MCMILLEN, WILKERSON, A. STANFIELD, R. SMITH WIN VRHRA CLASH AT THE COUNTY
With the National Hot Rod Association currently on hiatus due to the growing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, leading online drag racing magazine Competition Plus has decided to fill the gap with a fun, new online drag racing league.
The Virtual Reality Hot Rod Association (VHRA) founded by CompetitionPlus.com launched this week on CompetitionPlus.com with an online, fan-vote style competition complete with multiple rounds of qualifying and eliminations.
The VHRA will pit real NHRA racers in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Modified classes against one another in an interactive “race” similar to past fan-vote competitions on CompetitionPlus.com.
The three-race VRHRA season opened with round one, round two and round three eliminations March 19-21 at Orange County International Raceway, a well-known facility in the drag racing community until its closure in 1983.
The winners from Orange County consisted of Terry McMillen in Top Fuel, Funny Car fan-favorite Tim Wilkerson, up-and-coming Pro Stock standout Aaron Stanfield, Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran Karen Stoffer and Pro Mod world champion Rickie Smith.
“I was able to beat my ol’ buddy Clay, and this feels absolutely amazing,” McMillen said. “I would like to say a thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for all the racers. Now, I want to produce this win in real life. It’s just really cool to have this happen from the fans when there’s not a whole lot anybody can do right now. I’m very appreciative of my fans and my team and everybody for voting to make this happen.”
McMillen won the U.S. Nationals in 2018 and now he can add the inaugural race win in the VRHRA.
“Because it is first virtual drag race being contended, this is just like winning Indy,” McMillen said.
McMillen said the fans help fuel his racing passion.
“The fans are always telling me they are rooting for me and they like the way I do things,” he said. “Those compliments keep you motivated, and those kind words are overwhelming. It makes you want to go out there and leave it on the line.”
McMillen can’t wait for normalcy to return so he can get back to racing.
“In this lifestyle we have, we’re supposed to be on the road,” McMillen said. “We’re already home too long. It’s truly unfortunate what’s going on in the world today, but ultimately to make it a better place they have to get control of what we are up against first. If that means we don’t race for a little bit, so be it.”
Wilkerson also was thrilled to be a part of VRHRA history.
“It feels good to beat John Force,” he said. “I beat him in Phoenix, I just forgot to leave on time. This is a great honor. I appreciate all the fans who were involved in this. We have been diligently busy at the shop trying to get all our junk in a pile and make it ready when we really go racing, and this is a great honor. I feel privileged to have such great fans. What I miss more than anything about not racing is the people.”
In Top Fuel, No. 1 qualifier Terry McMillen went wire-to-wire, beating Clay Millican in the final round, 54 percent to 46 percent.
Funny Car was a shocker as fan-favorite Tim Wilkerson stunned legend John Force in the finals, 65 percent to 35 percent.
Pro Stock’s Aaron Stanfield, the No. 1 qualifier, edged fellow young gun Kyle Koretsky 51 percent to 49 percent.
Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor Karen Stoffer marched to victory by upending No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith in the semifinals and then going on to oust No. 2 qualifier Angelle Sampey in the finals, 53 percent to 47 percent. Stoffer was the No. 5 qualifier.
The Pro Mod class was a hard-fought battle as veteran star Rickie Smith muscled past Stevie “Fast” Jackson 51 percent to 49 percent. Jackson was the No. 1 qualifier.