Class Ceiling

NHRA recap: Another showdown between Gray and Enders-Stephens highlights big week

It was a competitive weekend in several events. NHRA.com

We will run NOR WALK!

Welcome to Summit Racing ,  the World's Speed Shop here Norwalk, Ohio as the NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series continues to heat up.

NHRA 'S Women of Power were in full force , how apropo with the First Lady of Drag Racing, Shirley "Cha Cha" Muldowney making another nostalgic appearance in the state of the Hall of Fame as well as the birthplace of Alice Rufie Jordan Blake , the first female law graduate at Yale. Erica Enders- Stephens  was on the top of the tree this weekend giving her contenders much grief in her Melling Performance Pro stock Camaro. Angie Smith also drilled them out the gates on her Pro Stock Bike, with two back to  back .005! Whew!  Brittany Force and Leah Pritchett went up in smoke early on. Angelle Sampey is still fighting. 

Not too far up the road is Cleveland,  home of King James.  Hmmm , is he a need for speed fan? I will have to ask him.

John Force is usually the motivational speaker between rounds with his fast-talking, high energy interviews. He is grasping for straws now and pleading for support, even recalling essential advice given previously by "The Mongoose.".Team Force,  give 'em help! This deep into the series and no top 10. I'm starting to get a bit nervous. To quote Matt Hagan,  "Courtney is killing it out there," even beating out Poppa Force. He can't seem to catch a break. I'm not mad at you. John Force,  you know how to do this, never give up, never surrender! 

Another segment of excitement was the side by side between the  Vigilante and the Cowboy! The  Dodge Dynasty  should be so proud to have these Hemi's representing here at the NHRA Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series for  the School of Automotive Machinists and Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown.  The Vigilante brings it home. 

Meanwhile, Blake Alexander is on the map. Steve Torrence has got to work a few bugs out. Terry McMillen and Mike Salinas put in work, too. Clay Millican and Greg Anderson also looked promising.

The highlight of the weekend of course was the ever fervent grudge match between Erica Enders -Stephens and boy band hopeful Tanner Gray.  It has been tit for tat with these two  Pro Stock winners, and here come the finals after Erica beat em out the gates being quick on the draw. They burn out, Tanner turns on the first stage lights, then Erica. Tanner bumps in, then Erica  and click , click, boom! Tanner Gray  leaps out with a . 008 as our dear Erica slept with a . 048

What a cliff hanger. How will they end the series?

Stay tuned for  the NHRAMello Yello Drag Racing Series as they head to the New England Nationals, July 6-8.

And this weekend's winners:

Top Fuel -- Blake Alexander, 4.011 seconds, 297.81 mph def. Terry McMillen, 4.155 seconds, 289.20 mph.

Funny Car -- Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.094, 288.21 def. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.220, 227.54.

Pro Stock -- Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.615, 209.62 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.608, 208.30.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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