(06/19/12) Thunder Valley in Bristol Tennessee was the site for last weeks NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series race. With ten races down, only seven races remain before The Countdown to the Full Throttle Championship! As drivers battle to gain valuable points towards the countdown, there are still a number of drivers looking to get their first win of 2012, and the final round in Top Fuel and Funny Car had three drivers in that hadn’t won this season! The excitement continues to build, and with the U.S. Nationals just around the corner, drivers don’t have any more time to waste!
The first qualifying session for Funny Car was run on a hot sunny Thunder Valley track. Courtney Force kicked off the session for John Force Racing strong by running a 4.177 at 302.08 mph. Her Traxxas Mustang is always one of the fastest Funny Cars in hot conditions and today was no exception. John Force was soon to follow. John debuted his special edition Elvis Funny Car running a 4.228 at 289.26. Mike Neff was soon to follow, but had problems adhering to the racing surface at around the 400’ mark. He only managed a 5.039 at 151.73 mph. Robert Hight finished off the first qualifying session of Funny Car running a 4.124 at 304.12. Robert was also running a special edition Elvis Funny Car, and his run was the fastest of the session!
As the sun began to set over the mountains in Thunder Valley, the second qualifying session of Funny Car pulled into the lanes. Mike Neff led off for Traxxas and John Force Racing, and he did it in style! His Funny Car blazed down the track at 310.70 mph knocking down a 4.072! That run catapulted Mike into the number one spot for the time being. John Force also had a spectacular 4.094 run at 312.71 mph. Courtney Force only managed a 4.162 at 292.65 due to the fact that her Traxxas Mustang got out of the groove right before the end of the track, forcing her to jump off the throttle right at the stripe. Robert Hight again finished off the session for Funny Car, but had serious problems when his engine blew up around the 330’ mark, causing him to limp through the trap at 75.53 mph running a 6.703.
In the third qualifying session, drivers were faced with conditions similar to those of the first session on Friday. Robert Hight had problems for the second time this weekend when his car smoked the tires at the 1/8th mile mark. His Elvis Funny Car did manage to roll through the finish line running a 4.380 at 217.63 mph. Courtney Force took Thunder Valley by storm running a 4.131 at 304.60 mph, an amazing run for given the current conditions! John Force and Mike Neff made their third qualifying session side-by-side. Mike had results similar to Robert Hight when his car overpowered the track at 400’, only running a 5.397 at 134.47 mph. John finished off strong with a 4.177 at 299.86 mph, but Courtney Force would remain the quickest Traxxas John Force driver of that session!
The final session of qualifying for the Traxxas John Force Racing drivers was one filled with engine failures and mechanical problems. Both Courtney Force and Robert Hight dropped a cylinder almost instantly when the left the line. Courtney limped down the track running a 6.165 at 93.16 mph. Robert had a much better run than Courtney, but still only ran a 4.281 at 294.88 mph. Mike Neff had almost every problem a driver could have going down the track. His car began making a weird noise, dropped a cylinder, and spun the tires at the 1/8th mile mark. John Force was the only team JFR driver to make a respectable pass down the full 1000’ racing surface. He ran a 4.148 at 302.14 mph, closing out qualifying for Traxxas and John Force Racing. Qualifying concluded with Mike Neff in the number two position, John Force would follow in fifth, Robert Hight ninth, and Courtney Force in the thirteenth position.
Teams were faced with a unique challenge in the first round of all the professional categories. For the first time this weekend, Thunder Valley was overtaken by cloudy and cool conditions. Courtney Force faced off against Ron Capps in the first round. Courtney’s Traxxas Funny Car was on a spectacular pass, but her engine let go around the 800’ mark. She ran a 4.376, which was no match for Capps who ran a 4.060 taking the win. Mike Neff took on Alexis DeJoria, and both drivers had problems getting down the track. Mike’s Funny Car sounded absolutely awful as it popped and banged just after the 1/8th mile mark struggling to run a 4.425. Alexis got the better end of the deal running a 4.290 for the win.
The next matchup was John Force and Tony Pedregon. John’s Elvis car just barely made it past the 330’ mark before going up in smoke. Tony Pedregon suffered a bit of tire smoke, but his was closer to the finish line giving him the win with a 4.542 compared to John’s 4.875. Robert Hight fell victim to the same fate as John in his match up against Johnny Gray; he was only able to run a 5.036. Johnny Gray blasted past Robert Hight running a 4.091, knocking out the last remaining Traxxas John Force Racing Driver left in competition. This was the first time this season that all of John Force Racing was eliminated in the first round of competition.
Traxxas was in Thunder Valley with our full line of RC cars, support staff, and mobile hobby store. Fans were able to drive a Traxxas Slash and watch our professional RC drivers demonstrate the agility, power, and strength of our Traxxas vehicles. The Traxxas models were also on-site handing out Traxxas magazines and Courtney Force stopped by Saturday and Sunday to sign autographs and take pictures!
After all was said and done in Thunder Valley, Tony Schumacher was able to break his winless streak in Top Fuel and win a spot into the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. Ron Capps, in his sixth consecutive final round appearance, took home the win over Rookie Alexis DeJoria. With the 2012 Thunder Valley Nationals in the books, the NHRA and Traxxas prepare to head to Chicago next weekend for the O’Reilly Route 66 Nationals for race number 11 of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series!