SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS COULD BRING REDEMPTION FOR STRUGGLING DRIVERS: With the summer just starting to show signs of heating up and the end of the regular season of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series just seven races away, this weekend’s third annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, could be the turnaround point for many drivers struggling to gain ground before the Countdown to 1 playoffs.
A driver you wouldn’t expect to be looking for redemption in Norwalk is Pro Stock driver and three-time world champion, Greg Anderson. Though Anderson currently sits third in the point standings, a comfortable 365 points ahead of the 10th-place cutoff spot for the Countdown playoffs, Anderson has yet to pick up a win in 2009. Entering his primary sponsor’s event and also a spot where he is the defending event winner, Anderson hopes to turn that around this weekend.
“The competition has certainly gained on us a little bit, so it has been a challenge,” Anderson said. “I have struggled a little bit with my driving this year too. It all adds up to a bit of frustration. We know what we have to do and hopefully we can get it done this weekend.”
Another driver who looks to get it done this weekend is Funny Car rookie Matt Hagan. Hagan has kept his Shelor.com Dodge Charger R/T in the top 10 for most of the season, even posting a runner-up finish in Las Vegas. But four consecutive first-round losses dropped the Don Schumacher Racing driver from sixth to 10th in the point standings, only eight points ahead of 11th-place driver Mike Neff.
“We’re really on a bad streak right now and we have to do something to change our luck and change things around,” Hagan said, following his first-round loss to Del Worsham in Englishtown last week. “I’m very, very confident in this Don Schumacher Racing team and this whole organization. We have good guys and a smart crew chief and a lot of great knowledge around us. I know that these guys are going to turn it around for us.”
Other drivers hoping for successful runs to push them into the top 10 point standings include John Force Racing teammates, Neff and Robert Hight, who currently sit 11th and 12th respectively; Top Fuel pilot Joe Hartley; and Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson, who sits just 27 points ahead of 11th-place driver Johnny Gray.
TOP FUEL PILOT FULLER BACK IN DRIVER SEAT FOR NORWALK: Top Fuel pilot “Hot Rod” Fuller will climb back into his dragster at this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, thanks to the support of Michigan Cat and its Think Big educational partner, Owens Community College. This is the second event in 2009 that Fuller will compete in and his second driving for Vandergriff Motorsports. Fuller, who was the No. 1 qualifier at both the 2007 and 2008 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, will be flying the Michigan Cat colors at the event along with a Cat Think Big educational partner.
The Think Big program provides students with the knowledge they need for future consideration of an internship or employment with a Cat dealer. Transplace Logistics Management Services will also be supporting Fuller in Norwalk as well as Vandergriff Motorsports sponsors Speedco and Split Second Speedgear.
SoCAL SPEED PASS OFFERS ONE HOT TICKET TO UPCOMING NHRA, NASCAR RACES IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: NHRA is partnering with Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, to offer one hot ticket for motorsports fans in Southern California. The SoCal Speed Pass will provide a reserved seat and pit pass to the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway Pomona on November 15 and a reserved seat and pit pass to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway on October 11. The SoCal Speed Pass, available for the low price of $95, will save fans $80 off the retail value of both tickets while supplies last. The SoCal Speed Pass offer expires on September 11.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, JUNE 25–28: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to Norwalk, Ohio, for its third annual event. Defending event winners include Doug Herbert (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle). Norwalk is also the site of the K&N Horsepower Challenge Pro Stock bonus event.
MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, JULY 10–12: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to the Mile-High city for the 30th national event at Bandimere Speedway. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, JULY 17–19: Returning to Seattle for the second leg of the famed Western Swing, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing makes its 14th stop on its 24-race circuit. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tony Bartone (Funny Car); and Jason Line (Pro Stock).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
LOOKING FOR AN EVEN STRONGER SECOND-HALF: Funny Car driver Ron Capps on dropping from first to third after leading the point standings for the first half of the season: “To be honest with you, now that we’re in third, it kind of lights a little bit of a fire under us because we now have a reason to get back to our race mode and try to get the points lead back.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: That’s the number of consecutive final-round appearances that Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards has had so far this year. Edwards, arguably the hottest driver in the Pro Stock category this year, looks to make his fifth consecutive final round and pick up his third win of the season at this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Tony Pedregon Racing will host a Locks of Love charity auction this Saturday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio? Pedregon Racing and many other NHRA race teams will donate racing memorabilia for auction with all proceeds going towards the Locks of Love Foundation. In addition, Tony Pedregon’s daughter, Cecily, will kick off the event by cutting and donating her hair that morning to the foundation. Hair cutting donations will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at a tent near the Pedregon merchandise trailer.