People, Places & Racing News

NHRA: Schumacher Leads Six NHRA Drivers Named to AARWBA All-America Team

Tony Schumacher

NEWS NUGGETS

SCHUMACHER LEADS SIX NHRA DRIVERS NAMED TO AARWBA ALL-AMERICA TEAM: Two-time Jerry Titus Award winner and seven-time NHRA Full Throttle world champion Tony Schumacher headlines a list of six NHRA drivers named to the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association All-America teams. Schumacher was named to the First Team; Ashley Force Hood and Lucas Oil Drag Racing series driver Frank Manzo were named to the Second Team; and Larry Dixon, Mike Edwards and Robert Hight were named to the Honorable Mention Team.

The Jerry Titus Award, which is given in remembrance of the late racer/journalist, will be presented to the top vote-getter among the eight First Team drivers at the conclusion of the AARWBA All-America ceremonies in Brownsburg, Indiana, January 16. Schumacher, a two-time Titus Award winner (2008, 2006) is joined on the First Team by Dario Franchitti (Open Wheel), Mark Martin (Stock Car), Jon Fogarty/Alex Gurney (Road Racing), Donny Schatz (Short Track), Ron Hornaday (Touring Series), and J.R. Hildebrand (At-Large).

Schumacher won his sixth straight and seventh overall NHRA Full Throttle Series Top Fuel championship in 2009; this is his seventh selection as an AARWBA First Team All-America.

One driver from each of seven categories is elected to the First Team, one more to the Second Team, and all drivers receiving at least 5% of the vote (minimum five votes) earn honorable mention.

Force Hood, third-year driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, earned her first All-America recognition with two wins in eight final round appearances and six No. 1 qualifiers for the season. Dixon, who drove his Al-Anabi dragster to a second-place finish in the Top Fuel point standings, just two points behind Schumacher, earned his spot with five wins in nine final rounds and nine No. 1 qualifiers, the most of any driver in Top Fuel for the season. Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards earned his nomination after his impressive 2009 campaign which included five wins in 10 final-round appearances and sixteen No. 1 qualifiers, including a streak which included nine consecutive No. 1 qualifiers to finish out the season. First-time NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car world champion Robert Hight earned his spot after his impressive Countdown to 1 playoff run which saw the driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang earn three wins in six races and a jump from the 10th and final spot in the Countdown playoffs, all the way to the top spot in the point standings.

To follow this story online and see how Schumacher finishes, visit www.NHRA.com.

VOTING OPENS FOR MOST MEMORABLE WINTERNATIONALS MOMENT: Since 1961, the legendary NHRA Winternationals has been thrilling NHRA race fans with the unveiling of innovative race cars, incredible rookie debuts, unprecedented firsts and dramatic finishes that have provided a supercharged launch to the NHRA seasons for five decades. To help salute the milestone 50th anniversary Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, coming to Auto Club Raceway at Pomona February 11–14, NHRA fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Winternationals moment of the past 49 years in a special month-long poll on www.NHRA.com.

A panel of experts selected the top 25 moments in Winternationals history from which to choose. From the first NHRA victories of quarter-mile icons Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme and Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins or Shirley Shanan’s breakthrough as the first woman to win a major NHRA event to the debut of “Big Daddy’s” revolutionary rear-engined Top Fueler, the flying Hawaiian Funny Car, the Freight Train, Eddie Hill’s Top Fuel blowover and more, they’re all here.

Moments six through 25 will be revealed in reverse order on www.NHRA.com in the weeks before the 2010 event, and the top five will be announced during race week, culminating with the unveiling of the top moment during Sunday’s pre-race festivities at the 50th annual event.

To vote for your favorite moment in Winternationals history, visit www.NHRA.com before the deadline of midnight, December 31.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

KRAGEN O’REILLY NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, FEBRUARY 11–14: The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will kick-off in sunny Southern California with the 50th anniversary of the Winternationals. Defending event winners include Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock).

Jack Beckman

HE SAID, SHE SAID

A ‘THUNDEROUS’ RIDE: Funny Car driver “Fast Jack” Beckman on his experience of flying with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds:

“It was like riding a roller coaster on steroids with your eyes closed. Your view forward is completely obscured by the dash, some of the flight instrumentation and the pilot sitting in front of you. You can see very well out to the sides and up, but you can’t tell which way he’s going next. And that plane is absolutely amazing. Imagine everything a jet fighter can do and multiply that by three. The F-16 can do more than a human body could ever withstand.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

4: That’s the number of different riders that have won the NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship in as many years.

The last driver to defend his world championship was Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson rider Andrew Hines when he won three-consecutive world championships starting in 2004. Since 2006, four different drivers have held the title.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that 12 drivers in NHRA history that have won the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, have gone on to win the season opener, the NHRA Winternationals, the very next year.

Of those 12 drivers, only one has repeated this act. Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson first pulled this amazing feat by winning the finals in 2003, then winning the Winternationals in 2004. He did it again in the 2006 finals and 2007 Winternationals. Anderson won the 2009 Auto Club NHRA Finals and a win at the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, February 11–14 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona would make it the third time he’s gone on to win the season-opening race after winning the season-ending race the year before.