Top Alcohol Cars, Pro Mods Top Division 7 Drag Races This Weekend

Drag racing fans are in for a high-speed treat at this weekend’s NHRA Division 7 Drag  Races, presented by Korbel, at the drag strip in Sonoma.

­Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car will return to the quarter-mile in Sonoma, as will the West Coast Outlaw Pro Modifieds, which should make for an outstanding weekend of drag racing. In all, there will be 12 categories of racing and more than 400 entrants.

Qualifying takes place on Friday beginning at 8:15 a.m., with final eliminations beginning on Saturday at 2 p.m. and all-day Sunday. Cost is $5 on Friday and $20 per day on Saturday and Sunday. A three-day pass is $45. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paid adult and parking is free. This event is part of the Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series.

The Top Alcohol categories will be topped by the husband-wife team of Jim and Ann Marie Whiteley. Jim, who took the Top Alcohol Dragster win in Sonoma in 2010, is the current national points leader for Top Alcohol Dragster, while Ann Marie is fourth in Top Alcohol Funny Car national points. The duo is from Grand Junction, Colo.

Other top racers expected to compete in Top Alcohol Dragster are Chris Demke and Joey Severance, while Funny Car will feature Jay Payne and Steve Gasparrelli. You can expect top speeds in the 270 mile-per-hour range in Top Alcohol Dragster and 260 mph in Funny Car. This marks the first visit to Sonoma by the Top Alcohol cars since 2010.

San Dimas' Mike Maggio posted the fastest speed in the five-year history of the West Coast Outlaw Pro Modified Series, with two passes of better than 261 mph in British Columbia, Canada. He posted the win, as well. Redding’s Rod Burbage, the 2011 Outlaw points champion, won the first race of the season in Idaho. Burbage expects a healthy 17-car field, as everyone loves to race in Sonoma. This is the third race of the year for Pro Mods.

“It’s a great track and makes lots of speed,” Burbage said. “I just think we’re going faster and faster, and we’ll go even faster than what we did in British Columbia. Maggio wants to go 270 (mph).”

Maggio returns as the defending champion in Sonoma, having bested Dan Nickelson in the 2011 finals. Danville’s Marc Meadors, who placed second in points last year behind Burbage, is expected to make his 2012 Pro Mod debut in Sonoma.

For tickets or more information on the NHRA Division 7 Drag Races, presented by Korbel, visit racesonoma.com or call 800-870-RACE (7223).