The U.S. Nats-- Milford, Michigan. The Labor Day Weekend Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals has always been highly anticipated by the VIPsports.com team. This year, the team was "up" a little more than usual. Their Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol Funny...
The U.S. Nats--
Milford, Michigan. The Labor Day Weekend Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals has always been highly anticipated by the VIPsports.com team. This year, the team was "up" a little more than usual. Their Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol Funny Car, driven by veteran Danny Townsend, had turned peak performances at the previous weekend's race, so the outlook for Indy was good.
The prestige of the U.S. Nationals was highlighted by the TAFC entrants. Twenty-five cars, the best from all over the country, all shared the common goal of being in the sixteen car field. When the dust from the qualifying battle settled, NHRA had its quickest TAFC field in history, with a 5.740 elapsed time necessary just to be the slowest car. The VIP Stratus, owned by Frank Parker and his ParkerTech Racing Services, helped send nine of the would-be qualifiers home early by locking in the 8th qualifying spot with a 5.656 time and 255.92 speed.
Parker was looking forward to eliminations. "Everything is in place. After a good showing last weekend, and now these mind boggling qualifying results, Danny's happy with the car. We're not going to change anything for the first round." Parker and Townsend had reason to be satisfied. Their qualifying run was the car's best of the season, Parker's crew won the Nats in '03, the VIP team set both time and speed track records in '05 and have enjoyed overall good results at every Indy appearance.
The first elimination round was an even match-up and a fierce race. Brian Hough's Firebird and Townsend's Stratus left simultaneously -- which is a fair description of reaction times only .002 of a second apart. With both cars running straight and hard, the slight mid-track edge Hough was taking from Townsend was difficult to see. The VIP Dodge Stratus managed to trim that lead, but fell just short of winning the closest match of the first round.
Later, in the pits, Parker was still upbeat about the weekend. "We've stayed with the national top ten alcohol funny cars all season. Up, down, but always there. This weekend puts us in tenth. That shows we're competitive, consistent and persistent. Even with the short end of the season left, we have a good probability of keeping Danny and the VIPsports.com name in the top ten. We're moving on to Columbus with winning as our only thought."
ESPN2 will broadcast the U.S. Nationals Sportsman competition on Sunday, September 10, 1 pm to 2 pm and again on Thursday, September 14, 1 am to 2 am. Times are all eastern.
The VIPsports.com Dodge Stratus will next fire its Mopar Hemi engine at the September 22-24 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at National Trail Raceway, Columbus, Ohio.