Stanfield beats Enders in Pro Stock | Sports News

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BRISTOL, Tenn. – NHRA Pro Stock rider Aaron Stanfield called it the craziest final round of his career.

The third-generation racer from Bossier City, La., was up against four-time series starter and defending event champion Erica Enders in the Thunder Valley Nationals final on Sunday at Bristol Dragway.

Enders entered the event on a three-game winning streak and with the big crowd on her side.

“I untied the car and it shook at the top of the lower gear, so I pulled over,” Stanfield said. “I could see smoke coming out of the [Enders] car and my crew was on the radio telling me to leave.

As Enders somehow drove his familiar Camaro through the smoke, Stanfield went to plan B.

“I got the car going again and tried to get to the finish line,” Stanfield said. “It certainly didn’t go as planned, but sometimes it does.”

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Stanfield, who has already dropped two final showdowns against Enders this season, ultimately won with a time of 8.033 seconds at 184.98 mph.

“It was just a pretty wacky final round there,” Stanfield said.

Stanfield, who has relatives in the Bluff City area, is the son of veteran NHRA driver Greg Stanfield.

“It’s the best gift I can give my dad,” Stanfield said. “It’s a great circuit with great fans.”

Ron Capps also overcame a challenge en route to winning in Funny Car.

After qualifying ninth, Capps suffered an explosion inside his car late in his pass during the first round of eliminations.

“What a race we put on and when I turned off the gas, boom,” Capps said. “I thought, ‘Oh, our new GR Supra body.’ But he did minimal damage.

“We had another body in the truck, but it was such a dream to drive this car. All the safety work in the offseason paid off. After that it was like a support car.

Capps recovered in style, posting a time of 3.984-324.35 in the final to defeat veteran Tim Wilkerson. Capps recorded the only three-second run of the day.

“Running 3.98 in the final in that weather was amazing,” Capps said. “It’s a very demanding track every time we come here. I think it’s like NASCAR and their [Southern 500] in Darlington. It is hot, humid and demanding. You can’t distract yourself from it for a second. »

Capps, who holds Bristol’s record for wins with six, pointed to additional motivation for this weekend. He entered the event behind Matt Hagan and Robert Hight in points.

“After our last race, they were saying it was a two-car race,” Capps said. “I’m sure that was changing room stuff for everyone for a two-car race in early June? It gave me a small arsenal.

Another second-generation racer in Justin Ashley took the victory in Funny Car. With a run of 3.813 at 325.30, the Farmingdale, New York native beat out Shawn Langdon, who ran 3.841 at 320.51.

Shortly after the event, Ashley presented the trophy to her father, Mike.

“Bristol has so much history. You look up there [on the grandstands] and you see all these great names that have raced here and won here. It’s just a special, prestigious place with Father’s Day weekend,” Ashley said. “Being able to give this trophy to my dad today is so cool.”

The key moment for Ashley came in the semifinals when he defeated four-time series champion Steve Torrence.

“Beating Steve in the semis is great, but I have a lot of respect for his team and we were just racing down our lane and had a chance to get the win,” Ashley said.

“We’ve had a few first- and second-round exits this season, but coming back with back-to-back finals now in a class as tough as this is nice. We feel good in the position in which we find ourselves. Our team is stepping up and I’m really proud of them.

It was also a sentimental finale in Pro Stock Motorcycle as Jerry Savoie ended a two-year winless streak by beating qualifier Angelle Sampey.

Savoie ran 6.929 at 194.30, while Sampey was eliminated for starting too early.

“It’s been a while,” Savoie said. “We struggled and did a lot of testing on our program. And the third lap today we had to swap engines.

Savoie dedicated the victory to his late father, Blue.

The most important thing is Father’s Day,” Savoie said. “My father passed away four years ago. He needed speed, and I’m so grateful that on this day I can dedicate this trophy to him.

[email protected] | Twitter: @Greg_BHCSports | (276) 645-2544

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