Now in his fourth season competing in his 1957 Corvette Roadster, Tommy Phillips has even more reason to love the car after he acquired his 23rd NHRA National Event during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee.
Tommy Phillips got his 23rd NHRA National Event win during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee.
Phillips, who competes very successfully in both Super Comp and Super Gas, found himself with an uncharacteristic early exit in Super Comp when he bowed out in round three to eventual class winner, Shane Carr. But it was a whole different story over in Super Gas.
Tommy Phillips' 1957 Tiger Flow/K&N Corvette Roadster
Phillips was on an absolute beeline for the final right from the start, with the very tight packages he put together in his Tiger Flow/K&N Corvette, in the ultra-competitive 9.90 index class.
In round one, Phillips put together a very safe .014 light and a 9.907 to take out his competition and place himself number four on the qualifying ladder for round two pairings where he would meet up with Richard Campbell. Campbell gave it a good shot, but with Phillips' .009 total package which included his near perfect reaction time, there was little room for him to get in and Phillips was on his way to round three.
It would be an easy lap for the Texas resident in the next round as his opponent, Dale Koncen was timed out at the tree, sending Phillips on a single and giving him an extra free shot at the track to dial his car in just that much more.
The competition single proved to be a bad thing for the gentleman in the other lane during Phillips' quarter final match up. With a .013 light and a dead-on 9.900 ET, Phillips held off Division 1 standout, Tom Stalba all while taking nearly foot feet at the stripe.
"That was the key round," he confessed. "I had just lost in Super Comp, and had to face Stalba in Super Gas. Anyone who follows the sport knows he's a top contender, so I had my hands full. He hit the brakes at the finish line, and I didn't do a horrible job but I took the stripe by more than I wanted to. It just worked out: 9.900. Like I said, that could've easily been 9.899. But when it's your day the thousandths fall your way. This time they fell my way."
Next Phillips sent David Owens packing in the semi-finals after more than doubling him at the hit and sailing past Owens 9.904 effort, when he squeezed the margin of victory to a mere .005 at the finish line.
Over on the other side of the ladder, Scott Lawton had a mixed bag of luck when his semi-final match up ended in a single after his competitor broke, but picked up a few gremlins of his own on his way to meet up with Phillips in the championship round.
With the Thunder Valley Nationals plagued by rain on two different occasions, NHRA was running rounds at a very rapid pace Sunday evening, with barely enough time for teams to do the minor between round maintenance, let alone anything major.
Lawton made it to the line but was unable to launch and could only sit and watch Tommy Phillips drive away to his 23rd NHRA National Event Wally, in his 29th final round.
"What can you say when things fall into place," noted Phillips. "My Tigerflow and K&N Engineering backed Corvette Roadster was flawless. My driving was pretty solid, and I got the breaks when I needed them. My first two opponents made really good runs, but we were able to be just a bit better. In the quarterfinals, I ran 9.900 against Tom Stalba. That could've easily been 9.899; and we might be talking about his victory. Then Scott Lawton broke in the semi's and limped the car up for the final round. Don't get me wrong, I'm ecstatic to win the race; but no one wants to win that way. I felt bad for him."
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