Annie Whiteley’s first victory of 2024 was just her latest triumph at Tulsa Raceway Park, where she’s been winning since she started racing Funny Cars back in 2012. Her final-round victim this time: husband Jim Whiteley, who just missed a perfect light with a -.002 red-light that handed the Mid-West Drag Racing Series’ Throwdown in T-Town title to his all-time favorite opponent.

“I was late going down on the pedal, which usually means you’re going to be late, and I had my worst light all weekend,” she said. It was, but even it was pretty good, a .060. “I was excited to win, but it sucked because I don’t like to see Jim lose – especially like that.”

Annie, who’d qualified second, fourth, and third in her previous 2024 starts – all on the quarter-mile in NHRA competition – reigned supreme at Tulsa, where she locked down her first No. 1 of the year with an outstanding 3.62 at nearly 212 mph, top speed by more than three and a half miles per hour. Driving a matching J&A Service/YNot Racing Camaro dressed in white, Jim tied friend Steve Macklyn right down to the thousandth of a second for No. 2 spot with identical 3.632 E.T.s but got the higher position on the basis of his faster speed, 208.30 mph to Macklyn’s 207.59.

In the first round, Annie ripped off a 3.63/211, nearly matching her Low E.T./Top Speed marks from qualifying, to erase veteran Lance Van Hauen, then breezed through the semifinals to meet Jim in the final. He had a much tougher road, topping Bryan Brown in the opening round, 3.64/206 to 3.87/200, and surviving a memorable matchup with Macklyn in the semifinals. Both cut near-perfect .00 lights and both ran 3.66s, but Jim was a tick better on both ends of the track – .003 to .006 and 3.664 to 3.669.

“You get down to the final at these Mid-West races and you’d better bring everything you’ve got,” Annie said. “The track can be kind of iffy for testing on Thursday, it gets pretty good on Friday, and by Saturday it’s a lot better. I don’t know what they do or how they do it, but they just keep working on it all weekend and by the finals, it’s perfect.”

Annie ran a 3.63 and Jim a 3.65, but their E.T.s meant nothing when he went red by 1/500th of a second. “I don’t know why, but I always seem to do my best against him,” said Annie, who had a perfect .000 light in qualifying. To cap a memorable weekend, grandson Breccan won the Jr. Dragster title and shared a toast with dad Steven – a Dr. Pepper for him and a beer for Dad.