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World Doorslammer Nationals Pit Report: Pro Stock

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Welcome to the Inaugural Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals

Pro Stock racers have finished qualifying at the inaugural Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing. The event, which pays $75,000 to the winner in Pro Stock, started with the first qualifying session at 6 p.m. on Friday, continued with three sessions on Saturday and goes into eliminations at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Stay tuned to the Pro Stock Pit Report for driver features, updates and results from the Pro Stock portion of the World Doorslammer Nationals.

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HARTFORD SETS PACE WITH RECORD-BREAKING RUN TO CLOSE QUALIFYING: In a matter of 6.460 seconds on Saturday at Orlando Speed World Dragway, Matt Hartford’s 2020 Pro Stock season took a major step forward and gave him a spot in the Pro Stock records books in the process.

During the final qualifying session of the inaugural Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing, Hartford and Aaron Stanfield thrilled the crowd with a pair of 6.46s in the quickest side-by-side run of the electronic fuel injection (EFI) era in Pro Stock. But it was Hartford who claimed the top spot in his Total Seal Camaro, powering to an incredible 6.460 at 211.89 mph, giving him the No. 1 qualifier, the quickest run in the EFI era of Pro Stock – and the third-quickest run ever in Pro Stock, behind only Jason Line’s 6.455 and Greg Anderson’s 6.457 with carburetors in 2015.

“The neat thing about it is it’s the third-quickest run in NHRA history out of a 500-inch car,” Hartford said. “That means a lot to us. I knew it was a good run. Sitting in the lanes, I could feel the temperature drop. I came back and grabbed the laptop, and made some changes before the run just feeling how quick it was turning. I was ecstatic. To put the Total Seal Camaro in the No. 1 position in qualifying, it’s a dream come true.”

It was a surreal final session to close out two spectacular days of qualifying in Orlando, setting the stage for eliminations on Sunday where $75,000 will go to the winner in the largest single-race payout in Pro Stock history.

In front of a huge crowd on Saturday, Hartford delivered the biggest run of all, putting him in prime position to win the payout against all the heavy-hitters in Pro Stock. Stanfield’s career-best 6.467 at 212.43 in his Janac Brothers Racing Camaro was second best, while his Elite Motorsports teammate, defending Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders, was a spot behind with a blistering 6.468 at 213.64 in her Melling Performance/O.PenVAPE/Elite Motorsports Camaro.

Greg Anderson, who made the quickest run the night prior, was fourth thanks to a strong 6.470 at 213.37 in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro, while Deric Kramer rounded out the top five with a 6.472 at 212.16 in his American Ethanol Camaro.

Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, with first-round matchups being determined by a drawing at 10:30 a.m.

Hartford will get first pick after his gargantuan run, turning around a season that had been a struggle through the first two NHRA races of the season.

The veteran made a swift improvement on Saturday, going 6.482 at 212.39 to open the day. He added to that to end the memorable day, putting him in a terrific spot for eliminations. But Hartford knows he’ll have to stay on that level if he wants to head home with $75,000.

“We’re gunning for that $75,000 tomorrow,” Hartford said. “You’ve got the best of best out here, and there’s nobody backing down. You better be on your game, you better get your left foot off the clutch on time, and you better not miss your shift points. The team that makes the least amount of mistakes will win tomorrow.”

Stanfield was just as elated after a side-by-side pass he’ll remember for a long time. It brought the crowd to their feet, while Stanfield was sure to celebrate on the top end after hearing the numbers from crew chief Brian “Lump” Self.

“I never thought we would be running this fast,” Stanfield said. “Lump has done an unbelievable job on this car and I’m just very happy right now. It’s not just this race, but in Pomona and Phoenix we’ve shown some really good potential. Everything is really starting to come together for this team. These guys are very serious and they work really hard, and I’m finding my place in the driver’s seat.”

Stanfield has been steady since joining Elite Motorsports last year, making continual improvements as his team gelled.

