FINISH OF PEP BOYS NHRA NATIONALS POSTPONED TO MONDAY AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY
Drag Racing Action Online NHRA Communications Images: Phil Hutchison
If it’s September and it’s raining, chances are you are at Maple Grove Raceway. The race, affectionally known as the “Keystones” after the home state, has had issues with rain throughout the 38-year history and the 2023 edition wasn’t different.
After three beautiful days of record setting action including a sold out show on Saturday, Sunday’s weather report didn’t look good with rain forecast for the early afternoon. After two rounds of Camping World Pros, the sprinkles started and continued on and off until the NHRA decided to pull the plug and continue the action Monday morning.
Action will begin at 10 a.m. ET with the completion of the semifinals in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, starting with the remaining Top Fuel semifinal between Steve Torrence and Tony Schumacher. Finals in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will also take place on Monday. The race will be broadcast at 9:30 p.m. ET on Monday on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
Driving his backup car, Doug Kalitta, far lane, put teammate Shawn Langdon on the trailer in R2 with a 3.692 to Langdon’s close 3.733
Top Fuel’s Doug Kalitta is the lone driver who has advanced to the final round of the first race in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, putting together a string of runs in the 3.60s, including a pass of 3.684-seconds at 332.84 mph to get a holeshot win over Leah Pruett in the semifinals. If Kalitta wins in the final round, the veteran would pick up his 50th career victory. He’ll take on the winner of Schumacher and Torrence, who will meet in the other semifinal and will kick off raceday on Monday.
“We’ve been playing the rain game here – we were really hoping we could get it in because the Mac Tools car’s running well in these conditions, and everyone’s in sync here,” Kalitta said. “The competition is tough – it seems like everybody’s running well, but so are we. We’re very fortunate to have (co-crew chiefs Alan Johnson and Brian Husen) Alan, Brian and all these guys behind me in this thing. We’re all super hungry and hoping to do some good in the final. We have a great group here, and it would be really nice to get it done tomorrow.”
Tasca, near lane is headed to the semifinals after his win over Alexis DeJoria with a 3.867 to DeJoria’s 3.904. The race wasn’t as close as the numbers indicate as DeJoria had a terrible 0.162 RT that killed any chance of winning over Tasca
Funny Car’s Bob Tasca III advanced to the semifinals in the opening playoff race, going 3.867 at 334.40 in a second-round win against Alexis DeJoria. He’ll take on Chad Green, who picked up wins against Terry Haddock and Tim Wilkerson. The other semifinal is a titanic matchup featuring the points leader and back-to-back world champ Ron Capps and Robert Hight. Capps knocked off John Force in the second round, while Hight put on a show in a thriller against Matt Hagan in the second round. Hight went 3.852 at 326.40 to slip past Hagan’s 3.8589 at 335.48 by a mere .0001.
In what might have been the race of the year, Robert Hight, near lane, defeated Matt Hagan in R2 running a 3.852 to Hagan’s 3.859 The crowd went bonkers!
Defending NHRA World Champ Erica Enders keeps turning on the win lights with a 6.503 win over Christian Cuadra’s 6.555 in R2 and will face Hartford in the semifinals
Pro Stock’s Erica Enders, the No. 1 qualifier, made the quickest run in each of the first two rounds, including a strong 6.497 at 210.83 in the opening round, and will face off with Matt Hartford in the semifinals. With Dallas Glenn falling in the first round, Enders, Hartford or Troy Coughlin Jr. can leave with the points lead on Monday. Coughlin will take on Kyle Koretsky in the other semifinal round.
Hometown hero Kyle Koretsky, near lane, is going to the semifinals after his victory over Aaron Stanfield in R2. Koretsky got the better light and got the hole shot win with a 6.537 to the better 6.525 of Stanfield
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Jianna Evaristo advanced to the semifinals, posting a major upset in the second round against points leader Gaige Herrera. After setting both ends of the track record this weekend, Herrera ran into trouble in the quarterfinals, as Evaristo went 6.894 at 196.44 to pick up the victory. She’ll take on teammate and defending world champ Matt Smith in the semifinals. In the other semifinal matchup, Hector Arana Jr., who entered the weekend third in points, will race Chip Ellis.
Angie Smith, near lane, got the better light but Hector Arana Jr had the power to take the win in R2 with a 6.745 to Smith’s 6.808
Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate, and children 12 and under will be admitted free.
The voters have spoken and after a week’s worth comments and voting, Option