Circle K NHRA Winternationals
February 9th-12th, 2017
Fresh off the track from Nitro Spring Training in Phoenix, Team Litton Racing and Randy Meyer Racing headed to Pomona for the NHRA season opener that is the Circle K Winternationals. The drag racing season has kicked off in Southern California during the month of February every year since the early 1960’s and remains one of the sport’s greatest traditions. Fans get the opportunity to witness the unveiling of new cars and experience the thrill of what’s to come in the Countdown to the 2017 Championship.
Driver Bill Litton, Crew Chief Randy Meyer, Assistant Crew Chief Dan Pomponio, and crew member Adrian Long, were all in high spirits coming off of a successful testing weekend that included a new career best time of 5.243 @ 275 mph for Litton. With little turn-around time between events, the team worked hard to fine-tune the hot rod in preparation for Thursday evening’s 1st qualifying run.
On day 1 of the Winternationals, Driver Litton was positioned in the right lane for Q1 up against Norwegian driver Fred Hanssen. This race was Hanssen’s return to Pomona after his hard crash last season at the Auto Club Finals in November. As the tree lit, Litton launched, dropping cylinders right at the hit. The crew quickly determined that the car had a nitro fuel valve problem, resulting in a 5.91 @ 219 mph. It wasn’t the start the team was looking for, but they didn’t let it hold them back from priming themselves for Q2. Meyer commented, “We were really hoping for a little bit more, so for Q2 we hopped it up.”
Friday morning came with less than perfect weather conditions. The red sky in the morning hinted at the possibility of a rainout. Nevertheless, Driver Litton and team were ready to open a can of Randy Meyer horsepower! When the pesky drizzle stopped, the Safety Safari dried the track and deemed the conditions to be suitable for the racing to progress. The track was cool and tight as Litton pulled up to the starting line for the 2nd qualifying run. He started to shake the tires early and clicked it off. Meyer stated, “There was just a little too much power for the weather conditions and track conditions that we had.” Team Litton finishes Q2 holding the 14th position overall.
Saturday started off slow, with the heavier rain that came in late Friday afternoon, causing quite a few changes in schedule. The rain delay continued into Saturday morning and resulted in the 3rd qualifying round getting nixed, which led the team straight to eliminations. Driver Litton faced a fierce competitor, Joey Severance, for the 1st elimination run. The two raced before at Dallas in 2015 where Litton got the win and brought home the Wally. Litton and team threw down a solid run of 5.31 @ 273 mph but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to beat the 2016 World Champ.
Litton remarks on the outcome stating, “We really needed the 3rd qualifying run to get our hot rod dialed in and improve our position. Joey’s team is strong and we knew we were behind the eight ball. My crew did an awesome job pulling out a 5.31 despite the qualifying round challenges.”
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