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Racing News: Pritchett, Capps and Butner Pick Up Victories at the 2017 NHRA SpringNationals

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Pritchett, Capps and Butner Pick Up Victories at the 2017 NHRA SpringNationals

Leah Pritchett piloted her Papa John’s dragster to the Top Fuel victory last Sunday at the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway. Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the fifth event of 24 on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. Pritchett raced a 3.781-second pass at 321.96 mph to defeat Steve Torrence who ran a 3.787 at 322.11 in his Capco Contractors dragster. This is Pritchett’s fourth career victory and third of the season. Defending Funny Car champion Ron Capps claimed his first victory of the season when he outran Robert Hight with a 4.004 pass at 284.33 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. Butner obtained the first Pro Stock win of his career when he raced his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro to a 6.550 pass at 212.26 to defeat No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin Jr. The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 28-30, at zMax Dragway.

Andrie Hartanto won a close fight in the Touring Car class at the United States Touring Car Championship race weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on April 16, 2017. Photo credit: Reza Arsham

Hartanto Wins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Andrie Hartanto won a close April 16 fight in the Touring Car class at the United States Touring Car Championship race weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Hartanto, driving the Supertech/Rota Wheels Honda S2000 started on pole but fell to second for most of the race, but he kept the pressure on the leader, Michael Shawhan, driving the BTM Motorwerks BMW 330i. Shawhan tried everything he could to keep Hartanto behind him but with two laps to go, Hartanto made his move and took over the lead in the class. In the Sportsman class, Thomas Pitre became the youngest USTCC race winner at the age of 21. Pitre was followed by Victor Ng in his Red Star Racing Honda S2000 and Tom Milburn in the Bay Area Drafting Acura RSX. Carl Rydquist won the GT class in the Champion/TelTac Factory Five GTM with last year’s champion Daniel Akhromtsev in the Red Star Racing BMW M3 close behind. Sam Stowell’s BAF Auto Body/Sterling Foam/Oakland Color Jaguar XKRS had a great third-place debut. George Kibilov easily won the Super Touring class in the SGK Home Solutions BMW M3 with Larry Bani in the BMW M3 in second. Kibilov’s win gave the Speed SF team the win in the Cobra Top Team championship with help from Patrick Chio.

Impact Safety Systems Introduces Racer Protection Initiatives 

Impact Safety Systems (ISS), an established U.S. barrier manufacturer, hired an outside firm to research and aggregate the available race-track crash data into one consolidated resource to benefit race tracks and drivers. The project took nine months to arrive at a barrier comparison that provides as comprehensive and unbiased an overview as possible. The comparison acknowledges that one solution can’t fit all tracks; certain barricades, or a combination thereof, may work better for some tracks than for others. The comparison was summarized in a one-page chart. ISS has also produced a new six-minute video designed to demonstrate exactly how its barriers work.

Angie Smith
Angie Smith

DENSO Sponsors NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Racer Angie Smith

DENSO Products and Services Americas has partnered with Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Angie Smith as her lead sponsor for four weekend contests of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The first event, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, takes place April 28–30 at Smith’s hometown racetrack, zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. A member of the Matt Smith Racing Team, she is within three points of breaking into the top 10 rankings for a shot at the championship. In addition to the North Carolina race, DENSO will be Smith’s lead sponsor at the July 28–30 Toyota Sonoma Nationals in California, the September 29–October 1 AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals in Illinois, and the October 26–29 Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas.

Wilwood Disc Brakes Returns as Contingency Sponsor with USAC Racing

Wilwood is returning as a contingency sponsor with the United States Auto Club (USAC), one of the oldest series and sanctioning bodies in the United States. As a contingency sponsor, Wilwood will provide a $50 product certificate to the 13th-place feature finisher at every Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series and National Midget Series race throughout the 2017 season.