Drew Skillman leads a host of first time winners at the NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.
RICHMOND – Drew Skillman extended his win streak to three with his Factory Stock Showdown victory at the Virginia Nationals. The win adds to Skillman’s 2019 triumphs at the Gatornationals and 4-Wide Nationals.
The win was Skillman’s 18th in national event competition. Joining Drew in the winners circle was 14 time winner Joe Santangelo (Super Stock) and two time winner Tom Goldman (Super Gas). First time national event winners included Wallace Dent (Stock), Chris Garretson (Super Comp), and Chad Traylor (Top Dragster).
Team DragChamp picks came up empty for the first time in five races. We publish our pre-race picks in the Sportsman Preview for each national event. We correctly predicted Joe Santangelo would win in Virginia but we selected him on our Stock team, not Super Stock.
Super Stock – Santangelo grabs #14
Going into Sunday class racing ace Joe Santangelo had a shot at the elusive double. Joe fell one round short of making both finals when he lost to eventual winner Wallace Dent in the Stock semifinals.
Although he missed the double, Santangelo managed to collect Wally number 14 after defeating Steve Comello in the final. Santangelo was solid at the tree–.01 to .02 lights–but drove the finish line like a champ.
In the final Santangelo grabbed a .016 to .055 starting line advantage. At the stripe, Santangelo dropped to .04 above feeding Comella .013-stripe. Comella was -.012 under his dial in the breakout loss.
Hemi ‘Cuda driver Steve Comella was appearing in his first national event final round. While the SS/AH cars are entertaining to watch in the Hemi Challenge, you don’t see many of them competing on a regular basis. Steve did just that qualifying in the three spot and driving to the final.
Stock Eliminator – Dent gets his first!
Wallace Dent collected his first NHRA national event victory in his first final round at the Virginia Nationals. Dent defeated 2018 Super Stock runner up Joe Lisa in the final.
Dent left on his first three opponents before earning a bye run in round four. That setup a semifinal pairing with Super Stock winner Joe Santangelo. Dent left second but stayed above the index while Santangelo broke out.
In the final, Dent once again left second but captured the win after Lisa misjudged the stripe allowing Dent to take the .002 win. Lisa was .025 and .037 above to Dent’s .036 and .024 above for a .002 margin of victory.
Super Comp – Garretson gets it done!
Chris Garretson drove his unconventional 130 mph Super Comp dragster to his first national event win on Sunday. After leading the national points for a most of 2018, Garretson ultimately finished sixth in the national standings.
What’s unique about his dragster is it only runs 130 mph in a class fielded with 180 mph monsters. Somehow Garretson has found a combination that repeats round after round.
Garretson only ran under the index once during eliminations. He managed to stay on the positive side of the index in the remaining rounds. He posted two 8.90’s, two 8.91’s, and an 8.93. Those runs coupled with a .020 reaction time average overwhelmed the competition.
In the final, Garretson took a slight .019 to .022 lead. He then proceeded to drive away from Colby Fuller. Fuller began to reel him in but came up just short at the finish line. Garretson posted a 8.905 to Fuller’s losing 8.914.
Super Gas – #2 for Goldman
Tom Goldman earned his second national event win after defeating Michelle Furr in the Virginia Nationals final. Driving his beautiful ’58 Corvette roadster, Goldman posted three dead-on 9.90’s during six rounds.
Both Goldman and Furr were set on kill throughout eliminations. Goldman’s lights ranged from a .007 to a .012 prior to the final round. Furr was close behind posting reactions ranging from a .007 to a .019.
Both drivers posted their worst light of the race in the final. Furr grabbed the lead .024 to .052. But as they reached the finish line, Furr took too much stripe to go 9.870 on the 9.90 index. Goldman posted a 9.909 to claim his second national event win.
Top Dragster – Local favorite Traylor earns first national win
Local Richmond racer Chad Traylor finally earned his first national event Wally at the Virginia Nationals. Traylor mentioned he had been chasing a national win for twenty years. He defeated Junior Houston in the final round to claim the Wally.
Traylor drove like an all star averaging a .015 light and running dead on his dial twice and within .01 three times. In the final, Traylor left second with a .024 after Houston posted a perfect .000 reaction. Houston took .048 at the stripe to go -.005 under his dial handing the win to Traylor’s safe .019 over 7.209.
Houston, appearing in his first final round, was equally impressive throughout eliminations. After posting three straight 7.41’s in the first three rounds, Houston laid down .013 total against Anthony Bertozzi. He combined a .013 light with a dead-on 7.420 to keep Bertozzi from another final. In the final he was .000 and ran 7.415 on his 7.42 dial.
Factory Stock Showdown – Skillman Domination Continues
At each of the first three Factory Stock Showdown races this year, a Skillman has graced the winners circle. Drew won the opening event of the season–also his first ever Factory Stock race–at the Gatornationals.
His father Bill captured his first Wally in winning the next event at the 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. Drew continued the trend with his win at the Virginia Nationals, his third win of 2019.
The Skillman team continues to win in spite of two parity adjustments by the NHRA Tech Dept. The adjustments were meant to slow down the Ford and Chevrolet teams.
While the changes worked, they didn’t stop the Skillman’s from dominating the class. In addition, the Mopar teams are still a non-factor after dominating the 2018 season.
Drew posted several low 8-second passes leading to the final round. He saved his best for last posting a 7.990 to defeat Bo Butner’s 7.899 by .025-second. Butner, who won Pro Stock, was looking to double up. He came up just short at the tree in the Factory Stock final leaving him with a split.
DragChamp is your source for NHRA Lucas Oil drag race results. Follow along each week as we provide detailed daily coverage of every national event.