Salinas wins for the fourth time in 10 races to knock Brittany Force from top spot.
- Top Fuel Winner Mike Salinas Strives to Inspire
- Hight Takes Advantage of Hagan’s Early Exit
- Enders Notches No. 38 in Pro Stock
- Angelle Sampey Had To ‘Dig All Way Down’
- More Than One Crew Chief Testy on Starting Line
- Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
- Norwalk, Ohio
- Updated Standings
- Mike Salinas, Robert Hight regain leads in Top Fuel, Funny Car.
- Women rule in Pro Stock classes.
- Crew chiefs, Top Fuel’s Steve Torrence express frustrations.
Brittany Force was No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel at the NHRA Summit Equipment Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, as she set both the track elapsed-time and speed records. But by the end of race day Sunday, Mike Salinas was the dominant force.
Salinas, who powered his Scrappers Racing / Valley Services Dragster to a final-round victory against Josh Hart, replaced Force as the points leader. Force trails Salinas by 12 points as the Camping World Drag Racing Series prepares for its most challenging stretch of the season.
The Western Swing is a string of three races in consecutive weekends of more than 5,300 miles to three completely different tuning conditions (at Denver, Sonoma, and Seattle). Only seven racers (Joe Amato, Cory McClenathan, John Force, Greg Anderson, Larry Dixon, Tony Schumacher, and Antron Brown) have swept the sequence—and none since Brown in 2009.
Embarking on it with momentum, too, will be new Funny Car points leader, Auto Club Chevy Camaro driver Robert Hight, of John Force Racing. He earned his 57th overall Funny Car victory and fourth of the season, defeating Bob Tasca III in the final round Sunday.
The women dominated on the Pro Stock side, with multiple-time champions Angelle Sampey (motorcycle) and Erica Enders (car) also reaching the winners circle at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
Mike Salinas topped the field in Top Fuel at Norwalk.
Top Fuel Winner Mike Salinas Strives to Inspire
Many people whispered that Mike Salinas would stumble this season without tuning wizard Alan Johnson, who went to manager Doug Kalitta’s program. But Salinas didn’t worry about the predictions.
“They’ve been saying that my whole life,” he said.
No one is saying it now, not after Salinas claimed his fourth victory Sunday in as many final-round appearances this year.
“There’s people that talk. There’s people that do. I’m a doer, not a talker,” Salinas said. “They can say whatever they want. At the end of the day, I have nobody to answer to except The Man Upstairs and four daughters and my wife.”
Salinas clearly has his priorities in order. And right near the top of his list is the practice of giving his crew members input into the operations of the car for crew chief Rob Flynn to sift through and implement. Consequently, he said, the team has chemistry and calmness – and “no egos.”
“After every race, Rob will sit down with them and he’ll ask them, ‘What did you guys see? How can we improve?’ There’s no egos. And it’s really cool, because we’ve never been able to do that before. These guys are making suggestions. So you want to talk about a team and a great leader?” Salinas said, pointing to Flynn and the crew, including car chief Arron Cave. He said Flynn and the crew, who are in the midst of their fifth season with Salinas, are learning from each other.
“How do you think that makes the crew feel? They’re part of what we’re doing,” Salinas said. “We run our companies this way, too, by the way. The people that run our companies and work for us, they don’t work for us. We all work together. They’re part of our family. And we do a great job together. You can’t expect to grow and build and do great if you do not let your people be themselves. You’ve got to inspire.”
When he received his trophy Sunday after improving his 2022 eliminations-round record to 22-6 in the first 10 races, Salinas raised it and credited “the crew, the crew, the crew.”
Hart, the 2021 phenom who won his first start at the Gatornationals and won again at Charlotte, did Salinas a favor by knocking our Force in the semifinals. He was pursuing his third victory overall, first of the year, and first since last September.
Robert Hight took the Funny Car top prize at Norwalk.
Hight Takes Advantage of Hagan’s Early Exit
As if recording three series championships and 57 event trophies and owning the third-most victories in the Funny Car class—and regaining the lead in the standings Sunday—wouldn’t have proved it already, Sunday winner Robert Hight said immediately following his victory over Bob Tasca III that winning “shows that were legitimate.”
