Chevy Racing–NHRA–Sonoma

AUGUST 2, 2015

Chris McGaha Takes Chevrolet to NHRA Pro Stock Winners Circle
Erica Enders, Jason Line and Greg Anderson Lock into Countdown to the Championship Field

SONOMA, Calif (August 2, 2015) – Number One qualifier Chris McGaha, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Camaro SS, pre-staged against a formidable competitor and fellow Chevrolet Camaro SS driver Jonathan Gray for the final round of Pro Stock at Sonoma Raceway. The pair had faced one another many times, but this was the first time in the final for the Wally.

It was McGaha’s day. With a pass of 6.531 seconds, he tripped the win light to capture his first NHRA National Event Win. Gray’s 6.560 seconds was just a tick off and he was forced to settle for runner-up in his Gray Manufacturing Tech Chevrolet Camaro SS.

On the way to his first Wally, McGaha downed V. Gaines in Round One. Next to fall to McGaha was reigning Pro Stock World Champion and Camaro SS driver Erica Enders in Round Two. It was Jeg Coughlin also behind the wheel of a Camaro SS falling to McGaha in Round Three.

The John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car drivers gave it a strong effort, but weren’t able to come home with the Wally from the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. In round one, John Force downed John Hale behind the wheel of the Peak Anti-Freeze and Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS. But as luck would have it Courtney Force, Traxxas Remote Control Cars Camaro SS, met her teammate Robert Hight, Auto Club of Southern California Camaro SS. Hight’s reaction time of 0.083 seconds and E.T. of 4.052 seconds bested Force’s run of 4.081seconds sending her to the trailer early.

Hight made it through round two, sending Ron Capps home with a solid run of 4.095 seconds. But the luck wasn’t with John Force. Long-time competitor Cruz Pedregon took the win light after Pedregon tripped the line with an impressive 4.051 second E.T.

In the semi final round, Hight’s day came to an end meeting eventual Funny Car winner Jack Beckman. Hight had a better reaction time by a small margin, but Beckman laid down a run of 4.037 seconds to Hight’s 4.095 seconds.

Brittany Force in the Monster Energy John Force Racing Chevrolet Top Fuel Dragster met Tony Schumacher for the second time in two weeks. The pair met in the finals at Denver. Schumacher laid down a blistering run of 3.767 seconds, the fastest E.T. of the day in Top Fuel.

With the Countdown to the Championship commencing after the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, every point is critical. Two Team Chevy drivers have clinched their spot in the Pro Stock Class Playoffs. Enders has secured her spot in the playoffs as did four-time champion and current points leader Greg Anderson. Jason Line also locked in a spot to make a run for the championship crown.

Only 10 drivers in each class make it to the Countdown for a chance to run for the championship. Currently Brittany Force sit seventh in Top Fuel points with three races remaining to lock in for the Countdown.

John Force is solidly in third place in the Funny Car standings. Robert Hight sits in 10th place, and Courtney is in 11th, currently not in the Countdown field.

Chevrolet Camaro SS drivers have a solid grip in Pro Stock. After Anderson, Enders and Line, McGaha sits in fourth. Larry Morgan, Drew Skillman, Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile and J. Gray all sit in the top-10 poised to run for the title.

Next on NHRA Mello Yello Drag Race Series schedule is the NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle, WA August 7-9, 2015 at Pacific Raceways.


ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Winner round one over Courtney Force; winner round two over Ron Capps; defeated semi-finals by Jack Beckman
ON HIS FIRST AND SECOND ROUNDS: “That was a big round. We find ourselves No. 10 in the points. We know we are a better team than a tenth place car. You have to dig yourself out. Good job to all the Auto Club guys. Unfortunately it was against Courtney but you they are tough and they are running good. They will be back.
They (Jack Beckman’s team) are running good but I guarantee you (crew chief Mike) Neff has something up his sleeve. We are going to keep going down the track and we are learning and getting better. It will be a good race I promise.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK ANTI-FREEZE COOLANT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Winner round one John Hale; defeated round two Cruz Pedregon: ON THE WEEKEND: “We haven’t changed our game plan. We just had a team meeting and our cars aren’t bad. We ran in the threes. We had two cars qualified in the top five. We knew we would have to rebuild a little this season and we expected this. We took a hit last year and this is another weekend where we may not have gotten a trophy but we are seeing progress that will pay off at the end of the season. We are staying ahead of the curve by trying new things and that is why we have been successful for all these years. I am proud of my Blue Def Peak Chevrolet team because we are in this fight together and we are all working together with the Auto Club team and the Traxxas team and the Monster Energy Top Fueler.”

COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING , TRAXXAS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Defeated by Robert Hight in round one of final eliminations:
ON HER WEEKEND: “We had another huge round for our Traxxas Chevy Funny Car team. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win but we had a great car going up there. I am really proud of my team. We just had a really tough first round opponent with Robert (Hight) who edged us out for the win. He had the better car and got the win. It is tough for us we had the fourth quickest Funny Car of the session so it is hard to see we had one of the best cars out there today but we had to face one of the toughest guys out there. We are going to move on and it feels good that we have a good race car we just have to look forward to Seattle and get back on our feet there. It has been tough throughout this Western Swing. Being in the No. 11 spot is tough but a couple of people in front of us also went out early so we have a lot of hope going into Seattle that we can still catch up and get ourselves into the Countdown.”


BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING-MONSTER ENERGY TOP FUEL DRAGSTER: Defeated by Tony Schumacher in round one of final eliminations: “It is definitely hard coming off a great weekend in Denver where we made four great passes down the track and going to the semis. You go from high energy to struggling through all our qualifying passes and only getting down the track once. You come out and you are paired up with Schumacher in the first round and we knew it would be a tough race. We were pushing the car and it just didn’t go down there. It blew the tires off it and I pedaled it. It hooked up and went track a little then smoked the tires again at about 700 and by then I knew it was done. We will pack up our bags and head to Seattle.”

CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 6 QUALIFIER: Winner over V. Gaines in round one of final eliminations; winner over Erica Enders in round two of final eliminations; winner over Jeg Coughlin in semi-finals; winner over Jonathan Gray in final to collect first career Wally for winning a NHRA National Event!
ON WEEKEND: “This was 30 years in the making, and let me tell you, it’s been something. All the years we ran Comp Eliminator, watching my dad race and then doing it myself, you always leave the house thinking that maybe this is the weekend. We kept coming out here and trying and trying all these years, and we had a few heartbreakers along the way. To finally get it done is really special.

“I knew I was going to win as soon as I put it in high gear. That’s the same point I knew I’d won the second round and third round, too. You can just see it out the window. That’s why I’m so hoarse; I started yelling on that last one. I knew that unless something happened to the motor, it was mine. I could just see it, and I’ll never forget that picture in my mind, that feeling of knowing I had it, that we were going to put our Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro in the winner’s circle. I finally had it.”

“This is like getting the monkey off my back, and I hope it turns into the same thing that happened with the No. 1 qualifiers. I wanted one, then I got it, and it just got easier each time. Hopefully, the same thing happens but I’d take just one. If I never get another win, I’ll still be content.”

JONATHAN GRAY, GRAY MANUFACTURING TECH CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Winner over Deric Kramer in round one of final eliminations; Winner over Greg Anderson in round two of finald eliminations; Winner over Jason Line in semi-final round of final eliminations; Defeated by Chris McGaha in final round to claim runner-up position:
JUSTIN ELKES, GRAY MOTORSPORTS CREW CHIEF: “Our program is doing really well. At the last three races we’ve had a Gray Motorsport Chevrolet Camaro in the final. All of our hard work is paying off. Each car has its own personality right now as far as what’s good and what’s bad so we’re just trying to learn from each car. Hopefully, by the time we get to the Countdown, we’ll have all three cars running really well. I think we showed first round, all three cars ran really well. As a team, we were disappointed that two of them lost but we were really happy that all three stepped up and were top half cars first round. First round I think we showed what we’re made of.

