People, Places & Racing News

NHRA DRIVERS PREPARE TO BATTLE IN BRISTOL AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

RETURN TO THUNDER VALLEY; NHRA POWERade SERIES DRIVERS LOOK TO BUILD PRECIOUS POINTS IN BRISTOL: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series returns to Bristol Dragway for the eighth annual O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals this weekend, for the eighth of 24 stops in 2008. For Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin, Bristol was the spot, one year ago, where he began his march to the championship, picking up his first of four wins en route to his third POWERade Series world championship.
    This year, drivers competing in three professional categories hope to find the same success as Coughlin did and build up enough points to keep themselves within the top 10 in the point standings before the final regular season race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Drivers sitting on the bubble looking to break in to the top 10 include Morgan Lucas in Top Fuel, Mike Neff in Funny Car and Ron Krisher in Pro Stock.

NHRA DRIVERS CAN THANK LOCAL RACERS FOR THE CHANCE TO RACE AT NHRA CIRCLE TRACK CHALLENGE: Though Funny Car driver Jack Beckman currently sits on the pole for the NHRA Circle Track Challenge this Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, it’s not his impressive skills on the half-mile oval that got him there. Thanks to the generosity of local short track drivers, Beckman, along with 15 other NHRA POWERade Series drivers, will have the opportunity to team up with street stock car owners in the NHRA Circle Track Challenge, taking place Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, just following qualifying for the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals.
    NHRA drivers will race the street stock cars for the first segment of the event, then switch seats with local car owners, who will compete in the final segment. Fans visiting the track’s website can still vote to determine the lineup for the Saturday night event. For more information, visit www.bristoldragway.com.

BROWNSBURG TEAMS TO OPEN SHOP DOORS TO PUBLIC: Building off of a successful event last year, the Brownsburg Motorsports Network will hold its second annual Open House on Saturday, May 24, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. NHRA race teams located in Brownsburg, Indiana, such as John Force Racing, Don Schumacher Racing, David Powers Motorsports and Gotham City Racing, will participate in this event that allows fans and media the opportunity to visit the shops of some of the top teams in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing.
    The event will also include a silent auction of racing items with the proceeds going to local youth programs. For more information on this event, click here.

FUNNY CAR TUNER WEST JOINS BECKMAN’S VALVOLINE TEAM: Former Funny Car owner/driver turned tuner Johnny West has been named crew chief of the Valvoline/Mail Terminal Services Dodge Charger R/T driven by Jack Beckman. West replaces Rick Cassel as crew chief and will join forces with tuner Tommy Delago on the Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car. West has worked with drag racing greats such as Roland Leong, Doug Herbert, Scott Kalitta, Don Prudhomme, Clay Millican, and Kenny Bernstein.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

O’REILLY NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS, BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY, MAY 16–18: The NHRA POWERade Series heads back to the Thunder Valley of Bristol, Tennessee, for the eighth running of the event. Defending event winners include Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock). 

O’REILLY NHRA SUMMER NATIONALS, HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, MAY 30–JUNE 1: Entering the ninth race of the NHRA POWERade Series, drivers will look to gain precious points in their quest to qualify for the Countdown to 1. Defending event winners include Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel); Mike Ashley (Funny Car); and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock).

TORCO RACING FUELS ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS, ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, JUNE 5–8: The NHRA POWERade Series heads to “The Windy City” for the 10th race of the season and second half of the regular season Countdown to 10. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Gary Scelzi (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS: In his NHRA blog, Pro Stock driver Max Naylor discusses some of the funnier points of a visit he made to Dalmatia Elementary School in Dalmatia, Pennsylvania, and how a simple label on a toolbox can create a pretty funny experience. “The biggest joke of the day was to walk past the tool drawer labeled ‘tap and die,’” said Naylor. “You guessed it. (The kids) tapped the drawer and said ‘didn’t die!’”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

3: The most wins by a single driver, Doug Kalitta, at Bristol Dragway. Kalitta also holds the track record for speed at 331.53 mph (April 2006). Kalitta hopes to add a fourth win at the track and first win of the season this weekend.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that Bristol Dragway opened in 1965 under NHRA sanction. NHRA left Bristol in 1967 and in 1999, after a 32-year absence and an $18 million facelift, NHRA POWERade Drag Racing returned to Bristol Dragway for the inaugural NHRA All-Star event. In 2001, Bristol Dragway hosted the inaugural Thunder Valley Nationals, the first NHRA National event held there in 34 years.

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.