Tasca beat longtime points leader Matt Hagan in the quarterfinals, paving the way for Hight to regain the points lead for the first time since March. Hight has a 21-point margin over Tony Stewart Racing’s Hagan.
The Funny Car final was a classic match of rivals: Robert Hight in his Chevrolet and Bob Tasca III in his Ford. Hight led wire to wire to run his record against Tasca to 30-10 overall and 2-0 in final rounds.
Erica Enders extended her Pro Stock points lead with the win on Sunday.
Enders Notches No. 38 in Pro Stock
For the second straight week and for the fourth time in the class’ eight appearances on the schedule, Erica Enders and Elite Performance Motorsports teammate Aaron Stanfield faced off in the final round. This time, she paid him back for his victory against her last week at Bristol, Tenn.
Enders, in her 18th year of Pro Stock competition, said, “You just go back to the old days and remember how long this journey has been. I’m sure some are sick of this Melling Performance Chevy Camaro being parked in the winners circle. But we went seven years ‘winningless.’ And I drove for multiple teams and struggled to find money. But I finally found a home here at Elite Motorsports.
“These guys believe in me more than I do, and I don’t even have to question where they stand,” she said. “As a driver, it clears my mind. It makes me question nothing.”
Enders, still the leader in the standings, advanced to her fifth straight final round and posted her second straight Norwalk victory and 38th total.
Angelle Sampey won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Angelle Sampey Had To ‘Dig All Way Down’
Joey Gladstone made the third final round of his career and was seeking his first victory. Angelle Sampey, last week’s runner-up, was going against her former Liberty Racing teammate in her 80th final in search of her 46thvictory. The pair kicked off the final rounds of the event after a significant rain delay.
Sampey met her goals on the Vance & Hines Mission Foods Suzuki. However, she said she “had to dig all the way down and find every ounce of faith in myself, especially after this rain delay. It took all I had to stay calm.”
Gladstone was runner-up to Sampey last July at Charlotte, but his first final round came in 2020, at Dallas.
More than one crew chief was pointing fingers at the starting line at Norwalk.
More Than One Crew Chief Testy on Starting Line
Often in drag racing, results are decided at the starting line. Maybe the same could be said for friendships.
In Sunday’s second round, Dean Antonelli, co-crew chief for Ron Capps with the NAPA Toyota Supra Funny Car, criticized Cruz Pedregon for the Snap-on Dodge Charger driver’s staging procedure. Shortly afterward, Elite Performance Motorsports tuner Mark Ingersoll expressed his disapproval of Matt Hartford for how long he took to get set in his Pro Stock match with Erica Enders.
The rule regarding staging is that either driver may stage first but that once one racer does so, the other has seven seconds to roll in and get in position. Neither Pedregon nor Hartford violated the rule, but each found himself being blasted.
Antonelli said about Pedregon, “We have the clutch out, and he waits four or five seconds. There’s no need for that. That’s chicken-shit shit.”
At the top end of the track during Pro Stock competition, Ingersoll took issue with Hartford, and Hartford said, “Let’s be clear: there was no vulgarity out of our team. My suggestion is that he read the rulebook. And if you’re going to come down here, throwing every negative, vulgar word at our team and being that way, that’s who you are as people and that’s fine with me. They’re upset because I took awhile staging, which I’ve done in the past. Sometimes it throws her off her game. But she has me covered by six-hundredths [of a second]. I followed the rules. I lot by six-thousandths. We’re gracious losers, just as we are gracious winners. I wish other people could learn that.”
Hartford had a discussion with Enders, too. He told her, “You know I’m going to do it when you’ve got me covered.” She replied, “It doesn’t work.” He said, “I know, but it makes me better.” She said, “Then keep doin’ it.” After that, Royce Freeman, from Elite, told Hartford, “No biggie.”
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Sunday’s final results from the 15th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. The race is the 10th of 22 in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.
Top Fuel — Mike Salinas, 3.706 seconds, 333.58 mph def. Josh Hart, 3.783 seconds, 325.37 mph.
