People, Places & Racing News

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLES OPEN AT GAINESVILLE AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE 2008 SEASON READY TO OPEN AT GATORNATIONALS: In a little more than a week the NHRA POWERade Series will return to Gainesville for the 39th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals. The return to the Gatornationals means one thing: the beginning of the 2008 season for Pro Stock Motorcycle. This highly competitive, 190 mph-plus category will begin its 2008 Countdown to the Championship with a 12-race regular season and five-race playoff, eight races less than Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock. For many riders, this leaves little room for mistakes.
    “Unfortunately, this class is not like Pro Stock car, where the people who work the hardest and smartest and drive the best win the race,” Snap-On Tools Suzuki rider Steve Johnson said. “We’re still scratching our heads why we didn’t win a race last year.”
    Many of the riders in Pro Stock Motorcycle will be returning for the 2008 season with new teams and new sponsors. Some changes to keep an eye on at this year's Gatornationals are: defending world champion Matt Smith driving the NitroFish Wear Buell, sponsored by Pro Stock driver Kenny Koretsky; three-time world champion Angelle Sampey moving from a Suzuki to a Buell as she is reunited with crew chief George Bryce to drive the Rush Racing Products Buell for Karl and Kim Klement; and 2007 third-place finisher Chip Ellis stepping under the Schumacher umbrella to drive the Schumacher Electric Suzuki tuned by Steve Tartaglia.

TOP FUEL’S BROWN TO VISIT WITH INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS: Matco Tools Top Fuel driver Antron Brown is ready to step out of the cockpit for the day and into the classroom as he prepares to visit Indiana State University on March 5. Brown will speak to students about careers in motorsports, with a question-and-answer session following his appearance.
    The visit supports the ISU’s Team Sycamore Racing (TSR) program launched in 2007 to give students affiliated with the race team experience in operating, managing and driving the TSR Super Comp dragster.
    “It feels good to give back and mentor these future racing professionals,” Brown said. “I never experienced anything like this in my younger days. I hope I can offer up some useful advice.”
    Brown will speak in the auditorium of the John T. Meyers Building at 5:00 p.m. (EST). The presentation is free and open to the public.

FORCE FOLLOWS IN SISTER’S FOOTSTEPS; COMPLETES A/FD LICENSE: Posting a solid run of 5.59 seconds at 262 mph, 21-year old Brittany Force, daughter of 14-time Funny Car champion John Force, completed the requirements needed for her A-Fuel license. Brittany, along with younger sister Courtney, will split duties between the John Force Racing A-Fuel dragster for the 2008 NHRA Lucas Oil Series season. Both are following closely the path older sister and Funny Car driver Ashley Force made before moving to the POWERade Series in 2007.
    "My dad is excited to have us all licensed,” Brittany said. “I am excited to have my A-Fuel license since now we can continue to move forward.”

JEGS ProMod CHALLENGE EXHIBITIONS SET FOR 10 NHRA NATIONAL EVENTS: Fans will have the opportunity to see the Jegs ProMod Challenge exhibitions, scheduled to be held at 10 NHRA national events in 2008. The ProMod Challenge will begin at the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville. Other events scheduled for the Challenge include Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Bristol, Englishtown, Indianapolis, Dallas, Richmond and Las Vegas.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

ACDELCO NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, MARCH 13–16: The Pro Stock Motorcycle category opens its 2008 season at the Gatornationals, annually one of the most popular stops on the NHRA POWERade Series tour. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

O’REILLY NHRA SPRING NATIONALS, HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK, MARCH 28–30: Drivers in all four categories in the POWERade Drag Racing Series will duel it out for a Texas win (at this fourth race in the regular season). Defending event winners include: J.R. Todd (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock); and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, APRIL 10–13: The NHRA POWERade series travels to the city that never sleeps for the fifth event of the 2008 season. Defending event winners include: Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car);  and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

THAT NEW CAR SMELL: While teammate Greg Anderson has been setting track records and collecting wins in his new Pontiac GXP, 2006 Pro Stock world champion Jason Line has patiently waited for his new ride to come in. At the 39th annual NHRA Gatornationals, March 13–16, Line will get that chance, trading in his Pontiac GTO for the newer Pontiac GXP model.
    “The car is good, and everybody did a good job as far as the rest of the package goes,” Line said. “Is it better than the GTO? I don’t know if it’s better, but it’s every bit as good.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

23: The number of riders on the Pro Stock Motorcycle entry list for the 39th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, the opening event for Pro Stock Motorcycle.

DRIVERS TELL ALL

SUPPORTING THOSE THAT PROTECT US: With a three-week break between the Checker Schuck’s Kragen NHRA Nationals in Phoenix and the upcoming ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals in Florida, most drivers caught a quick flight home to spend time with family and friends. Top Fuel driver Hillary Will instead opted for a 12-hour flight from the United States to Iraq. Will is spending her short down time touring the U.S. military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, to visit with the U.S. troops stationed in each area.
    “I don’t think they care what kind of car I drive or how fast,” Will said on her NHRA blog. “They are just appreciative to have people from the United States coming to visit them.”
    To follow Will’s travels, visit her blog at http://blogs.nhra.com/nhrablogs.asp?blog=will.  

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.