The VIPsports.com TAFC Wins In Bradenton-- Milford, Michigan. In its second appearance of the 2006 season, the VIPsports.com Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol Funny Car took on two of the best contenders in class and came out on top. The March 26 NHRA...
The VIPsports.com TAFC Wins In Bradenton--
Milford, Michigan. In its second appearance of the 2006 season, the VIPsports.com Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol Funny Car took on two of the best contenders in class and came out on top. The March 26 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, at Florida's Bradenton Motorsports Park, hosted several teams from the previous weekend's NHRA Gatornationals.
The Mopar Hemi-powered Dodge Stratus qualified in the number two spot, with a 5.695 elapsed time at 253.87 mph -- both significant improvements over the weekend before. The number one qualifier was Jay Payne, the Southeast Division TAFC Champion. Bob Newberry, the defending TAFC National Champion, filled the third spot. VIPsports.com's driver, Danny Townsend, holder of several Division Championships, was looking forward to eliminations. "We've won and lost races with both Payne and Newberry," he said. "We know we have the capability to win against them, we just have to figure out the track."
Although the track proved difficult, all weekend, Frank Parker's VIPsports.com crew figured it out enough to knock off William Fulford's Corvette in the first round. Townsend's 5.844, at 248.61, overwhelmed Fulford's 6.602, 248.61 run. Racing luck then graced VIPsports.com, as the team drew a second round single pass, while Newberry had to contend with Payne. The track was still a factor, as Frank and Dan Parker, crew chiefs for the VIPsports.com car, both reported reading the VIP logo -- on the side of the car -- as it danced from guard wall to centerline and back during its 248.18 mph solo at a 5.79 with a 9.
The final round matched the VIPsports.com car against Bob Newberry, who advanced when Payne fouled out in the semis. The Parkers and Newberry had to make tough decisions on how much clutch and fuel to put in the cars for the final run. Townsend had a slight advantage, at the light, but Newberry pushed hard to catch up. Then, just when the defending champ's Monte Carlo started to threaten the Dodge, tire shake forced Newberry to pedal the throttle for a moment. That shifted the advantage back to Townsend and he made full use of it for the win light. Newberry's 256.04 topped Townsend's 252.52, but Townsend's 5.692 trumped the champ's 5.825.
The VIPsports.com crew was ecstatic to be in the Winner's Circle again. Frank Parker, team owner, was shy about being photographed. "I just make decisions," he said. "My crew does all the work. They're good enough that I don't have to watch over them -- they deserve to be with Danny in the photos." With praise like that, and one in the win column, brothers Brad and Jeff Eldred, Dan Parker, Tom Krebaum and Tom McVey were all smiles as they loaded the car and headed out.