Whisnant falls to Coughlin in Seattle final. KENT, Wash. -- Mark Whisnant entered eliminations at the 15th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Seattle, Wash., as the number 1 qualifier for today's event. In Round 1 Whisnant met Mike Edwards.
Whisnant falls to Coughlin in Seattle final.
KENT, Wash. -- Mark Whisnant entered eliminations at the 15th Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Seattle, Wash., as the number 1 qualifier for today's event.
In Round 1 Whisnant met Mike Edwards. Edwards took the advantage at the starting line with a .427 of a second light, but mechanical breakage stopped him in his tracks, handing the win to Whisnant. Whisnant ran a 6.853 / 200.95 mph to Edwards 35.578 / 89.40 mph.
Seattle is a town known for rain and today Seattle lived up to its reputation. With two pair of Pro Stock cars left to race in the first round a light mist started to fall halting eliminations. The mist turned into drizzle, which escalated into rain forcing the NHRA to shelving Sunday's race until Monday morning.
Monday morning Whisnant met Larry Nance in Round 2. Whisnant had the advantage at the starting line with a .459 of a second light, and held on all the way to the top end to defeat Nance. Whisnant ran a 6.859 / 201.52 mph to Nance's 6.852 / 200.47 mph.
In the Semi-finals Whisnant was matched against Ron Krisher. Krisher had a faster ET in the previous round, taking lane choice from Whisnant. Whisnant knew he would need a quicker reaction time than Krisher if he was to advance to the final round. He answered the call when the light went green. Whisnant took a huge advantage at the starting line when he cut a .445 light. He held on to that advantage all the way to the finish line to take the victory and advance to his second Pro Stock final round appearance of the 2002 season.
Whisnant ran a 6.871 / 201.73 mph to Krisher's quicker, but loosing, 6.838 / 201.64 mph.
For the second time this year, Whisnant meet a Coughlin in the Final Round. Last time it was Troy Coughlin in Topeka; this time he squared off against Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
As the two cars pulled up to the starting line, the starting tree malfunctioned. Whisnant was already pre-staged when the starting lights malfunctioned, causing the red light to come on in Whisnant's lane. NHRA Chief Starter Rick Stewart decided that due to the system malfunction that he would let Whisnant and Coughlin rerun the race.
After returning to the pits to cool their motors, and refuel their vehicles, both competitors returned to the starting line to finish the race. This time the tree would not malfunction. When the drivers received the green light to go, Coughlin took the advantage at the starting line, and held on to take the win. Coughlin ran a 6.864 / 200.14 mph to defeat Whisnant with a 9.309 / 96.20 mph.
"I would be lying if I said I was not a little disappointed," said Whisnant. "I wanted to win this race, but there will be others, and it will be our turn next time.
"This is the second time we have been to the finals this year. I know that the way this car is running we will see more finals before the season is over. It is a shame that the tree malfunctioned, but those things happen.
"My team should be congratulated for the great racecar they gave me to drive this weekend. We sat on the pole, and went to the finals; that is a real accomplishment in this class. I would have like to have won this race for them, so they could get the recognition that they deserve.
"The way we are running we will get to more finals, but next time we are going to give it our all to make the outcome different."
The next race on the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing series will be the 15th Annual Fram -- Autolite NHRA Nationals Aug. 2-4 in Sonoma, Calif.