CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK IN NORWALK, OH
POST-RACE RECAP AND WINNER TRANSCRIPT
SUNDAY, JUNE 23, 2019
Chevrolet adds to season total with Pro Stock win
Chris McGaha earns eighth career Pro Stock victory
John Force Racing teammates are 1-2 in Funny Car standings
Brittany Force is No. 1 Top Fuel qualifier in Chevrolet dragster
NORWALK, Ohio (June 23, 2019) – Chris McGaha won his first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) race in nearly a year by claiming the Pro Stock victory in the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
McGaha recorded a pass of 6.620 seconds at 210.11 mph to outdistance Alex Laughlin (Havoline Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the final round of the seventh of 18 Pro Stock races this season.
“That’s probably the first time I’ve won crew chiefing it myself, so it’s kind of special. We overcame a lot this weekend – broke two motors – but I guess our luck changed today,” said McGaha, the No. 3 qualifier in the Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS. “I took the same car up there all four rounds and it just kept repeating and repeating. If the crew chief is doing his job, the driver needs to do his and here we are.”
McGaha, who picked up his eighth career Pro Stock win, last won in July 2018 at Epping, New Hampshire. Prior to breaking through at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, the resident of Odessa, Texas, had not advanced past the second round.
John Force’s consistent season continued with a No. 2 qualifier spot and semifinal appearance in Funny Car competition. The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, driving the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil/BlueDEF Chevrolet Camaro SS, has advanced to at least the semifinals in eight of the 12 races. In the first round of eliminations, Force faced Cruz Pedregon for the 106th time – the most of any competitors in all classes. Force laid down a 3.937-second pass – the best of race day – and picked up his 72nd victory over Pedregon.
Force, runner-up the previous week at Bristol (Tennessee), remains second to teammate Robert Hight in the championship standings. Hight, the No. 10 qualifier driving the Auto Club of Southern California Camaro SS, dropped a cylinder and lost in the first round for only the second time this season. Hight has 49 career Funny Car victories at 22 racetracks but Norwalk is not one.
Brittany Force drove the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet dragster to the No. 1 qualifier spot for the fourth time this season and 14th time in her Top Fuel career and advanced to the semifinals on race day. Force, the 2017 Top Fuel champion, lost to 2018 champion and current points leader Steve Torrence.
Teammate Austin Prock, the No. 11 qualifier in the Montana Brand/Rocky Mountain Twist Chevrolet dragster, fell in the first round.
David Barton of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, driving a Chevrolet COPO Camaro, lost in the semifinals of the fifth round of the SAM Tech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown. Barton is the 2017 series champion. NHRA announced that the Factory Stock Showdown field will expand to 32 cars for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on August 28-September 2 in Indianapolis.
Because of recent significant rainfall, some pit areas of Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park were not fit for use during the weekend, so Super Stock and Stock Eliminator among other classes did not compete.
After a week off, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues with the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.
An interview with Pro Stock winner CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 3 qualifier; eighth career victory, first this season):
HOW DOES THAT WIN FEEL?
“That’s probably the first time I’ve won crew chiefing it myself, so it’s kind of special. We overcame a lot – broke two motors – but I guess our luck changed today.”
YOU GOT BETTER WHEN IT MATTERED. HOW DID YOU DO IT?
“I think it’s luck. Lights have been really bad for me the last year. I’ve been working on it really hard. I had the crew chief personnel change and have been doing it all myself and have been struggling. But we overcame it today. I took the same car up there all four rounds and it just kept repeating and repeating. If the crew chief is doing his job, the driver needs to do his and here we are.”
WALK US THROUGH YOUR RACE DAY.
“Started with a bad light in the first round and probably should have gotten trailored by Wally Stroupe after that bad light, but somehow we got back around him. The second round I was a little better on the tree. I had no idea he shook (tires) because I just didn’t see him. For the semis, we just kept taking the same car up there much like a bracket racer would do. I botched the burnout really bad and I’m sure everybody thought we were done. I thought I had done enough damage to the clutch that I had better just stage the thing at this point. I staged it and thought it’s either going to go or it’s not. It was a dice roll. Low and behold I took it to the line and let it rip. Next thing I knew we won that round and were going to the finals. I kept doing the same thing, the basic service, and kept dragging the same car up there.”
THE NEXT TIME WE SEE YOU IS THE BEGINNING OF THE SWING.
“Yes. Denver, and you have to change so much up at Denver that it’s definitely luck (to win). A totally unique tune-up, especially the gearing. You have to almost learn how to drive again.”
THE 18-RACE SCHEDULE, ARE YOU FINDING IT TO BE A POSITIVE?