This weekend was another example of that, as Stanfield went 6.499 to open qualifying on Friday. He improved to 6.483 at 211.10 to start qualifying today, adding another spectacular run to close out the day. It’s given the team more than enough evidence that they can win on Sunday.

“The guys have found some power and Lump has just been great at figuring out the car,” Stanfield said. “That was very, very cool. All my guys were excited. Everybody that has had anything to do with this event has done an unbelievable job. This is something we need more of. I think it helps attract more people to the class.”

Enders also praised the event that has drawn rave reviews at every turn. She reveled in the electric atmosphere, delivering two of the quickest runs of the event, also blasting to an event-best speed of 214.18 in the third qualifying session.

After transmission issues forced her to not make a pass during the second qualifier, Enders and her team came together for the last two runs of the day, sending her into Sunday on a positive note. She was also quick to praise her Elite Motorsports teammates, including Stanfield, rookie Marty Robertson, who made a career-best pass of 6.513 at 211.46 and Troy Coughlin Jr., who went an impressive 6.481 at 212.26 in his Pro Stock debut.

“That last run was honestly pretty conservative, but it gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow,” Enders said. “All of the Elite cars have been great. It’s been really cool to watch all the new drivers – Troy Jr., Marty, Aaron – and they’ve done an awesome job. You couldn’t have asked for a better day. It’s been cool to see all the people who worked on this, see their hard work come to fruition. It was unbelievable today.”

Enders also promises to be locked in for eliminations. With more excellent conditions slated for Sunday in Orlando, Enders knows it will take something big to come away with $75,000.

“I definitely think you’re going to have to come out swinging,” Enders said. “You can’t lay back at all.”

KRAMER FINDS GROOVE IN ORLANDO: Deric Kramer didn’t go to Florida this weekend for vacation, but it’s been a get-right weekend for the Pro Stock standout.

After struggling mightily the first two races of the year, Kramer looked to make massive changes during the Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing. It couldn’t have gone better through three qualifying rounds, as Kramer put together back-to-back 6.40s on Saturday, including a massive 6.481 at 212.66 in his American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro.

It put Kramer fourth heading into final qualifying, curing a lot of what had ailed him early this season.

“Truth be told, we haven’t done well,” Kramer said. “We looked at this as a chance to get paid to go test. We need to test, we need to get the car right. We thought we had a handle on it, but the car is not responding to what we want. Hopefully we can get the car running back into the car that qualified No. 2 in Pomona this weekend.”

Kramer backed that up with a 6.493 at 213 in the third session, putting him on a good path for the race, which will award the winner $75,000 on Sunday. He’s one of 18 participants at the inaugural event and Kramer has definitely enjoyed the headliner status the Pro Stock and Pro Mod stars have received.

“It’s definitely a switch. Instead of the second-tier, the people are here to watch us, which is pretty cool,” Kramer said.

Kramer has held up his end of the bargain, too, running well all weekend. It started with a solid pass of 6.520 on Friday night to open qualifying, followed by the two massive blasts on Saturday. If nothing else, it can ease Kramer’s mind knowing his car is back to running well and consistently, much like it did most of last season.

That’s put him in a good spot heading into Sunday’s eliminations, where Kramer is thrilled to go after the huge payout. He knows he’ll have to be close to perfect to get it, but Kramer has thrived with those challenges in recent seasons. Doing so on Sunday would mark one of the greatest moments in his Pro Stock career, also putting him on a good pace heading into the rest of the 2020 season.

“No matter what we did last year, the car would still go down the track unless we really missed something. This year, with very minor changes the car doesn’t want to go anywhere. We definitely want to figure out why. On Sunday, you have to be as close to perfect as you can be every time you get in the car,” Kramer said.

 

KID CHAOS MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPRESSION: Kyle Koretsky came to Orlando just looking to get his Pro Stock license.

It has quickly turned into much more than that, as “Kid Chaos” has impressed right off the bat at this weekend’s Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing.

Koretsky made the required runs in testing to earn his NHRA Pro Stock license, but things have improved at a stratospheric rate.

