Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
August 31-September 5, 2016
Driver Bill Litton, fresh off his NHRA Top Fuel debut on the Western Swing, made his return to the racetrack this past Labor Day weekend in the Injected Nitro Car of Randy Meyer for the premier event of the season – The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Simply put, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the largest most significant drag racing event on the planet. All of the fiercest competitors with the most prestige come from around the world in hopes of claiming the coveted “Wally” trophy, and of course, bragging rights. Qualifying for the field at Indy is very special. Making it through four elimination rounds is like conquering the world! Lucas Oil Raceway hosts this marathon event beginning Wednesday and lasting through the Labor Day holiday on Monday. Just being in the game for that many days is difficult, let alone going on and defeating the competition in the single elimination tournament that is NHRA drag racing. This iconic racing event, also referred to as “The Big Go”, celebrated several former driving legends of the sport over the weekend including Don Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, and Kenny Bernstein to name a few.
Team Litton Racing gears up with Randy Meyer Racing, Crew Chief Randy Meyer and crew members Dan Pomponio, Rachel Meyer, Howard Mazei, and Brandon Taylor as they get ready to take on the big guns! In qualifying round one on Friday, the Litton Financial Dragster launches with an excellent 60-foot time of .947 but goes into severe tire shake and Litton has to get out of the throttle. It’s not the start the team had hoped for, but they make some alterations and return to the track for qualifying round two. Round two resulted in tire shake and Litton was forced to lift again. Crew Chief Randy Meyer remarks on round two stating, “Unfortunately, the track is still pretty tricky and the tires are having a little bit of an issue spinning. We will have to regroup and come back tomorrow to see where we can go from here.”
The final two of the four qualifying rounds are scheduled for Saturday. Per Chief Randy, “We made a bunch of changes overnight to get ready for today’s races.” Litton’s car gets fired up, goes through the normal warm up and burn out procedure, then launches hard and clocks in with a new personal best time of 5.26 seconds @ 252.38 mph. The run puts him in the #1 qualifying position! A fantastic accomplishment that gets the whole crowd cheering in excitement. Per Litton, “Hearing those words from the track announcer that we were the number one qualifier after three rounds at Indy is something I won’t forget.” The team hurries back to the pit to get the car ready for the fourth and final qualifying attempt hoping to go even faster. Unfortunately, the car developed a nitro leak from the left side header manifold, making a small puddle in front of the rear tire and causing the car to massively smoke the tires at the hit of the throttle. His impressive run earlier in the day keeps him in the top half of the field going into Sunday’s race day holding the #4 spot overall.
Sunday kicks off the elimination rounds with Driver Litton facing off against the MGM Grand Detroit dragster. The MGM car is on a nice run with a 5.424, but Litton outmuscles him with his Randy Meyer horsepower tripping the timer with a solid 5.287 second pass! The team operated at a feverish pace to make the quick turnaround for elimination round two. Chief Randy and the team got the nitro beast hopped up for elimination round two and back to the starting line. Unfortunately, Litton overpowers the track and smokes the tires at the hit of the throttle. The weekend comes to an end with mixed emotions as Litton reflects on the results, “Our team always wants to win, but qualifying for Indy is very special and for that I am blessed and very thankful.”
“It was nice to have The American Fallen Soldiers on the car in front of the crowd at Indy. Partnering with them has been awesome! We have a lot to be thankful for and our country and our military are certainly at the top of that list!” To learn more about The American Fallen Soldiers project and the positive impact they have on the families of fallen soldiers, please visit their website at www.americanfallensoldiersproject.com.
What’s yet to come for Team Litton Racing? As of print time of this article, Team Litton is making plans to run Dallas with Randy Meyer Racing in the injected nitro car Oct 13th – 16th. Follow our Litton Racing page on Twitter and Facebook, like us on Instagram @teamlittonracing to receive exclusive updates and find out!