FORCE, DIXON, MANZO LEAD NHRA DRIVERS SELECTED FOR AARWBA ALL-AMERICA TEAM: 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world champions John Force and Larry Dixon headline a list of six NHRA drivers named to the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) All-America teams. Force, a four-time Jerry Titus Award winner and 15-time Funny Car world champion, three-time NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel Champion Dixon and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Funny Car world champion Frank Manzo were named to the All American First Team. Two-time Jerry Titus Award winner Tony Schumacher and Funny Car driver Matt Hagan were named to the Second Team, while NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world champion Von Smith made the Honorable Mention list.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion and Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner LE Tonglet made the Rising Star list, created to recognize a fresh new name making a mark. Though the poll does not include motorcycle racers, Tonglet’s stellar performance in 2010 inspired a number of voters to write in his name. Drivers from eight categories are elected to the First Team and Second Team, and all drivers receive at least 5% of the vote (minimum five votes) earn Honorable Mention.
Force, who is making his 15th appearance on the First Team, drove his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to six race wins in 11 final-round appearances and picked up three No. 1 qualifiers on the way to earning his 15th NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car world championship. Dixon, who is making his third First Team appearance, set a category season record of 12 wins in 12 final-round appearances and eight No. 1 qualifiers as he powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to his third NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel world championship. Seven-time Top Fuel world champion Schumacher made his eighth All-America appearance with his six wins and three No. 1 qualifiers in the U.S. Army dragster, while Funny Car teammate Hagan made his first appearance on the list after powering his DieHard Dodge Charger to three wins in five final-round appearances and finishing second in the Funny Car point standings. For more information on the All-America List, visit NHRA.com.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE RIDER ANGIE SMITH BEGINS TESTING PRO STOCK CAR FOR 2011 DEBUT: Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Angie Smith got her first taste of what life is going to be like behind the wheel of a Pro Stock car as she got some valuable seat time this past Sunday and Monday, with the help of Pro Stock drivers Greg Stanfield and Bob Yonke. Smith describes her experience of launching the car for the first time in her NHRA Blog found on NHRA.com.
“I rolled in and floored it and popped the clutch, and I was going crazy in the car. I pushed the clutch in halfway through first gear. As soon as they got to the car, I had the doors open and I was smiling from ear to ear. It’s one of those things that I can’t tell you what it feels like because I don’t know how to describe it. I did two more launches and made the 1-2 gear change. I had an .043 and a .054 lights on my launches. I wasn’t concentrating on the light, but I was glad they were close.”
To get more of Angie’s experience, visit her blog on NHRA.com.
COMING ATTRACTIONS KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 24-27, 2011: The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and 60th anniversary season of NHRA kicks off at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at the 51st running of this event. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
OFF SEASON? WHAT OFF SEASON?: Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown on the hustle and bustle occurring at Don Schumacher Racing during the off season: “We’re off and rolling this off season. We’ve got a brand-new, in-house DSR chassis in our pit at the shop, and a body at the painters. It’ll be painted, decaled and all pretty before Christmas. All my Nitroholics will be smelling some nitro again real soon because the 51st annual Winternationals is less than 90 days away.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson won the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals and the Auto Club NHRA Finals in 1993, then opened the 1994 season with a win at the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals.
3: Only three drivers, after winning both the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals and season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals (both held at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona) in the same year have gone on to win the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals the following year. Funny Car driver John Force has the opportunity to have his name added to that list if he wins the season-opening race in Pomona this February. Below is a list of those drivers and the years they accomplished this task.
• Greg Anderson: 2006, 2007
• Jeg Coughlin: 1999, 2000
• Warren Johnson: 1993, 1994
DID YOU KNOW…
…that the U.S. Army renewed its motorsports partnership with Don Schumacher Racing for 2011? The U.S. Army will again sponsor Tony Schumacher’s Top Fuel dragster heading into next season. The U.S. Army also is set to continue its associate sponsorship with NHRA Full Throttle driver Antron Brown in 2011, as well as its role as the official military partner of NHRA. Next season marks the 11th straight in which the U.S. Army colors have been on the Top Fuel dragster driven by Schumacher. For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761, or visit the NHRA Media Center online.