Erbacher becomes first Euro Top Fuel driver in 30 years to score NHRA round win HOUSTON (March 30) -- Reigning FIA Top Fuel champion Urs Erbacher of Switzerland became the first Top Fuel driver in three decades to record an elimination-round ...
Erbacher becomes first Euro Top Fuel driver in 30 years to score NHRA round win
HOUSTON (March 30) -- Reigning FIA Top Fuel champion Urs Erbacher of Switzerland became the first Top Fuel driver in three decades to record an elimination-round victory at a National Hot Rod Association event Sunday at Houston Raceway Park.
Erbacher upset top qualifier Alan Bradshaw in the opening session of the 21st annual O'Reilly Spring NHRA Nationals when Bradshaw fouled out at the starting line. The last European driver to record an elimination-round win in NHRA competition was England's Clive Skelton in 1978.
"We came over here to test and prepare for the defense of our FIA title," Erbacher said, "but I think we're proving a little more now. The car is still in need of more work and testing but we are very pleased to get this round win today and to show our friends in Texas some good European-style drag racing.
"This crew has worked very hard for me. Besides our crew chief Wayne Dupuy and his assistant Jeff Twitchell, who are from America, the crew is all Swiss, German, English, and Italian. They are very dedicated and I'm pleased we can celebrate this day."
Erbacher was flying the colors of Century Asphalt at this event. The locally-based company is owned and operated by the Angel Brothers, who also run Houston Raceway Park.
"We've had a great time with this team," said track general manager and partner Seth Angel. "Urs Erbacher is a very engaging guy and our customers and guests have really enjoyed his hospitality. It was neat to see him win a round and be a little part of drag racing history."
Erbacher had a spirited run against Doug Kalitta in the quarterfinals but Kalitta pulled away at the top end to win with a 4.635 at 311.13 mph to Erbacher's 4.785 at 309.70 mph.
"There are many multi-million dollar teams that were not qualified to race today so the fact we even made the show at this level of competition was good," Erbacher said. "The round win was a bonus and now we will go to Las Vegas and try to win the entire event."