A Year After Losing in Finals at Bristol, Tasca and Salinas both Claim Wins at NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Funny Car - Bob Tasca - NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

BRISTOL, TN – June 17, 2019 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Bob Tasca III powered to his first Funny Car win in nearly seven years, knocking off John Force in the final round on Sunday at the 19th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Mike Salinas also picked up the victory in Top Fuel at the 11th of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Both Salinas and Tasca advanced to the final round in Bristol a year ago before falling, but it was a different story for each driver in 2019.

Tasca, who last won late in the 2012 season, denied Force his 150th career win, going 4.008-seconds at 316.23 mph in his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang to beat Force’s 4.155 at 287.05 and claim his fifth career win and first in 100 races.

Tasca, who qualified third, beat James Campbell, Robert Hight and back-to-back Bristol winner Ron Capps, who beat Tasca in the final round a year ago, to reach his 13th career final round.

“It was just a hard-fought effort,” said Tasca, who improved to ninth in Funny Car points. “I knew it would be a slugfest against Force, but I love racing John. It was probably one of the biggest wins in my career. We had to build this car from scratch, but the chemistry on this team is good and I’ve never had a race car like this. It’s fast and the guys put me in a position to win. I love racing here. There’s so much history with my family racing in Thunder Valley and I really wanted to win this one. It was just a great day.”

Force knocked off Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr. to reach his 252nd final round, but he will now have to wait until next weekend in Norwalk to try and get his 150th career win.

In Top Fuel, Salinas snapped the five-race winning streak of points leader and defending world champion Steve Torrence thanks to a final-round pass of 3.836 at 325.69 in his Scrappers Racing dragster. Torrence, who had won 22 straight rounds before Sunday’s loss in the finals, went 3.892 at 287.60, slowing at the finish line.

After winning his first career Top Fuel race earlier this year at Las Vegas, Salinas picked up round wins against Scott Palmer, Antron Brown and No. 1 qualifier Doug Kalitta on Sunday en route to his second career win.

“It’s kind of surreal what is happening,” said Salinas, who jumped to third in Top Fuel points. “The guys are amazing, they’re doing a great job and we’re having a lot of fun. You can’t take anybody lightly out here. I have all the confidence in this team and it’s just amazing to be in the seat with these guys. Alan Johnson and the crew, they just know how to do it and it’s just amazing, it really is.”

Torrence, who maintains a commanding points lead, reached his 48th career final round thanks to wins against Pat Dakin, Clay Millican and Dom Lagana.

The Mello Yello Drag Racing series continues at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, June 20-23 at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

BRISTOL, TN — Final finish order (1-16) at the 19th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

TOP FUEL:
1. Mike Salinas; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Doug Kalitta; 4. Dom Lagana; 5. Clay Millican; 6. Lex Joon; 7. Terry McMillen; 8. Antron Brown; 9. Scott Palmer; 10. Audrey Worm; 11. Brittany Force; 12. Cameron Ferre; 13. Austin Prock; 14. Richie Crampton; 15. Pat Dakin; 16. Leah Pritchett.

FUNNY CAR:
1. Bob Tasca III; 2. John Force; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Jack Beckman; 5. Shawn Langdon; 6. Robert Hight; 7. J.R. Todd; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Cruz Pedregon; 11. Terry Haddock; 12. Matt Hagan; 13. Blake Alexander; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Jeff Diehl.

BRISTOL, TN — Sunday’s final results from the 19th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. The race is the 11th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

Top Fuel — Mike Salinas, 3.836 seconds, 325.69 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.892 seconds, 287.60 mph.

Funny Car — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.008, 316.23 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.155, 287.05.

Top Fuel Harley — Tii Tharpe, JTR, 6.426, 218.90 def. Bob Malloy, Buell, 6.469, 193.40.

Pro Modified — Jose Gonzalez, Chevy Camaro, 5.848, 256.06 def. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.914, 238.72.

Super Stock — Joe Santangelo, Chevy Camaro, 10.282, 127.41 def. Ricky Decker, Camaro, 9.985, 133.17.

Stock Eliminator — Monty Bogan, Chevy Camaro, 11.094, 116.06 def. Mike Cotten, Duster, 11.173, 117.56.

