Thursday, July 18, 2024

NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Sportsman Preview

Lucas Oil Sportsman Preview for the 2019 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

BRISTOL – This week the NHRA traveling circus rolls into Bristol Dragway for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The race is the third event on a four-race in four weeks mini tour. The four-race stretch began with the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago and then moved to Topeka last week for the Heartland Nationals. After Bristol, the mini tour will wrap up in Norwalk.

See all of the winners from Chicago here and Topeka here.

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The four-race stretch provides Lucas Oil sportsman competitors numerous opportunities to grab some gold. A host of talented racers have already enjoyed successful outings in Chicago and Topeka. We’ll find out who can keep the momentum going in Bristol.

The Thunder Valley Nationals will showcase over 200 Lucas Oil sportsman racers competing in five unique classes. The schedule at Bristol includes Super Stock, Stock Eliminator, Super Comp, Super Gas, and Top Sportsman.

2018 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Champions

Super Stock – Scott Stillings

Stock Eliminator – Eddie Longhany Jr.

Super Comp – Tyler Caheely

Super Gas – Steve Furr

Top Sportsman – Jeff Brooks

Top Dragster – Aaron Stanfield

Factory Stock Showdown – Joseph Welch

Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series

Lucas Oil Sportsman Run Schedule

With a limited number of sportsman classes in attendance, the Bristol run schedule looks slightly different than most races. Friday’s schedule will include three hits for Super Stock, Super Comp, and Super Gas. The Stockers will have two qualifying rounds before moving into class eliminations. Top Sportsman racers will receive two qualifying shots on Friday.

Saturday is race day as most sportsman classes will endure four rounds of final eliminations. The exception is Top Sportsman which will only run two rounds on Saturday.

Racers lucky enough to make the Big Show on Sunday will finish the final two rounds to crown a champion. The final three rounds of Top Sportsman are scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

2019 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Predictions

With each NHRA national event DragChamp’s sportsman preview includes an overview of each class. In addition, we select the DragChamp Picks to win the race. Here are this week’s picks.

Super Stock – 42 Car Field

2018 Thunder Valley Nationals Super Stock Final
2018 Super Stock Final

As usual, a talented field of Super Stock competitors will be on hand. Those include Anthony Bertozzi, Joe Santangelo, Jimmy Hidalgo Jr., Monty Bogan Jr., and many more.

Red-hot Ricky Decker will look to maintain his torrid pace in Bristol after reaching the finals in his first two LODRS events. Decker also picked up a $5,000 win at the Sports National Open.

DragChamp picks to win:

Jimmy “Cooter” Hidalgo Jr. – Cooter has tasted glory at Bristol before, look for the Division 4 runner to make another run.

Tyler Bohannon – Tyler should have added motivation to win after watching his girlfriend, Megan Strassweg, make the final in Chicago.

Mark Alvey – The Gatornationals runner up would love to go one round further in Bristol.

Stock Eliminator – 49 Car Field

2018 Thunder Valley Nationals Stock Final
2018 Stock Final

The Stock field is as tough as they come. It includes former world champs Jeff Strickland and Anthony Bertozzi. 4-Wide runner up Monty Bogan and Southern Nationals winner Chip Johnson are also in the mix this week.

DragChamp picks to win:

Joe Santangelo – This guy’s been on fire, hard to bet against him right now.

Jeff Longhany – The Longhany family seems to always be in or around the finals. Look for Jeff to stand out this week.

Jeff Hairrington – Tough Ford racer out of GA should be in the mix come Sunday.

Super Comp – 50 Car Field

2018 Thunder Valley Nationals Factory Super Comp Final
2018 Super Comp Final

I know we say it every race but the Super Comp field is basically a pick’em. While there are some names that stand out like Ray Miller 3 and Tom Stabla, the field is deep and talented.

I’ll take a shot in the dark at the picks this week…here goes.

DragChamp picks to win:

Todd Ewing – “Bones” doesn’t compete often on the NHRA tour but when he does, he’s usually in the final.

Tom Stalba – After laying low for a few years, Stalba raced back into the headlines last season. He’s continued that momentum with an impressive start to the 2019 season.

Rusty Cook – Veteran Super racer knows how to turn on win lights.

Super Gas – 50 Car Field

2018 Thunder Valley Nationals Super Gas Final
2018 Super Gas Final

The Super Gas field includes some of the top names in 9.90 racing including Sherman Adcock, Jacob Elrod, John Labbous, and more. The Sawyer team of Ray and Mike will make the trek from Massachusetts to Bristol after a big weekend at Numidia.

DragChamp picks to win:

Michelle Furr – Michelle called her shot recently and told me I better pick her to win. I did my part, now it’s all on you!

John Labbous – With the year he’s had in his Corvette, he’s a guaranteed pick!

John Taylor – Multi-time winner in a cool pickup truck. John’s due for another big win.

Top Sportsman – 22 Car Field

Royce Freeman 2018 Thunder Valley Nats TS RU
Royce Freeman 2018 Top Sportsman Runner Up

For such a popular class, the Top Sportsman field is unusually light this week. I thought Bristol was in the heart of fast door slammer country but maybe I’m mistaken.

Defending event champion Jeff Brooks will be on hand looking to add another Wally to his collection. Chicago winner Lester Johnson will look to go back-to-back after a huge weekend at Route 66 Raceway.

DragChamp picks to win:

David Tatum – Former Super Gas world champ has adapted quickly to Top Sportsman.

Dylan Stott – Talented racer who’s always a threat to win.

DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil sportsman drag racing news and drag race results. Follow DragChamp for daily updates from Bristol throughout the weekend.

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