Funny Car — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.944, 327.51 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.962, 330.63.
Pro Stock — Erica Enders, Chevy Camaro, 6.627, 207.88 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.658, 207.15.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.861, 197.13 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.928, 194.60.
Top Alcohol Dragster — Matthew Cummings, 5.313, 275.84 def. Alan Bradshaw, 5.388, 268.06.
Top Alcohol Funny Car — Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.592, 262.95 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 5.625, 262.33.
Competition Eliminator — Scott Chamness, Dragster, 7.082, 149.35 def. Frank Aragona, Alterd, Broke.
Super Stock — Tyler Bohannon, Chevy Camaro, 9.619, 137.33 def. Joe Santangelo, Camaro, 9.658, 136.65.
Stock Eliminator — Joe Santangelo, Chevy Camaro, 10.432, 121.69 def. Brett McFarland, Camaro, 10.202, 126.58.
Super Comp — Patrick Debottis, Dragster, 8.922, 182.30 def. Bob Prose, Dragster, 8.927, 180.94.
Super Gas — Duane LaFleur, Chevy Camaro, 9.910, 163.04 def. Dave Coapstick, Olds Cutlass, 9.907, 161.44.
Top Sportsman presented by Vortech Superchargers — Steve Jaeger, Chevy Monte Carlo, 6.747, 205.10 def. Glenn Butcher, Chevy Camaro, 6.411, 177.86.
Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Al Kenny, Dragster, No Time Recorded def. Karma Hopper, Dragster, Broke – No Show.
Pro Modified — Kris Thorne, Chevy Camaro, 5.796, 247.93 def. Rickie Smith, Ford Mustang, 5.828, 250.04.
Factory Stock Showdown — Bill Skillman, Ford Mustang, 7.810, 177.07 def. David Barton, Chevy Camaro, 7.869, 180.09.
ROUND ONE — Josh Hart, 3.756, 323.50 def. Spencer Massey, Foul – Red Light; Austin Prock, 3.836, 256.65 def. Clay Millican, Broke; Brittany Force, 3.774, 310.20 def. Kyle Wurtzel, 8.548, 87.22; Leah Pruett, 3.776, 327.98 def. Justin Ashley, 3.852, 317.49; Mike Salinas, 3.758, 328.06 def. Tony Schumacher, 3.794, 294.82; Doug Kalitta, 3.736, 330.23 def. Antron Brown, 3.772, 324.36; Steve Torrence, 3.746, 327.66 def. Billy Torrence, 3.813, 327.03; Tripp Tatum, 3.732, 325.92 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.793, 322.65;
QUARTERFINALS — Hart, 3.813, 323.66 def. Prock, 3.808, 321.81; Force, 3.765, 329.75 def. Tatum, 3.810, 318.47; Pruett, 3.798, 325.61 def. S. Torrence, 3.802, 327.51; Salinas, 3.771, 329.26 def. Kalitta, 3.776, 324.05;
SEMIFINALS — Salinas, 3.822, 296.89 def. Pruett, 6.062, 135.36; Hart, 3.750, 328.94 def. Force, 3.783, 329.02;
FINAL — Salinas, 3.706, 333.58 def. Hart, 3.783, 325.37.
ROUND ONE — Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.948, 322.65 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 8.509, 104.92; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.921, 326.00 def. Mike McIntire, Toyota Camry, Foul – Red Light; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.878, 333.41 def. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.121, 244.96; Ron Capps, Toyota Supra, 5.519, 160.16 def. Dale Creasy Jr., Charger, Foul – Centerline; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.903, 326.24 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.093, 311.85; Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.952, 325.85 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 6.865, 94.39; J.R. Todd, Supra, 3.903, 330.80 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 6.032, 117.24; Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.972, 316.75 def. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.056, 302.55;
QUARTERFINALS — Capps, 3.974, 327.59 def. Pedregon, 3.982, 323.50; Todd, 3.953, 329.34 def. Force, 4.154, 271.52; Hight, 3.997, 311.92 def. DeJoria, 4.651, 175.71; Tasca III, 3.941, 327.27 def. Hagan, 4.876, 173.45;
SEMIFINALS — Hight, 3.890, 328.06 def. Todd, 3.916, 329.75; Tasca III, 3.933, 329.18 def. Capps, 3.973, 327.11;
FINAL — Hight, 3.944, 327.51 def. Tasca III, 3.962, 330.63.
