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POWERADE SERIES AWARDS AIRS THIS SUNDAY ON ESPN2 AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

NHRA POWERADE SERIES AWARDS CEREMONY ON ESPN2: The 2007 NHRA POWERade Series Awards Ceremony, held at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles on November 5, will air on ESPN2 on Sunday, November 18, at 11:00 a.m. The one-hour show will feature highlights from the gala event where Tony Schumacher, Tony Pedregon, Jeg Coughlin and Matt Smith were crowned NHRA POWERade Series world champions in their respective categories.

WILKERSON CLAIMS $25,000 MOTEL 6 WHO GOT THE LIGHT? AWARD: Funny Car racer Tim Wilkerson won the $25,000 Motel 6 Who Got the Light? award for the 2007 season with his .0013-second margin of victory over Tony Pedregon during the second round of eliminations at the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals, October 7, at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Virginia.

Wilkerson and Gary Scelzi tied for recording the overall narrowest margin of victory for the season, both with a .0013-second margin of victory.  Wilkerson's victory for the season-long title was determined via tiebreaker, which awards the title to the driver with the lowest average margin of victory for all elimination rounds during the 2007 season. Wilkerson, from Springfield, Illinois, drives the Levi, Ray & Shoup Chevy Impala and is the second Funny Car driver to win the season award. Cruz Pedregon claimed it in 2005. All other season winners have been Pro Stock drivers: Richie Stevens Jr., Steve Johns, Scott Geoffrion, Larry Morgan and Jim Yates.

KRAWIEC SIGNS EXTENSION WITH VANCE & HINES: Eddie Krawiec has signed a contract extension and will continue to be part of the Screamin' Eagle/Vance & Hines Motorsports Pro Stock Motorcycle team for the next two seasons.  Krawiec joined the team in February—just in time for the March season opener in Gainesville, Florida. Krawiec earned a trip to the semifinals in that first race with the team. He went on to finish in seventh place in the 2007 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle standings, making two final-round appearances this season.

“Eddie was a great addition to the team this year," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "He had great riding capability before he joined the team, and they just improved each race. He was a great asset to the Screamin' Eagle team, and we're excited about him staying with the program for the next two seasons."

COMING ATTRACTIONS

CARQUEST AUTO PARTS WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, FEBRUARY 7–10: Kick-off the 2008 NHRA POWERade Series Countdown to the Championship at the historic track where last year’s winners included J.R. Todd, Gary Scelzi and Greg Anderson.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

SCHUMACHER SAYS COUNTDOWN PRODUCES DRAMATIC FINISHES: Tony Schumacher pulled off another last-round dramatic performance to win the 2007 POWERade Top Fuel world championship. This time he became the inaugural winner of the POWERade Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s first championship playoff system. Schumacher, whose first four championships came under the old points system, says he likes the new format’s unpredictability.

"The Countdown was designed to slow down teams like ours,” Schumacher said. “The NHRA didn't want big teams clinching the championship with half a dozen races left. They wanted it to go down to the end and it did. It's a lot more fun this way. I wish everyone that wins a championship would win it at the end. And it's a lot better to get it by winning the rounds you need instead of waiting on the sidelines for someone else to lose."

WHO’S HOT!

COUGHLIN GOES 7–1 IN COUNTDOWN TO ONE: Jeg Coughlin produced an amazing 7–1 eliminations record during the Countdown to One—the best of any racer in any category—to earn the 2007 NHRA POWERade Series world championship in Pro Stock. Coughlin posted a runner-up finish in Las Vegas and then drove his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt to victory at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, to earn the championship trophy. It is Coughlin’s third POWERade Series crown, as the Delaware, Ohio, native also earned series titles in 2000 and 2002.

"The excitement of the Countdown was impossible to ignore,” Coughlin said. “The media coverage was better than it's ever been before. I think we're really onto something here, and I'm darn proud to carry the title of POWERade champion again."

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

87: The number of days remaining for NHRA race teams to fine-tune their machines in preparation for the 2008 NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship. The season kicks off at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, with the CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals, February 7–10.

DRIVERS TELL ALL

FULLER HAS KNEE SURGERY: Top Fuel runner-up “Hot Rod” Fuller underwent successful surgery last Friday to repair a damaged knee that he hurt in Norwalk, Ohio, when he attempted to jump over a fence in the staging lanes. Dr. Vern Prochaska, a noted orthopedic surgeon in Henderson, Nevada, performed a total reconstruction of the knee that took nearly three hours to complete.

"It turned out the ACL was totally ruptured and had to be replaced with a donor ACL," Fuller told Rob Geiger of NHRA.com. "Plus, because I was walking around on it for six months, the medial and lateral tendons were damaged also. It was a real mess." 

Fuller will be on crutches for at least six weeks, and it may take up to a year for him to fully recover.

"The main thing is that my body accepts the donor ACL," Fuller said. "It's pretty wild that we did all that work promoting Donate Life (shareyourlife.org) a few years ago and then I end up needing something myself. We talked about being a donor and how it can help someone else's quality of life, and now I'll be living proof of that. I'm glad to be done with it. My knee's been hurting for so long now. I'm not going to have much fun this off-season but by testing I should be feeling great. It's been really cool to receive all the e-mails and calls from everyone. Please let them know I'm doing fine."

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.