The second race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ Western Swing takes place Friday through Sunday, July 26th through 28th at Sonoma Raceway in California. All four NHRA pro categories – Top Fuel Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be competing at Sonoma, as the “regular season” winds down and the NHRA prepares for the Countdown to the Championship.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending race winners at Sonoma. Brown, who won two races early this season, is looking to snap out of a racing funk, as the 2012 Top Fuel champ has lost in the first round in four of the last five events.
“When we go to a place like Sonoma, it’s a place where we can really make some power and I think that’s going to be a big awakening for our Matco Tools team, “said Brown. “We’ve been growing each and every race. We haven’t had the run we’ve wanted lately, but we’re smart enough to know that there’s going to be growing pains. We just have to keep staying focused and our goal in the next few races is to get into that race mode. I think we’re real close to being there.”
2009 Pro Stock champ and current points leader Mike Edwards has earned an impressive 109 points in his qualifying efforts alone this season, and currently leads 2012 champ Allen Johnson by 79 points. Edwards and his crew are taking this season one race at a time.
“We are just trying to be consistent and race the race track,” said Edwards. “Make the right adjustments for the racetrack and the conditions that we’re racing in. That has been our main goal all year long, is try to be consistent. Make the car go up and down the track. If you can go up and down the track you have a chance to win and that is what we are trying to do.”
“One race at a time” is a sentiment echoed by Gray, who is in his last full-time season in Funny Car. The defending race winner in Sonoma is third in points with four wins.
“We’re still just taking it one race at a time, one day at a time, one hour at a time,” said Gray. “These cars are so finicky, everybody knows you can be a hero one day and a zero the next. With so many great drivers in this class, it’s always tough. I really believe if we have any luck at all we’re going to be sitting first, second or third when we start the Countdown (to the Championship). If we have as good of a car then as we do now, we have as good of a shot as anybody to win the whole thing. That’s the way we have to go after it the rest of the year.”
Qualifying for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals begins on Friday with two sessions at 4:15 and 7:15 p.m. PT, and concludes on Saturday with sessions at 12:15 and 2:15 p.m. PT. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. PT on Sunday. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.
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