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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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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