Burst panel takes win from Branch ENNIS, Texas - An intake pushrod failure ultimately lead to a final round loss for defending three-time NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Funny Car Champion Tate Branch during this past weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil...
Burst panel takes win from Branch
ENNIS, Texas - An intake pushrod failure ultimately lead to a final round loss for defending three-time NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Funny Car Champion Tate Branch during this past weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at the Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas. Branch, in the Bar's Leaks sponsored Camaro, was well ahead of current points leader Jackie Stidham in the final when the pushrod failure lead to blowing the engines burst panels out down track.
Branch, from Artesia, N.M., who is partners on the car with George & Jane Etterman, qualified No. 1 with a 5.852 second pass at 249.30 mph. In round one, Branch received a bye run when his scheduled opponent Burl Brown could not make the call and ran a 5.846 at 249.86 mph, which was low of the round. In the semifinals, Branch defeated a redlighting Jimmy Jones with a 5.849 at 249.81 mph.
In the final, Branch was on what appeared to be a high 5.70 run, but slowed to a 5.946 at 220.48 mph, which was enough for Stidham to get by.
"It's really a shame that happened, but that's racing," said Branch. "Dave, George and the guys had the car running flawless, but it just wasn't our day in the final. We ran low e.t. of every round. We knocked an intake push rod off and it got the burst panels around 900'."
Despite losing more ground to Stidham, Branch and the team aren't giving up on defending their championship.
"We're going to fight until the end; we won't give in," commented Branch. "We still have to figure out which direction we are going to go in a few weeks, but one thing is for sure, we're going 110%. It's not over yet."
Stay tuned to InsideTopAlcohol.com for the latest news in alcohol racing and Branch-Etterman.com