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The Pro Superstar Shootout just finished at Bradenton Motorsports Park in FL. All of the NHRA's biggest stars raced in 4 divisions, Top Fuel; Funny Cars: Pro Stocks; and a 4th class that pitted funny cars against a top fuel dragsters (the funny cars got a .2 starting line advantage). I didn't catch how they arrived at which cars would compete in that division, but it sure was fun. Chad Green in his Mustang funny car beat Texan Steve Torrence in his top fuel dragster in that final. I didn't hear what Green won for this class. In his winning interview he said that he couldn't believe that he was able to beat Torrence not once, but twice this weekend.

Texan Erica Enders, the reigning Pro Stock World Champion won the pro stock final, winning a $125,000 in doing so.

In what might be considered a surprise & upset, Austin Prock won the funny car final. Prock normally races a top fuel car, and the car he drove is normally driven by Robert Hight. It was announced about 3 weeks ago that Robert has some medical issues, and Prock was announced as his replacement driver. As both Hight & Prock drive for John Force, the decision was made to park the top fuel car, and just concentrate on the funny car. That seems to have worked out pretty good so far. His check for winning was $250,000. Nice payday!

In top fuel, reigning champ Doug Kalitta won. The perennial top fuel driver finally won his first top fuel championship in Nov. What a way to show that his winning the championship wasn't a fluke. He too collected $250,000.

But here's the most shocking bit of news from this weekend. There was a world record for the top speed ever in a nitro burning car. One car ran a 341.68 mph run, the fastest run ever by an NHRA legal car, and it wasn't a top fuel dragster either. Bob Tasca ran that ET in his Mustang Funny Car!! Fast Jack Beckman, a many time funny car winning driver was on the announce team for this weekend. He so didn't believe the mph, he left the booth and went to the timing tower to verify, and it wasn't a lie. He was stunned to nearly being speechless. And if you ever heard any of his interviews after a f/c win, you'd know that's something, Think of a John Force interview when he's being interviewed about anything. 

My brother & sister in law, who still lives in Cincinnati, left Wed, heading to Sarasota, FL to get out of the cold for a couple of weeks.I told him about it. He didn't know that this race weekend was happening this week. They decided to stop by Bradenton, as it's only about 15 miles from Sarasota. As they were walking up to the ticket booth, they heard a couple of nitro cars, but couldn't see what was happening. He heard them staging (whoever "they" were), and whipped out his phone, aiming toward the track. He never saw any cars, but he did get the audio of the run, but the video was just blurred chainlink fencing, but he sent it to me anyway. Then he heard the track announcers going crazy over the top speed that was just attained. That was Tasca's record run. He thought they were T/F cars. Beckman made a few comments tonight about that run. He said the he expects that the NHRA will make some rules "adjustments" to the nitro cars before the season opener, to slow them down. Sounds like NASCAR eh?? He was saying that the NHRA views 240mph kind of like NASCAR views the 200mph speeds at Daytona & Talladega, a dangerous speed there. These races at Bradenton is not an NHRA event. This was the show that Tony Stewart and others put together, kind of like an All Star race, or the SRX races that he and Ray Evernham have put on for the last 3 years. 

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9 minutes ago, TBone said:

Were the nitro cars running 1000' or the full quarter mile?

They're running the 1000' track. I'm not sure that they will ever go back to the full1/4 mile track with the nitro cars. Jack Beckman is certain that the NHRA will do something to keep the nitro cars to somewhere around the 335mph mark. Both of those nitro series cars are already pretty unstable at 335. Beckman was still stunned 24 hours after Tasca's run. He said that he studied the computer printout from timing, checked the track's weather data, and went back and watched the video several times. He was certain that is wasn't a valid mph. Like having a big tail wind, or something else that might have helped push up the speed for Tasca. Beckman should know, he got the nickname Fast Jack for a reason. 

TBone, I don't know when/if you started following Cup racing, but in 1988 Bobby Allison nearly parked his 3500lb car into the main grandstands at Talladega. That was on top of numerous bad crashes at both Daytona & Talladega. If that would have happened, I don't think that NASCAR would exist today. They said that the restrictor plates were only a temp fix, until they could figure out a way to slow down the cars. Every Cup race since at the super speedways have sported the restrictor plate. 

The need to slow down the nitro cars isn't something new. They have decreased the percentage of nitro allowed into the fuel mix at least 2 times before. They used to be able to run 100% nitro, but thanks to Kenny Bernstien's huge numbers that he was attaining, along with several big nitro crashes (several different drivers), they started cutting the percentage of nitro allowed. A few years later speeds where starting to get some pretty bigs gains, so they lowered the limit again. I know of them doing that twice, but there could be more. I don't follow the NHRA as much as I used to. 

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Just to answer a couple questions:

The Funny car vs Dragster matchups were set by the cars that did not qualify for the Shootout.  I think they only took the Top 8 in qualifying.  

Austin Prock's Top Fuel car was already parked for the season as it did not have the funding. But if I'm not mistaken the cool thing is the Crew Chief is his dad and the Car Chief or Head Tuner is his Brother.

They have lowered nitro percentages, took timing, they have done downforce, blower overdrive, rev limiters and these teams still figure out how to go faster with all of it. This is when I wish dad was still around because he had alot of inside information on this issue directly. He had a lot of conversations with a bunch of the top teams crew chiefs and head tuners about this exact subject. He would discuss the track prep with them very thoroughly to understand what he was doing to the track that would help them achieve numbers they were wanting to get.

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5 hours ago, Josh42 said:

Just to answer a couple questions:

The Funny car vs Dragster matchups were set by the cars that did not qualify for the Shootout.  I think they only took the Top 8 in qualifying.  

Austin Prock's Top Fuel car was already parked for the season as it did not have the funding. But if I'm not mistaken the cool thing is the Crew Chief is his dad and the Car Chief or Head Tuner is his Brother.

They have lowered nitro percentages, took timing, they have done downforce, blower overdrive, rev limiters and these teams still figure out how to go faster with all of it. This is when I wish dad was still around because he had alot of inside information on this issue directly. He had a lot of conversations with a bunch of the top teams crew chiefs and head tuners about this exact subject. He would discuss the track prep with them very thoroughly to understand what he was doing to the track that would help them achieve numbers they were wanting to get.

Thanks for the info Josh. Like I said, I just don't follow the NHRA as much as I used to. I wasn't at home to watch the Thur & Fri practice & qualifying so I wasn't aware of how they had done the F/C & T/F match ups. I think that I heard that who ever won that race got $10k, but that's just what I think I heard. I was just jumping back & forth with the Ice Breaker @ Florence and the NHRA. Then it was onto the races @ New Smyrna. I have been to the Bradenton strip, but that was way too many moons ago. From what they showed on Flo, and what my brother said from there, they sure have upgraded that facility!! I watched a Pro Mod weekend program online a couple years ago. It sure didn't look like this weekend. I'm happy for them, but even more happy for the teams & fans that will get to enjoy these upgrades.

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22 hours ago, Josh42 said:

...They have lowered nitro percentages, took timing, they have done downforce, blower overdrive, rev limiters and these teams still figure out how to go faster with all of it.

...

I believe there is also a gear-ratio rule in Top Fuel - I don't know (from a quick online search) if Fuel Funny Car also has a gear rule, but I'm pretty sure it does.  Yes, it's pretty amazing how these guys keep beating the performance-limiting rules.

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