|Seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher
||15-time world champ John Force
SCHUMACHER AND FORCE STILL LOOKING FOR FIRST WINS OF 2011: As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Bristol Dragway this week for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, many drivers are riding a wave of race victories.
Top Fuel points leader Del Worsham has three event wins in his first full season behind the wheel of the Al-Anabi dragster. Second-place Spencer Massey is coming off of consecutive wins in Topeka, Kansas, and Englishtown, New Jersey. In Funny Car, Mike Neff has raced to two wins and is enjoying a run of four consecutive final-round appearances, and teammate Robert Hight has three wins already.
And yet while so many drivers are experiencing strong success in 2011, some of the biggest names and former NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world champions have yet to earn their first wins of the season.
One is seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher. He not only has failed to win a race this season, but he’s also had only two final-round appearances, a vast difference for a driver who has amassed 26 wins in 33 final-round appearances in the three years before this season. Schumacher enters Bristol Dragway as the three-time defending event winner and four-time race winner. If ever there was a track for Schumacher to turn his success around, it is Bristol.
Another driver hoping to find Bristol success is 15-time and defending Funny Car world champion John Force. While both of his teammates, Neff and Hight, have found the winner’s circle multiple times this season, Force has yet to even find the final round, let alone a race win. The defending and three-time winner at Bristol Dragway holds the most wins of any Funny Car driver at the track and hopes for a repeat of the results of his 2010 Thunder Valley visit. Force also sits on the verge of breaking another NHRA record: He is tied with Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson for the most No. 1 qualifiers in NHRA history, with both sitting at 138.
Is Bristol Dragway the place where Force will again make drag racing history? For tickets for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, call 423/989-6900 or log on to bristoldragway.com.
DIGIORNO PIZZA TO SUPPORT FULLER’S 2011 RETURN TO NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING: DiGiorno pizza will sponsor “Hot Rod” Fuller’s return to NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing in the Yas Marina Circuit Top Fuel dragster from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Fuller will compete at 10 NHRA events throughout the remainder of the 2011 tour, in Bristol, Tennessee; Joliet, Illinois; Denver; Brainerd, Minnesota; Indianapolis; Charlotte, North Carolina; Dallas; Reading, Pennsylvania; Phoenix; and Las Vegas. Fuller and his Top Fuel dragster also will make four appearances on behalf of DiGiorno pizza at Walmart stores in the area of each race he attends. The schedule will consist of two appearances the Wednesday and Thursday before each race, from 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. both days. Store locations will be announced the Monday of race week so that fans can plan their participation.
“Having a corporate entity such as Nestle with the DiGiorno brand sponsor us on the NHRA circuit is something that compares to commitments you see in other major-league sports,” said Fuller. “We feel that the NHRA fan base is a great audience for the promotion and know that Walmart is a great retail partner.”
For more information, log on to NHRA.com.
FORD NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS PRESENTED BY TRI-CITIES AREA FORD DEALERS, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, June 17–19: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Thunder Valley and its ninth stop on the circuit. Defending event winners are Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 423/989-6900 or log on to bristoldragway.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at email@example.com.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, June 23–26: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Norwalk, Ohio, and its 10th stop on the circuit. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 419/668-5555 or log on to summitmotorsportspark.tix.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS, ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, July 7–10: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Chicago and the Windy City for its 11th stop of the season. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 815/727-RACE or log on to route66raceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
IF YOU’RE NOT FIRST, YOU’RE LAST: Pro Stock driver and points leader Jason Line on why he races: “I go to every race with the sole purpose of winning. There’s no other reason to go. That’s what we’re paid to do, and that’s what we need to do—we just need to do a better job of it, and I’m confident we will.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1965, DRAG RACING HEADS TO BRISTOL: On June 3–7, 1965, the NHRA held the Springnationals at Bristol International Dragway. In 2001, 36 years after that first national event held in Bristol, NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing returned to Thunder Valley to the completely remodeled Bristol Dragway and the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4.075: That’s the E.T. track record in Funny Car at Bristol Dragway, held by current Top Fuel driver Del Worsham and set in May 2009. The national record in Funny Car is 4.011 seconds, held by local favorite Matt Hagan. Can Hagan, or any other Funny Car driver, post the first three-second Funny Car run at this year’s Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers?
DID YOU KNOW…
…that the highly exciting, nitromethane-induced NHRA Harley-Davidson Racing Nitro Exhibition has been added to the schedule for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers this weekend at Bristol Dragway? For tickets, call 423/989-6900 or log on to bristoldragway.com.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.