National: Chase Copeland Dallas event summary

COPELAND'S HOMETOWN NHRA WALLY WIN A FULL CIRCLE SUCCESS Ennis, Texas - Ryan "Chase" Copeland, the talented sophomore driver of the Snow Racing A/Fuel Dragster captured his first NHRA National Event victory in style during the...

COPELAND'S HOMETOWN NHRA WALLY WIN A FULL CIRCLE SUCCESS

Ennis, Texas - Ryan "Chase" Copeland, the talented sophomore driver of the Snow Racing A/Fuel Dragster captured his first NHRA National Event victory in style during the silver-anniversary running of the O'Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals held at Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas.

Copeland, from Gainesville, Texas entered eliminations after nabbing the number 4 qualified spot in the 14-dragster field. To open up eliminations, Copeland paired up against Marionville, MO driver Scott Palmer, whom Copeland once worked for as a crew member on his Top Fuel team. At the flash of the green, Copeland grabbed a huge starting line advantage and motored to an easy first round win, recording a 5.438 elapsed time in the process, as Palmer had troubles with his A/Fuel Dragster.

In the second round, Copeland raced fellow NHRA Division 4 TAD racer and Port Neches, Texas resident Buddy Domingue. The race was over before it officially began as Domingue triggered the red-light as Copeland guided Gene Snow's A/Fuel Dragster to a 5.459 ET and his second career semi-final appearance, which would be a rematch of the 2009 Topeka NHRA event semi which he lost versus Grand Junction, Colo.'s Jim Whiteley.

"Heading into the semi's we knew we had to step it up a taste to race Whiteley," noted Copeland, who entered this event after another final round showing one week earlier at the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Belle Rose, LA. "The car had been dropping a hole or two at the top end but the initial numbers were pretty strong, so Mr. Gene made a minor adjustment to the fuel and we loaded it up for bear. We were planning for a solid 5.30 run but knew it was either going to blow the tires off at the hit, or put a number on the board like we did at Indy."

The change in tune-ups paid off, as Copeland rocketed to an event and career best low elapsed time of 5.212 seconds at 276.46 miles per hour, while Whiteley stepped up his event best ET as Copeland predicted, recording a 5.332 ET in a losing effort. On the other side of the ladder, Marty Thacker, the winner of this year's US Nationals was awaiting Copeland after he defeated Mark Taliaferro to advance to the money round.

In the final, Copeland sailed to his first career NHRA National event victory in style, backing up his earlier .21 with a solid 5.239 second blast and in the process giving his team owner, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame member and Dallas/Fort Worth area resident Gene Snow, his first NHRA hometown victory.

"This was a story-book kind of weekend for a boy from a small town in Oklahoma," Copeland said. "Racing Scott in the first round whom I worked with, then racing Marty in the finals, who I got my start in drag racing with is very special to me. However, having a lot of my family at this event, and to give Mr. Gene his first hometown NHRA Wally win is huge. I am so happy right now and I can't thank my team enough for the effort they have put forth this entire year. I love this silver 'Wally' and the Cowboy Hat I won today. I am truly blessed."

-source: chase copeland PR

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Series NHRA
Drivers Marty Thacker