London Ontario’s Paul Noakes has moved to the top of the NHRA Regional standings following a very timely breakthrough event win last weekend….
The driver of the Les Mellows-tuned Meritor-sponsored TAFC Ford Mustang scored during the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event held at National Trail Raceway near Columbus Ohio.
After qualifying #2 for the 8-car field, Paul out gunned opponents Tony Bogolo and (fellow Canadian) Tyler Scott in rounds one and two to earn his final round birth. Then in the championship round he unloaded the most impressive pass of the weekend at 5.835 secs at 247.97 mph (low ET) to defeat scheduled opponent Chris Foster – who broke.
For Noakes, who has won on the NHRA national event level tour — this victory was in fact his first at the NHRA Regional level. And the win moved him into a first place tie in NHRA Lucas Oil North Central Regional points with Todd Robertson.
“Originally the Columbus event was not on our schedule this year,” said Noakes. “Our focus has been on attending national events but of course we have to do three regionals to allow us to choose the Nationals that we would like to attend.”
“Going into this race we were 2nd in points — only 2 rounds out of first. At this race the track was challenging especially the right lane — but on the last qualifier the track had improved and we ran 5.92 which put us #2 qualifier. One race day the track conditions came around as there was some cloud coverage. For the final because the conditions allowed it — we stepped it up and flew down the track setting low ET for the weekend with a 5.835!!! We won, which brings me to a tie in the regional points for first place.”
Next up for Meritor Racing Team is a scheduled appearance closer to home — they will be in action during Grand Bend Motorplex’s annual Stratford Spectacular event (Aug. 7-9th). After that the race team focus will shift back to their NHRA Regional and World Championship points aspirations with events at Bowling Green KY and then the marquee U.S. Nationals at Indy on the radar.