HARLOW SAMMONS RACING CHEVROLET CAMARO
RACE REPORT – NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS
BRISTOL DRAGWAY – BRISTOL, TENNESSEE
JUNE 19-21, 2015
NHRA BRISTOL: CHRIS McGAHA POWERS HARLOW SAMMONS RACING CAMARO TO ANOTHER FINAL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (June 21, 2015) – What a weekend for Chris McGaha and the Harlow Sammons Racing NHRA Pro Stock team. On Father's Day at the 15th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, McGaha piloted his swift 'Silver Bullet' to a final round finish that was his second of the season – and of his career. McGaha, of Odessa, Texas, remains No. 4 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock points, but with every race he is inching closer to his competitors who are occupying those top spots.
During qualifying, McGaha again had a car to be reckoned with. His Harlow Sammons Racing Chevrolet Camaro was at the top of the pack on Friday, but holding the provisional pole wasn't quite what the surging team had intended.
McGaha had started from the No. 1 spot three times earlier in the year – including last weekend in Epping – and they weren't sure that was the path that would lead them to the final round and a coveted win. Admitting that they would be happier to start from a somewhat lower position on the ladder, the team got their wish and started No. 3 on Sunday in Bristol.
"At the beginning of the day I felt like we had a chance to get to the final," said McGaha, whose first final was in Houston just five races ago. "But to be honest, I didn't drive very well in the first round, or the second or third round, for that matter. I didn't drive well all day, I'll admit it, but the car covered me. That gives me confidence going to the next race."
Crew chief Brian "Lump" Self, McGaha, dad Lester McGaha, and crewmen Steven Hinojos and Mike Stryker hustled to make the quick turnaround times after congratulatory high-fives were exchanged. According to McGaha, "Just like Houston, everyone kept doing their part and picking away."
In the first round of eliminations, the Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro put a brilliant 6.678-second pass at 207.24 mph on the scoreboard, and it held as low elapsed time of eliminations. Kenny Delco was sent home on a 6.750, 204.51. For round two, McGaha was again the quickest of the round in his defeat of Vincent Nobile. McGaha's 6.697, 206.73 snuffed out Nobile's 6.731, 206.29.
The semifinal round pitted McGaha against Jonathan Gray, who is notorious for leaving his opponents on the starting line. This time, however, the young gun left .020-second too quick and turned on the red light. His foul start sent McGaha ahead to the final round on a 6.731, 205.82. Without lane choice over Erica Enders, McGaha had his work cut out for him – but he and Team Harlow Sammons zeroed in and picked up the pace with a 6.689 at 207.46. Unfortunately, their opponent was just a bit quicker and won the round on a 6.685, 206.95.
The final with Enders was actually a rematch of the Houston final in which the outcome was the same.
"I'm going to beat her," said McGaha. "One of these days, I'm gonna get it done. But we aren't disappointed at all, absolutely not. We're more motivated than ever, and it feels so good to know that I got back to a final round. I got one chance in Houston, and I got a second chance here – so we know how to get there now, and we're going to keep trying to get there each time. Eventually, one of these will come our way."
McGaha will next compete at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, July 2-5, 2015.
CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS CHEVROLET CAMARO
Qualified: No. 1
FIRST ROUND: CHRIS McGAHA (6.678-second at 207.24 mph) def. Kenny Delco (6.750, 204.51)
SECOND ROUND: McGAHA (6.697, 206.73) def. Vincent Nobile (6.731, 206.29)
SEMIFINALS: McGAHA (6.731, 205.82) def. Jonathan Gray (6.718, 205.60)
FINAL: Erica Enders (6.685, 206.95) def. 6.689, 207.46
FRIDAY: 6.669 seconds, 206.54 mph (Session 1); 6.647 seconds, 206.67 mph (Session 2)
2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
Pro Stock Championship Points
(following Bristol, race 11 of 24)
1. Erica Enders, 964
2. Greg Anderson, 950
3. Jason Line, 828
4. Chris McGaha, 750
5. Allen Johnson, 588
6. Shane Gray, 583
7. Drew Skillman, 573
8. Larry Morgan, 570
9. Vincent Nobile, 561
10. Rodger Brogdon, 526
11. Jonathan Gray, 513