BROWN GETS FIRST WIN IN TOP FUEL; WORSHAM, ANDERSON AND SMITH ALSO VICTORIOUS AT O’REILLY NHRA SPRING NATIONALS: Becoming only the second black driver to win in Top Fuel, Pro Stock Motorcycle rider-turned Top Fuel driver Antron Brown picked up his first Top Fuel win and 17th of his career at the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston. Brown, who qualified 12th for the event, drove his Matco Tools dragster past runner-up Larry Dixon in his first Top Fuel final-round appearance. “The dream is unreal,” Brown said. “I dreamed about this as a kid growing up going to the Summer Nationals in New Jersey, watching all the greats like Kenny Bernstein, Don Garlits, John Force and Don Prudhomme. I still ask myself, am I really here?” In Funny Car, Del Worsham broke an almost three-year winless drought which dated back to Labor Day weekend of 2005. Worsham wheeled his way past NHRA legend John Force in the semi’s, then Ashley Force in the finals, to pick up his 22nd career win. Greg Anderson picked up his second win of 2008 in only four races, moving ahead of legendary Top Fuel pilot Joe Amato on the all-time wins list with 53, as well as taking over the top spot in the Pro Stock point standings. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending POWERade Series world champion Matt Smith collected his first win of the season over Matt Guidera, who appeared in his second final round in as many races. For more results from the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals, visit www.nhra.com.
KALITTA MOTORSPORTS ADDS FAMED CREW CHIEF HOGAN TO MAC TOOLS TEAM: Longtime NHRA crew chief and Top Fuel tuner Richard Hogan has been hired to co-crew chief the Mac Tools dragster for Kalitta Motorsports. Hogan will share tuning responsibilities for the Doug Kalitta driven dragster with co-crew chief Jon Oberhofer for the remainder of the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series. “It’s an honor to be given this opportunity at Kalitta Motorsports,” said Hogan. Hogan has spent four decades in drag racing, working as a crewmember and tuner for such names as Don Garlits, Kenny Bernstein and Don Prudhomme, and most recently as a crew chief for Morgan Lucas and Melanie Troxel.
GATEWAY INTERNATION RACEWAY COMPLETES RESURFACING PROJECT: With the O’Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals just a month away, Gateway International Raceway completed a recent renovation of 2,400 sq. ft. of the dragstrip. The sections of concrete near the starting line in both lanes were removed and replaced with new concrete in anticipation of the May race. To view some of the photos of the project and learn more about the construction, visit www.nhra.com.
FUNNY CAR RACER, CHASSIS BUILDER FOSTER DIES: Funny Car racer, fabricator and restorer Pat Foster died March 27 after a short illness. Foster, a former national event winner and record holder, was known in the NHRA community for his skills on the track and in the shop, working as a famed chassis builder for such names as Woody Gilmore, John Buttera and Mickey Thompson. Foster is survived by his sons Cole, Dan and Justin; sisters Linda and Kay; brother Burch; and grandchildren Savannah and Ellah.
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, APRIL 10–13: The NHRA POWERade series travels to Nevada 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).
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS, ATLANTA DRAGWAY, APRIL 24–27: The NHRA POWERade series heads back down south as drivers in four categories will compete at the sixth event of the season. Defending event winners include Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
O’REILLY NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS, GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, MAY 2–4: Traveling back to the Midwest area of Madison, Illinois, just outside of St. Louis, drivers from the NHRA POWERade Series will look to gain some advantage in the Countdown to the Championship just before the start of the summer months. Defending event champions include Melanie Troxel (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
A WIN THREE YEARS IN THE MAKING: Labor Day weekend 2005 in Indianapolis. That was the last time and place that Funny Car driver Del Worsham won an event before last weekend’s victory at the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston. Worsham had struggled since his previous win, finding the final round only twice in that time, but none of that seemed to matter Sunday as Worsham found himself once again in winner’s circle hoisting the Wally trophy. “It finally happened,” said Worsham. “Everything came together. I won’t say it wasn’t without a problem, but my dad (crew chief Chuck Worsham) made some great calls on the starting line. Great day.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: The number of rounds Funny Car driver John Force has left to win to reach the 1,000 mark. If Force wins the next event on the POWERade Series schedule, the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he will become the first driver in NHRA history to reach 1,000.
DRIVERS TELL ALL
WHAT TEAM DO YOU PLAY FOR?: Former NBA basketball player-turned Pro Stock driver Tom Hammonds has no problem getting noticed. At a height of 6’9”, Hammonds stands out in any crowd around the country. In his weekly blog on NHRA.com, Hammonds talks about some of the reactions he gets when entering a restaurant, which includes the obvious question, ‘Do you play basketball?’ “I always tell them no, I am an oversized horse jockey, but last night, when the hostess asked the question, I told her the truth and said yes, I did play basketball,” said Hammonds. “She didn’t believe me!”
For more information, visit www.nhra.com.