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Apr 06, 2013 - 06:39 PM
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2013 NHRA: Whiteleys Chase Drag Racing History On Goodyear Tires
Posted by: newsla on Apr 06, 2013 - 06:38 PM
NHRA
2013 NHRA: Whiteleys Chase Drag Racing History On Goodyear Tires


Drag racers Annie and Jim Whiteley have drag racing historians scrambling to determine how close they are to making history this weekend.

 

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The Whiteleys race in the Alcohol categories of the NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Last weekend, both won their category trophy in a regional race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This weekend the Whiteleys are at the same track, trying to win a national event.

“That’s pretty awesome,” Annie Whiteley said. “I would love to win my first national. It would be awesome to do it together.”

They have won together three times at the regional level.

Both drivers race exclusively on Goodyear tires, using Goodyear’s D2922 drive tire on the rear axle.

The teams are back at The Strip for the SummitRacing.com Nationals. NHRA historians are digging, but they said Friday it appears the Whiteleys would become the first married couple to sweep the Alcohol races in a regional and national event on consecutive weekends at the same track.

“First things first,” Annie Whiteley said. “There are 22 (Alcohol) Funny Cars here and we have to get in the field.”

Both are in good position to launch their bid for history. Jim qualified his car first in TAD Friday with a 5.351-second, 267.11 mph pass. Annie is fifth in TAFC, at 5.661 seconds and 254.95 mph, as they prepared for their final qualification runs today, Saturday. Eliminations start today for the Alcohol teams. If both advance in Saturday’s first round, they come back Sunday for their run at history.

They drive very different race cars but the D2922 has been very successful since it was introduced in 2012.

“The tire seems to work well on a hot track,” Jim Whiteley said. “It’s really great on a cold track. You really have to get mean with it if the track is cold. You can be really aggressive with the clutch.”

Most of the Alcohol cars at The Strip this weekend are racing on the D2922.

“We’ve proven that tire on both of those cars and now (almost) everyone else is using it,” Jim Whiteley said.

Jim Whiteley is the defending national champion of the Top Alcohol Dragster category. Annie won the Division 7 championship in 2012.

Jim Whiteley wondered if a different husband and wife team had won at the regional and national levels in the Alcohol categories.

“I didn’t think they ever had,” Jim Whiteley said. He added, “That would be one of the bucket list goals, to win a national together. The first thing we have to do is get her to win a national.”

The Whiteleys live in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Goodyear employs about 69,000 people at manufacturing plants and facilities in 22 nations. Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is among the largest tiremakers in the world and is the worldwide leader in race tire innovation.


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