fact, track temperature at one time was 64 degrees, which made for some excellent traction. As a result of rain on and off all weekend, the air was nice and crisp, keeping the cars on the cool side for some record breaking runs.
Jason Line collected his sixth Pro Stock win of the season and second in the Full Throttle “Countdown to the Championship,” during the rain-delayed final rounds with a national E.T. record of 6.477 seconds at 212.49 mph in the semi-final. Line slowed to a 6.484 at 212.79 in the final round, but it was still enough to outrun his opponent Ronnie Humphrey, who posted a 6.530 at 212.16 in his Genuine Hot Rod Hardware Pontiac GXP.
Robert Hight in his Top Fuel Funny Car, ran a 4.065 time at 302.62 mph, which proved to be too much for his opponent Johnny Gray in his Service Central Dodge Charger, which lost traction at launch and recorded a 9.836 at only 73.91 mph. Hector Arana Jr. on his Pro Stock Motorcycle, and Spencer Massey, driving the FRAM Top Fuel dragster, also collected important victories at Maple Grove. In Funny Car, Matt Hagan went out in the second round but managed to grab enough points to move into first place in the Countdown standings.
Weekends at Maple Grove always bring a unique twist to drag racing, which was proven yet after this weekend. The adrenaline will certainly be pumping during the upcoming races as we hold onto our seats with excitement and expectation to see some more record breaking runs. Cheers for a thrilling run at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals and to the last half of the Championship Countdown!
About the Author:
LiveOctane.com, fueled by Auto-Plus®, is an exciting new online community for fans of NHRA and other motorsports. We kicked off the site with the Auto-Plus 2011 SpeedStakes, which many of you entered to win the NHRA Nationals VIP SpeedStakes trip.