Antron Brown, Robert Hight, and Drew Skillman found victory lane Sunday in the 30th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
Top Fuel Recap
Brown defeated Terry McMillen in the final round with a 3.776-second pass at 326.48 mph in his Matco Tools dragster. It was his fourth win of the season in Top Fuel. McMillen was actually faster than Brown when he ran a 3.772 at 318.54 mph but was slower on the tree giving Brown a holeshot win.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my guys because the Western Swing can bring you down,” Brown said. “My team gave me a great car to allow me to go some rounds against tough competition, but this sets up some real interesting scenarios with only two races to go before the Countdown.”
Brown qualified first and defeated Ron Smith in round one, Mike Salinas in the second round and finally Clay Millican in the semis. McMillen qualified 10th and pulled the round one upset over Steve Torrence, then defeated Doug Kalitta in round two then went through Leah Pritchett in the semifinals to get to his first final round of the season.
With the win, Brown took the points lead in Top Fuel after Torrence was knocked out in the first round for the first time this season by McMillen who ran a career best time of 3.725 seconds. Brown will take a 13-point lead into the next race at Brainerd in two weeks.
Funny Car Recap
Hight picked up his second win of the season when he defeated Tommy Johnson Jr in the finals with a 3.890 second run at 328.62 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevy Camaro SS. It was Hight’s second win of the season.
“This was a weekend you can only dream about, but to have low E.T. of each of the last seven sessions gave our team so much confidence,” Hight said. “We have a good combination whether it be hot or cool weather, which shows how strong my team is able to prepare for any track in any climate.”
Hight started the day qualifying first for the second consecutive race and defeated Jeff Diehl in round one, his car owner John Force in round two then teammate Courtney Force in the semifinals. Johnson Jr qualified third and went through Jim Campbell in round one, followed by teammate and points leader Ron Capps in round two and finally Matt Hagan in the semifinals to go to his fourth final round of the season and third in four races.
The win was the 250th Funny Car victory for John Force Racing who has 254 total victories in both Funny Car and Top Fuel.
Pro Stock Recap
Finally, in Pro Stock Skillman took home the Wally after defeating Erica Enders, he ran a 6.604 at 209.33 mph compared to Enders 6.609 at 209.49 mph. It was the third victory of the season for Skillman and third in the past four events.
“We definitely thought we had a car to sweep the Western swing and we missed it by two rounds, but today definitely makes up for that,” Skillman said. “Our team is working really well together right now, and I couldn’t be happier with the results over the past few events.”
Skillman had qualified second and had to defeat Alan Prusiensky in round one, had a round two bye then defeated Bo Butner who red lit the tree. Enders qualified fourth had to go through Matthew Hartford in round one, Jason Line in round two and was handed a gift by the number one qualifier Tanner Gray who had been fastest all day before red lighting the tree.
With this being the 30th visit of the NHRA to Pacific Raceways the track had a special trophy made to commemorate the event. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads off to Brainerd International Raceway for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals August 17-20.