SCHUMACHER MAKES HISTORY WITH WESTERN SWING; GUIDERA WINS AT HOME TRACK IN SONOMA: Tony Schumacher did more than just win his fifth event in six races Sunday at the FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals. Schumacher’s stellar run Sunday in the Sonoma Valley gave the U.S. Army dragster pilot his third win in as many races; a win that made him only the sixth driver in NHRA history to sweep the Western Swing. Schumacher joined Joe Amato (1991), John Force (1994), Cory McClenathan (1997), Larry Dixon (2003) and Greg Anderson (2004) as the only drivers to sweep the three-race Swing since it began in 1989.
Northern California native Matt Guidera also found success last weekend at his home track of Infineon Raceway, racing past Mike Berry, Karen Stoffer, Chip Ellis and Andrew Hines to pick up his second win of the season and third of his career. In Funny Car, Robert Hight became the third straight John Force Racing driver to win in Sonoma when he drove his Auto Club Ford Mustang past Gary Densham for his second win of the season.
Pro Stock’s Dave Connolly not only picked up his second win of the season at Infineon Raceway, but with the win, moved past Warren Johnson and into the 10th spot in the point standings.
TEAMS SET FOR NHRA SOFTBALL CLASSIC IN READING: Coaches Gary Scelzi and Antron Brown set their teams this past week during a draft held for the NHRA Softball Classic, which will be played August 14, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania. Ron Capps was the first overall draft pick after he was selected by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Gary Scelzi for the Scelzi Superchargers.
Brown picked UPS dragster pilot Bob Vandergriff as his first-round pick for his Brown Burn Down Bombers. The driver vs. driver softball game, benefiting DRAW (Drag Racing Association of Women) will kick off at FirstEnergy Stadium (home of AA affiliate team, the Reading Phillies) at 5:00 p.m. with an autograph session and the first pitch at 7:00 p.m.
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 in the point standings. Defending event winners include Doug Herbert (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Matt Guidera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS, O’REILLY RACEWAY PARK, AUGUST 27–SEPTEMBER 1: The final stop for the regular season, drivers in the NHRA POWERade Series will have one last chance at the historic Raceway in Indianapolis to secure a spot in the Top 10 in the point standings and advance to the Countdown to 1.
Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors will also have the chance to compete for cash and bragging rights in the U.S. Smokeless Showdown and the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle. Defending winners of the race include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Mike Ashley (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
A NIGHT AT THE ESPYS: Being surrounded by famous celebrities and sports figures can cause even the most talented driver to become a little star-struck. But this was not the case for Funny Car driver Ashley Force. Force was invited to attend the 2008 ESPY awards show, July 16 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, after being nominated in the HUMMER Like Nothing Else category. For Force, being surrounded by such high-profile people wasn’t quite the experience most would expect.
“I wish I would have won, but just the experience was great,” said Force. “Danny (Hood, Force’s fiancé) and I spent the whole night mingling with the biggest stars in all of sports. I have to be honest, I’m not a huge sports fan so Danny recognized a lot more people than me. I love to people watch and the ESPYs was the perfect place to do that. I saw all sorts of players and celebrities. It was a great night.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
11: The number of wins that Funny Car driver John Force has at Brainerd International Raceway, the second most of any driver at a track. Only Force himself and Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden have more. Both have 12 wins at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.