NEFF GIVES FORD ITS 200TH FUNNY CAR VICTORY: Funny Car points leader Mike Neff raced to victory Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, claiming his fourth victory of the season. In the process, the driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang gave Ford its milestone 200th Funny Car victory. With the win, Neff increased his series lead to 172 points over second place Jack Beckman with five races remaining in the 16-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Regular Season. Other winners at Route 66 Raceway included Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
BIG WEEKEND FOR ANDERSON IN CHICAGO: Four-time Pro Stock world champ Greg Anderson had a weekend to remember in Chicago. The driver of the Summit Racing Pontiac GXP earned his first No. 1 qualifying award since July 2009, ending a drought that spanned 43 races. He took the momentum from that accomplishment and went on to earn his 67th NHRA victory, which ties him for fifth on the NHRA all-time wins list. The win also gave Anderson his first Wally at Route 66 Raceway, the last track on the NHRA circuit where Anderson had not yet won. He moved to second in the point standings with the victory and became only the 10th driver in NHRA history to earn 500 elimination-round wins.
MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, July 22–24: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Rocky Mountains of Denver and the first of three stops in the grueling Western Swing. Defending event winners are Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/664-UWIN (8946) or log on to ticketreturn.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRAM-AUTOLITE NHRA NATIONALS, INFINEON RACEWAY, July 29–31: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Sonoma, California, and the second of three stops in the famed Western Swing. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/870-RACE (6223) or log on to infineonraceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, August 5–7: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series visits the Great Northwest and the Seattle area to finish the three-race Western Swing. Defending event winners are Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 253/639-5927 or log on to extremetix.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
CHASING HISTORY: Erica Enders lost in the Pro Stock final to Greg Anderson Sunday at Route 66 Raceway and, for at least a moment, a major NHRA accomplishment was put on hold. Enders, 27, is trying to become the first female driver to ever win in NHRA Pro Stock competition. She is the fifth female to race in the category and by far the most successful. Her final-round appearance on Sunday was her second of the season (also Bristol) and the fourth of her career. She also has claimed two No. 1 qualifying positions this season behind the wheel of her ZaZa Energy Chevy Cobalt and sits seventh in the point standings.
Anderson said he was worried about racing her in the final and was thrilled that he didn’t become her first final-round victim:
“At least for one week, we held the girl off from winning a national event,” Anderson said. “But don’t get me wrong, it is going to happen this year, and maybe many times. She is doing a fantastic job. I was scared to death running against her in the final. She’s the real deal.”
There have been 11 different women score victories in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series competition, including seven in Top Fuel, two in Funny Car and three in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
JOE AMATO FIRST TO SWEEP THE WESTERN SWING: NHRA Top Fuel legend Joe Amato became the first driver to sweep the famed Western Swing in 1991. Since then, six other drivers have also accomplished the feat, including John Force (1994, Funny Car), Cory McClenathan (1997, Top Fuel), Larry Dixon (2003, Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (2004, Pro Stock), Tony Schumacher (2008, Top Fuel) and Antron Brown (2009, Top Fuel). The Western Swing is comprised of races in the middle of summer, with stops in Denver, Sonoma, California and Seattle in three consecutive weeks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
40: Spencer Massey’s streak of clean runs came to an end at 40 consecutive passes during the first round of eliminations at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals when he was upset by T.J. Zizzo. Massey’s FRAM/Prestone dragster, which is tuned by Todd Okuhara and Phil Shuler, slightly hazed the tires and lost traction near the finish line on the run and Zizzo’s Peak dragster streaked by at the last instant.
“We were bound to smoke the tires at some point,” Massey said. “I just wish we had done it at another time, like later in the race.”
Massey’s streak started with the first qualifying session at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway and included victories at Topeka, Kansas, and Englishtown and a runner-up at Norwalk, Ohio, and semifinal finishes at Atlanta and Bristol. He moved from fifth to second in the point standings during the impressive run.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that LE Tonglet’s Pro Stock Motorcycle victory on Sunday at Route 66 Raceway came right after he posted a did not qualify (DNQ) at the previous event in Norwalk, Ohio? In doing so, the defending Full Throttle world champion became the first Pro Stock Motorcycle rider in NHRA history to win a race immediately following a DNQ.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.