SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 21, May 26, 2011

NHRA: Massey Gets First Win of the Season; Hight Wins Third of the Year at Topeka

 

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NEWS NUGGETS

MASSEY GETS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON; HIGHT WINS THIRD OF THE YEAR, GRAY GRABS SECOND WIN OF CAREER AT TOPEKA: A week after collecting his first No. 1 qualifier of the season in Atlanta, Top Fuel pilot Spencer Massey raced to his first win of the season in his first final round of the season Sunday at the NHRA Summer Nationals in Heartland Park Topeka. Massey drove his Prestone/FRAM dragster past runner-up Bob Vandergriff to secure his third career win. For Vandergriff, it was his 13th runner-up finish without a win, the most in NHRA history.

“We have the consistency now and that’s what it takes to do it,” said Massey. “We’ve smoked our tires and beat ourselves. At Atlanta, we talked about getting down the track and make the other car beat us and that’s what we did (reaching the semis), and we did it again here at Topeka.”

Massey moved up one spot to fourth place in the point standings with the win. In Funny Car, defending event winner Robert Hight secured his second consecutive win at Heartland Park Topeka and third win of the season when he powered his Auto Club Ford Mustang past teammate Mike Neff, who was making his third final-round appearance in three races.

“I came to this race 16 years ago to be a part of John Force Racing and I thought then my dreams had come true,” said Hight. “I didn’t know what I was going to do, I didn’t care. To be part of history like this, 200 wins (for John Force Racing), this is now my dream come true. This is unbelievable.”

Hight’s win kept him secure in his third-place standing in the points, while teammate Neff still sits at the top. In Pro Stock, sophomore driver Shane Gray raced to his first win of the season and second of his career when he was able to hold off Greg Stanfield in the final round at Topeka.

“We’ve struggled pretty much since the year started, had car issues, engine issues, we just went back to the shop, regrouped, dissected the motor, dissected people, made probably 100 test runs, came here and the car ran really well,” said Gray.

With the win, Gray and his Service Central Pontiac GXP moved from outside the top 10 point standings in Pro Stock to ninth place. To see how all the drivers finished at Sunday’s NHRA Summer Nationals, visit NHRA.com.

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GARLITS, MATCH RACE HIGHLIGHT ENGLISHTOWN 60TH ANNIVERSARY THEMED ACTIVITIES: NHRA’s season-long celebration of its 60th anniversary will make a very special and important stop June 2–5 when it returns to one of the tracks where it all started, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, for the 42nd running of the NHRA SuperNationals. Fittingly, NHRA Top Fuel icon “Big Daddy” Don Garlits will be the NHRA legend honored at this year’s event. Garlits will participate in meet-and-greets and autograph sessions, and all fans with a Sunday ticket can walk side by side with him in NHRA’s wildly popular Track Walk with a Legend series. Garlits will also compete on the track against Darrell Gwynn in the Match Races for a Cause series to benefit the Darrel Gwynn Foundation and the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing. One match race will be held each of the three days of the race weekend, and Garlits and Gwynn will compete against one another in a series of ’60s-style exhibition drag races in custom-built, battery-powered dragsters. The dragsters are designed by noted race-car fabricator Mike Gerry and will bear period-authentic paint schemes. Tickets are still available for the NHRA SuperNationals. To purchase, call 800/43-RACES or go online at Racewaypark.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

NHRA SUPERNATIONALS, OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK, June 2–5: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its eighth stop of the season at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/43-RACES or go online at Racewaypark.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at avestal@nhra.com.

FORD NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS PRESENTED BY TRI-CITIES AREA FORD DEALERS, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, June 17–19:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Thunder Valley and its ninth stop on the circuit. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 423/989-6900 or go online at bristoldragway.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at zelcock@nhra.com.

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, June 23–26:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Norwalk, Ohio, and its 10th stop on the circuit. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 419/668-5555 or go online at summitmotorsportspark.tix.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at ssmith@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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NOT ENOUGH WHEN IT ‘COUNTED THE MOST': Top Fuel points leader Del Worsham on his second-round loss to Bob Vandergriff Sunday at the NHRA Summer Nationals: “We had low E.T. (elapsed time) four out of the six rounds we ran, but we didn’t have it in the round that counted the most.”

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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994, KURT JOHNSON MAKES FIRST SIX-SECOND RUN IN PRO STOCK: On May 20, 1994 at the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, second-generation driver Kurt Johnson became the first Pro Stock racer to eclipse the six-second barrier when he drove his Oldsmobile Cutlass to a 6.988-second run during Friday qualifying. It was only Johnson’s second year of racing in the Pro Stock category.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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25: Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Steve Johnson began his NHRA career 25 years ago at the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown. Johnson showed up with a rental box truck with his race bike tied down inside after his regular rig suffered a mechanical failure on the way to the event.

DID YOU KNOW…

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…that Funny Car driver Tony Pedregon is only three-round wins away (497) from reaching the 500-round win mark for his career, while Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson is only four-round wins away (496) from hitting 500? Which driver will hit 500 first and will either get it at the upcoming NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park?

For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.