Going into the 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Top Fuel veteran Doug Foley was determined to make a positive first impression for new sponsor Alloy Employer Services. With a string of consistent passes, including a weekend-best performance in the first round of eliminations, Foley believes the Foley Lewis Racing team accomplished its goals at the biggest race of the NHRA Camping World Series season.
“The goal is to be a 3.70s player,” said Doug Foley, driver and co-owner, Foley Lewis Racing. “We saw some extreme temperatures as far as track temperatures and ambient temperatures, so maybe shooting for the high 3.70s was a little out of the park, but running low 3.80s in the heat like that was great for us. I’m proud of the guys for doing that, and to finish it off with a mid-3.70s run in better air [on Monday] shows that we’re more prepared for Maple Grove, where it’s going to live in the 3.70s. As the weather gets better, we’ll be able to creep those numbers into the mid-to-low 3.70s.”
Foley in the Alloy Employer Services Top Fuel dragster started qualifying with a 3.803-second pass at 316.75 MPH in the Friday night session to put him No. 11 on the qualifying order. Like many other teams, Foley ran into traction issues in the heat in Q2 on Saturday, but came back later in the day with a 3.814 at 308.21. On Sunday, Foley’s consistent 3.817 at 308.35 was the sixth-quickest pass of the fourth session. He was on another strong pass in the fifth and final qualifying session before smoking the tires down track. Foley ended up No. 14 on the final qualifying order, setting up a first-round match with points leader Justin Ashley.
“We were really good in the heat,” Foley said. “Out of the six runs we made, four of them had .840 60-foot times, even in the heat. We just had to run better in that first session on Friday to avoid such a tough draw on race day.”
Monday morning’s first round of eliminations saw Foley and the Lance Larsen-led team racing in the best conditions they faced all weekend. Ashley left the line first, but Foley was quicker to the 60-foot and 330-foot markers. Foley recorded a 3.763 at 317.87, but Ashley reached the finish line first with a 3.719.
“We knew it was going to take a big run to take out Justin,” Foley said. “All we could do at that point was go out there, give it our best shot, and hope that they screwed up. They didn’t. They’re a good team – probably the best driver out there right now. That’s tough to beat. We just need to be a little bit more consistent in the 3.70s, but we felt like it was a good weekend.”
Throughout the weekend, Foley Lewis Racing hosted the Alloy Employer Services team and guests, including CEO JR Pine and CMO Chris Estey. Based in Columbus, Ohio, Alloy provides worker’s comp, risk management, and employee benefits solutions to clients in a wide range of industries. The company is a proud sponsor of Josh Williams in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The 2023 NHRA U.S. Nationals was their debut in Top Fuel drag racing.
“It was definitely different because most people that we invite in have an idea of what to expect. With them coming from the NASCAR world, they really had no idea what to expect,” Foley said. “The whole team prepared the best we could to show them what we as a team, and NHRA drag racing in general, has to offer. Everybody really stepped up their game to give them a great experience. From the pit-side hospitality to getting to interact with the fans in the pits and meeting some of the team owners and drivers, I think they were blown away by the opportunities that exist. We all really enjoyed getting to spend time with JR and Chris and their whole group, and we’re looking forward to doing that more in the future.”
The next race for Foley Lewis Racing is the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Sept. 14-17, at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa.