Oakdale’s Richard Townsend and his popular “Nitroholic” Funny Car Team made the trip to Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas to compete in the NHRA Spring Nationals. This is the fourth of 24 scheduled events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
For Townsend and the Nitroholic team, it will go down as a success. The team qualified 13th with a career best 4.026 at 308.99 mph. He would square off in the first round of eliminations against “Fast” Jack Beckman, where the team came up a little short. Beckman advanced with a 4.125 at 317.12 mph to 4.186 at 298.93 mph. How competitive was this event? One only needs to look at the racers that failed to qualify for the event. Two full-time regulars failed to make the cut. Jim Campbell and Jim Dunn’s Dodge qualified 17th, while John Force qualified 18th. It was the first time in 221 events that Force failed to qualify for an event.
In Top Fuel, Brittany Force defeated Terry McMillen 3.762 at 299.46 mph to 3.818 at 311.56 mph, to capture her first event win of the season.
Funny Car was won by J.R. Todd (3.955 at 313.29 mph) over Robert Hight (3.993 at 308.14 mph). This was Todd’s second consecutive event win of the season, having won the Denso 4-Wide National event in Las Vegas two weeks earlier.
Matt Hartford collected his first career Pro Stock event win by defeating Erica Enders with a 6.522 at 211.36 mph to 6.570 at 210.50 mph final round performance.
The next event on the NHRA Mello Yello Schedule is NGK Spark Plugs 4-Wide Nationals at zMax Raceway in Concord, North Carolina the weekend of April 27 through 29.