He was the first car to run during the opening round of qualifying on Friday, going 6.513-seconds at 209.92 mph to set a killer tone for the weekend. With his dad, Kenny, on the starting line, Koretsky turned it up again on Saturday, going 6.494 at 212.39 in his KB Racing-powered Nitro Fish Camaro. It’s all happened quickly, but the newcomer is enjoying every minute of it.

“We came here, pretty much, just looking to make the six runs required by NHRA and get my license, and Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Dave Connolly, and everybody here at KB Racing put me in the right direction right off the bat,” Koretsky said. “They’re helping me kick the bad habits and learn to drive like they drive. I feel like this is a real good start, not just to the weekend, but to my career.”

Dipping into the 6.40s was impressive, but it also made Koretsky an instant contender for the $75,000 prize that will be awarded on Sunday. It put Koretsky in the top half of the field, as nine cars have reached the 6.40s through two qualifying sessions in Orlando.

But Koretsky pointed to the first qualifying session as the pivotal point of the weekend thus far. It was a solo session to kick off official racing, but the second-generation racer looked cool, calm and collected as he zipped down the track with a head-turning run.

“I definitely felt a little bit of pressure [for Q1] being the first car down the track in my first official race,” Koretsky said. “But I had all the confidence in the car and the team behind me. They’ve been wrenching on this thing all week. After we made that run [6.513, 209.92], the guys came down to the top end smiling. We sat No. 1 for a little bit, and that was a cool, cool feeling.”

Greg Anderson, his KB Racing teammate, shot past him with a massive blast of 6.474 at 213.03 later in the session, but Koretsky is firmly in the top half of what is shaping up to be a spectacular weekend.

He’ll get two more chances on Saturday to keep lowering his career-best, but Koretsky has also thinking big for Sunday. The weekend has been nothing but a huge shot of confidence, and the 30-year-old rookie is ready to throw down against all the top stars when eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, especially with a $75,000 payday on the line.

“I achieved my goal of getting my license, but I’m not ready to go home,” Koretsky said. “We’re having a great time. I’m really enjoying it, and every run, I’m learning something different. I experienced my first tire-shake – that was cool but not cool – and I had another little error the next run, but we’re getting there. Every run, I get more confident in myself. They keep telling me to keep it up, keep doing what I’m doing, and I’ll be fine.”

NOBILE WELCOMES CHANCE TO GET BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL: Vincent Nobile has been a fixture at the race track since he’s been in diapers, which is why last year was so difficult for the talented driver.

At least for two weekends, Nobile will get the Pro Stock fix he’s been missing.

After the team was parked following the 2018 season, Nobile and his father stepped away from the class, and it was undoubtedly a difficult decision for the 13-time Pro Stock winner.

While a full-time return may not be in the cards at the moment, Nobile is back behind the wheel of a Pro Stock car this weekend, driving an Elite Motorsports Camaro during this weekend’s Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing at Orlando Speed World Dragway.

He’ll follow that by driving the car at next week’s NHRA Gatornationals, giving Nobile a chance to be back where most feel he belongs. Unsurprisingly, Nobile was full of excitement following a trio of test runs on Friday.

“It felt good to be back in the car,” Nobile said. “That’s something you just can’t explain. I definitely missed it and it definitely feels good to be back out here. I can say I certainly miss it. There’s times I really get bummed out about it.

“Like I tell anybody – and I’ve never done any sort of drugs in my life – this has to be worse than drugs. You can’t get it out of your system. It’s just one of those things that becomes an addiction.”

After ironing out some issues on the first run, Nobile had a pair of passes in the 6.50s heading into the first round of qualifying on Friday.

Nobile also looked like he hadn’t missed a beat, showing the driving prowess that made him one of the top drivers in the class.

“I felt pretty comfortable. They say it’s like riding a bike and I’ve got quite a few runs under my belt,” Nobile said. “Naturally, you have some nerves, but I felt really comfortable in the car and it went right down the track. It’s going well so far. I’m out here having a good time and I get to make a few laps. I’m just happy to be out here, to be completely honest. It feels right, like where I’m supposed to be.”

