People, Places & Racing News

NEW DATE FOR THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

O’REILLY NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS RESCHEDULED: NHRA and Bristol Dragway officials announced on Sunday that the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Q has been rescheduled for July 6–8, 2007. The concrete launch pad of the quarter-mile dragstrip surface was recently replaced and track officials along with NHRA officials have been working to prepare the track for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event, originally scheduled for May 18–20. Track officials contacted NHRA officials last week to advise them that the process of getting the racetrack race-ready was taking longer than expected. After a week-long process of trying to correct the situation, both organizations decided that the track’s new concrete surface was still not setting properly and would not be ready for this week’s event.  “We sent in our people to work with the team at Bristol Dragway to try and bring the surface around, but unfortunately it is not going to be raceable for this weekend,” said Graham Light, senior vice president of racing operations, NHRA. “In the interest of the safety and quality of the show, we weren’t left with a lot of options but to reschedule the event.”  The O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Q, July 6–8, 2007, will be run under the same schedule as originally planned beginning with qualifying on Friday night, followed by racing on Saturday and Sunday.  

JUNIOR DRAGSTER UP FOR AN AWARD: Gunnar Boelman, a 13-year-old from Diamond Bar, California, is one of 16 finalists for the Cartoon Network Props awards. The awards recognize kids who demonstrate an exceptional talent, commitment and accomplishment in a single area of expertise. Boelman began driving in the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Jr. Drag Racing League just over a year ago. In the short time he has been driving his junior dragster, he has been a runner-up in an event and had a seventh-place finish in the year-end standings. His home track is Auto Club Dragway at California Speedway in Fontana, California. Boelman and his stepfather Dave Osborne are anxiously waiting for September 1 when the six lucky winners are named. For more information and to vote  visit http://www.cartoonnetwork.com/promos/props.
 
INDY SHOPS TO BE OPEN DURING INDY 500 WEEKEND: Fans attending the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway will have the opportunity to visit some of the top NHRA POWERade Racing Series team shops that are located in the Indianapolis area. Many auto-racing shops in the Northfield Drive-South Point Circle area of Brownsburg, Indiana, will open their doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. Local businessman Mike Green is organizing the event and expects a great turnout from race fans and the local community. “Brownsburg has always had a rich history in racing, and recently we have added to the types of racing and racing entities in our town,” Green said. “This event is to showcase to the citizens of Brownsburg and race fans everywhere in the racing industry that we are home to.” The Brownsburg Motorsports Network includes teams from the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, United States Auto Club (USAC), World of Outlaws and the ARCA Stock Car series. Many manufacturers and suppliers also find themselves along the Northfield Drive-South Point corridor.  Shops expected to participate in the Open House tours are, but not limited to, Don Prudhomme Racing, Don Schumacher Racing, Gotham City Racing, Indy Speed & Custom, Impact! Racing, Morgan Lucas Racing and Tuttle Motorsports. Fans are encouraged to begin their tours at Indy Speed & Custom, 1500 E. Main Street (Rt. 136), Brownsburg, where maps highlighting the participating shops that will be available.
 
CAPPS TO DRIVE ON DIRT: Ron Capps, the driver of the Brut Revolution Funny Car, will be testing his dirt-racing skills against some of the best NASCAR drivers on June 6 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. He will be participating in the Nextel Prelude to the Dream charity race which raises money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Tony Stewart Foundation. “I know our NHRA POWERade Drag Racing fans are all going to be tuning in to see how well we do,” Capps said. “It’s exciting for me to know that NHRA drag racing has the best fans and that they will be tuning in to see how a drag racer will hold up.”  This is the third time that Capps will be participating in the race which will be telecast by HBO for Pay-Per-View. In the previous two events, he finished ninth and fourth while driving the dirt late-model stock cars for 30 laps.

MILLICAN NEEDED TO BE SERIOUS FOR TV SHOW: The always happy and smiling Top Fuel driver Clay Millican had to be serious during the filming of the SPEED TV program “Blow It Up.” Millican, who drives his Knoll Gas dragster in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series on weekends, is the host of a show where he devises a number of ways to blow up engines in cars. He would tell the drivers of the various cars, from Volkswagens to Top Sportsman cars, what he wanted done. Some of the things Millican had them try were 30-second burnouts, launches and hot-lapping until the engine blows up. The hardest thing for him during the filming was to remain serious. “Every 30 seconds it was like, ‘Cut, cut, cut, Clay, quit smiling,’” Millican said. “Man, that's hard for me.”
 
RECORDS FELL DURING NHRA SPORT COMPACT SPRINGNATIONALS: The NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series saw a weekend of unbelievable action May 5–6. Six national records in four of the five categories were set at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. The most impressive records were set by Marty Ladwig in his Pro FWD Lucas Oil Chevy Cobalt.  He set the time record at 7.27 seconds and the speed record at 201.55. He still remains the only Pro FWD racer to surpass the 200-mph barrier, and he has accomplished this four times this year for a total of five times in his career with the NHRA. Others driving to records were Brad Personett in Pro RWD (6.64 seconds), Brent Rau in Modified (7.06 seconds), Paul Efantis in Modified (192.36 mph) and Jeremy Lookofsky in Honda Tuning magazine All Motor (146.31 mph).
 
COMING ATTRACTIONS
 
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-event “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 NHRA ROUTE 66 NATIONALS, JOLIET, ILLINOIS, ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, JUNE 7–10: NHRA legend John Force holds the track record here (4.665 seconds) and he has won three of his NHRA-record 122 races at the spectacular raceway, which hosted its first NHRA POWERade Series race in 1998.
 
INSIDE THE NUMBERS

6: With the re-scheduling of the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Q to July 6–8, this is the number of weeks in a row that drivers will be crossing the country to race, beginning with the NHRA Supernationals, June 21–24 at Englishtown, New Jersey and finishing with the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 27–29 at Sonoma, California. The other four races in that six week span will be: Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, June 28–July 1 at Norwalk, Ohio; Mopar Mile-High Nationals, July 13–15 at Denver; and the Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, July 20–22 at Seattle.

DRIVERS TELL ALL

WHAT MOTHERS DO FOR THEIR RACING CHILDREN: In his NHRA blog Tommy Johnson Jr., the Funny Car driver of the Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS, explained what it is like to have a mother who helped him recognize his dream of driving in the POWERade Drag Racing Series. “I want to wish my mom Happy Mother's Day. She has been so good to me, and I want to let her know much I appreciate it. My parents made so many sacrifices for me to be able to race, but especially my mom. She stayed home and worked while my dad and I were out racing. She gave up a lot of things for me to have a racing career, so I just want to tell her thanks. Love you Mom!”

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.