Rain Postpones 2021 NHRA SpringNationals

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Rain is to blame for yet another day of 2021 NHRA SpringNationals being postponed. Weather caused Friday’s qualifying races to be canceled due to the weather. Additionally, half a day on Saturday, May 22nd was lost to rain as well. This has meant condensed qualifiers for classes that didn’t finish round one of racing on Friday.

Rain began just as the first round of the 2021 Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals top fuel final eliminations was about finished on Sunday, May 23rd. Race officials at Houston Raceway Park tried to wait it out and determine whether there would be a window in which to complete the races. Ultimately they were forced to postpone.

DHL Toyota Top Fuel Dragster | Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The weather played a role in race outcomes

Conditions at the track were humid, with an air temperature of 77 degrees and a dew point of 76 degrees. The track temperature was 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while the barometer was 30.10. Density altitude was 1,941 feet and elevation of 39 feet. These conditions affect how much oxygen is in the atmosphere, which in turn affects the combustion and finally the tuning of the cars. 

The results were mostly what fans expected

A dragster shoots flames. The Matco Tools dragster won in the first eliminating round of the 2021 SpringNationals.
Don Schumacher Racing Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster | Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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The final eliminations that went off on Sunday went mostly as expected. Antron Brown in his Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel Dragster faced off against Lee Callaway’s Callaway Racing car. Brown’s 33 1/2 foot long Toyota dragster won easily even after losing cylinders, going 4.142 at 207.98 MPH. The Matco Tools Toyota Dragster is capable of 10,000 hp and 8500 RPM.

Shawn Langdon’s DHL Toyota lost a cylinder but still defeated Josh Hart’s Burnyzz/Technet dragster, which backfired at the start. Langdon’s DHL Toyota lost a cylinder halfway down the track but he still went 3.803 at 304.94 MPH. Hart’s dragster spun tires, possibly from too much power in the engine.

In their first ever matchup, Clay Millican’s Parts Plus Dragster eliminated Artie Allen’s 11,000 hp car. The Parts Plus Dragster went 3.759 at 323.50 MPH against Allen’s 3.870 at 301.13 MPH. The Parts Plus Dragster was the faster car in this close race.

Mike Salinas’ Scrappers Racing Pro Mod car couldn’t beat Billy Torrence’s Capco Racing/Torrence Motorsports Dragster once its tires started spinning. The Capco Racing Dragster went 3.694 at 329.50 MPH. 

Justin Ashley defeated Leah Pruett’s 2021 Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster with 3.770 at 317.79. Even though Pennzoil Dragster was first off the line, the tires spun and the car didn’t go far. Pruett later said that the airlines bled out CO2, which didn’t allow the clutch to reset. This led to too much power being transferred to the wheels, and the resulting smoke and failed start that we saw. 

An engine explodes at a drag race. An engine exploded at May 23rd's SpringNationals, which was postponed due to rain.
A dragster engine explodes | Ron Lewis/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Steve Torrence’s Capco Racing Dragster was surprisingly average, going 4.047 at 261.07. However, it was enough to knock Mitch King out of the running. King’s car lost an engine and he was charged with an oil down to clean up the resulting mess.  

Then the rain started and the race was postponed. Brittany Force in her Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac Top Fuel Dragster didn’t face off against Doug Kalitta in his Mac Tools Dragster. 

Funny Car and Pro Stock races were postponed

The Funny Car and Pro Stock runs were set to go off after Top Fuel, but were unable to due to. As a result, Friday’s postponement meant that the 2021 NHRA SpringNationals became a two-day event. Instead of having the first round of qualifying races on Friday, May 21, Saturday the 22nd was set to have two qualifying sessions. 

A Capco Contractors dragster at a racing event. NHRA's 2021 SpringNationals was postponed due to weather.
Capco Contractors Dragster | Harold Hoch/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Race officials hoped to allow the dragstrip and pit to dry and be prepared for races, as there had been much rain in the days leading up to the race. 

The weather had other plans, and Sunday, May 23rd became the date of the final qualifying races. The Top Fuel ladder was based off of results from the first qualifying round, while Funny Cars that were able to compete on Friday used those runs toward qualifying. Pro Stock was able to complete their round two qualifying races. 

With drivers and fans disappointed (and wet), the continuation of the NHRA SpringNationals will air at 3PM on Monday, May 24 on FS1. 
Other races with modified schedules include the Top Fuel Harley, Factory Stock Showdown, Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Comp, Top Dragster, and Top Sportsman.

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