BARTONE GETS FIRST CAREER WIN; SCHUMACHER CONTINUES HIS DOMINATION ON SECOND LEG OF WESTERN SWING: Tony Bartone collected his first Funny Car win Sunday at the Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, as the NHRA POWERade Series competed in Seattle, the second stop on the famed Western Swing. It was Bartone’s first win since joining the highly competitive Funny Car class more than seven years ago.
Funny Car points leader Tim Wilkerson clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1 with his first round finish at Pacific Raceways. In Top Fuel, defending POWERade world champion Tony Schumacher continued his domination of the field, picking up his seventh win of the season and fourth win in five races. It was also Schumacher’s third consecutive win at Pacific Raceways.
Pro Stock’s Jason Line raced to his second win of the season, driving the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GXP past Allen Johnson in the final round, while teammate Greg Anderson clinched a spot in the Countdown to 1. For more results from the Schuck’s Auto Supply NHRA Nationals, visit www.nhra.com.
SCHUMACHER LOOKS TO MAKE HISTORY ON FINAL STOP OF WESTERN SWING; SONOMA: Heading into this week’s FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals, Top Fuel points leader Tony Schumacher has the chance to do something only achieved by five other drivers—sweep the Western Swing. With a win at Infineon Raceway (a track where he is the defending event champion), Schumacher would join a select list started by Top Fuel pilot Joe Amato in 1991.
Since Amato’s history-making run, only four drivers have ever achieved the three-race sweep (John Force in 1994, Cory McClenathan in 1997, Larry Dixon in 2003 and Greg Anderson in 2004) and none have done it since 2004.
“I don’t think about records or streaks when I am in the race car,” Schumacher said, following his win Sunday in Seattle. “You can’t be thinking of anything but the job at hand, which is winning the round. If you worry about anything else, if you don’t stay focused, you won’t win.”
DOUG KALITTA TO BE INDUCTED: Top Fuel pilot Doug Kalitta is no stranger to Infineon Raceway. The driver of the Mac Tools dragster has the most Top Fuel wins (five) at the famed Sonoma track, and this Sunday at the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals, Kalitta will be inducted into Infineon Raceway's “Wall of Fame," joining such drag racing legends as Warren Johnson, John Force and Gary Scelzi.
“I’m really happy the raceway has selected me to go into the Wall of Fame,” Kalitta said. “It really means a lot to me, considering all of the success I’ve had there.”
Other members of the Wall of Fame include NASCAR legends Jeff Gordon, Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, as well as Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman O. Bruton Smith.
FRAM AUTOLITE NHRA NATIONALS, INFINEON RACEWAY, JULY 25–27: Heading to the beautiful Sonoma Valley, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series travels to northern California for the third and final race of the Western Swing. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, AUGUST 7–10: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series returns to central Minnesota for the third to last race where drivers can earn points to get into the Countdown to 1. Defending event winners include Brandon Bernstein (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
TOYO TIRES NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, AUGUST 14–17: Returning to the East Coast, drivers in the NHRA POWERade Series have one final chance before Indy to make a run at the Top 10 point standings. Defending event winners include Doug Herbert (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Matt Guidera (Pro Stocky Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
FLYING HIGH: Top Fuel pilot Brandon Bernstein got the chance of a lifetime last week when he had the opportunity to ride shotgun with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Bernstein describes his F-16 ride with Major Anthony Mulhare: "While we were performing maneuvers, the major asked if I was ready for my 9-G pull and I said ‘Bring it on.’ We registered at 9.2 Gs. It was an amazing rush on my body.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
-5,845: The difference in elevation from Bandimere Speedway, the first race on the Western Swing, to Infineon Raceway, the last race on the Western Swing. Drivers and crews face the daunting task each year of preparing a car to run at 5,860 feet above sea level (Denver) the first week, 280 feet above sea level (Seattle) the second week, and 15 feet above sea level (Sonoma) in the third and final week.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that since Pro Stock Motorcycles were added to the Sonoma event in 2002, there have been six different winners in as many years: Craig Treble (2002), Geno Scali (2003), Angelle Sampey (2004), Andrew Hines (2005), Chip Ellis (2006) and Matt Smith (2007).
For more information, visit www.nhra.com.