SEMA eNews Vol. 10, No. 26, June 28, 2007

LARRY DIXON WINS TWO IN A ROW AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

SNAKE DRIVERS DIXON AND JOHNSON JR. DOUBLE UP AT E-TOWN: Drag-racing legend Don “Snake” Prudhomme celebrated a double-win Sunday as his two drivers—Larry Dixon in Top Fuel and Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car—pulled off a pair of wins at the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2. It is Dixon’s second win in a row and Johnson Jr.’s first win of 2007. Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson collected his sixth win of the season and 49th career win, tying him with Prudhomme for sixth place on the NHRA POWERade Series’ all-time winner’s list. Pro Stock rider Craig Treble defeated defending POWERade champion Andrew Hines to pick up his first “Wally” of the season. 

TECHNICOAT TO SPONSOR NHRA TOP FUEL SHOOTOUT: Officials from NHRA announced this past week that Technicoat, a West Coast leader in waterproofing and shot-blasting services, will sponsor the NHRA Top Fuel Shootout in 2007. “We are pleased to welcome a progressive company like Technicoat into the sport of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing as a sponsor of one of the highest profile events within the series,” said Gary Darcy, senior vice president of sales and marketing, NHRA. “With their company’s support, the Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout will be one of the most exciting bonus events of the season, featuring the best Top Fuel teams in the world battling to win $100,000.” The lucrative “all-star race-within-a-race,” which returns to its original format, showcases eight of the best-performing Top Fuel teams in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, as determined over 23 races and will be contested during qualifying at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, October 27.

LEGENDARY MOTORSPORTS JOURNALIST ECONOMAKI PRESENTED LIFETIME NHRA MEDIA AWARD AT ENGLISHTOWN: Legendary American motorsports journalist Chris Economaki was honored this past Friday with a Lifetime NHRA Media Award prior to the first round of qualifying at the ProCare RX NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, New Jersey. Economaki, 86, was presented the award by Jerry Archambeault, NHRA vice president of public relations and communications, in a brief ceremony at the starting line. Economaki was honored in recognition of his many decades of providing superior coverage of motorsports with passion, dedication and excellence. Known best as publisher of National Speed Sport News, Economaki has covered just about every type of automobile racing for various forms of media. He has worked as a pit reporter for ABC’s "Wide World of Sports," CBS Sports, and as a contributor to ESPN "Speedweek" and TBS’ "Motorweek Illustrated." He also worked as an analyst for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network.

ASHLEY FORCE, TROXEL, SAMPEY APPEAR ON "GOOD MORNING AMERICA": NHRA stars Ashley Force, Melanie Troxel, and Angelle Sampey appeared on ABC’s "Good Morning America" with hosts Diane Sawyer, Chris Cuomo, Robin Roberts and Sam Champion this past Thursday. In an interesting segment, each racer discussed her race vehicle, and Sampey let the hosts try out the saddle of her U.S. Army Suzuki. For pictures of the event, visit www.nhra.com/content/news.asp?articleid=21324&zoneid=8

GAINESVILLE TOWER DEMOLITION COMPLETED: Demolition is complete on the old Gainesville Raceway control tower, in preparation for the construction of a new state-of-the-art control tower that will house track offices, race-control operations and a spacious media center, directly behind the quarter-mile dragstrip. For updated photos of the demolition, visit www.nhra.com/content/news/21280.htm

FORMER TAD RACER TORSTVEIT NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: Phoenix-area heart surgeon, teacher, and international lecturer and philanthropist Jeremy Torstveit, a former national event-winning Alcohol Dragster racer and current National DRAGSTER columnist, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2007 for his work since 1992 in developing children’s heart surgery in southeast Asia. Torstveit, who received prior nominations in 2000 and 2002, has provided technical and financial assistance in Cambodia and Thailand, and helped originate and develop state-of-the-art children’s open-heart programs in Sri Lanka during a difficult economic and political climate.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, NORWALK, OHIO, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, JUNE 28–JULY 1: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will make its first appearance at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. Catch all your favorite Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers as they battle it out at this inaugural event.

O’REILLY NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS, BRISTOL, TENNESSEE, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, JULY 6–8: Rescheduled from its original date due to track surface conditions, this favorite stop for drivers never fails to produce an exciting weekend for racing. Defending event winners include Doug Kalitta, Ron Capps and Jason Line.

MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, DENVER, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, JULY 13–15: The 13th stop on the 23-race schedule, Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers will head to the “Mile-High” city to compete in the fourth of a six-races, six-weeks schedule. Defending event winners include J.R. Todd, Gary Scelzi, Dave Connolly and Andrew Hines.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

9: The number of wins held by the top five drivers in points in the Top Fuel category out of 10 events. Melanie Troxel, currently sixth in the points standings, who is only 16 points ahead of eighth place Bob Vandergriff Jr., holds the lone win outside the top five.

DRIVERS TELL ALL

FUNNY CAR DRIVER TOMMY JOHNSON JR. ON HIS ENGINE EXPLOSION IN ENGLISHTOWN: Before coming back and winning the event, Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. started his day off with a first-round explosion that nearly took him out of contention on Sunday at Englishtown. “We had to change everything after that fire, right down to the fuel tanks,” Johnson said. “That was a bad fire. It snuck up on me because the run was going fine and then, blam, there was this huge fireball. I hit the bottles, but it was still very hot in there. I had oil on my tires, and I was trying the best I could to stop and get out but the damage was already done.”

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.