At The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where she has dominated Alcohol Funny Car racing since earning the first win of her career there in her 2012 rookie campaign, Annie Whiteley suffered one of her few early round losses ever in Las Vegas. The fourth-year pro, who swept both the national and regional events there earlier this season for her fifth and sixth career Vegas wins, went out in the first round.
Whiteley’s J&A Service/YNot Racing Camaro went into hard tire shake in low gear, and despite a quick pedal job, she was unable to run down Chris Marshall, coming up just 14-thousandths of a second short in the lights with a 5.71 – far from her outstanding qualifying effort. “I was catching him the whole time, and I really thought I was going to get there,” Whiteley said. “It shook at the top of low gear, and I thought I could drive through it. I kept thinking, ‘Come on, come on, we’re almost there,’ but I finally had to short-shift. You’ve basically got two options at that point – short-shift or pedal – and I finally had to hit the button at 8,100.”
Marshall shot into the lead and claimed by far the biggest win of his young career with a 5.74. “I didn’t know if I was going to catch him or not, but at least I gave myself half a shot at it,” said Whiteley, who crossed the finish line going a full 13 mph faster than Marshall, 260 to 247. It was a disappointing end to what had been a typically solid Vegas outing to that point. Whiteley qualified No. 5 with an excellent 5.558 at 263.20 mph.
Now the YNot team, which had topped the national rankings since Whiteley’s dominant victory at Woodburn four months ago, is second in the standings, just a single point behind Jonnie Lindberg, 626 to 625.