Whiteleys win in Tulsa for second straight year
Jim and Annie Whiteley overcame tough racing conditions to sweep the Osage Casino Lucas Oil Series race last weekend in Tulsa, Okla.
Both Grand Junction drivers won at the track for the second consecutive year. It was Jim’s second straight victory of the season.
“Those were tough, tough conditions,” Jim said in a news release. “One-hundred degrees makes for some pretty miserable weather to race in, but all the guys on both teams worked their butts off, and we got it done.”
Jim has three regional victories this season. Annie remains undefeated at the Tulsa track and now has a career record of 22-4 in regional races.
Jim qualified his top alcohol dragster for the top spot in eliminations with a 5.38 second run and set a low elapsed time (et) of 5.37 in a semifinal win over Randy Meyer.
He defeated Brandon Pierce in the final when Pierce burned out. Jim ran a 5.44 et.
Annie qualified her Alcohol Funny Car with a 5.66 et and cruised through the first two rounds of eliminations. She blew through the clutch in the semifinals and slipped to a 5.78, but she still beat Kirk Williams to make the finals.
In the final, Annie’s car blew the tires off the starting line, but she recovered when Scott McVey’s engine blew, giving her the win with a time of 6.17 seconds at 241 mph.
“I was just starting to push the clutch in and thought, ‘Oh, wait, he’s not there,’ ” she said in a news release. “I’ve short-shifted my way out of shake before, but I’ve never won a round like that. The car was in second gear for a long time. I didn’t think that shift light was ever going to come on, and it seemed to take forever for the finish line to get there.”
The previous weekend, Jim Whiteley captured his sixth win in a row at the West Central Lucas Oil Series at Denver’s Bandimere Speedway.
He not only won, he dominated, beating the entire field by a margin of a full quarter-second.
His dragster, tuned by Norm Grimes, ran between 5.44 and 5.46 seconds in all three rounds. No one else ran better than 5.70.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much of an advantage on the field before,” Jim said. “It’s almost more pressure than when a bunch of other people are running right with you.”
Jim advanced to the final without much challenge. First-round opponent Kevin Wayman’s dragster broke in qualifying. Dean Dubbin had a foul start and was disqualified in semifinals.
Jim ran a 5.47 in the final to defeat Greg Hunter, who was in a Lucas Oil Series final for the first time in his career.
“We needed a weekend like this,” Jim Whiteley said. “Nobody is running away with it this year, and it might go right down to the finals at Pomona.”