People, Places & Racing News

HOT ROD FULLER REFLECTS ON MEMORABLE 2007 SEASON AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

NHRA ANNOUNCES HOT ROD HERITAGE SERIES: To help preserve NHRA's rich history and tradition while seizing on the success of nostalgic drag racing competition, NHRA has announced the formation of the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series that will crown year-end points champions in 14 categories.

“This new series is an exciting step that will appeal to drag racing fans young and old,” said Peter Clifford, executive vice president and general manager, NHRA. “It's a great way to introduce the younger generation to the history of our sport and give fans young and old a glimpse of racing the way it used to be.”

The NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series will kick off with the famed March Meet at Bakersfield, California March 7–9, and conclude October 10–12 at the California Hot Rod Reunion presented by Automobile Club of Southern California back at Bakersfield's Auto Club Famoso Raceway. For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com/content/news/25854.htm.

BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY GOES ALL-CONCRETE: A major track re-surfacing project began recently at Bandimere Speedway in Denver. Beyond the existing concrete surface extending to the 660-foot mark, the remaining asphalt to the finish line at 1,320 feet, plus an additional 60 feet past the finish line, has been removed. More than 4,100 feet of under-track drainage and 30,000 feet of rebar have been laid in preparation for over 900 yards of concrete to finish the surface.

Once complete, it will be one of two all-concrete tracks hosting an NHRA POWERade Series event, the other being the Texas Motorplex in Dallas. Vice President of Facility Operations Larry Cripse is heading up the project and is looking forward to the benefits of an all-concrete surface. In addition to a longer life-expectancy, and quicker drying times in the event of rain, concrete tracks allow for a wider variety of chemicals to be used in track preparation and oil-down clean-up. For more on this story, including photos, visit www.nhra.com/content/news/25848.htm.

NHRA DRIVERS NOMINATED FOR AARWBA ALL-AMERICA TEAM: NHRA POWERade Series world champions Tony Schumacher, Tony Pedregon and Jeg Coughlin headline the drag racing nominees for the 2007 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) Auto Racing All-America Team. Two racers from each of seven categories—Drag Racing, Open Wheel, Stock Car, Road Racing, Short Track, Touring Series and At Large—will be selected to the first team by the members of the motorsports press association.

Two second-team racers from each category also will be named. The remaining racers in each category receiving 5% of the vote will receive honorable-mention status. In addition to Schumacher, Pedregon and Coughlin, Pro Stock runner-up Greg Anderson was nominated in the Drag Racing category, and Top Alcohol Funny Car season champion Frank Manzo was nominated in the At Large category.

The driver receiving the most votes overall will be presented the prestigious Jerry Titus Award, recognizing AARWBA's Driver of the Year. Schumacher won the coveted award last year, and 14-time NHRA Funny Car world champ John Force is a four-time winner (1996, 1999, 2000 and 2002). Shirley Muldowney (1982) and Don Prudhomme (1976) are the only other drag racers to ever win the Titus Award.

RACING ELECTRONICS RENEWS AS NHRA OFFICIAL SPONSOR: Racing Electronics Inc., a leader in providing radio communications products to the motorsports industry, has renewed its sponsorship as the official radio communications company of NHRA, its five owned and operated drag racing facilities, and the NHRA Safety Safari, officials from the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body announced. In the multiyear agreement, Racing Electronics will supply handheld radios, headsets, mobile units, ancillary products, base radios, antennas, onsite setup and support for the 24-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series and the 44-race NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series during the term of the agreement.

“Racing Electronics has vast experience in the motorsports industry and understands the significance of communication needs among staff at NHRA POWERade Series events and the Lucas Oil Series divisional races as well,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales & marketing. “Their products enable NHRA to continue to provide safe and exciting racing that NHRA fans and sponsors have come to expect.”

In addition, Racing Electronics will have a major presence along the NHRA Manufacturers Midway, providing on-site sales, rentals and service of scanners, headsets and communications needs for NHRA race teams and fans. 

“We are delighted to be associated with NHRA to secure a position within a sport that we feel is important for our business and company model,” said Racing Electronics General Manager Bruce Silver. “The folks at NHRA have been terrific to work with, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship.”

DAVID POWERS MOTORSPORTS RELOCATES RACE SHOP IN INDY: David Powers Motorsports has relocated to a new, state-of-the-art facility in Brownsburg, Indiana. The 40,000-sq.-ft. race shop is on Southpoint Circle in the Indianapolis suburb on the west side of town. The shop will house both the Matco Tools and Caterpillar Top Fuel teams and allows for future expansion. The building features a modern look and offers a fan-friendly viewing area.

The complex was constructed by Acme Buildings and is owned by Tim Buckley, president of Vintage Design and financial partner of David Powers Motorsports. The team had previously worked out of a facility in Pittsboro, Indiana.

"We are thrilled to be fully moved into our new shop in Brownsburg," Powers said. "I want to thank Lee Beard and our entire race team for making such a smooth transition. We wanted to design a race shop with a unique look that is comfortable to our employees, sponsors and race fans, and we feel we have accomplished that. It's exciting to have our shop in Brownsburg, which has quickly become the capital of NHRA Drag Racing." For more, please visit www.nhra.com/content/news/25832.htm.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

NITRO BLAST OFF, LAS VEGAS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, JANUARY 18–20: The elite teams of the NHRA POWERade Series will begin making preparations for 2008 competition at this first of three optional showcase pre-season test sessions.

NATIONAL TIME TRIALS, PHOENIX, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, JANUARY 25–27: Pre-season action moves from Nevada to Arizona as the professional teams continue to tweak off-season changes at this second of three optional test sessions.

LAST-CHANCE TEST SESSION AND PONTIAC PRO STOCK SHOWDOWN, LAS VEGAS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, FEBRUARY 1–3: This aptly named test session is the final of three optional events that allow professional drivers to test their machines before formal competition opens for 2008. The 200-mph NHRA Pro Stock cars also will race for bragging rights in the annual Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown.

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

CORY MAC SEEKING VICTORY DOWN UNDER: Top Fuel veterans Cory McClenathan and Mike Dunn will compete against a host of Aussie drivers in the Australia vs. USA Top Fuel Showdown December 8–9 at Western Sydney International Dragway in Australia. It is McClenathan’s first trip to Australia and he hopes to come home a winner. 

“I’m excited to see the country and be a tourist for a few days," McClenathan said. "But you know me—when that helmet goes on, I'm all about winning. You don't fly for 20 hours to come in second. I'm really fired up about meeting and racing against our Australian counterparts. It will be fun to see someone new in the other lane. Plus, although we're great friends now, Mike and I had quite the history on the racetrack, so we'll have a chance to renew that rivalry down there."

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

7,707: The number of miles as the crow flies from Cory McClenathan’s residence in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, to Sydney, Australia.

DRIVERS TELL ALL

HOT ROD FULLER REFLECTS ON DREAM SEASON: Caterpillar Top Fuel driver Hot Rod Fuller says 2007 was his best ever, despite coming up short for the POWERade Series world championship title.  "We had an awesome year," Fuller said. "It was disappointing to not win the championship when we would have a year ago (under the old points system), but it is what it is. I still support the Countdown, and my guys have nothing to hang their heads about. We had an awesome year and came up one round short. I don't see any reason why we can't do it again in 2008."