“We’ve been slowly turning the corner. Things started clicking a couple of races ago, some things that we’ve been working on and we made some changes within the team that really helped. We made some changes in Denver that helped. We’re learning to work together and it’s going the right direction. I’m excited for Seattle because we’re trying to peak going into the Countdown and it looks like we’re going in that direction.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING-SUMMIT RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 7 QUALIFIER: Winner over Aaron Strong in round one of final eliminations; Winner over Bo Butner in round two of final eliminations; Defeated by Jonathan Gray in semi-final round of final eliminations. Locked into the Countdown:
ON SUNDAY FINALS: “I had a really good car today, and I was very happy with my Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. We didn’t win the race today, which is what we came here for, but we had four really good cars. All four of us lost on holeshots, so it would be tough to say that we didn’t run well. It was very close racing today. We didn’t quite drive well enough, but that is the only way I want to lose is on a holeshot. I’m happy and I know what I need to work on.
“That round with [KB Racing teammate] Bo Butner – he’s getting better every weekend and the car is good. He didn’t need any help from me driving, and I’m not a teacher but I’ve tried to help and to see him getting better every week and he’s having fun, that’s really a cool thing. I was very happy that he ran well. I knew I had to be good to beat him. I wasn’t quite ready to lose to him yet and was fortunate enough to have a good light and we had a great race.

JEG COUGHLIN, STOCKSETH RACING/ELITE/JEGS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Winner over Matt Hartford in round one of final eliminations; Winner over Vincent Nobile in round two of final eliminations; Defeated by Chris McGaha in semi-finals:
ON THE WEEKEND: “Chris (McGaha) qualified on the pole, and if he hasn’t been low every run, he’s been damn close. We knew we had to be on our best behavior. We changed motors before that run because it looked like we were a hundredth off in the back half from where we thought we were capable of being. If we pick up a hundredth in the back, that’s pretty stout.
“The team did one heck of a job with seven runs now as a group in its entirety. Going into Q3 I felt pretty good, and going into Q4 I felt fantastic. Coming into gameday, I felt real good. We just came up a little short there. Chris made a stab at the Tree and ran good ET to boot. Onward to Seattle we go.”

ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Winner over Shane Gray in round one of final eliminations; Defeated by Chris McGaha in round two of final eliminations. Locked into the Countdown:
ON WEEKEND: “There have been plenty of days when my team has carried me. I wish I could’ve carried them further this weekend. My crew chief always tells me, ‘If you can be .020 all day on Sunday, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to go to the winner’s circle with the people that we have and the equipment that we have.’ Today just wasn’t our day.

“We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. We’re going to load up and go to the next race. My guys are the most determined bunch I’ve ever met. Right now, our day is over, but where are all three of my crew chiefs and my team owner? They’re in the lounge, going over notes and trying to figure out how to get better. You can bet your bottom dollar that we’ll be back, and we’re just going to use this to fuel our fire.”

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING-SUMMIT RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Winner over Alex Laughlinin round one of final eliminations; Defeated by Jonathan Gray in round two of final eliminations; Locked into the Countdown
“That’s a big difference from last year. There is no question about it, and we are thrilled. We’re having a great year with our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaros, and we are thrilled. My car seems to get better every weekend, and I have an opportunity to win every race. I need to get to Seattle quick to make amends for this weekend, because I know I have a good car and it’s up to me to match my car’s performance. There are so many positives right now with our program, and if you only have one thing to work on in Pro Stock, well you’re doing pretty good. It’s a tough category, but that’s why we love it. We love the challenge.”

BO BUTNER III, BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS, NO. 8 QUALIFIER: Winner over Allen Johnson in round one of final eliminations; Defeated by Jason Line in round two of final eliminations

Erica Enders in round one of final eliminations:
ON THE WEEKEND: “I’m real proud of our Gray Motorsports team this weekend. We made some changes, and we showed a lot of progress with our Chevrolet Camaros. This was the first final round for Jonathan this year, and he had a good car and did his job behind the wheel to get there, and we almost got the win. It’s a good thing that we get to go to Seattle next weekend, we’re on a roll and that next win for this team is coming.”

LARRY MORGAN, FIREADE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: Defeated by Vincent Nobile in round one of final eliminations: “I was up on the wheel. it wasn’t about who I was racing or anything like that. We have had some issues with the engine this weekend, and I just got behind the 8-ball in qualifying. The car was missing and all kinds of stuff, and I just had a hard time with the way it felt. I did what I thought was good. I didn’t even know I red-lit until I put it in third gear – I look up, and his win light is on. I wouldn’t go up there and do anything different. Stuff happens, I guess. I made a good run, and that surely makes you made, but we did good. We ran good, fifth-quickest for that round, that was good. But it was just at the wrong time. I just made a mistake.

“I was the bug this week, but last week I was the windshield.”