Thompson Tries to Stop Manzo One Last Time
Pomona - Team Thompson had a great outing at the NHRA Auto Club Finals where they went all the way to the final round at an event which featured the quickest Top Alcohol Funny Car field of all time. Driver, Clint Thompson was on his game all weekend and made his career best run of all time, a lightening quick 5.54 at 261 MPH in round two.
Thompson qualified eighth with a 5.56 at 259 MPH and faced Tony Bartone in round one. He took out Bartone at the Las Vegas Regional one week prior so this would be a marquee match up in round one. At the hit Thompson was out of the box first while Bartone experienced tire shake and had to idle through the rest of the way. Clint meanwhile screamed down Parker Avenue and took the win light with an impressive 5.56 at 260 MPH to advance to round two.
In the second round it was an all west coast match up between Oregon’s Thompson and California’s Mark Woznichak. As the lights came down Thompson got the starting line advantage with an 0.037 light to the Woz’s 0.071. Thompson was able to maintain the lead all the way to the stripe to record a career best 5.54 at 261 MPH win over Woznichak’s close 5.59 at 260 MPH.
In the semis, Thompson faced Utah’s Cody Perkins. This time Thompson’s opponent got the starting line advantage with an 0.030 to an 0.054 but Thompson was able to make up the gap with another strong run while Perkins experienced some traction problems. Thompson recorded a 5.64 at 247 MPH but burned a piston in the process. “We burned a piston which slowed the car down some. The crew really had to thrash to get the car turned around in time for the finals. We even got some help from Joey Severance’s team to be sure we made it up on time” Thompson said.
In the finals it was a dream match up for Thompson as he would race Frank Manzo who was retiring after this race. Never mind that Thompson was one step away from winning the NHRA Finals, instead it was all about the last shot anyone would ever get at defeating the man Thompson considers to be the greatest drag racer of all time. Thompson had raced him once before but lost a close race to him in Charlotte. At the line, Thompson got out of the gate first with an 0.031 to Manzo’s 0.047. Unfortunately for Thompson, his lead would not last as he smoked the tires and had to abort the run. Meanwhile Manzo sailed to victory with a 5.53 at 265 MPH to Thompson's disappointing 6.75 at 161 MPH.
Even though a lot of friends and peers came by Thompson’s pit to congratulate the team on a great showing, Thompson was disappointed with his effort despite the final round finish. “I’m really bummed out. We went out and smoked the tires. I had one last chance to beat him but I go up in smoke. I wanted to at least give him a close race rather than be another guy that smokes the tires against him trying to beat him. I didn’t change anything before the final other than I left at a higher RPM but she didn’t like it. My crew did a great job making me look good and I appreciate them along with my wife Danette” Thompson said.
Clint Thompson Upsets Top Qualifier at Las Vegas
Las Vegas - After a disappointing outing at the NHRA Toyota Nationals where Clint Thompson just missed getting in the Top Alcohol Funny Car field by one, one hundredth of a second, Team Thompson had a big turn around one week later at the final regional race of the season that was twice as hard to qualify for. Clint Thompson qualified on the bump with a 5.62 for the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing event where 15 cars fought hard to squeeze into an eight car field.
In round one it was a potential game of eight ball as Thompson faced number one qualifier Tony Bartone. At the hit, Thompson was out of the gate first with an 0.067 to Bartone's 0.124. Thompson was able to maintain the lead all the way down broadway and took the upset win with a 5.60 at 257 MPH to Bartone's 5.67 at 259 MPH. Thompson was the only driver in round one to win in the right lane.
In round two, Thompson took on another challenging opponent, Jay Payne. Once again, Thompson was able to get out of the gate first but then lost traction and spun the tires. Payne made a clean run to advance to the final round. Next, newly energized Team Thompson moves on to the final race of the season, the Auto Club Finals in Pomona this coming weekend.
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