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Dave Richards, Versatran/BlueBird Team Full of Determination Heading into NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals

Dave Richards and the Versatran/BlueBird Funny Car team are more motivated than ever as they head into the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, the eighth of 20 events on the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series schedule.

Racing a full-time schedule for the first time, Richards and his team are learning on the fly. They’ve qualified for seven of the eight events so far and picked up their first round win of the season at the Charlotte Four-Wide event. At the most recent race, the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H., the Versatran/BlueBird machine had some gremlins early in the weekend that had the team qualified only 14th setting them up for a first-round loss to Bob Tasca III.  

“We keep plucking away at it. The team is working hard, there’s no denying that. We’re getting a flow. We’ve run into some issues, some setbacks, but this Versatran/BlueBird team has managed to get past them all,” Richards said. “Each weekend is a chance for us to get better and we take advantage of each opportunity. After last weekend, we’re all happy to get right back to it.”

Richards has previously raced at Bristol Dragway on three different occasions. His first appearance at Thunder Valley was in 2016 where her qualified No. 12. He improved in 2021, qualifying No. 8 and most recently in 2023 he secured the No. 15 qualifying spot. Richards will be racing for his first win light at the famed facility.

“We’re looking forward to Bristol, Thunder Valley. It’s one of the more unique tracks, being wedged in a valley between two mountains, it’s a really cool place. It’s one of my favorite tracks,” Richards said. “I’m definitely looking forward to getting back in the car for that first qualifying session. I’m determined to get better. I want this. I know good things are coming.”

Competition at the Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals begins with four rounds of qualifying Friday at 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 1:30 and 4:15 p.m. Eliminations are slated for noon on Sunday. Television coverage of the event will be on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with qualifying shows Friday at 7 p.m. ET and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Eliminations will air Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.

This story was originally published on June 5, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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