FULLER AND BECKMAN AMONG DENVER WINNERS: Rod Fuller raced to his second victory of the season at scenic Bandimere Speedway near Denver and in the process extended his lead in the POWERade Series Countdown to the Championship point standings. Fuller outran teammate Whit Bazemore in the Top Fuel final, while other Denver winners included Jack Beckman in Funny Car, Allen Johnson in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
FORCE CONTINUES COUNTDOWN CLIMB: John Force continued his rise in the Funny Car point standings with a semifinal effort in Denver. Force defeated Gary Scelzi and Tony Pedregon in the first two rounds before losing to Jack Beckman in the semis with a red-light start. Over the past few weeks, Force has moved from 18th to ninth in the NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship standings. He is currently 16 points out of the eighth position. There are three races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship’s regular season. Following the race at Reading, Pennsylvania, on August 19, the championship fields in each pro category will be reduced to eight and the point standings will be reset. The Countdown to Four begins at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and continues for three more races through the event in Richmond, Virginia. Following that race, the fields will be reduced to four drivers in each pro category and points will be reset again for a two-race shootout at Las Vegas and Pomona, California, for the POWERade Countdown to the Championship Countdown to One.
NEW NHRA PLAYSTATION GAME COMING SOON: Official ship dates and a list of licensed racers and tracks for ValuSoft's new NHRA Countdown to the Championship PlayStation 2 and PlayStationPortable games have been released to NHRA.com, setting to itch thumbs and fingers for thousands of video-game-playing NHRA race fans. The game, the second produced by ValuSoft, comes on the heels of last year's well-received Quarter-Mile Showdown for the PS 2, will ship for the PS 2 console next week, July 17, and will be followed August 10 by the PSP version. Numerous other racers have been added in the other three Pro classes, including 2006's top rookie, J.R. Todd, and current Top Fuel points leader Rod Fuller, Tim Wilkerson, Jeff Arend, Warren and Kurt Johnson, Mike Edwards, and Erica Enders. Don Prudhomme and Jim Dunn reprise their roles as legends in the game. The Pro Stock Motorcycle category also has been added to the game. The number of licensed racers in the game now stands at 66, a whopping 30 more than in the last version.
LAS VEGAS XPLOD SPORT COMPACT SERIES RESULTS: Stephanie Eggum won her third straight NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series Hot Rod title at the fifth annual Las Vegas NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, defeating Kenny Tran, as she had in her prior wins. Eggum was joined in the winner’s circle by Gary White (Pro RWD), Jason Hunt (Pro FWD), Brent Rau (Modified) and Scott Kelley (Honda Tuning Magazine All Motor). Hunt’s win, sealed with a final-round victory over Gary Gardella, was his second in a row and third overall this season in Pro FWD while Rau scored for the second time this season after again defeating Paul Efantis. White’s Pro RWD was the second of his career while Kelley collected his sixth career win, but first this season, by defeating Leslie Armendariz.
SCHUCK’S AUTO SUPPLY NHRA NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, JULY 20–22: This fifth race in the string of six-in-six-weeks was traditionally the second stop of the legendary Western Swing. It’s sure to be an emotional one for Brandon Bernstein, who shared the winner’s circle with his friend, the late Eric Medlen, here in 2005.
FRAM-AUTOLITE NHRA NATIONALS, INFINEON RACEWAY, JULY 27–29: A favorite with the POWERade Series for its scenic local and Northern California weather, this event will be the last in the six-in-six-weeks stretch, the anchor of the longest stretch of back-to-back races in NHRA history.
.INSIDE THE NUMBERS
2: Only two races remain in the grueling six-races in six weeks stretch that the NHRA POWERade Series has been embarked on starting with the race in Englishtown, New Jersey, in late June. The outcomes at the final two stops of the traditional Western Swing—Seattle and Sonoma, California—may go a long way in determining the eight qualifiers in each pro category for the POWERade Countdown to the Championship’s Countdown to Eight, which concludes with the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, August 16–19 at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania.
DRIVERS TELL ALL
BECKMAN MAKES BIG COUNTDOWN MOVE: With his victory Sunday at Bandimere Speedway, Jack Beckman moved into the top eight in Funny Car points, holding down seventh position with four races remaining in the 17-race POWERade Countdown to the Championship regular season. "We were lingering down there around 10th or 11th (in points) and with this [Countdown] format, I think it's three separate seasons: until Indy, four races after Indy and the last two. So, you do look at it slightly different, but the purpose is still the same. We want to win every race we come to.”
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