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Team Speed Society Weekend Wrap-Up: NHRA Fallen Patriots Route 66 Nationals

Team Speed Society had a bit of an off weekend at the NHRA Fallen Patriots Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Illinois, but as we all know, that is an unfortunate part of the sport we all know and love.

Alex Laughlin, driver of the Gas Monkey Energy Pro Stock Camaro, lost in the opening round to rival young gun Tanner Gray when his tuneup was a little too aggressive down low. “We had a little too much in it off the line,” Alex lamented. “As soon as I dumped the clutch, I felt the rear of the car step out and that’s all it takes to lose in this class.” Laughlin’s Elite Motorsports-powered Camaro will be idle for a few races due to limited funding, but the team will be back in action for the US Nationals in Indianapolis at the end of August. Until then, look for Alex to be in competition with his A/Fuel dragster, which also carries the Gas Monkey Energy colors, at upcoming events.

In Top Fuel, Leah Pritchett won her opening round race against Troy Coughlin Jr, but fell to DSR teammate Antron Brown in the second frame after smoking the tires for the first time all weekend in her Papa Johns Pizza dragster, despite tricky track temps that saw most every other car up in smoke at least once on the weekend. A mechanical issue in the clutch caused it to lock up sooner than expected, which led to the loss of traction. Understandably unhappy with the outcome, Leah noted, “The clutch regulator hung wide open and that’s why we smoked the tires. We hadn’t smoked the tires all weekend.”

Speed Society driver Clay Millican also fell to Brown, this time in the semifinals when Millican’s engine began mixing up the cylinders midtrack, prompting Clay to lift to save parts as Anton was streaking to a 3.78 pass. Millican’s Great Clips/Parts Plus dragster had and up and down weekend, struggling through qualifying, only to jump all the way up to the #4 spot in their last ditch effort on Saturday night. The team found consistency through the first two rounds, taking out Kyle Wurtzel and Shawn Langdon with back-to-back passes in the 3.80 range, but slowed to a 4.68 alongside Brown in the semis.

Brown would go on to the finals, where he fell to Steve Torrence in a stellar side-by-side race, with Torrence taking the win by a scant five thousandths of a second. Pritchett and Millican will be back in action in two weeks at Bandimere Speedway just outside Denver for the Mopar Mile High Nationals.