“I was not going to run but 16 or 18 myself anyway; I have other obligations. It’s been kind of nice because I started some new project this year in the oil fields. Also, not going to Bristol between Chicago and here, I really sat down and wore out a notebook and a calculator really looking at my set-up and I think it paid off.”
CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 1 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “Overall, an awesome weekend for this Advance team in Norwalk. I thought that we were going to get past that semifinal round and take it to the final. We stayed after Bristol to do some testing and really turn this car around. The team is pumped up, we’re feeling good, we moved up in points and we made it to the semis. Very happy and we all get a weekend off before going into Epping (New Hampshire) and we did what we wanted. We ended on a pretty good high note.”
AUSTIN PROCK, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONTANA BRAND/ROCKY MOUNTAIN TWIST CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (No. 11 qualifier; fell in first round): “It was a tough break this morning. We were fourth best of the session and had a really good light. If we combined those together, we would have beat anyone in the session but Terry (McMillen). We ran good, that’s one good note on the day. I know it doesn’t show on Sunday but if you look at incrementals and its consistency, it’s the best it’s ever been. We’re going to stay tomorrow and test. It’s going to be overcast and cool so the track should be really good.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 10 qualifier; fell in first round): “We switched cars yesterday and like with everything this Auto Club team does, we’ll get it figured out and get this thing back in the winner’s circle. I’m not really worried and having Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham leading things, I’m confident. We have a week off before heading to Epping and it gives us all time to regroup and we’ll be ready to get after it. It will be good.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “It wasn’t a bad weekend for the PEAK team. We made it to the semis but I’m learning and we’re still working out the bugs. There’s not much I can say except that it’s coming, sooner or later. Brittany made it to the semis with Advance Auto Parts, so I’m proud of her for that. Robert and Auto Club, and Austin with Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist were out early but I know they’ll get things figured out. I’m proud of all our teams and we’ll all be ready for the next one.”
DERIC KRAMER, KB RACING, AMERICAN ETHANOL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier; fell in first round): “We looked at every run we made (in qualifying) and every one of them looked like it could have been a little better. Ultimately, that’s out goal weather we qualify No. 1 or No. 16. We want to make sure our runs are the best they can be. We (KB team) come out here with the same power and we all have the understanding of what everyone’s doing. We come out here each and every week expecting that we’re going to have to race each other at some point and we kind of know you just have to be better on that particular day.”
JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 4 qualifier; fell in second round: “That was not the way I saw that round going, but that’s certainly something you have to put behind you, and that’s what I intend to do. All you can do is try to be better. The good news is that we know our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaros are fast. We didn’t get to show that today, but you better believe that we’re going to keep making these KB Racing Pro Stock cars better. Today wasn’t a great day, but we have to thank everyone from Summit Racing for welcoming us, supporting us, and cheering for us whether we win or lose.”
GREG ANDERSON, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 6 qualifier; fell in second round): “That’s a disappointing end to the day for us. We really wanted to put a Summit Racing Chevy Camaro in the winner’s circle today. We really thought we would, too, because we had some great race cars. Unfortunately, things didn’t happen as we thought they would. But we were fast this weekend, and we have to put our focus on the next race now. We’ve got a little bit of time before the Western Swing, and that just means more time to prepare. We want to turn this disappointing weekend around right away, and the only way to do it is to keep our noses to the grindstone. We just have to get right back to work.”
JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier, fell in semifinals): “It’s already been a fantastic birthday (49th) with a good majority of my family here. There’s nothing better than racing in Ohio and seeing all the yellow and black up in the grandstands and all over the pits. So many people have been gracious enough to wish us good luck and it’s fun to roll through the pits and here all the ‘JEGS’ cheers.”
BO BUTNER, KB RACING, JIM BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 10 qualifier; fell in semifinals): “We had a good weekend here at the Summit Racing Nationals, and I’m really proud to represent Summit. We did good in the Factory Stock Showdown car, and our Pro Stock Chevy Camaro got better – everybody struggled that round. Denver will be different, but I look for us to be better on the Western Swing than we were here. I want to say congratulations to Chris (McGaha, winner). He’s been in a slump, and he deserves to win.”
SHANE TUCKER, TUCKER RACING, AUZMET ARCHITECTURAL/STRUCTGLASS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 14 qualifier; fell in first round): “We were racing with a brand new to us, Chevrolet Camaro this weekend. We got the car from Drew Skillman but we put our motor under the hood and there was a considerable weight difference. Our motor is heavier and we had to work all weekend to deal with the weigh transfer. That one element is so important on these race cars. We did have a good handle on it by this morning.”