Super Comp — Todd Ewing, Dragster, 14.155, 98.66 def. Ray Miller Jr., Dragster, Broke – No Show.

Super Gas — Ray Sawyer, Chevy Camaro, 9.927, 165.60 def. Michelle Furr, Chevy Corvette, 9.929, 153.54.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com — Johnny Brooks, Chevy II, 7.953, 163.79 def. Dylan Stott, Ford Mustang, 6.714, 206.80.

Mountain Motor Pro Stock — Todd Hoerner, Chevy Camaro, 6.425, 219.36 def. Frank Gugliotta, Camaro, 6.998, 156.44.

BRISTOL, TN — Final round-by-round results from the 19th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:

TOP FUEL:

ROUND ONE — Terry McMillen, 4.045, 291.51 def. Richie Crampton, 4.781, 155.99; Clay Millican, 4.331, 251.16 def. Austin Prock, 4.759, 242.76; Mike Salinas, 3.800, 322.11 def. Scott Palmer, 3.902, 319.60; Doug Kalitta, 3.844, 323.27 def. Cameron Ferre, 4.124, 253.99; Lex Joon, 4.536, 205.41 def. Leah Pritchett, 4.972, 162.39; Steve Torrence, 3.798, 324.59 def. Pat Dakin, 4.865, 158.65; Antron Brown, 3.863, 318.24 def. Audrey Worm, 4.082, 279.21; Dom Lagana, 3.820, 321.65 def. Brittany Force, 4.092, 271.79;

QUARTERFINALS — Kalitta, 5.010, 248.02 def. McMillen, 5.103, 147.07; Lagana, 4.072, 292.58 def. Joon, 4.786, 166.44; Salinas, 3.908, 316.97 def. Brown, 6.602, 110.14; Torrence, 3.842, 320.89 def. Millican, 4.720, 167.66;

SEMIFINALS — Salinas, 3.817, 320.20 def. Kalitta, 3.887, 320.66; Torrence, 3.839, 323.97 def. Lagana, 4.037, 277.32;

FINAL — Salinas, 3.836, 325.69 def. Torrence, 3.892, 287.60.

FUNNY CAR:

ROUND ONE — Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.983, 318.47 def. Jim Campbell, Dodge Charger, 5.307, 140.07; John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.998, 321.65 was unopposed; Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.099, 307.93 def. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 6.528, 100.47; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.031, 318.47 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.063, 310.48; J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.048, 311.27 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.217, 291.76; Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.020, 322.19 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 4.077, 298.21; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.005, 314.53 def. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.383, 212.16; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.964, 311.92 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.376, 223.50;

QUARTERFINALS — Tasca III, 4.122, 309.49 def. Hight, 4.337, 303.03; Force, 4.044, 318.32 def. Johnson Jr., 8.529, 88.42; Capps, 4.039, 312.28 def. Langdon, 4.080, 309.27; Beckman, 4.076, 315.64 def. Todd, 4.397, 284.81;

SEMIFINALS — Force, 4.125, 316.38 def. Beckman, 7.532, 97.47; Tasca III, 4.048, 317.87 def. Capps, 4.216, 258.86;

FINAL — Tasca III, 4.008, 316.23 def. Force, 4.155, 287.05.

BRISTOL, TN — Point standings (top 10) following the 19th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the 11th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –

Top Fuel

1. Steve Torrence, 1,048; 2. Doug Kalitta, 709; 3. Mike Salinas, 691; 4. Antron Brown, 676; 5. Brittany Force, 663; 6. Clay Millican, 611; 7. Leah Pritchett, 571; 8. Richie Crampton, 499; 9. Austin Prock, 486; 10. Terry McMillen, 470.

Funny Car

1. Robert Hight, 990; 2. John Force, 786; 3. Tommy Johnson Jr., 783; 4. Ron Capps, 741; 5.Jack Beckman, 720; 6. J.R. Todd, 711; 7. Matt Hagan, 624; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 587; 9. Bob Tasca III, 574; 10. Shawn Langdon, 528.

About NHRA

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, and E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Source: National Hot Rod Association

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