Humphreys Prepared to Bounce Back at Bristol, Drive in Special NHRA Oval Track Challenge It's a long way from May to September when the subject is qualifying for NHRA 's Countdown to the Championship. Only the top 10 drivers will be title...
Humphreys Prepared to Bounce Back at Bristol, Drive in Special NHRA Oval Track Challenge
It's a long way from May to September when the subject is qualifying for NHRA 's Countdown to the Championship.
Only the top 10 drivers will be title hopefuls after the POWERade Series' first 18 races, so the scramble for positions is far from finished. This weekend's Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway is No. 8 and it's an important one for sophomore Pro Stock driver Justin Humphreys.
He is on the bump spot in 10th with 286 points. Humphreys has been in the top 10 since the season opener and maintained his place among the leaders despite an off-weekend at St. Louis (May 4). He couldn't get the RaceRedi Motorsports Pontiac GXP to make a run without spinning the tires and it cost him a place in the starting lineup.
Now Humphreys, new crew chief Frank Gugliotta and engine builder Richard Maskin plan to hunker down and get back to winning elimination rounds. Gugliotta, a Humphreys' family friend and IHRA Pro Stock competitor, stepped in when veteran Bob Glidden retired. The Pontiac picked up the pace at Atlanta before encountering traction trouble the next weekend.
"We were all disappointed about not qualifying at St. Louis," said Humphreys, "but Frank has been working on the chassis since then, changing a bunch of things, and Richard and his engine guys have been working hard to find more power.
"We're looking forward to going to Bristol so we can get right back at it. We need to get in the show and go rounds on Sunday."
Going rounds at every race between now and Labor Day is vital if Humphreys is to move into the elite 10-man lineup. That's the date of the U.S. Nationals, the 18th and deciding race for would-be championship contenders. The top 10 will battle for the title in the season's final six events.
Humphreys trails ninth-place Greg Stanfield by 22 points and No. 8 Warren Johnson by 41. Each round win is worth 20 points.
Humphreys Will Go Around and Around, Too
It's called the NHRA Circle Track Challenge and Humphreys will be part of it Saturday night after qualifying when some of drag racing's intrepid straight-line drivers will compete on Bristol Motor Speedway's famed half-mile oval.
This will be something new for Humphreys, who has never raced in circles. "I 've done road racing and stuff like that, but this will be a first. We'll see how it goes."