Jim and Annie Whiteley dominated the Lucas Oil Series race at Tulsa for the second year in a row, Jim in Top Alcohol Dragster, and Annie in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Jim won for the fourth time this season and the second week in a row, including Denver, and Annie remains undefeated at the Tulsa track and now has a lifetime record of 22-4 in regional competition.
“Those were tough, tough conditions,” said Jim, whose third regional victory of the season (including Las Vegas and Denver) gives him a perfect score on that side of the ledger – 255 points. “100 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.”
Whiteley qualified No. 1 with a 5.38 and set low e.t. with a 5.37 but may have left a little on the table. “We ran a 5.32 here last year, and we might have been able to run a little quicker this year than we did, but it wasn’t worth the risk. When it’s that hot, it’s not hard to smoke the tires.”
Whiteley drove his J&A Service/YNot Racing dragster to a 5.43 in the first round to cover David Brounkowski and a 5.37 in the semifinals opposite Randy Meyer in a rematch of last year’s final. The final against Brandon Pierce was over early when Pierce smoked the tires immediately, leaving Whiteley to a long-gone 5.44.
Annie remained undefeated at Tulsa in her young Alcohol Funny Car career, qualifying No. 1 with a 5.66 that held up all weekend for low e.t. and cruising through the first two rounds of eliminations. Her 5.69 in the new Texas J&A Service Mustang, the only run in eliminations in the 5.60s, covered Bryan Brown in round one. She blew through the clutch in semifinals and slipped to a 5.78 but still got around Kirk Williams and entered the final against Scott McVey as a prohibitive favorite.
All appeared lost when Annie’s car blew the tires off not far off the line, but when McVey’s engine blew, she recovered to post a winning 6.17 at 241 mph. “I was just starting to push the clutch in, and thought, ‘Oh, wait – he’s not there,’ ” she said. “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.”