Mid-Summer Recap and Prognostication for the Rest of the Year

It is the middle of summer, we are starting down the home stretch of the season, and I felt it would be a wonderful chance to take a moment and look back at the season in nostalgia drag racing.

I have the perfect vantage point for which to do this as I am sitting on the deck of my in-laws’ house in the mountains of Montana, the sun is just starting to come up and it’s me, a hot cup of cappuccino, and the deer in the field below the house -- an interesting duality, don’t you think.   

I think that nostalgia racing has taken a positive turn over the past year, with the IHRA’s elevation of not only the amount of races run, but the payout to the racers. That has really raised the bar of the nostalgia game.

Speaking of the “I”, three-time NHRA Funny Car Champion Jason Rupert has pretty much turned Scott Gardner’s series into his playground.  Rupert has a sizable point lead over second place Mark Sanders. Mark McIntire is in third place.

Rupert and his crew clinched the title just by qualifying at the rained-out Pittsburgh event and won the inaugural 50,000 dollars of the 100,000-dollar point fund.

John Hale and Tim Boychuk seem to have not found their stride this year, and it can be honestly said they are most likely disappointed with their performance so far this year.

Nevertheless, there is plenty of racing left to do in the 2014 season and these two teams are so talented that they could definitely make some serious noise before the season is over.

Over on the Heritage Series side, the picture is about half as muddy.  (I use that term in respect of my in-laws) in both the classes of Top Fuel and Funny Car.

In Top Fuel, the brothers Bartone seem to have a sizeable lead on the competition after wins at the March Meet and at Bowling Green. It is conceivable that Steve Boggs and the Bartones could run the table on the rest of the season.  

Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of stout teams in the Top Fuel class. Champion Speed, Jim Murphy and his WWII crew, Jim Young and his guys, just to name a few. However, when a team the caliber of Bartone’s gets on a roll, it is very difficult to stop them.

As we all know is this sport isn’t done on paper it’s done on the racetrack and almost anything can happen, probably will.

In Funny Car, that is where the muddy part comes into play. In the first three races there were three different winners. James Day took the win at the March Meet, “Hollywood” Kris Krabill at Boise number one.

The constant in both these races is that Dan Horan was in the finals. So when the floppers made their third stop of the year at Rocky Mountain Raceway, Horan kept this streak intact, by making the finals again. However, this time Horan made the breakthrough into the win column, taking out Krabill in the finals.

This consistency has rocketed Horan into the point lead. It can be argued that crew chief Ron Swearingen has the Patriot Mustang the most consistent car in all of fuel car racing.