2012 NHRA FULL THROTTLE SEASON BEGINS WITH O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS: Three months after the final pass of the 2011 season at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the historic facility for its 2012 debut this weekend with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, presented by Super Start Batteries, February 9–12. The biggest names in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing will return to action in hopes of starting their campaigns for 2012 NHRA Full Throttle world championships off right with a win in the birthplace of drag racing—Southern California. With temperatures expected to stay in the mid-70s and clear skies in the forecast all weekend, the 52nd annual season opener is expected to have some of the best weather and racing conditions that teams and drivers could imagine.
The event will be filled with drama and excitement, including the professional debut of Courtney Force—youngest daughter of 15-time NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car champ John Force; two new drivers for the powerhouse Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel team; the return of former Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin and more. Additionally, a special Don Garlits 80th birthday Rat Roast charity event will be held Saturday evening, February 11, at the Sheraton Fairplex.
For tickets, log on to NHRATix.com and click on the "Rat Roast" link.
THIS WEEK AT NHRA:
Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, presented by Super Start Batteries
Track: Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
Race number: 1 of 23
Track surface: concrete/asphalt
Elevation: 1,100 ft. above sea level
Most NHRA Full Throttle victories at the track: 14, John Force, Funny Car
2011 event winners: Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) Jason Line (Pro Stock)
Tickets: Call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
NHRA TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT FOR TOP FUEL, FUNNY CAR TO BE STAGED IN INDY: NHRA officials have announced that the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, which are races within a race, will be conducted at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, with Top Fuel showcased Saturday, September 1, and Funny Car featured Sunday, September 2.
There will be three ways for Top Fuel and Funny Car teams to qualify for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. First, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series points leaders in Top Fuel and Funny Car after the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd, Minnesota, August 16–19, will automatically qualify as top seeds for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, even if the respective points leaders have yet to win a national event.
Second, the first seven winners in both categories of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will qualify, beginning at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, presented by Super Start Batteries, February 9–12, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California, and concluding at the Brainerd event. If the points leaders do not win one of the first 16 events of the season in each category, their provisional spots will bump the seventh event winner in each category. If there are less than seven different winners in each category prior to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, rankings in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series points standings after the Brainerd event will fill any open positions up to No. 7. Seeding for the top seven positions will be based on the season-long points standings in both categories after the Brainerd event.
Third, once the first seven positions in the fields are set, the eighth and final spot in each category will be determined by a fan vote and a lottery-style drawing. The fan-vote selections in each category will be eligible to become the eighth seeds in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. The fan vote for the eighth seeds will be conducted on NHRA’s Facebook page and through a lottery-style drawing at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. All remaining unqualified drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car who have competed in all 16 NHRA Full Throttle events this season leading up to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be included in the NHRA Facebook fan-voting process. Based on the percentage of fan votes received, drivers will receive an equivalent percentage of chances in the lottery. For example, if a driver earns 15% of the fan vote, he or she will have 15 chances out of 100 in the lottery-style drawing. All eligible drivers will have at least one chance in the drawing. The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will award $100,000 to the winners in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car events. The program will award the top four finishers in each event, with the runners-up receiving $15,000 and the semifinal losers earning $7,500 each. The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will be featured on the Sunday, September 2, qualifying shows on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD.
For more information, log on to NHRA.com.
NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES RETURNS TO ESPN FOR 2012 SEASON: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will again be showcased on ESPN in 2012. The 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season celebrates Nitro Generation—a tribute to the many families who have made the NHRA the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body. It is a celebration of the generations of racers who have produced raw emotion and drama while in pursuit of race victories and world championships. And it is the fans who have across many generations shared their love of NHRA with their families and friends. ESPN’s coverage during each of the 23 races will highlight Nitro Generation, both in the pits and the grandstands, in search of answers to the question: Do you have the Nitro Gene?
The 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series television schedule features Sunday night prime-time slots on ESPN2 or ESPN for nearly every event. All six of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoff events are scheduled to offer eliminations coverage in prime time. The NHRA works with ESPN each year to provide qualifying and finals programming with the best possible air times. The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 29–September 3, will again feature 11 hours of wall-to-wall coverage, including complete coverage of final eliminations Monday, September 3, from 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. (EDT).
For a complete list of the 2012 television schedule, log on to NHRA.com.
DOLLAR GENERAL NAMED TITLE-RIGHTS SPONSOR OF TOPEKA EVENT: Dollar General will become the title-rights sponsor of the annual NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event in Topeka, Kansas. The Dollar General NHRA Summernationals will be held May 18–20 at Heartland Park Topeka. For tickets, log on to NHRATix.com. Dollar General boasts more than 700 stores in and around Kansas and intends to conduct in-market store activation programs for the event. In addition to promotional rights, Dollar General will receive broadcast elements, display space and signage on-site at the event, pre-event customer activities and corporate hospitality. It represents Dollar General’s first involvement in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing.
NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, February 17–19: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its second stop of the season in Phoenix. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 8–11: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to historic Gainesville Raceway for the third stop of the series and season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Defending event winners are Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, March 30–April 1: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Sin City for the fourth race of the season. Defending event winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
NO WINS? NO MORE: Seven-time NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher on approaching the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season after going winless in 2011: “Every driver knows at some point there’s going to be adversity, and we had it last year. We had to get through it because a lot of teams probably would have gone out and fired a lot of guys. That’s not how we act. [Crew chief] Mike [Green] and I get along so good. The nine guys that build the car are phenomenal in developing and working. We just had to look back on it and say the teams we raced against did a heck of a job when we raced them. All in all, we performed very well. We just have to do better this year. We’re not used to getting beat.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson has won both races at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in the same year three times.
10: That’s the number of drivers who have won the season-opening O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals and season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals—both held at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona—in the same year. Only two drivers—Funny Car driver John Force and Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson—have ever accomplished the feat more than once. Force has done it twice, and Anderson has done it three times. Below are the drivers and the years they raced to both wins:
- Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel, 2004
- Darrell Gwynn, Top Fuel, 1986
- Gary Scelzi, Top Fuel, 2000
- Mike Dunn, Top Fuel, 1999
- John Force, Funny Car, 2010, 2002
- Bruce Larson, Funny Car, 1989
- Bob Glidden, Pro Stock, 1989
- Greg Anderson, Pro Stock, 2008, 2006, 2004
- Warren Johnson, Pro Stock, 1993
- Jeg Coughlin, Pro Stock, 1999
DID YOU KNOW
|…that Funny Car driver Robert Hight will make a special appearance on behalf of Full Throttle Wednesday, February 8, from 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. at G&M Oil at 14454 Foothill Blvd. in Fontana, California. Hight will sign autographs and meet and greet fans during the event, and Full Throttle Energy Drink will distribute free samples from 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.|
For more information on this event, log on to NHRA.com.