Courtesy of NVW Motorsports Promotion
Photos courtesy of David Smith and NVW Promotion
CONCORD, N.C. (September 17) – Three-time NHRA Lucas Oil series regional event winner Brandon Booher scored his first national event win last Sunday at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway. The entire event was historic for both the father-son Booher Racing team and the Top Alcohol Dragster class, as Brandon’s win was the first for a torque converter-equipped TAD. He also became the second-fastest blown alcohol dragster driver in NHRA history en route to the finals.
Booher qualified his AB Construction/Torque Management entry in the fourth spot, putting himself in the top half of a field that included several top blown alcohol and nitro-injected A/Fuel competitors. His 5.371 at 269 MPH stood for the top spot after two rounds of qualifying but was eventually bumped down during the stout Saturday morning qualifying session. Brandon would face former Division 1 champion Karen Stalba to start eliminations.
A strong 5.35 pass eliminated Stalba’s 5.53 from competition, setting up a second round match with fellow Motorsports Unlimited-sponsored driver Ken “The Iceman” Perry. Anticipating a quick defense from Perry, Brandon set the car up to run a career-best number, possibly even an elusive 5.2-second run. It worked, as the AB Construction dragster lit up the scoreboard with a 5.320 at 275 MPH, resetting Booher’s personal records, the torque converter records, and moving him to second on the list of fastest blown alcohol TADs.
“I knew we could run quick at this event. The track was good enough on the previous runs but I just wasn’t aggressive enough. The car still ran well but there was quite a bit left on the table. I knew I had to step it up going against Ken Perry second round. The 5.32 didn’t surprise me – the 275 did. I think that speed is just another reflection of what this thing is capable of, and where the class may be headed,” claimed Booher, who owns Torque Management, a blown alcohol/torque converter consulting business.
Another low five-thirty followed in the semifinals against No. 1 qualifier Jeff Veale – 5.33 to 5.43. Brandon slowed slightly in the finals, but the combination of his starting line advantage and 5.35 lap was enough to deny multi-time national event winner Rich McPhillips, who clocked a 5.39.
The final round at Charlotte was the former Junior Dragster driver’s second trip to the money round at an NHRA national event. His last final round appearance came at Norwalk 2011, where catastrophic parts failure cost him the win.
“We had a good car in Norwalk, but we didn’t have the level of performance that we have now. We went into that final as the underdog. I feel that we were the favorite going into this final round. We had a good car. It was very consistent. The confidence was there, the performance was there, and we were able to keep it going in the finals to get the victory,” said Booher, who had the starting line advantage of every eliminations match.
Brandon’s win at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals is critical to his chase for a spot in the top five in national points. The winning performance and points awarded were enough to persuade the team to make the one thousand-mile trek to Dallas’ Texas Motorplex for the Fall Nationals, Sept. 22-24, where Brandon has one goal.
“Repeat. When we left for the race, I told the crew that we would go to Dallas if we won the event. I don’t think they realized how focused I was on doing that. We’re going to Dallas with every intention on winning the race. The weather forecast is calling for a hot weekend and I have a strong hot weather tune-up. The car can run well in those conditions. My focus is to go A to B, make consistent laps, and do my job on the starting line.”
Booher Racing is a Champaign, Illinois-based Top Alcohol Dragster team, competing in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Former Junior Dragster driver Brandon Booher pilots the family-owned AB Construction blown alcohol dragster. The team owns the world record for quickest and fastest converter-equipped TAD. Booher Racing receives support from Motorsports Unlimited, Goodson Tools, Spitzer Race Cars, and Torque Management. To learn more about Booher Racing, please visit www.nitronate.com/booher.
For news and results throughout the 2013 season, follow Booher Racing on Facebook (www.facebook.com/booherracing) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/booherracing).