Thunder Valley Nationals Recap
Bristol, TN is the 2nd out of 4 stops on what we can call the “eastern swing” before NHRA heads out for the “western swing”, and year after year it seems to be one of the most highly attended events in terms of car counts to quotas. With such a beautiful facility and awesome racetrack, someone better have a really good reason to not have this track on their schedule. Weather being a non factor this weekend, NHRA stuck to the original schedule and sportsman were given 2 hits and into rd1, while SS used class eliminations as their 2nd hit…
Joseph Welch would collect his 1st win on this stop of the Factory Stock Showdown class, as current points leader Arthur Kohn turned it -.038 red. While Bristol is on the verge of a factored track, these cars were running over a tenth slower than usual but Welch made consistent passes all weekend and matched his qualifying run with a 8.275 @164.67 and a .019 light. Another 1st time winner in Eddie Longhany Jr. as he just squeaks by Joe Santangelo in an all ’69 Camaro Stock final. Both these drivers dialed in at 10.67 with Longhany Jr getting the jump, .018 to the .034 of Santangelo, at the 1320′ Longhany Jr ran 10.698 giving him the .004 MOV.
As we were this close to having a father & son in the winner circle, long time IHRA stand out Scott Stillings put an end to that as he instead parked his SS/AM Grand Am there. Stillings had to wait almost 2 seconds with his 8.84 dial and had a 2 hun advantage with a .022 light then ran 8.854, leaving Longhany Sr no chance with a .041 reaction time.
The .90 categories both had drivers winning that are very familiar with the Thunder Valley winner circle, as Tyler Caheely took home the SC trophy and Steve Furr with the SG. The 8.90 final 2 drivers were not particularly great all weekend in the reaction time department with about a .023 average between them, and repeated in the final with Caheely having the slight lead (.024 to .028). Caheely used that advantage to stay out in front the whole way down the track to run 8.928 and get to the stripe by .006 for his 2nd win of his career, both at this event. 9.90 had Steve Furr for the 2nd year in a row taking the win with a .019 light and running 9.917, leaving little to no room for Ray Miller 3 with a .021 reaction time and a 9.927 pass.
Top Sportsman would have Jeff Brooks defeating Royce Freeman for his 3rd national event win, with a .011 light Brooks was able to run 6.720 on the 6.69 for a .041 total package. Freeman missed the tree a little with a .031 and had some room, but took too much stripe and broke out by 7 thou running 6.933. Aaron Stanfield would also defend his title, winning back-to-back years in TD by running dead on 0 to his 6.32 dial with a .012 let go. Joe Fisher made a great lap with a .017, taking 7 thou but was just burning fuel as he was shut out.
Photos By – Auto Imagery