Class Ceiling

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

It was a competitive weekend in several events.

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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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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