NORTH DINWIDDIE, Va. (June 10) – The Virginia NHRA Nationals didn’t last nearly as long as CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel drivers Scott Palmer and Dom Lagana wanted, but strides were still made at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Palmer and Lagana both made good runs during the first round of eliminations on Sunday, but both came up a little short.
Working together as teammates, though, Palmer and Lagana continued to gather information and data that should help them through the summer months of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Lagana joined Palmer as a CatSpot teammate for this race, doubling the amount of data gathered as they battle the best in NHRA.
Lagana made his best pass of the weekend in the final qualifying session and then made another good run in the first round of eliminations, 3.880 seconds at 322.27 mph. But Richie Crampton, who interestingly helped build the race car Lagana was driving, made a little bit better run, 3.879 seconds at 317.19 mph, to get the win light by about three feet.
“Could’ve had a washer more on the primary weight, a small percent, who knows?” Lagana said. “It was just close. We were trying to run, honestly, a 3.85 or 3.84, but we are having trouble getting the car to move early. It’s slow to 60 foot, and then it runs great on the back half. It picked up some but not enough.
“It was a close race. I could’ve got a little more on the Tree but coulda, shoulda, woulda. It was just a close race. It’s cool running Richie. He’s a really good friend of mine. He builds the car we drive and Steve (Torrence) drives.”
Palmer, too, was trying to run in the mid-3.80 range, but he accidentally staged the car too deep, throwing off his timing in the staging process. Palmer made a pass of 3.905 at 321.96 mph to drop a close race to Torrence, who made a clean run of 3.818 at 325.85 mph to advance to the second round.
“We were actually trying to run 3.83 or 3.85,” Palmer said. “I messed up a little bit staging, rolled it in way too deep. It would’ve run a 3.86, 3.87, so we weren’t going to run what we thought we’d run. (Torrence) was trying to run a 3.83, and they messed up in the right way and ran a little bit quicker.
“We lost some ET (in staging), so it was going to be a closer race than it was. If we have to lose to someone, it might as well be to the guys who make this happen.”
Both Palmer and Lagana made progress in Richmond, where NHRA returned for the first time since 2009. High heat and humidity made for difficult conditions, but the CatSpot teams were able to find a good tuneup to get their cars down the track.
“It’s all good; we had a great weekend,” Lagana said. “Didn’t hurt many parts, ran good, learned a lot. We’ll go on to the next hot race at Bristol.
“It’s cool. We used to hang out here (in Richmond) a lot. We raced here in NHRA and IHRA days. I actually made my first ever license run in a dragster at this track. To come out alongside Scott and fly the CatSpot and Tommy Thompson colors is fun.”