Sonoma, CA: Justin Lamb likes racing in the Sonoma Valley. Lamb, a versatile and talented competitor, has enjoyed success in a variety of NHRA sportsman categories at facilities throughout the country, but no one race track has been quite as good to Lamb and his family as the one in Sonoma, CA. Last weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals brought yet another chapter in his story of success at the facility, as the 25-year-old drove his Sunstate Companies backed Chevrolet Cobalt to the Super Stock title with a final round triumph over Dave Raybourn. The win marked Lamb’s 9th NHRA national event victory, and his fourth in Sonoma.
“It’s hard to explain,” said Lamb, who hails from Henderson, Nevada, of his success in Sonoma. “There are just some venues that agree with particular racers. We’ve always had success here, so it’s like a shot of confidence when I come through the gate. The only tangible explanation I can give is that this is a really tricky track in terms of predicting weather and track changes as they affect these cars. The weather and the wind are constantly changing, and it can create huge swings in ET. We’ve got a lot of data here, and that allows me to really trust my setup each round. That’s one area where I feel like we’ve got an edge, particularly here in Sonoma.”
Lamb earned his first NHRA National Event crown in Sonoma back in 2007, when he hoisted the Super Comp “Wally.” Two years later, he nearly doubled at the northern California facility, again winning Super Comp in addition to taking runner-up honors in Super Stock. In 2010, Lamb failed to make the final round of the event, but Top Fuel pilot and former Super Comp World Champion, Shawn Langdon drove the Lamb family Camaro to victory in Super Gas. A day later, Lamb took the reins of the same machine and drove it to victory at the weather-delayed Arizona Nationals, which were originally to be held in Phoenix, but completed at… Sonoma.
Last season, local standout Eric Reyes drove the Lamb family Super Comp dragster to the Sonoma victory in Super Comp, leading up to Lamb’s 2012 title in Super Stock. In all, Lamb Motorsports machines have appeared in 7 national event final rounds in Sonoma, and earned 6 victories since 2007!
For his most recent triumph, Lamb wheeled his familiar Cobalt (a machine that has seen multiple victories in both Competition Eliminator and Super Stock) through a formidable field of Super Stock competitors. After working through Saturday’s opening rounds, Lamb was set to square off with fellow West Coast standout Gregg Luneack in Sunday’s quarterfinal round, but caught a break when Luneack suffered mechanical problems. Waiting in the semi-final round was the winningest racer in NHRA Super Stock history, Dan Fletcher. Fletcher and his familiar K&N Camaro came into the round riding a hot streak, having won the first leg of NHRA’s annual western swing the week prior in Denver. Lamb would outduel Fletcher on this occasion, however, posting a near perfect .001 reaction time and running 8.584 on his 8.56 target.
“That was definitely the key round,” said Lamb. “The final was a great race too, but the semi’s was big for several reasons. First off, it’s the semifinals. No one remembers who loses in the semis. Plus, there’s a huge swing in prize money from the semi-finalists to the finalists. On top of that, I was racing Dan Fletcher, who has won nearly 80 NHRA national events. I was happy with my lights all weekend, and made some minor adjustments to try to be high .00 or low .01 against Dan. I didn’t really intend to be .001, but it certainly worked out!”
In the final round, Lamb squared off with the Hemi of Dave Raybourn in a rare pairing of mid-8 second Super Stock machines. Lamb took the edge at the starting line, .021 to .040, and held on for the win by a scant .002 with an 8.586 on his 8.56 dial-in.
Lamb’s latest win highlights what has already been an impressive NHRA season. Justin earned a double victory on the divisional trail with Competition Eliminator and Super Gas titles at the NHRA Division 7 event in Fallon, NV. Two weeks later, the team ventured east to Chicagoland Speedway, where Justin earned the right to represent the Pacific Division in the prestigious JEGS All-Stars Competition. At that event, Lamb drove the same Sunstate Companies backed Cobalt that he wheeled to the Super Stock victory in Sonoma to a runner-up finish in Competition Eliminator. The points he accumulated in the event helped the Division 7 team earn the JEGS All-Stars team championship.
Lamb thanked his major sponsors, Power Probe and Sunstate Companies. He also credited Hogan’s Racing Manifolds, as their new intake manifold has greatly enhanced the performance and consistency of the winning Cobalt. The Lamb Motorsports team was also quick to recognize partner V. Gaines and the following marketing partners for their role in the team’s continued success: Madcap Racing Engines, JEGS, Safety Kleen, K&N Engineering, Lucas Oil, Goodyear Tires, Redback Boots, Matco Tools, Sunstate Companies, Book Racing Carbs, MTS, Palmer Electric, B&B Race Cars, Race Tech, Meziere Enterprises, Larry Allen, and Arnie Martel Racing.
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