RACE WINS IN SONOMA COME JUST IN TIME FOR COUNTDOWN CLINCHERS: Winning. It’s the force and desire behind every driver and team in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, but sometimes a race win can have more value than one can realize. This was the case Sunday for Antron Brown, Ron Capps, Greg Anderson and LE Tonglet, who stood in the winner’s circle at the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
For Brown and Anderson, their winning performance helped clinch their spots in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs, and for Capps and Tonglet, the win moved them further up the points standings in their respective categories and even closer to clinching their own berths in the Countdown with only three races remaining in the regular season.
“We’re on a roll,” said Brown following his win Sunday. “We want to win races, as many as we can during the season, but our primary goal is winning the championship. That means being ready for the Countdown, mentally as well as mechanically. You don’t want any part of what you are doing to peak too early, and we think we’re peaking at the right time.”
Anderson agrees that momentum is exactly what his team needs heading into the final three races before the Countdown to the Championship.
“It’s good to have clinched our spot in the Countdown, but our work has only begun,” said Anderson. “We have three races to go, and we want to make the most of them so we can go into the playoffs with a full head of steam.”
To see more results from Sunday’s FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals, visit NHRA.com.
SONOMA: SITE FOR MANY COUNTDOWN CLINCHERS: With only three races left before the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Infineon Raceway was the spot where many drivers clinched their spot in the six-race playoff showdown for the world championship. In Top Fuel, Antron Brown clinched his spot with a race win, and second-place driver Spencer Massey clinched his berth in the Countdown with a second-round appearance. Defending world champion Larry Dixon secured his spot with his semifinal finish, and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher grabbed his spot with his runner-up to Brown.
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson drove to the race win and a Countdown berth, and runner-up Mike Edwards took over the points lead and clinched his spot in the Countdown playoffs. Anderson’s teammate Jason Line also secured his spot in the Countdown with a semifinal appearance. Pro Stock Motorcycle saw points leader Karen Stoffer and second-place driver Eddie Krawiec become the first in the class to secure their spots with only two races left for the two-wheel class before the Countdown to the Championship begins. Below are the drivers who have secured spots so far in the Countdown to the Championship:
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NEXT STOP ON NHRA 60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION—PACIFIC RACEWAYS: NHRA legend Gary Beck—a hometown favorite in the Pacific Northwest—will take center stage at NHRA’s 2011 pit stop at Pacific Raceways for the 60th Anniversary Season and the 24th running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals. Beck will participate in special 60th Anniversary activities all weekend, including autograph and meet-and-greet sessions, a special car corral and the always-popular Cacklefest on Sunday during the pre-race ceremony. Tickets for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals are still available and can be purchased by calling 253/639-5927 or logging on to extremetix.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 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.
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INT’L RACEWAY, August 18–21: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series visits the Land of 10,000 Lakes on its second-to-last stop before the Countdown to the Championship. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Bob Bode (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 218/824-7223 or log on to ticketreturn.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at email@example.com.
MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, LUCAS OIL RACEWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS, August 31–Sept. 5: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its last stop before the Countdown to the Championship at the most prestigious race in NHRA Drag Racing. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car), Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/884-NHRA (6472) or log on to extremetix.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
GETTING THE MONKEY OFF YOUR BACK: Funny Car driver Ron Capps, on his recent win at the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals: “People have asked if getting that win at Infineon Raceway, our first since we won there last year, got the monkey off our back. I suppose you could say that, but actually, it was more a sense of relief than excitement or anything else. After all, I’ve been preaching a win was coming ever since Tim and Kim Richards [crew chief and crewmember] joined the NAPA team, so I knew it was going to happen.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1996, FORCE FIRST NHRA DRIVER NAMED DRIVER OF THE YEAR: After an impressive season that saw him win 65 of 71 eliminations rounds and race to his sixth of 15 Funny Car world championships, John Force became the first NHRA driver to win the prestigious Driver of the Year award, voted on by a select panel of nationwide motorsports media members.
Force set NHRA history again Saturday when he collected his 139th career No. 1 qualifier, the most in NHRA history, at the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: That’s how many final-round appearances seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher has made this season, including two consecutive appearances over the last two races, without a win. Schumacher will look to collect his first win of the season and fifth at Pacific Raceways this weekend at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that the Pro Stock Motorcycle category will take its last race off at this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Seattle before racing at the final eight races of the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season? The class will return to action August 18–21 at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, where recent winner LE Tonglet will look to make it two wins in a row and clinch his spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.