Top 10 Stories From Our Archives
JACK MULDOWNEY PASSES AWAY AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS
PROCARE RX TO SPONSOR SUPERNATIONALS: ProCare Rx, a premier pharmacy benefit management company, has signed an agreement with the NHRA to become the title sponsor of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. The event sponsorship is the first involvement in NHRA for ProCare Rx. "We are pleased to welcome ProCare Rx into our family of national event sponsors in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series," said Gary Darcy, senior vice president of sales and marketing, NHRA. "As NHRA continues to welcome more non-traditional sponsors into the sport, we look forward to a mutually rewarding relationship with ProCare Rx as the title sponsor of the high-profile NHRA POWERade Series event at Englishtown."
JACK MULDOWNEY DIES: The man who started Shirley Muldowney on her way to drag-racing greatness, Jack Muldowney, passed away earlier this month due to cancer. He was 70 when he died on May 24. Shirley married Jack, who was an amateur racer, at the age 17. It was his love of cars that gave her the love of racing the quarter-mile. The two went on to rack up more than 200 wins in their early days of racing a variety of street cars and then an injected gas dragster. Muldowney, a longtime member of Schenectady New York's Road Kings Car Club, hand-built the first dragster in which Shirley earned her dragster license in 1965. Although they divorced in 1972, they remained good friends. "He was a great guy," said Shirley. "We got along great and kept our friendship all these years. He taught me how to drive; if it wasn't for him, I never would have been able to do what I've done. He really was the one."
HIGHT TO TEST ARM AT KAUFFMAN STADIUM: John Force Racing's Robert Hight, currently second in Funny Car points, will test his pitching ability prior to racing at Heartland Park Topeka this weekend. On Wednesday, May 30, Hight will throw out the honorary first pitch before the Kansas City Royals take on the Baltimore Orioles.
"THE PROFESSOR" GETS PULLED OVER: A few weeks ago the parking lot of Warren Johnson Enterprises looked more like a scene from a police television show than a working race team facility. Despite the official-looking nature of the event, including one officer issuing NHRA Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson a summons, there was no cause for alarm. With an unexpected break in the schedule, the GM Performance Parts GTO driver was simply giving back to his community, taking part in a photo shoot as part of a campaign to help promote safe driving. "The Elbert County Sheriff's Department contacted us before the Atlanta race to see if I would be interested in participating in a campaign to promote safe driving," said Johnson. "Naturally, I jumped at the chance, especially since it was aimed at younger drivers, who need as much help as they can get, although there are certainly a few older drivers who could also use some advice. We set a date, and they came by the shop, spending the better part of an afternoon taking different shots with a patrol car positioned behind our GM Performance Parts GTO and a sheriff towering over me as I sat in the car, as if he was writing a ticket. Even though I knew it was all staged, I have to admit it still gave me that familiar, uneasy feeling."
JEGS.COM MAKES A RETURN AS PRIMARY CAR SPONSOR: Jeg Coughlin Jr. wasn't without a primary sponsor for long before JEGS.com came to the rescue. The Internet home of his family owned Ohio-based business is returning to the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series as the primary sponsor of his Cagnazzi Racing Chevy Cobalt. Coughlin was sponsored before by his family business, including his two Pro Stock championship campaigns. JEGS.com is the Internet home of mail-order parts giant JEGS High Performance Parts. Coughlin, one of four brothers who took over the Delaware, Ohio-based company in 1998 from family patriarch Jeg Coughlin, won POWERade Series Pro Stock world championships in 2000 and 2002.
O'REILLY NHRA SUMMER NATIONALS (AND NHRA SPORT COMPACT NATIONALS), TOPEKA, KANSAS, HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, JUNE 1–3: The ninth race of the NHRA POWERade season, this marks the beginning of the turn for home in the 17-race "regular season" portion of the NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship. Drivers will begin jockeying for one of the top eight spots that will guarantee them a place in the second stage, the Countdown to 4.
NORTHEAST NHRA SPORT COMPACT NATIONALS, ATCO, NEW JERSEY, ATCO RACEWAY, JUNE 9–10: Defending champions at the popular stop on the Sport Compact circuit are: Brad Personett (Pro RWD), Bryan Jimenez (Pro FWD), Jorge Lazcano (Modified), Ron Lummus (Hot Rod) and Norris Prayoonto (Honda Tuning Magazine All Motor).
TORCO RACING FUELS ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS, JOLIET, ILLINOIS, ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, JUNE 7–10: NHRA legend John Force holds the track records for time and speed here (4.665 seconds, 333.58 mph) and he has won three of his NHRA-record 122 races at the spectacular raceway, that hosted its first NHRA POWERade Series race in 1998. This race also features the eight best Pro Stock cars from the last year racing for the $50,000 winner's share in the NHRA King Demon Crown bonus event.
PROCARE RX NHRA SUPERNATIONALS, ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK, JUNE 21–24: The drivers and riders of the NHRA POWERade Series return to the historic racetrack in Englishtown to begin the first of six race weekends in a row. Rod Fuller, Ron Capps, Jason Line and Matt Smith look to repeat their winning performances from 2006.
.INSIDE THE NUMBERS
8: The number of event wins John Force has in the Funny Car category at Heartland Park Topeka. His most recent win came in 2005 when he defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. He has the most wins in Funny Car at this track.
DRIVERS TELL ALL
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH: Morgan Lucas, driver of the Lucas Oil dragster, knows what it means to have a tough time, but he also realizes that he needs to keep going. He hasn't qualified for racing on Sunday in the last two races. "Sure, it's been tough," said Lucas. "Going through something like this would normally get me down, but I wasn't going to let that happen. We need to regroup and come out strong in Topeka and we have our full confidence in our Lucas Oil crew led by Rahn Tobler." Lucas' record at HPT is impressive with two consecutive semi-final appearances. His team lead the way in 2005 setting low elapsed time of the event at 4.502 seconds. "For some reason that track likes me," Lucas said. "Really, when the temperature rises our performance does also, and I'm very glad summer is coming on strong. We're going through the heart of our schedule the next nine weeks and we have to build momentum to carry us through it all. That will only happen if we can put our efforts towards the quarter-mile and gain the performance we're looking for."
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