No TF repeat winner at 2019 Thunder Valley Nationals with Schumacher sidelined
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Top Fuel Dragster return this weekend to Bristol Dragway for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee. This is race No. 11 of 24 on the NHRA Mell Yello Drag Racing Series from Friday, June 14 to Sunday, June 16, 2019.
Tony Schumacher will not be competing this weekend after winning last year’s event. He defeated Mike Salinas in the final round.
Schumacher — who is sidelined without a major sponsor to compete this weekend — went 3.946 at 313.58 mph for the win. Salinas went 5.251 at 152.18 mph.
“The Sarge” — which was Schumacher’s nickname — lost his sponsorship with the U.S. Army at the conclusion of the 2018 season.
While Schumacher will not be competing, Salinas is back after taking off last weekend. This was the second time he took off, including Atlanta, as he attended to business away from the track.
Capco Contractors pilot Steve Torrence — who has won five straight races — will be on the property, as he goes for his sixth straight win. The last time that Torrence won six straight was in the 2018 Countdown to the Championship, as he swept the entire countdown.
John Force Racing will have their two dragster pilots on the property in Brittany Force and rookie Austin Prock. Don Schumacher Racing will also have their two dragster pilots competing in this race, as well, in Antron Brown and Leah Pritchett.
Kalitta Motorsports will also have their two dragster pilots on the property in Doug Kalitta and Richie Crampton. Full-time competitor Scott Palmer will be back to his normal wrap after using an Evel Kneivel wrap in Topeka, Kansas.
Full-time pilot Terry McMillen will be competing in his Amalie Motor Oil Xtermigator Dragster. Clay Millican, another full-time competitor, will be competing in Bristol — where he won his first career race in 2017 — with a new sponsor. Through an affiliation with Parts Plus, his long-time sponsor, the dragster will also have national education and advocacy program Your Car. Your Data. Your Choice on the dragster.
There will be 16 Top Fuel Dragsters on the property this weekend. All of the dragsters will make the final eliminations on Sunday.
Other Dragsters on the property include Dominick Lagana, Pat Dakin, Cameron Ferré, Lex Joon, and Audrey Worm. This race will be special for Worm, as she is now the driver and owner of her own team — becoming the first driver and owner since Shirley Muldowney.
Kalitta is the active driver with the most wins at the property. He previously won in 2006, 2005, and 2001.
Schumacher is the all-time winner at Bristol Dragway in Top Fuel. He has won six times in 2018, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2004.