by David Vodden
It was the second in a series of West US NHRA National meets that started in Colorado and will move to Pomona this weekend. The winners at Sonoma were Steve Torrence in Top Fuel dragsters, Robert Hight in Top Fuel funny cars, Aaron Stanfield in Pro Stock and Keren Stoffer in Pro Stock motorcycles. The three-day meet appeared to have a good crowd but not a sell-out.
Torrence debuted a new car and won making him the only contender who can “Sweep” the west US swing. He beat Leah Pruett in the final as her soon to be husband, Tony Stewart, watched. It was Torrence’s forty-sixth win in the fast, straight-line dragsters burning nitromethane. His final elapsed time [ET] was 3.77 seconds at a speed of 323 miles per hour. IN funny cars Hight beat Matt Hagan who could have also contended for a sweep having won in Colorado last week. Hight’s ET was 3.97 seconds with the same speed as Torrence of 323 miles per hour. Stanfield had only won a “Wally” one time before he lined up at Sonoma as a competitor in Pro Stock. This was also the case for Dallas Green who he beat in the final match-up with a 6.56 elapsed time going the distance at a top speed of 210 miles per hour. Stoffer was also an underdog especially considering that she was on a Suzuki powered motorcycle and was racing against the legendary Harley rider, Andrew Hines. Suzuki versus Harley Davidson. Wow! Can you say Giant Killer? Her speed down the 1000-foot strip was 201 miles per hour. She covered the distance in 5.68 seconds. She won. Everyone cheered except Andrew Hines.
The NHRA races under the lights at the L A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona starting last night and ending on Sunday afternoon.
NASCAR news has been thin with most of the talking about who will make the CUP playoffs after thirteen of the sixteen slots have been claimed by winners. Denny Hamlin has not won but is in the playoffs based on a huge point count. Oddly enough, he is a mere thirteen points ahead of Kyle Larsen in points for the regular season championship. That champion gets 25 bonus points for the playoffs as well as a guaranteed entry. Most think Larsen will pass Hamlin based on Hamlin’s marginal performance absent a win but I think not. Larsen has a knack for finishing second and has lost ground in recent weeks to Hamlin whose ship is overdue for a docking in victory circle. Stay tuned. The other key dialog has been about Richard Childress having one team member in the playoffs and one team member out with a five-point spread between them. Tyler Reddick is in and Austin Dillon is out. With four races to go starting with Watkins Glenn on the 8th of August there are too many races left to call this one. The potential for another new winner beyond the cutoff point adds to the futility of making such predictions. Again, stay tuned.
Formula One races in Hungary this weekend as a follow-up to the crash and bash-em event where Lewis Hamilton hit Max Verstappen and sent him flying into the wall at Silverstone and out of the race. This has been a hot topic since. Hamilton is now only eight  points behind Verstappen in the F-1 title fight with thirteen races to go. In addition to an entertaining battle for the F-1 drivers title there is a lot more going on in the twenty-car field. It all airs on ESPN on Sunday morning and again later that afternoon.
NASA is at Thunderhill this weekend where you can go watch and see for ten bucks. Be smart and considerate as to all of the COVID protocols and enjoy a day at the track west of town. Eat breakfast and/or lunch and shop until you drop at the gift shop. It beats sitting at home and it is only $10 for adults to get in after all. Gates open at 8am with action on track from 9am to 4pm.
There are jobs available at Thunderhill for active seniors who want extra money and to be among active, real live type A people. Call the track office to find out more. 530-934-5588 x101.