Tommy Phillips drove his K&N/CBS Arc Safe backed Corvette to the Super Gas victory at last weekend’s NHRA Division 4 LODRS event at Houston Raceway Park. The win continued an incredible run for the Texan, who has now claimed five major NHRA event wins in his last four events, dating back to mid-August.
“Honestly, I’m at a loss for words when I try to explain these last two months,” said Phillips. “Coming into August, I felt like this had been one of my worst seasons in several years, but now it’s shaping into one of my most memorable. The race in Houston was just a microcosm of the last few events; I was happy with my car and my driving for the most part, but I was really fortunate and got some big breaks at opportune times. That’s really what it comes down to.”
Phillips biggest break, according to him, came in his final round confrontation with newly crowned NHRA Super Gas world champion Jeff Lopez. There, Lopez took a significant starting line advantage, .007 to .028, but Phillips got the nod by the slimmest of margins in a double breakout affair. His 9.894 defeated Lopez’s 9.893.
“Jeff is a great racer, and I couldn’t be happier to see him and his family earn the championship this season. In the final, I thought I had a better reaction than I did, but I knew he moved first by quite a bit. I bumped some time out of the throttle stop to speed the car up and make up for that starting line deficit. At the finish line, I just hit the brakes to let him go and hoped for the best. In the end, it worked out, but just barely. That could have easily gone the other way. Earlier in the season, I lost all of those close races; but here lately it seems like they’ve all fallen my way. That’s the difference, we’re talking about a thousandth of a second.”
To earn a spot in the final, Phillips defeated Dillon Bontrager, Lamar Swindoll, Robby Lopez, and Jason Richey. He also advanced to the third round of competition in his K&N/CBS Arc Safe backed Super Comp dragster.
Phillips’ victory marked his fifth NHRA title in four events, and the third in his Super Gas machine over that stretch. He began his hot streak with a Super Gas victory at the NHRA Division 5 event in Cordova, IL. He then drove to the Super Comp title at the biggest event on the NHRA schedule, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. He followed up that performance with a rare double victory at his hometown national event, the AAA Texas Nationals in Ennis, TX where he won both Super Comp and Super Gas. His latest victory in Houston catapulted Phillips into the national top ten, all but guaranteeing the 21st top ten finish of his illustrious career.
In addition to his major sponsors, K&N Engineering and CBS Arc Safe, Phillips wished to credit Sterling Volkswagen of Abilene, Robert and Wynette Hudgins of Lee-A Inc., Art and Randy Zunker of Team Beyond Reason Motorsports, Brett Patterson, and Duane and Heidi Robison. He also thanked Sunset Racecraft, Hughes Performance, Lucas Oil Products, Hoosier Racing Tire, TNT Supercars, and VP Racing Fuels for their role in his winning combination. Keep up with Tommy’s racing exploits by friending him on Facebook: Tommy Phillips.