Always a force to be reckoned with, no matter what the class or event, Tommy Phillips of Forney, Texas, showed his pure class domination to make it back-to-back Super Gas victories and successfully defend his event title during the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals held at Texas Motorplex, in Ennis, Texas.
Tommy Phillips won Super Gas at the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals held at Texas Motorplex
Tommy Phillips' Super Gas Tigerflow/K&N 1957 Corvette Roadster
Things started off very well for Phillips right from the start, when he made very good passes during the Super Gas time runs in his Tigerflow/K&N 1957 Corvette Roadster. "It just went out there and made three pretty flawless runs," he said. "All three runs we had good reaction times, everything made sense. But that car is like that. That's the car in the camp that you just don't worry about. That's the car, that when it does something wrong you're like 'Whoa, holy smokes', because you just aren't ready for it. It's just that good of a car."
"The Dallas race was no exception," Phillips continued. "It certainly had some drastic weather and wind conditions over that four day span and about as much as eleven or twelve hundredths difference in ET, as far as the weather and thing [Corvette Roadster] didn't miss more than a hundredth on any run."
Phillips made it safely past J. Richey in round one, only to set himself up for a second round match up, that had him just a little concerned. "James [Carter] is a very good friend of mine and lives in the same hometown as I do," he explained. "Honestly, I was pretty worried about that race, even though James is fairly new to our sport, he's only been doing it a couple of years now. But there is a problem with that, both of his cars I kinda set-up and get him going. So, I'm knowing that his car's pretty good and for whatever reason, he's been driving really well the last month or so."
Always doing his homework before each round, Phillips was quite aware of Carter's time runs and first round time slip. "I just didn't see him going above 9.90 [class index] and felt there was a pretty good chance that he was going to either be double-oh or even red on the tree," he continued. "So I left the delay alone in the box, because I didn't think the light was going to be as important as the dial. Luckily for me, he did redlight but sure enough he went 9.879. So I kinda had that round pegged pretty good really."
Phillips next victim was Ryan Baudoin. Both drivers were excellent off the line and Phillips was also deadly at the top end of the track when posted a 9.904, for a six thousandths of a second package and shutout Baudoin to move on to round four.
"I know him very well, too," said Phillips of Baudoin. "He's the guy that I don't like to race because that was the sixth time in a row that I had beat him and he's a good driver. You combine that with the fact that you've beat a guy five times in a row and you just don't like it. The odds are, sooner or later, that's going to catch up with you. I did not like that matchup at all, so I was pretty aggressive."
For round four, Phillips would find John Salter in the opposite lane and they were glued together nearly as much at the hit, as they were at the stripe. Just one thousandth of a second reaction time advantage for Phillips, turned into a tight twelve inches or four thousandths margin of victory for his K&N Corvette at the finish line.
"Normally, I would not be trying to make it that tight on a ninety-four run," confessed Phillips. "However, there were a couple of things factoring into that. I had a preconceived idea of how slow I thought it was and it was about eight or nine hundredths slower than our last run. I watched Jimmy Lewis make his bye run in front of me. We work together a little bit and I knew what he should have run and he was considerably slower. So I guarded against going slow in my car, but it was right where it should have been. I was actually going quite a bit faster than I would have been, had Jimmy not made that bye run in front of me. I was more guarded going down the racetrack thinking that I could be going an eighty-one or something and then not know it. So, I went with my basic instinct at that point, which is just get to the finish line first by as little as we possibly can."
Round five became a "two-for-one" for Phillips as he used his slight .003 starting line advantage over Val Torres Jr. and forced him into a fairly large under the index breakout, to not only win the round but earn the bye into the final.
Always a planner, how Phillips expected the Super Gas final round match up with Jay Peppler to play out was quite different. "He had been slow two rounds in a row and he's not ever won a national," explained Phillips. "I fully expected that I would drop to a 9.90 to a 9.91 and he would be going a 9.87 or 9.88. Because you know, it's a national event final, the race track is great. It's been completely scraped and they have drug it and sprayed it. You know you are going to pick up in the sixty [foot], which I did. I just didn't think he would catch all that, since he's not used to running in the late rounds on Sunday."
"He did let out of it, but I think he was only going about 9.95," he added. "My car did pretty much what I expected it to do. One more time, just for grins, I missed the tree again."
Phillips may not have had the best reaction time of the pair, but he did have his car much closer to the dial. Knowing where he was on the track, allowed him to so very easily take the stripe and feel comfortable that he was way over the index. The calculated down track decision put Phillips and his K&N Corvette Roadster into the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Super Gas winner's circle for the second consecutive year.
With three NHRA National Event wins and seven total victories for Phillips during the 2011 season, including sitting number one in NHRA Division 4 points in both Super Comp and Super Gas, he knows that a lot of his level of achievement can be attributed to the products he not only uses, but firmly stands by.
"K&N has such a fantastic product line not only for us racers, but for everyone to use on their vehicles," Phillips noted. "With what it takes to compete successfully at this level, or really any level of motorsports, you cannot risk one weak link in your operation. K&N products have always provided the level of protection that we need and come to expect from them. They are unsurpassed by anyone, anywhere. Oil filters, air filters, absolutely everything they put their mark on, K&N should be everyone's first choice."
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.