People, Places & Racing News

NHRA NEWSMAKERS: HOW THE POWERade SERIES WORLD CHAMPS DOMINATED 2008

NEWS NUGGETS          

A LOOK BACK AT THE 2008 POWERade SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONS: In a year that saw a five-time repeat champion, two two-time repeat champions and one who collected his very first in just his second season of competition, the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season was full of action and plenty of drama that began in February at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and ended less than a month ago back at the same historic track. Here’s a closer look at the 2008 NHRA POWERade series world champions and the seasons they had:

TONY SCHUMACHER, U.S. ARMY DRAGSTER

  • Won 15 of 18 final rounds
  • Collected 9 No. 1 qualifiers
  • Had a round win/loss record of 76–9
  • Passed Joe Amato on the Top Fuel all-time wins list with his 53rd career win at the NHRA Carolinas Nationals
  • Tied Greg Anderson for the most event wins (15) and most round wins (76) in a single season
  • Collected his fifth-consecutive and sixth-overall world championship.
  • Quote: “We’ve always been known as a pressure team, and to come out with no pressure on and win the first (round) of the year against Doug Kalitta, I said ‘That’s going to set the tone for the year,’ and we came out swinging and haven’t let our guard down.”

CRUZ PEDREGON, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS TOYOTA SOLARA

  • Won the final three races of the season
  • Collected three No. 1 qualifiers
  • Had a round win/loss record of 37–20
  • Never dropped below the sixth spot in the point standings all season
  • Clinched his second world championship after brother and teammate, Tony Pedregon, beat Robert Hight in the first round of the Auto Club NHRA Finals
  • Quote: “When Tony beat Robert, it was like I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Was I really the champ? Was that it? There must’ve been someone else with a mathematical chance, right?”

JEG COUGHLIN, JEGS.COM CHEVY COBALT

  • Won three of eight final rounds
  • Collected three No. 1 qualifiers
  • Had a round win/loss record of 43–20
  • Never dropped below fourth in the point standings all season
  • Clinched his second-consecutive and fourth-overall world championship with his qualifying run at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona
  • Quote: “This is an extremely sweet moment for me. It’s a new generation with the Countdown to 1 and we’ve been fortunate enough to win both championships under this format. It’s a real testament to the caliber of this team and its ability to rise to the occasion when the pressure is at its highest. These guys are stout.”

EDDIE KRAWIEC, SCREAMIN’ EAGLE VANCE & HINES HARLEY-DAVIDSON

  • Went to four final rounds, all of which came in the Countdown to 1 playoffs
  • Collected three No. 1 qualifiers
  • Had a round win/loss record of 27–17
  • Clinched his first world championship with his semifinal round win over teammate Andrew Hines at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona
  • Became only the second driver in NHRA history (Rob Bruins, Top Fuel 1979) to win a world championship without winning a national event during the season
  • Quote: “Consistency pays off. It shows you that you just need to go rounds at the end. We made the Countdown in seventh place and have been in four of the last five finals. I haven’t had a chance to win my first (event) Wally yet, but I’ve got a big gold Wally (for winning the championship). I do have a $75,000 check here though, so if someone wants to sell a Wally, I could buy one.”

BROWN TO SPEAK ON PANEL AT SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL MARKETING FORUM: NHRA Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown will join a distinguished group from the motorsports community as a panel speaker at Sports Business Journal’s 2008 Motorsports Marketing Forum in New York. Brown, along with Joie Chitwood of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Julie Sobieski of ESPN, Jay Frye of Red Bull Racing, Al Johnson of Aflac and David Zucker of Petty Enterprises will discuss a variety of racing topics, including the economy, TV ratings and the future of motorsports.

Also on hand for the event will be NHRA President Tom Compton, NHRA Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Gary Darcy and Senior Director of Sales and Business Development John Siragusa. The two-day event begins December 2 at the Westin Times Square in New York City.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

SECOND PLACE…AGAIN: Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson on finishing second in the point standings for the third year in a row: “We didn’t get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but we got the next-best thing, and that’s the NHRA Finals win at Pomona. ‘Jeggie’ is the world champion. He did a better job and he deserves to be champion.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

10: That’s the number of months that Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher consistently stayed in the No. 1 spot in the point standings. Schumacher won the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, and stayed atop the point standings the entire 2008 NHRA POWERade season.

DID YOU KNOW…

… that newly crowned Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Eddie Krawiec recently added the title “husband” to his lists of accomplishments as he and new wife Annemarie Tribuzio were married last week at St. Thomas More Church in Manalapan, New Jersey.