In her first appearance ever at No Problem Raceway, Annie Whiteley built off the momentum from her breakthrough Gatornationals win last month, her biggest in years, with a second victory in just three 2017 starts, dominating from the outset and leaving with low e.t., top speed, and both ends of the track record.
“The car was smooth every run,” Whiteley said. “The guys were chasing the heat and the track, and they really stayed on top of it. They kept adjusting the tire pressure and timing because the track was getting hotter but basically left it alone and the car kept repeating. The left lane was good and the right was a little iffy so you really wanted to keep lane choice, and we had it every time.”
Deadly consistency – a 5.57, 5.55, and 5.56 in eliminations, all three at exactly 268 mph – carried the J&A Service/YNot Racing team to the title in tiny Belle Rose, La., about an hour north of New Orleans. Whiteley set not just low e.t. and top speed but low e.t. and top speed of all three rounds of eliminations after shattering the track e.t. and speed marks with a 5.508 at 268.80 mph in qualifying.
After a solid 5.57 on the first-round single she earned by qualifying No. 1, Whiteley took out two-time national event winner Kris Hool in the semi’s with a 5.55. In the final against Bryan Brown, the only other driver in the 5.50s this weekend, she pounded out an almost identical 5.55 to easily turn back Brown’s trouble-plagued, up-in-smoke 6.42.
“It was a great weekend,” Whiteley said. “No Problem is out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s a nice, long track, which was great – we had a chute failure three runs in a row. Not both chutes, thank God, or there could have been a problem, but there was plenty of room to get stopped anyway. We tried so hard last year and never came home with any Wallys. Now we’ve only been to three races and we’ve already got two.”