While Dan Fletcher didn't consider win latest victory, "pretty, but effective enough to win", the dynamic sportsman racer from Churchville, New York may just have a different take on the weekend's events than the "Average Joe".
NHRA Drag Racing Champion Dan Fletcher
After Gainesville, Fletcher parked his rig and cars outside of Atlanta in preparation for the Concord 4-Wide event and flew to Las Vegas to drive his friend, Dave Bridgewater's Comp Eliminator car and his Stock car, although Fletcher entered it in Super Stock.
"Qualifying was hot, hot and slick," Fletcher reflected. "The track wasn't all that stellar on the starting line. The first run was a throwaway, we had some problems. The second lap we made a decent lick, I think we were eight or nine [on the ladder]."
"There were only twenty-eight cars total," he continued. "The third session we spun and didn't get down good and got bumped all the way down to sixteenth. So that gave us number two in the first round, which was not a good draw obviously. He was faster than us and even if we made a good run he would still be a couple of hundredths quicker than us."
Coming into the 12th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Fletcher had an astounding seventy NHRA National Event wins, with twelve of them coming in Comp Eliminator and with that much racing knowledge, he certainly had a game plan for round one.
"If you beat him you are probably going to have to use up index to win the round," he said of his first round pairing with Clint Sallee. "If I did beat him I was going to have [Dave] Rampy second round and the future just didn't look very bright."
With a little bit of luck on Fletcher's side for the first time during the event, Sallee pulled up the red in round one and sent him on to meet up with fellow K&N competitor Dave Rampy in round two. Both able to come into to the round clean or no CIC penalty after round one.
"As the situation played out, round two was run Sunday morning when the track was still in good shape," explained Fletcher. "So we made a good run against Rampy and I hit the tree good. You know if we made a good run, we were probably about equally as fast [as Rampy]. He was a little late, so that enabled me to get down there, kill a little and still get there first."
Even though the round win cost him .05 CIC, Fletcher was starting to have a little different outlook on the remaining rounds. "So fortunes we changing a little bit," he said. "What wasn't looking so good, now wasn't looking so bad."
In round three, Fletcher slayed Jeff Lane on the tree giving himself .044 starting line advantage and showing how it's done at the stripe, he cut that down to .009 for the win and no additional CIC.
The semi-finals would pair Fletcher up with 2010 Division 6 Champion, Aaron Strong who also was carrying a CIC hit into the round, but .03 less than Fletcher. The K&N champ made up a bunch of it right off the line, by bettering Strong's reaction time by .02 and on to the final.
"I knew it was going to be an interesting final," he explained. "I knew I couldn't go fast enough to do permanent damage [CIC]. I thought I was just going to hold it wide open and not even look. That plan was aborted at about three-hundred feet when I looked up and saw my win light was on."
Alan Ellis was down .04 going up against the champ, and threw away his chance at a fourth NHRA National Event win by a .016 premature launch, handing Dan Fletcher his thirteenth NHRA National Comp Eliminator Wally, seventy-first overall.
"You know I thought going into the whole event, after qualifying, that my chances at doing well were actually better in Super Stock," Fletcher confessed. "And once we got going I thought I may even have a chance at winning in both, but it didn't work out that way for me in Super Stock."
Fletcher is quick to point out that whether he is driving his familiar K&N Chevy Camaros or his friend's cars, like he did in Las Vegas, they are all fully equipped with K&N products.
"The Comp car has all the same K&N products on it that took us to a World Championship in that car two years ago," he said. "They all served us well again this weekend. As you look across the Comp ranks, I can guarantee you that we put more runs on our motor between freshen ups than any other teams do. We all know that a big part of that is an oil system and an oil filter that keeps everything lubricated and safe. And that's what K&N products do."
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.