Class Ceiling

NHRA report: Hot track in Thunder Valley makes for strong weekend in Bristol

Tommy Lee wound up in the sand trap. Competitionplus.com

Welcome to Femmefanaticsports where this week's journey goes to the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenessee. You have the Perfect Trifecta: The birthplace of  country music plus The Home of Bristol Motor Speedway, (a NASCAR Sprint Cup track that is one of the most well-known motorsports facilities in the country.) and Bristol Dragway, where  the Fitzgerald USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals  event is held.

Just give me that old time Rock and Roll, right on down the track! 

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that  classy First Lady of Drag Racing, Shirley "ChaCha" Muldowney graced the  presence of  fans in Thunder Valley and reminisced about Tom "The Mongoose " McEwen and how thrilled she was when he asked her for her autograph at a track meet years ago. WOW, that is amazing Class Ceiling stuff right there! Just imagine that back in the day, the  Mongoose,  forward thinker that he was, gives her the symbolic Fist Bump, High Five, Atta Girl, by requesting her John Hancock. She immediately paid it forward and bought  and wore one of his shirts and did not part with it for the day. Sweet dreams are made of this! 

A little lightning and thunder would have been most welcome this weekend here in Thunder Valley. A bit of rain  could have cooled the track down ....track temperatures were up to 139.° Now remember, we're in Thunder Valley, so we're talking about  major horsepower,  a super hot track and less track treatment with scorching temperatures, both behind the wheel and on the track. The driver has to make some real time, real life decisions on the dime. Should I stay in it off the starting line? Yes! I have the Holeshot...But I'm smoking the tires...Foot off pedal...Straighten up...Foot back on pedal...Don't touch the centerline...Pedal off...Get back in it... Foot back on the pedal....  watch out for the wall,  foot off pedal, win beam insight, foot on pedal, my opponent coming over the lane, foot off pedal,  Get this win! All in 4 seconds . Just ask Brittany Force .

 Funny thing, as it heats up here, Iron Man Clay Millican seems to have no problem getting down the track, putting his field on the map in qualifying sessions with a 3 second pass! Maybe, just maybe it has to do  with The Thunder from down under Crew Chief, Dave Grubnic. What's the secret? 

Doug Winters lived to tell after crossing the centerline and kissing the wall during Pro Mod Qualifying .  

Pro Stock Rocker Tommy Lee waltzed the Sand trap as his chutes failed to deploy and his brakes failed to grab during third round qualifying. Safety, first, last, always. Great job NHRA Safety Safari!   

Matt Hagan lit the fire as leader of the DSR qualifying pack. There is nothing Funny about those cars.

This weekend's event proved to be , thuderous, brutal, and action packed.

Victory Circle:

Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher, 3.946, 313.58 def. Salinas, 5.251, 152.18.

Funny car: Ron Capps, 4.234, 296.37 def. Tasca III, 4.300, 286.98.

Pro stock: Jeg Coughlin, 6.709, 205.10 def. Anderson, 6.741, 205.07.

Take me out to the Race Track!

June 21-24 2018 

Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals

Norwalk, Ohio

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Boston's two grand slams in the first two innings were too much for Houston to overcome in ALCS Game 2. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a win in ALCS Game 1 that had the prototypical fingerprints of this Astros team all over it, Houston returned to Minute Maid Park on Saturday, hoping to take a dominant 2-0 series lead if they could grab another victory. The Red Sox dashed those hopes very early, though, scoring eight runs across the first two innings to build the lead they would hold on to even the series.

Final Score: Boston 9, Astros 5

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): tied 1-1

Winning Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Houston met with disaster to start Game 2

You couldn't have drawn up a much better start for the Red Sox or a worse one for the Astros in Saturday's ALCS Game 2. Luis Garcia met early disaster in the top of the first inning, allowing a leadoff double, then got two outs while issuing two walks to load the bases. That brought up Boston's designated hitter, J.D. Martinez, to the plate, and he delivered a crushing blow to Houston, launching a grand slam to put the Red Sox up 4-0 before Houston could even get to the plate.

After a scoreless bottom of the inning by his offense, things got worse for Garcia in the top of the second, as after issuing a four-pitch walk to start the frame, he would become the center of a meeting at the mound with trainers, ultimately leaving the game with an injury. Houston opted to bring in Jake Odorizzi for the emergency call to the bullpen, but things did not start well for him either. He would put two of his own batters on base with two singles, then gave up the second grand slam in as many innings, this one to Rafael Devers to double Boston's lead to 8-0, doubling down on Houston's disastrous start to the game.

Odorizzi rebounded with a 1-2-3 third, but with one out in the top of the fourth allowed a solo homer to Kiké Hernández, his third homer of the series so far. He would still get the job done of eating up a few innings, finishing the fourth, and retiring Boston in order in the fifth, giving Houston just four more innings to cover with the rest of their relievers.

Astros get a few runs back

Over that span, Houston did trim the lead by three runs, getting an RBI double by Kyle Tucker and a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel in the bottom of the fourth, making it a six-run game at 9-3. Their next reliever was Blake Taylor in the top of the sixth, and he would keep the score where it stood by sitting down the three batters he faced that frame.

The Astros threatened again in the bottom of the sixth, getting two singles to put two aboard, but would come out empty, sending the game on to the seventh, where Taylor would remain on the mound. He faced three more batters, getting two out while allowing a single before Yimi Garcia would come in to get the third out.

Red Sox even the series as it shifts to Boston

Garcia returned in the top of the eighth, getting through that inning despite a walk and hit by pitch, stranding both runners. Boston's bullpen kept Houston from getting any closer in the bottom of the eighth, then Ryne Stanek came in for the Astros in the top of the ninth. Stanek allowed a leadoff double, but with a groundout and double play, held the score at 9-3. Yuli Gurriel and Jason Castro did their part to keep the Astros alive in the bottom of the ninth, each hitting solo homers to make it 9-5, but that's as close as they'd come, dropping Game 2 to tie the series at one game apiece.

Up Next: The ALCS now moves to Boston for the next three games after a day off on Sunday, with Game 3 on Monday at 7:08 PM Central. While the Astros have named Jose Urquidy as their starter, the Red Sox have not yet determined theirs.

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