Whiteley moves into first place in NHRA Western Region standings

Jim Whiteley picked up his third regional victory to move into first place in the NHRA Top Alcohol national and Western Region standings.

The Grand Junction man won the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Central Regional on Sunday at Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, Okla.

His wife, Annie Whiteley, won the Top Alcohol Funny Car class to join him in the winners’ circle. It is the second time this year the duo won at the same event.

“It was a really good weekend for both of us,” Jim Whiteley said in a news release. “It’s pretty impressive what Roger (Bateman, the funny car crew chief) has been able to do with that team. After the deal in Vegas, we hoped to be able to both win another event where we could share the winner’s circle, so this was pretty special. Hopefully it’s not the last time.”

Jim Whiteley, the four-time NHRA Division 7 winner, qualified his YNot Racing blown alcohol dragster for eliminations second in the field with a 5.361 second elapsed time (et) at 265.43 mph. He opened the elimination round with a victory over Mark Taliaferro’s nitro-injected dragster with a 5.390 et at 264.91 mph, then defeated another injected-nitro racer, James Thompson, in the semifinals with a 5.344 et at 267.37 mph.

Whiteley met top-qualifier Randy Meyer in the final and won in 5.340 et at 265.90 mph. He credited crew chief Norm Grimes.

“Norm and the guys just have this car running really well right now,” Whiteley said. “I really didn’t do a good job of driving the car until the final, so they definitely helped me out. We weren’t really happy with the speed the car was running, but it was really hot this weekend. There was a bump that really upset our car after the finish line in the right lane, so we took the left lane the last two rounds.”

This was Whiteley’s third regional win of the year. With only the top three regional events counting toward the national standings, he can turn his focus to the national events, but he hasn’t ruled out attending more regional events this year. Previously, the top five regional results were added toward each driver’s national points standings.

The YNot Racing Team will race again this weekend in the O’Reilly Route 66 Nationals. Whiteley won the event the past two years. He plans to compete in the Jegs Sportsman All-Star Race, too.


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