At the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, Jay Blake’s Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team reached the semifinals for the second time in three national event appearances this season. Driver Todd Veney, who qualified a career-high No. 2 last month at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, was No. 4 in Houston, ahead of some of the biggest names in the business, including 2010 championship runner-up and defending champ Mickey Ferro and current points leader and eventual winner Tony Bartone.
Veney eliminated one of the most prolific drivers in Top Alcohol Funny Car history, veteran Vern Moats, in round one and Texan Bryan Brown in the quarterfinals before crossing the centerline in the semifinals for an automatic disqualification against Steve Burck, who reached his first career final with the round-win. It was the only shut-off run all weekend for the Follow A Dream team, the only Top Alcohol Funny Car team all weekend to get down the track with a five-second pass in all three qualifying sessions.
“The track wasn’t the Houston we’ve come to know in years past,” Veney said. “Last year, everybody was in the 5.50s or low 5.60s, but this year, everybody had trouble figuring it out all weekend, even Bartone’s team. “We had a pretty consistent string of runs going for a while [5.70-5.69-5.70], but when we tried to step it up a notch for the semifinals, the track wouldn’t take it.”
After a three-week layoff, the team heads for historic Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., for the first race of the five-race Division 1 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, May 27-29. With the semifinal finish, Veney is just outside the top 10 in the NHRA national points standings.