ROUND ONE — Matt Hartford, Chevy Camaro, 6.646, 206.89 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 6.641, 206.54 def. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, Foul – Red Light; Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.653, 206.51 def. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 16.985, 47.28; Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.669, 206.95 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.672, 207.24; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.620, 204.63 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.665, 206.13; Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.642, 206.29 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.682, 206.26; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.656, 205.79 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.684, 206.01; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.597, 209.01 def. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Mustang, Foul – Red Light;
QUARTERFINALS — Stanfield, 6.684, 206.89 def. M. McGaha, 6.873, 204.01; Koretsky, 6.677, 205.54 def. Caruso, 6.676, 205.54; Kramer, 6.658, 207.11 def. Anderson, 6.616, 204.29; Enders, 6.635, 208.52 def. Hartford, 6.643, 206.95;
SEMIFINALS — Stanfield, 16.957, 49.06 def. Koretsky, Foul – Red Light; Enders, 6.611, 208.59 def. Kramer, 6.659, 207.18;
FINAL — Enders, 6.627, 207.88 def. Stanfield, 6.658, 207.15.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
ROUND ONE — Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.916, 197.71 def. Marc Ingwersen, Broke; Angie Smith, 6.851, 199.29 def. Ryan Oehler, 7.078, 192.49; Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.959, 192.69 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.014, 195.48; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.873, 196.33 def. Chip Ellis, 6.908, 194.63; Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.956, 168.51 def. Ron Tornow, Foul – Red Light; Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.890, 195.62 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.988, 196.13; Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.864, 197.74 def. Jianna
Evaristo, Suzuki, 9.227, 98.93; Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.879, 197.86 def. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.938, 194.91;
QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.991, 193.49 def. A. Smith, Foul – Red Light; Sampey, 6.890, 195.90 def. M. Smith, 6.947, 195.53; Gladstone, 6.907, 195.28 def. Stoffer, 6.855, 195.73; Arana Jr, 6.915, 197.13 def. Krawiec, 6.942, 176.60;
SEMIFINALS — Gladstone, 6.935, 193.82 def. Arana Jr, Foul – Red Light; Sampey, 6.855, 198.35 def. Savoie, 6.995, 183.29;
FINAL — Sampey, 6.861, 197.13 def. Gladstone, 6.928, 194.60.
1. Mike Salinas, 821; 2. Brittany Force, 809; 3. Steve Torrence, 712; 4. Justin Ashley, 711; 5. Austin Prock, 513; 6. Josh Hart, 509; 7. Shawn Langdon, 467; 8. Clay Millican, 462; 9. Doug Kalitta, 459; 10. Leah Pruett, 417.
1. Robert Hight, 929; 2. Matt Hagan, 908; 3. Ron Capps, 829; 4. John Force, 655; 5. Cruz Pedregon, 561; 6. Bob Tasca III, 517; 7. J.R. Todd, 509; 8. Alexis DeJoria, 490; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 443; 10. Chad Green, 408.
1. Erica Enders, 814; 2. Aaron Stanfield, 709; 3. Kyle Koretsky, 562; 4. Dallas Glenn, 476; 5. Greg Anderson, 459; 6. Mason McGaha, 435; 7. Camrie Caruso, 422; 8. Deric Kramer, 376; 9. Matt Hartford, 340; 10. Bo Butner, 337.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Steve Johnson, 488; 2. Angelle Sampey, 436; 3. Karen Stoffer, 433; 4. Joey Gladstone, 385; 5. Angie Smith, 383; 6. Matt Smith, 379; 7. Eddie Krawiec, 377; 8. Jerry Savoie, 343; 9. Marc Ingwersen, 293; 10. Jim Underdahl, 259.
Keyword: NHRA Norwalk Results, Updated Standings: How Mike Salinas Took Top Fuel Points Lead