Mountain View Racing NHRA Pro Stock driver Vincent Nobile won the battle when he defeated Shane Gray in the opening round of this weekend’s NHRA Toyota Super Nationals in Englishtown, N.J. but lost the war when a broken engine prevented him from continuing in eliminations. Nobile, who lives in Dix Hills, N.Y., but considers the Englishtown track to be his home, was approaching the finish line at more than 200-mph in his Mountain View Racing Dodge and leading opponent Gray when he heard a loud bang. Nobile won the round with a 6.536 elapsed time, but a post race inspection revealed two broken connecting rods. Led by team owner Nick Mitsos and Nobile’s father, John, the Mountain View crew quickly sprung into action and quickly replaced the damaged engine with a fresh HEMI power plant supplied by teammate Allen Johnson. That’s when things went from bad to worse for the Mountain View team as the initial fire up revealed a mechanical problem in the new engine so the team quickly went the nearly impossible task of installing a third engine in the car in the allotted time frame of just over an hour. The team nearly finished the job but ultimately had to concede the round when they simply ran out of time.
“Five minutes; that’s all we needed,” said Nobile. “My crew worked their butts off and we almost got the car finished but we probably needed five more minutes to get to the starting line. It’s a really tough way to lose but I’m proud of the whole Mountain View team for the effort they put into this. I’m pretty convinced that if they couldn’t get the car finished in time, no other team could have.”
Although it ended on a disappointing note as Nobile watched would-be opponent Erica Enders make a single run into the semifinal round, there were some bright spots for the Mountain View crew. Nobile once again qualified solidly with a 6.537 elapsed time that was good for the No. 5 spot. He also padded his lead in the battle to make the exclusive eight-car field for the upcoming K&N Horsepower Challenge in Norwalk, Ohio. Nobile is in seventh place and now leads eighth-ranked Rodger Brogdon by 60 points with two qualifying events remaining.
“All this year, our goal has been to qualify for the K&N Horsepower Challenge and that dream is becoming a reality,” said Nobile. “We’re very close to clinching our spot and hopefully we can do that at the next race in Bristol.”
Nobile is also holding firm to the fourth spot in the Full Throttle Pro Stock standings as the battle to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs reaches the mid-way point. The top ten drivers in each professional class have the opportunity to compete in the six-race playoffs to determine the season champions.
Following a much needed week off, the Mountain View team will return to action on June 15-17 at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at scenic Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn.