Will advances to the semifinals Moves to ninth in points SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) -- For the second time this season, Hillary Will, driver of the KB Racing LLC-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel Dragster, advanced to the...
Will advances to the semifinals
Moves to ninth in points
SONOMA, Calif. (July 30, 2006) -- For the second time this season, Hillary Will, driver of the KB Racing LLC-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel Dragster, advanced to the semifinal this time at the NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in the wine country of Sonoma County.
Against Melanie Troxel in the opening round, Will was away first at the green light and took the win light at the finish line. Will left .056 of a second before Troxel, then cover the Infineon Raceway track in 4.976 seconds. Troxel covered the quarter-mile in 6.637 seconds. In between the start and finish lines, there was tire smoke from both drivers.
Next up for Will was Larry Dixon. In a match up that had point implications for the rookie driver, Will used the tune-up of crew chief Jim Oberhofer to pull away from Dixon on the top end of the track. This moved Will, who is from Fortuna, Calif., about four hours north of Infineon Raceway, into ninth in the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings. The win moved Will into the semifinals against another rookie J. R. Todd.
It was a battle of the two top contenders for the Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award (Rookie of the Year) -- and a battle it was. In a side by side all the way down the entire length of the quarter-mile track, Will came up 49 ten thousandths of a second short at the finish line.
Will tripped the finish line timers in 4.673 seconds at 317.49 mph, just a tick behind Todd, who recorded a time of 4.678 seconds. The difference was the slight advantage (.009 of a second) that Todd gained at the start.
"Heartbreaker is the best way to describe it," said Will following her close loss to J. R. Todd. "We lost by four thousandths. My team gave me a great car all weekend. We had our best run of the day against Todd. That makes it kind of tough but we did make it to the semis.
"I've seen a lot of familiar faces this weekend. A lot of people from home have come by to say hi to me. It's really cool to see everybody. I'm glad we did as well as we did. My team deserves to be in the winner's circle. It's coming."
ESPN2 will air same-day television coverage of eliminations for the 19th annual NHRA FRAM Autolite Nationals from 8 until 11 p.m. (Sunday, July 30). The elimination show repeats early Monday morning (July 31) from 3-4:30 a.m. Television times are Eastern Time (ET) and subject to change at anytime. Check local listings.
With eight races left on the 2006 schedule, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series moves to the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" -- Brainerd International Raceway, in Brainerd Minn., for the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals, which will be contested August 10-13.