People, Places & Racing News

MELANIE TROXEL EARNS FIRST FUNNY CAR WIN AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

TROXEL EARNS FIRST FUNNY CAR WIN; SCHUMACHER AND CONNOLLY JOIN HER ON PODIUM IN BRISTOL: Becoming the first woman and the 14th driver overall to win in both nitro categories, Melanie Troxel joined an elite group of drivers when she defeated Mike Neff for her first Funny Car win. Despite not winning a single round of eliminations in three races and not qualifying for four races, Troxel made history, joining Ashley Force as the second woman to win in the ultra-competitive category.
    In Top Fuel, Tony Schumacher earned his category leading third win of the season. This kept him atop the point standings ahead of former Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Antron Brown. Pro Stock’s Dave Connolly kept his tremendous return to racing going. He won his first race of the season in only his third race. Connolly defeated Greg Stanfield to move from 18th to 14th in the points. He is only 83 points out of the coveted top 10.

NHRA STARS TO VISIT COCA-COLA 600 TO PROMOTE NHRA CAROLINAS NATIONALS: Several of NHRA’s elite drivers, including defending NHRA POWERade Series world champions Jeg Coughlin and Matt Smith, and John Force Racing’s John Force and Mike Neff, will attend next week’s Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR event to promote the inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway @ Concord. The NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway @ Concord, September 11–14, will be the 19th of 24 events in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Series and the first event in the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. For more information on the visit click here.

TROXEL AND JOHNSON TO VISIT AARWBA MEDIA AT INDY: Melanie Troxel, who just drove her Funny Car to a win in Bristol, Tennessee, and her Funny Car racing husband, Tommy Johnson Jr., will be meeting with the media during the annual AARWBA Breakfast on Saturday, May 24. The two will be interviewed by ESPN2 announcer Paul Page.

KALITTA PROVES HE CAN TURN CIRCLES IN NHRA CIRCLE TRACK CHALLENGE: Participating in his second circle track race of the season, Doug Kalitta earned his second win at the NHRA Circle Tack Challenge on Saturday. Kalitta, who started ninth in the 15-car field of NHRA all-stars, took the lead from Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson on lap 10 of a total 12 laps.
    “I tell you it was tough out there,” Kalitta said. “I had to work hard out there, but I had a lot of fun. I really appreciate the fact that I had the opportunity to do this.”
    Kalitta’s other win on a circle track came earlier in the season in Las Vegas. For more information about his win, click here.

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 Saturday, May 24, from 10 a.m. to 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, visit www.nhra.com.

LUCAS OIL PRODUCTS TO SPONSOR LUCAS OIL SUPERNATIONALS: NHRA has announced that Lucas Oil Products will be the title sponsor of the 2008 Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, June 19–22. Lucas Oil Products has sponsored many events through the years in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Currently, the company sponsors the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota.
    Along with their sponsorship of the two races, Lucas Oil flies its colors on the Top Fuel dragster driven by Morgan Lucas, the Pro Stock car of Larry Morgan and the Pro Stock Motorcycle of Hector Arana.
    “NHRA is pleased to have Lucas Oil Products as the title sponsor of the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown,” said Gary Darcy, senior vice president, sales and marketing, NHRA. “We appreciate Lucas Oil’s deep involvement with NHRA racing from the sportsman through the professional ranks. To have them involved with the race in New Jersey is tremendous.”

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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). 

LUCAS OIL NHRA SUPERNATIONALS, OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK, JUNE 19–22: The drivers of the NHRA POWERade Series return to this historic track in New Jersey. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle).  

HE SAID, SHE SAID
 
HUNGER GETS YOU THE WIN: “We were hungry,” Dave Connolly said after his first win of 2008. “We definitely wanted to get our first 2008 race win, and I’m glad we were able to get it in Bristol. It’s kind of a home race for us, and we won it in front of a lot of friends.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

1: The number of times that women have raced against each other in Funny Car eliminations. This was accomplished on Sunday in the quarterfinals when Melanie Troxel defeated Ashley Force. The first time women raced against each other in eliminations was 36 years ago when Shirley Muldowney raced against Lucille Lee in a Top Fuel final in Columbus, Ohio.

DID YOU KNOW…
 
…that when Heartland Park Topeka opened in 1989, it was the first major motorsports facility built in North America since 1968. It now offers a 2.5-mile Grand Prix road course, a 1.625-mile Club Course, a 1.75-mile stock car road course, a state-of-the-art quarter-mile dragstrip, a nine-tenths-mile off-road dirt course, a three-eighths-mile dirt oval, numerous test track configurations and a paddock for more than 600 race cars.
 
For more information, visit www.nhra.com.