zMAX WINNERS READY TO KEEP MOMENTUM ROLLING, EVERYONE ELSE LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN MOMENTUM AS THEY HEAD TO THE LONESTAR STATE: Starting off the Countdown to the Championship with a victory is great, but if you want to end the Countdown with the NHRA Full Throttle championship trophy, you have to keep winning and that’s what Matt Hagan, (Funny Car) Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) plan to do. Conditions were ripe for the picking at zMAX Dragway where record-setting runs were the norm, but the conditions won't be the same when the teams roll into Dallas where the forecast is hot and humid. The game plan will have to be shifted from record-setting numbers to just going A to B and getting those round wins. As Hagan proved last weekend, big moves in the point standings are a real possibility at each of the Countdown races as he jumped from sixth to second.
“It’s anybody’s ballgame right now, and I’m just excited to have a competitive race car underneath me,” Hagan said.
Mike Neff still sits atop the series lead in Funny Car, 22 points ahead of Hagan. The championship fight in Top Fuel is heating up as the teams make the move south to Dallas. Season-long points leader Del Worsham suffered a rare first-round loss at zMAX and dropped from first to third place in the standings as Brown went on to win the race and take the points lead for the first time all season.
“That car is still good,” Brown said, talking about Worsham’s Al-Anabi Racing dragster. “They just missed it in the first round; if it wasn’t for that, they’d be in the second round and maybe even further. They’ll be back and it’s far from over, but I think we’ll be in it in Pomona.”
The points lead in Pro Stock also changed as Greg Anderson, who was the points leader heading into the Countdown, also suffered a rare first-round loss, but lucky for him, he only dropped to second place and his teammate Jason Line took the points lead. There were no changes in Pro Stock Motorcycle points lead as Eddie Krawiec started the Countdown with the points lead and is heading to Texas Motorplex with it. Second-place rider Karen Stoffer made sure to keep him honest though; she went round for round with him, eventually falling to him in the final round. For tickets, call 800/668-6775 or visit www.extremetix.com.
TEXAS MOTORPLEX READY FOR COUNTDOWN AND NHRA’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY: As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Lone Star state for the annual visit to the Texas Motorplex, Texas fans will have the opportunity to meet some of their favorite drag racers from the past as the NHRA’s yearlong 60th anniversary celebration heads to Dallas. Highlighting the season-long Legends program will be some of Texas’ greatest sons, including the “King of Speed” Kenny Bernstein—the first driver to 300 mph—as well as Bill Mayer and Raymond Beadle. All three drivers will be available throughout the weekend for autograph sessions and meet-and-greets. All three legends will also participate in the popular Legends Track Walk program Sunday morning before pre-race ceremonies. All fans who purchase a Sunday ticket are invited to participate. For tickets to the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, call 800/668-6775 or visit www.extremetix.com.
NHRA ANNOUNCES 2012 FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE: The NHRA announced its 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, highlighted by a return to Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, which expands the schedule to 23 races.
“We are excited to return to the St. Louis area, as we have a very strong fan base in the region and they have always supported NHRA Drag Racing,” said Tom Compton, president of the NHRA.
A new operator at Gateway International Raceway has made the addition to the 2012 schedule possible. The multipurpose motorsports facility, located in Madison, Illinois, just across the river from St. Louis, played host to an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event for 14 years, from 1997 through 2010. The NHRA Midwest Nationals, October 5–7, will become part of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship and will feature all four professional categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle. Another significant change to the 2012 schedule is the return of the 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals to a winter date, February 17–19, making it the second event on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule and the week following the season opener—the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, February 9–12. A complete listing of the 2012 schedule can be found by logging on to NHRA.com.
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS, TEXAS MOTORPLEX, September 22–25: The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship makes its second of six stops with a visit to the Lone Star State. Defending event winners are Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/668-6775 or log on to www.extremetix.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
UNI-SELECT AUTO-PLUS NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, September 29–October 2: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its third stop in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship at scenic Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 610/856-9210 or log on to www.extremetix.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARIZONA NHRA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, October 14–16: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its fourth stop in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship in Chandler, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix. Defending event winners are Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), JackBeckman (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards. (Pro Stock). (Pro Stock Motorcycle was not contested in 2010.) For tickets, call 602/268-0200 or log on to www.firebirdraceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal email@example.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
MATT HAGAN ON HIS MILESTONE 3.995-SECOND RUN: “To be a part of history and be the first person in the three-second range, that’s something that they can never take away from you,” said Hagan. “I just can’t say enough about (crew chief) Tommy DeLago. What a mad scientist that guy is to put a race car like that underneath me. My guys just do such a great job and it’s incredible. It’s just a real testimony to how good of a job they do.”
ANTRON BROWN ON THE TOP FUEL RADAR SCREEN NOW: “The radar is on us now, so we have to dig harder with all these guys gunning for us,” said Brown. “I always liked being the guy under the radar, but it’s too late now. We’re just going to keep working hard and hopefully we don’t slip up. If that happens, I think we’ll be right in there as a championship contender.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
June 13, 1976: History was made at the NHRA Springnationals in Columbus, Ohio, when Shirley Muldowney earned her first career victory in the NHRA. It was not only the first win by a woman in NHRA’s quickest and fastest class, but it was also the first win by a woman in any NHRA Full Throttle Series category. This moment was recently named the 10th most important moment in NHRA’s 60-year history during a yearlong vote held on NHRA’s Facebook page.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
3: Matt Hagan became the first Funny Car driver to break the three-second barrier with his performance of 3.995 seconds Friday night at zMAX Dragway. Hagan backed up his effort by clocking another run within the required 1% to certify the time as an NHRA National Record.
147: The amount of points Matt Hagan earned by posting some incredible performances in his DieHard Dodge Charger during last weekend’s event in Charlotte; the maximum amount of points possible at one event is 150 points. Hagan did everything he could to get back into championship contention when he jumped from sixth place up to second.
DID YOU KNOW…
…Alexis DeJoria will make her professional debut at the Texas Motorplex this weekend. The heiress has dreamt of driving a nitro-powered Funny Car since her first visit to the NHRA drag races. She worked her way up through the Super Comp and Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks to finally get into her dream car—her Patron Tequila Toyota Camry. Kalitta Motorsports will manage DeJoria’s car.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.