CLASS CEILING

Femme Fanatic Sports: A look at motor sports from a female perspective -- recapping the NHRA's trip to Baytown

Brittany Force, left, was among the big winners in Baytown. NHRA.COM

Welcome to Femmefanaticsports, which covers the feminine perspective of Motorsports.

What Readers should know:

What: The NHRA  Mello Yello Drag Racing Series / Spring Nationals 

When: This past weekend  (April 20-22, 2018)

Where: Royal Purple Raceway  

SportsMap was in the house for the NHRA Spring Nationals !

If the NHRA Spring Nationals was a music genre it would be Coachella mashed up with Woodstock, with a little  T in the Park, squished up with Lollapalooza, mixed with a tad of Bonnaroo and a splash of  Glastonbury (for garnish). Like Wow!

As SportsMap strolled through the entrance,  Snap! No way, 

The Mongoose (Tom McEwen) was sitting right there with that notorious killer smile! Front Line and Center, this was to be the place to be this weekend!  I couldn't help but look over my shoulder as we conversed to see if Don "The Snake " Prudhomme would slither by!  NO CIGAR.

For The opening act  you have the Sportsman Class , followed by Pro Mod on stage 2, with El Arabe Jet Car and the GameXChange Jet Dragster on Center  Stage, followed by the headliners Pro Stock, Funny Car, Top Fuel. 

Ladies and gentlemen start your engines Please!

SportsMap caught up with #theonetowatch Erica Enders. who posted the top spot in our book by driving  not one, but two cars in two different categories.  She dawned the Elite  Performance Pro Mod  Car as well as the Melling Performance Pro stock Car. 

Matt Hartford took the win in Pro Stock, and J.R. Todd had four for four in Funny Car!  There were records set of course with Matt Hagan and Greg Anderson, too much to mention. Then in between sessions there was a nice DJ who dazzled us with Fallout Boy and Rihanna.

Do not feel bad for Enders. She was not alone in the elite field of  class  at the  NHRA Mello Yello Spring Nationals here at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown. You had Kayla Morton of Street Outlaw fame driving her "Hot Mess Express" Mustang  taking home the Redemption Title Friday over contender Barry Nicholson in a nice grudge match of Chevy vs. Ford.

Then of course, Tammy Gatlin had her Jet Funny Car shimmying down the track on her exhibition runs along with fellow jet car exhibitionist Juan Cantu and the GameXChange Jet Dragster. Definitely warmed things up on chilly Friday afternoon! 

Not to forget Leah Pritchett, and  Courtney Force. To be sure, Brittany Force did not disappoint as she took the win in  her Monster Energy Top Fuel Dragster at 3.762e.t. at 299.46 mph over fellow competitor Terry Mc Millen. 

Then there was  Brenda Grubbs, in her '69 Camaro in Super Stock, who showed us what life can be like in the quarter mile as this was her first Wally, winning out over Craig Gualtiere. Thanks to Janet, Gina, and Randi Lynn Ship and then some, we had a roaring weekend.

With the thundering of the funny cars, the roaring of the jet cars, the wind, rain and shine, the revving of motors, the testing and tuning, all the behind the scenes strumming throughout the pits and the harmonious voices of all the participants,  it made for quite the music festival that only can be found at the NHRA Mello Yello Spring Nationals.

The winners

Top Fuel -- Brittany Force, 3.762 seconds, 299.46 mph def. Terry McMillen, 3.818 seconds, 311.56 mph.

Funny Car -- J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.955, 313.29 def. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.993, 308.14.

Pro Stock -- Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.522, 211.36 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.570, 210.50.

Pro Modified -- Jim Whiteley, Chevy Camaro, 5.834, 239.14 def. Rick Hord, Chevy Corvette, 5.818, 252.43.

Top Fuel Harley -- Doug Vancil, Weekend, 6.300, 230.76 def. Randal Andras, JTR, 12.128, 80.94.

Super Stock -- Brenda Grubbs, Chevy Camaro, 9.284, 138.47 def. Craig Gualtiere, Chevy Nova, 9.691, 132.43.

Stock Eliminator -- Tim Snively, Chevy Camaro, 11.745, 110.84 def. Brandon Bakies, Olds Cutlass, 11.091, 114.30.

Super Comp -- Lyndon Rutland, Dragster, 8.901, 180.07 def. Austin Williams, Dragster, 8.902, 156.99.

Super Gas -- Koy Collier, Chevy Camaro, 9.902, 156.75 def. Steve Collier, Chevy Vega, 9.890, 163.06.

Next Weekend 

When: April 27-29

What: NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals North Carolina 

Where: zMAX Dragway 

5555 Concord Pkwy S Concord, NC 28027

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome