BECKMAN SNATCHES SECOND WIN IN A ROW; SCHUMACHER, CONNOLLY ALSO WIN IN SEATTLE: “Fast” Jack Beckman made it two wins in a row in Funny Car this past weekend when he defeated John Force in a final round that concluded with Force’s Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang in flames at the 20th annual Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals in Seattle. Four-Time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher defeated Brandon Bernstein on a holeshot by just .004-seconds to claim the Top Fuel Title and Pro Stock driver Dave Connolly beat Allen Johnson in the final round to claim his third win of the season.
BECKMAN LOOKS TO MAKE HISTORY IN SONOMA: With wins in Denver and Seattle, Funny Car driver Jack Beckman has the chance to do something that only five drivers in NHRA history have ever done: sweep the Western Swing. Heading into the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway, Beckman could become only the second driver in Funny Car to sweep the Western Swing with a win in Sonoma. Drivers that have swept the Western Swing include Top Fuel pilots Joe Amato (1991), Cory McClenathan (1997) and Larry Dixon (2003), Funny Car driver John Force (1994) and Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson (2004).
THREE DRIVERS CLINCH COUNTDOWN BERTH IN SEATTLE: Three drivers in two categories clinched a spot in the top eight point standings with their performances in Seattle. Top Fuel’s Rod Fuller, Funny Car’s Ron Capps and Pro Stock’s Dave Connolly, all secured positions in the Countdown to four. After The Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania, the 17th race in the POWERade Drag racing series schedule, only the top eight in points in each professional category will advance to the next round in the Countdown to the Championship, and points will be adjusted in 10-point increments from 2,070 to 2,000.
FORCE IN THE TOP 8 AFTER FINAL ROUND APPEARANCE IN SEATTLE: Only three races ago defending Funny Car champion John Force was sitting in the 15th spot in the point standings. With a win in Bristol, a semifinal appearance in Denver and a runner-up finish in Seattle, Force has propelled himself from 15th to the eighth, and cut-off spot, in the Countdown to the Championship. Force moved into the eighth spot Sunday in Seattle, passing Cruz Pedregon, whom he now leads by 44 points.
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.
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, AUGUST 9–12: Set in the lake surrounded area of Northern Minnesota; this event is the penultimate race of the Countdown to 8 on the POWERade Series schedule. Defending event winners include Brandon Bernstein, Tommy Johnson Jr., Dave Connolly and Antron Brown.
TOYO TIRES NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, AUG. 16–19: The final race of the Countdown to 8, many drivers will be looking to break into the top eight points at this event. Defending event winners include J.R. Todd, Phil Burkart, Greg Anderson and Karen Stoffer.
.INSIDE THE NUMBERS
60: The number of points that separate Ashley Force in the 10th spot of the Funny Car points from her father, John Force, in the eighth and cutoff spot in the new Countdown to the Championship format. With only three races left until the cutoff point, Ashley Force will be joined by Cruz Pedregon, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jeff Arend in the fight to claim a position in the top eight in points.
DRIVERS TELL ALL
SCHUMACHER ON COUNTDOWN FORMAT: With his victory Sunday at Pacific Raceways, Defending Top Fuel Champion Tony Schumacher moved into the fourth spot in the point standings, all but assuring him a spot in the top eight after the Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading. Schumacher feels that the new Countdown to the Championship format gives his team an advantage that might not have existed in years previous. “This Countdown deal…it’s as if the NHRA made it with us in mind,” Schumacher said. “This team always comes alive in the second half of the season and I look down the schedule and see a bunch of tracks we’ve always done well in the past. Anything can happen at the end, and it would suck to lose because a stupid part breaks, but the format of this deal is perfect for us.”
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