- Wednesday 30 November, -0001
Nate Van Wagnen of Top Alcohol News
Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Cassie Simonton was uninjured following a run-in with the retaining wall at the NHRA Gatornationals. The first round incident was a disappointing end to an otherwise promising season-opening race for Simonton and her Kon Rodz Racing team.
“Testing went really well and the car was showing promise this weekend. Randy Anderson had the car running five-sixties so we can't say it was a bad weekend. We're optimistic about the way the car was running despite the first round loss,” Cassie said.
Simonton improved her numbers on every qualifying pass, ending with a 5.66 and 5.62 to qualify No. 11. She would face Dale Brand first round; the same first round opponent she lost to at last year's Gatornationals.
Cassie left the starting line with her best reaction time of the weekend, but Brand already had the lead. Simonton's Randy Anderson-tuned alcohol Funny Car left hard with the front wheels in the air, leading her towards the left retaining wall.
“Unfortunately a few of the funny cars had problems with the groove pulling them to the left of the lane. The car left hard with the wheels up and started drifting towards the wall. I let off the throttle, the car hooked and slammed into the wall,” Simonton commented.
The scrape with the wall was the first major incident for the Minnesotan driver, now in her fifth season driving Spiro Kontos' KonRodzRacing.com entry.
“It was upsetting to damage the race car. I felt bad about that. That was my first time hitting the wall. It was a learning experience. Hopefully it never happens again, but if it does I will be able to react better.”
The Kon Rodz Racing car also escaped without any serious damage.
“There really wasn't much damage done to the car,” added the former Junior Dragster driver. “The Hedman Hedders held up. The headers were damaged so we're having those replaced. Other than that the damage was cosmetic; a few scrapes on the body. We'll have the paint touched up and be ready for the next race in Charlotte.”
Simonton was sure to express gratitude towards her crew for their hard work during testing and the Gatornationals. She also thanked team owners Spiro, Fay, and Stefan Kontos, as well as the team's sponsors.
Cassie Simonton and the Kon Rodz Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car team will continue their season in a few weeks at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, April 11-13. Cassie Simonton will also be competing at the 8th Annual Mickey Mart Rewards "Cavalcade of Stars" presented by Budweiser, May 16-18, 2014 at Summit Motorsports Park.
Kon Rodz Racing is an NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team owned by Canadian businessman Spiro Kontos. Minnesota native Cassie Simonton drives the team's KonRodzRacing.com Monte Carlo Alcohol Funny Car in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Spiro, Cassie, and the entire Kon Rodz team are grateful to the companies who support their racing program: Rat Pack Apparel, CRC Industries, Aerodine Composites Group, Bell Helmets, CleanBoost Performance Oils, Boninfante Friction, Nick Pastura Motorsports, Sparco USA, Goodyear Tire, NGK Spark Plugs, MAHLE/Clevite, Goodson Tools, and Hedman Hedders.
For more information on Kon Rodz Racing, please visit www.KonRodzRacing.com. Keep up with Cassie and the team on Facebook (www.facebook.com/konrodzracing) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/cassiesimonton and www.twitter.com/konrodzpr).