People, Places & Racing News

FIELD SET FOR COUNTDOWN TO FOUR AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

PLAYOFF FIELD READY TO BATTLE IN COUNTDOWN TO FOUR: The world’s fastest drivers are headed to Indianapolis, where the biggest stage in NHRA POWERade Series drag racing waits for them—the 53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Drivers remaining in playoff contention include (the number in parenthesis, wins at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis):

Top Fuel: Rod Fuller; Tony Schumacher (5); Larry Dixon (3); Brandon Bernstein; J.R. Todd; Bob Vandergriff Jr.; Whit Bazemore (2, FC); Doug Herbert.

Funny Car: Ron Capps; Robert Hight (1); John Force (4); Tony Pedregon; Jack Beckman; Mike Ashley; Gary Scelzi (1, TF); Jim Head (1, TF; 1, FC).

Pro Stock: Greg Anderson (5); Dave Connolly; Jeg Coughlin (2); Allen Johnson; Jason Line; Kurt Johnson (2); Warren Johnson (6); Larry Morgan (1).

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Matt Smith (1); Angelle Sampey (2); Andrew Hines; Karen Stoffer; Chip Ellis; Eddie Krawiec; Peggy Llewellyn; Craig Treble.

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS: A full schedule of racing and team announcements awaits those who will attend the most prestigious drag race of the year. Here are the not-to-be-missed highlights from NHRA:

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS, INDIANAPOLIS, AUGUST 29SEPTEMBER 3: The world’s most prestigious, richest and longest-running drag race is a Labor Day weekend tradition at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Every driver wants to win the Super Bowl of drag racing. Professional qualifying rounds are scheduled for: Friday, 6:15 p.m; Saturday, 1 and 6:05 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Professional eliminations begin Monday, 11 a.m. Monday.

RINGERS GLOVES PRO BIKE BATTLE, SEPTEMBER 1: Eliminations for this bonus event for the top riders in Pro Stock Motorcycle are scheduled for Saturday, 2:15 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 8:10 p.m. First-round match-ups feature Angelle Sampey vs. Steve Johnson; Andrew Hines vs. Antron Brown; Matt Smith vs. Karen Stoffer and Chip Ellis vs. Craig Treble. The winner’s payout is $25,000.

SKOAL SHOWDOWN, SEPTEMBER 2: Funny Car’s finest battle for $100,000 in elimination rounds scheduled for Sunday, 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. First-round pairings include: Robert Hight vs. Jack Beckman; Ron Capps vs. Gary Scelzi; Tony Pedregon vs. Mike Ashley, Tommy Johnson Jr. vs. John Force.

RACER Magazine FEATURES POWERade’s HOTTEST DRIVERS. America’s leading motorsports monthly will once again put the stars of the POWERade Series in the spotlight with its second-annual RACER Nitro special that features four special covers and insider takes on the world’s fastest motorsport.

McEWEN RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL AFTER HEART ATTACK: Avid drag-racing fans remember Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen for his legendary rivalry with Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, among many other lauded contributions to the sport. McEwen remains actively involved in the sport he loves and gave the NHRA community a scare when he was admitted into a Southern California hospital last week after a mild heart attack. He was released a short time later with orders to rest. For more information, check out www.nhra.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS—COUNTDOWN TO FOUR

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS, O’REILLY RACEWAY PARK, AUGUST 29–SEPTEMBER 3: Long known as the most prestigious race on the POWERade Series, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals takes on an even more significant role in 2007 with the inception of the Countdown to the Championship. The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the first race in the four-race Countdown playoff that will halve the field of eligible championship teams from eight to four. The annual Skoal Showdown (Funny Car) and the Ringers Gloves (Pro Stock Motorcycle) races-within-a-race will also be contested during the popular Labor Day weekend event.

NHRA SPORT COMPACT NATIONALS, SEPTEMBER 1–3: The drivers of the Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series will be bringing their high-powered four- and six-cylinder Pro Rear Wheel Drive and Pro Front Wheel Drive cars to O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.

O’REILLY NHRA MID-SOUTH NATIONALS, MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK, SEPTEMBER 1416: Doug Kalitta, John Force, Kurt Johnson and Andrew Hines look to defend their 2006 titles at this second event in the Countdown to Four.

O’REILLY NHRA FALL NATIONALS, TEXAS MOTORPLEX, SEPTEMBER 20–23: The third of four races in the Countdown to Four, defending event winners include Brandon Bernstein, Robert Hight and Richie Stevens Jr. Also, for the first time since 2000, the Pro Stock Motorcycles will return to compete at Texas Motorplex.

TORCO RACING FUELS NHRA NATIONALS, VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK, OCTOBER 57: The Countdown to Four fields will be set when the POWERade Series returns to the East Coast, where Cory McClenathan, Eric Medlen, and Jason Line won in 2006.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

9: Former Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden remains King of Indy with nine career wins to his credit there. Warren Johnson is the closest to unseating him among active drivers with six wins at the “Big Go.”

DRIVERS TELL ALL

GREG ANDERSON, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT PONTIAC GTO: Like most of his pro career behind the wheel, Anderson has dominated the Pro Stock field in Indianapolis since 2001, winning every year except for 2002—and leaving fellow drivers frustrated and amazed. Here’s what he had to say about the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals: “Obviously, winning four in a row at Indy has been pretty cool for me. I think there are only two other Pro Stock guys that have done that—Bob Glidden and WJ (Warren Johnson). I don’t believe that anyone has ever won five (in a row), so if I could do it that would put me alone in the record book.”

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.