People, Places & Racing News

HILLARY WILL MAKES HISTORY; FORCE EARNS FIRST WIN SINCE DALLAS WRECK AND OTHER NHRA NEWSMAKERS

NEWS NUGGETS

WILL MAKES NHRA HISTORY WITH HISTORIC WIN; FORCE GETS FIRST WIN SINCE DALLAS CRASH IN TOPEKA: Hillary Will became one of only 11 women drivers in NHRA history to win a NHRA POWERade Series event when she drove past runner-up Larry Dixon at the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals on Sunday in Topeka. Will powered her KB Racing dragster past Doug Herbert, Morgan Lucas, Cory McClenathan and then Dixon on her way to her first win in the highly competitive POWERade Series Top Fuel class—a class she has been competing in for over two years.
    Will was joined in winner’s circle by John Force and Ron Krisher, who also won in their respective categories. It was Force’s first win since his crash in Dallas last September; a crash that sidelined the NHRA legend for five months and the remainder of the 2007 season. To do so, Force had to drive by current Funny Car points leader Tim Wilkerson in the final round to pick up his ninth win at Heartland Park Topeka and impressive 126th career win. To see more storylines from the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, including the final results in all professional categories, visit www.nhra.com.

MILLICAN TO RETURN TO NHRA DRAG RACING WITH NEW TEAM: Joining forces with Memphis businessman Mark Pickens, Top Fuel pilot Clay Millican will debut a new race team in time for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. The new team will operate under MPE Motorsports LLC and will be based in Munford, Tennessee, not too far from Millican’s home in Drummonds. Millican will also be joined by veteran tuner Lance Larsen, who has been hired as crew chief for the Top Fuel dragster.

FORD AND TASCA TO HAVE KID-INSPIRED CAR DESIGN AT U.S. NATIONALS: Ford Customer Service Division, along with Funny Car driver Bob Tasca, will unveil a new design for their Shelby Mustang Funny Car at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, August 27–September 1 in Indianapolis. In an effort to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes, Tasca and Ford have joined partnerships with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and children participating in the foundation will have the opportunity to submit a design for the Ford Funny Car.
    Each submitted design will be featured on the JDRF.org/Ford website from June 23 to July 31, and the public is invited to vote for their favorite design. Monetary donations on the website will go to JDRF. For more information on the special paint scheme or JDRF, visit www.nhra.com.

NHRA SPORTSMAN READY TO BATTLE IT OUT AT THE JEGS ALLSTARS IN CHICAGO: The top competitors in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will face each other at Route 66 Raceway, as they battle for cash at the 24th annual Jegs Allstars bonus event this Saturday at the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago. Drivers in eight sportsman categories earned Allstars points by competing at Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events held within their home divisions.
    Winners in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car earn $7,000 each; in Comp and Super Stock, $6,000 each; and in Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street, $4,500 each. An additional $20,000 will be awarded to the drivers in the division that accumulates the most points. For more information, visit www.nhra.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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).

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, JUNE 26–29: Heading back to Norwalk for the second annual event, drivers in all four categories have a chance to build up points needed before the end of the regular season. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Mike Ashley (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

HEALING WOUNDS WITH WALLYS: John Force on his win at the O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, Sunday, at Heartland Park Topeka, nearly nine months after his wreck in Dallas: “I didn’t want to go winless, not after that wreck, and I didn’t want to get mental where I thought I had to quit. If you can’t do the job, then you’ve got to get out, and I didn’t want to get mental. I just told Wilkerson, ‘Thank you, I needed this. More than you needed the points or the money, I needed this mentally.’”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

11: Not only did Hillary Will become the 11th woman to win an NHRA event this past week, but all three female winners this year (Will, Melanie Troxel and Ashley Force) did so from the No. 11 qualifying spot.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that the track records at Route 66 Raceway for both speed and time in the NHRA POWERade Series Fuel class, Top Fuel and Funny Car, have stood for four years. In Top Fuel, Kalitta Motorsports teammates Doug Kalitta and Dave Grubnic own the records for time and speed at 4.420 seconds and 333.58 mph, while in Funny Car, NHRA legend John Force owns both records at 4.665 seconds and 333.58. 

For more information, visit www.nhra.com.