Nobile is as natural of a talent as anyone in the class, but when funding went away, he was forced to step away from the sport.

He worked with Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman to put together a deal for this weekend and Gainesville, but Nobile isn’t seeking out full-season sponsorships.

He also wasn’t about to rule anything out following these two races.

“Will it turn into more? Who knows. We’ll see,” Nobile said.

Nobile wasn’t actively seeking a sponsor, noting that part of racing was a full-time job in itself. Running a number of businesses with his father wouldn’t allow that to happen, but there was no denying Nobile has missed being behind the wheel. That’s what happens when you race for eight seasons and enjoy considerable success – it becomes a way of life.

“We’ve got three businesses back home, so being away 24 weekends out of the year, it was tough,” Nobile said. “We made it happen because it’s what we love to do.”

The thrill on Nobile’s face in the pits was obvious on Friday in Orlando. He treasured the time with his father, making considerable improvements over the course of one afternoon.

The team will look to make more strides off the starting line, but Nobile isn’t entering the weekend with any grand expectations. Just being here is more than enough. Winning the $75,000 would simply be icing on the cake, making this a pressure-free weekend.

The only downside?

“This was probably a bad idea to come out for these two weekends,” Nobile said. “I’ll be going through withdrawals real bad now.”

The first round of qualifying at the Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by three rounds at 12, 3 and 6 p.m. on Saturday. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, and all action will be broadcast live at SpeedVideo.com.

Anderson Leads Friday Qualifying with EFI-Record 6.471

It didn’t take long for Greg Anderson to leave an impression at the Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing.

The four-time Pro Stock world champion rocketed to the provisional No. 1 qualifier spot on Friday at Orlando Speed World Dragway, making the quickest run in the history of electronic fuel injection (EFI) Pro Stock with a monumental blast of 6.474-seconds at 213.03 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro.

After one day, Anderson’s 6.474 puts him in a good spot as he tries to claim the $75,000 prize, which the largest single-race payout in Pro Stock history.

“It felt really nice in low gear and just floated the front end out there,” Anderson said. “This has been a fun race. You can concentrate on your race car and make the changes you want to make. It’s been great so far and I’m looking forward to (Saturday). It’s going to be a really fun deal. The car should and could run better tomorrow, so that’s fun. I love fast racing and I love quick E.T.s and big speeds.”

After major struggles to open the NHRA season, Anderson and his talented team were determined to get things turned around in Orlando. The team tested extensively this week, and found their rhythm in a major way on Friday night. With ideal conditions likely again on Saturday, Anderson hopes to lower the boom even further.

“It was a good start and we needed it,” Anderson said. “My red Summit Chevy was not happy the first two races. It could not get ahold of the track in Pomona or Phoenix. We made some wholesale changes and it looks like we made some right decisions because it was a completely different feeling race car. It’s fun to drive right now. We definitely gained ground where we have a chance to win again. We’ve learned a lot, so we’ll keep moving forward.”

Defending Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders qualified second with a 6.478 at 212.59 in her Melling Performance/O.PenVAPE/Elite Motorsports Camaro, while teammate Alex Laughlin followed in third with a 6.489 at 211.89 in his Havoline Camaro.

Enders, who won the most recent race in Phoenix, continued her torrid start, making the fourth quickest run in the EFI era.

“It was a great start to what’s already been a really fun weekend,” Enders said. “We’ve got a great car, our guys are working hard and it’s just been really good. It’s been such a fun environment and I’m proud to be part of it. It’s been quite the spectacle and (Saturday) should be fun.”

Laughlin, whose run put him in the top 10 of the EFI era, also netted $1,000 after beating Bo Butner in their head-to-head matchup during qualifying. It was a nice bonus for Laughlin on what he hopes is a big weekend.

“That was awesome,” Laughlin said. “The best part of it was Bo (Butner) wanted to grudge race for $1,000 and we agreed to it, even if we hadn’t made a great run yet (in testing). I was pumped we made a good run.”

Aaron Stanfield added the fourth run in the 6.40s on Friday, going 6.497 at 211.

 

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