Whiteley reaches quarterfinals in Pomona
POMONA, Calif. - NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Jim Whiteley notched another strong performance to close the season with a quarterfinal finish during this past weekend's Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. Despite being the quickest blown alcohol dragster on the property, Whiteley's best of 5.34 seconds was overshadowed by event winner Bill Reichert's 5.19 in his A/Fuel Dragster combination.
Whiteley, from Grand Junction, Colo., qualified his Norm Grimes tuned "YNot" Racing machine eleventh in the tough field with a 5.378 second pass at 265.06 mph. In round one he defeated Mark Niver with a 5.355 at 267.75 mph. Whiteley squared off with Morgan Lucas' A/Fuel Dragster in round two. Whiteley jumped out to a big lead off the line with a .032 to .085 holeshot, but could not hold off Lucas' 5.280 at 267.69 mph with his own 5.342 at 265.59 mph. The margin of victory was a mere .009 of a second.
"We ran good, but not strong enough," said Whiteley. "It seems like the A/Fuelers really run away with it in the good air. We ran pretty close to the A/Fuelers at a few races in the middle of the year when it was a little warmer. If NHRA is going to continue to run the two types of cars together, I hope they take a look at the rules over the offseason to get the scale a little more even. We were in good company as far as blown cars go in Pomona; it was a strong field, but the difference between our 5.34 and Reichert's 5.19 is a long way at the finish line."
"We're still happy with the year," Whiteley continued. "Our goal was to win the championship, but to bounce back from the crash in Pomona, miss several races, and finish fourth nationally is an honor. We're going to work hard over the winter. We're going to spend a lot of time on the dyno and make a bunch of laps in testing. There won't be much of an offseason at YNot Racing."
After suffering a horrendous crash at the season-opening event in Pomona, Whiteley bounced back to score two national event wins, one divisional event win and three runner ups on the divisional level. He finished fourth in national points and second in Division 7 standings.