WHITELEYS SWEEP AGAIN
For the second year in a row, Jim and Annie Whiteley's YNot Racing team swept the Las Vegas Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Regional, Jim in Top Alcohol Dragster and wife, Annie, in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Jim dominated the dragster contingent from wire to wire, setting low ET of all three qualifying sessions and two of three rounds of eliminations. Annie came from the No. 2 spot to defeat Doug Gordon in the Top Alcohol Funny Car final with low ET of the event, 5.59.
|The Whiteleys celebrate their wins. (Bob Johnson photo)|
Jim Whiteley, who beat Chris Demke last season in a final that had to be rerun after something blew through the lights in Demke's lane as they approached the finish line the first time, was a winner before he passed the Tree this time on Don St. Arnaud's red-light. Arnaud, who had killed the Tree in the first two rounds, left too soon with a -.131 reaction time, but with a 5.343 (low ET), Whiteley would have been hard to get around regardless.
"I saw the red-light before my green came on," Mr. Whiteley said. "It can mess you up sometimes, but I didn't mind because we weren't running as good as we did here last year."
Whiteley qualified his Norm Grimes-tuned YNot dragster on top with an almost identical run, 5.344, eliminated Megan McKernan in a much-closer-than-expected first-round match, 5.40 to 5.43, and took out Joey Severance in the semifinals, 5.35 to an early-shutoff 5.59. Severance had a realistic shot at unseating him after running slightly quicker in his first-round win over Demke (5.401) than Whiteley had in his win over McKernan (5.408).
"We struggled a little all weekend," Whiteley said. "The car made good, smooth runs every time, but the numbers weren't the same as last year. We were trying to loosen up the clutch a little, and we probably went too far. We ran in the .20s here last year in similar conditions, so we definitely didn't get it all, but it was enough to win."