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NHRA: Points Leaders Swapped as Countdown Gets Ready for Las Vegas




Funny Car driver Jack Beckman knew he had the car to beat Sunday. As the part-time drag-racing school instructor slowly but surely marched up the ladder during Sunday eliminations at the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, Beckman knew that his chances for a repeat win in Phoenix were high. What came as a shock for the Southern California native was what came with his third win of the season—the Funny Car points lead.

“It’s hard to digest everything that happened here today,” said Beckman following the win. “I’ve always said I want to control our destiny on the racetrack, but being three rounds behind with 12 left, (Mike) Neff and (Matt) Hagan had to lose relatively early to put us back in the hunt, and you can never bet on that because those are two phenomenal teams.”

But that’s exactly what happened, with Neff falling in the first round to teammate Robert Hight and Hagan losing to teammate Johnny Gray in the second round Sunday.

“For everything to happen the way it happened today, I’m not so gratified that I’m the points leader,” said Beckman. “I’m gratified that we got ourselves back into the championship hunt.”

Beckman now enters the final two races of the NHRA Full Throttle season with a five-point lead over second-place driver and teammate Hagan. But Beckman wasn’t the only driver to snag the points lead with a stellar performance Sunday. Top Fuel driver Antron Brown took the top spot in his category with his runner-up finish to winner Larry Dixon. Brown now commands a 20-point lead over Dixon, who moved up from fourth to second place in the standings after racing to his second win on Sunday. Now, as the NHRA Full Throttle Series heads to the penultimate race of the season—the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway—the top two spots in three of the four categories in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series are separated by 20 points or less.

“There are eight rounds of racing left (each worth 20 points) and our goal is to win at least six,” said Brown. “We’ll just keep our heads down and keep marching.”

For tickets to the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, call 702-644-4444 or log on to


LAS VEGAS NHRA FANFEST AUTOGRAPH SESSION, OCTOBER 27: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Las Vegas for the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals, October 27–30 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the NHRA is inviting fans to come out and experience a Fanfest unlike any other, Vegas-style. The stars of the NHRA will interact with fans, sign autographs and participate in a Q&A session with legendary announcer Bob Frey under the lights of Viva Vision—the state-of-the-art light and animation display above the Fremont Street Experience in the heart of downtown Las Vegas.

An NHRA-themed light show will play on the Viva Vision throughout the evening, and ticket giveaways and music will also highlight the most popular fanfest of the year. The NHRA Las Vegas Fanfest will kick off at 5:00 p.m., Thursday, October 27, on the 3rd Street Stage at the intersection of 3rd and Fremont Streets and is free to the public. Johnny Gray’s Big O Tires Dodge Charger Funny Car and the Tequila Patron Funny Car driven by Alexis DeJoria will be on display throughout the evening. For a list of some of the drivers participating in this event, or for more information, log on to

Funny Car driver Matt Hagan modeling the ’62 Nationals T-Shirt in the NHRA Originals line.

NHRA ORIGINALS VINTAGE T-SHIRTS ON SALE NOW IN TARGET STORES NATIONWIDE: After a successful test program earlier this year, JEM Sportswear and the NHRA have announced the official launch of NHRA Originals—a line of vintage NHRA-themed T-shirts. The first two shirt designs, featuring classic logos from the NHRA Winternationals in ’72 and the NHRA’s ’62 Nationals, are available in Target stores nationwide. As part of the launch of NHRA Originals, the motorsports sanctioning body intends to bring out of its archives some of the classic logos and symbols of the sport of NHRA Drag Racing and make them available on a variety of consumer products. These logos, which over time have become the definitive artwork of the sport, marked an era in NHRA Drag Racing like no other.

“The artwork associated with NHRA national events in the ’60s and ’70s are iconic NHRA designs and are highly sought after,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing. “This new line of NHRA Originals will pay homage to those classic designs and artwork of a time gone by but not forgotten.”

For more information, log on to


BIG O TIRES NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, October 27–30: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its stop at the penultimate race of the season in Las Vegas. Defending event winners are Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 702-644-4444 or log on to For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its final stop of 2011 where it all began—in sunny Southern California. It is also the spot where world champions will be crowned. Defending event winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at



‘SOMETIMES IT’S A DRAG AND SOMETIMES IT’S A RACE’: Top Fuel pilot Spencer Massey after failing to qualify for the NHRA Arizona Nationals and dropping from first to third in the point standings: “Obviously it hurts us tremendously because if we would have qualified we could get more points; we could’ve gone some rounds and had a shot at winning the race, which would have helped us out tremendously in the points. Now it is just going to bunch everybody back up. Sometimes it’s a drag and sometimes it’s a race and we got the drag end of the deal this time.”



1992, BERNSTEIN FIRST TO 300 MPH: At Gainesville Raceway at the 1992 Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, Top Fuel pilot Kenny Bernstein became the first driver in NHRA history to record a 300-mph run when he raced to a 301.70-mph pass and earned a $50,000 check in the process for the accomplishment. Bernstein’s record is one of the six top moments in NHRA history that fans can still vote on to determine No. 1.



3: That’s the number of wins this season that NHRA rookie drivers Vincent Nobile and Hector Arana Jr. each have earned in their respective categories. Both racers are candidates for the $20,000 Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which recognizes the top-performing rookie driver of the year.



…that at the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, the NHRA will honor Funny Car driver John Force as its NHRA Legend for the event and, in addition, Force will display 28 of his famous Funny Cars in the all-impressive John Force Ultimate Car Show, which will be in the pits all weekend long. For more information, log on to

For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626-914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.