POINTS LEADERS BROWN AND JOHNSON COULD MAKE WESTERN SWING HISTORY IN SEATTLE: Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) sit atop their classes as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Pacific Raceways—the third stop of the Western Swing, and they also are riding winning streaks. The two drivers won at the first two stops on the Swing—Denver and Sonoma, California—which gives them a chance to make history and sweep the Swing. If Brown wins his third title in three weeks, he will become the first driver to sweep the Swing twice, and if Johnson wins in Seattle, he will be the eighth driver in NHRA history to accomplish the feat and only the second Pro Stock driver to do it. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
WILKERSON READY TO MAKE IT FOUR IN A ROW IN SEATTLE: Tim Wilkerson has struggled a bit this season, but as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Washington for the 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, he is feeling as confident as ever in his team. The veteran driver has won titles at the Pacific Raceways event the past three years, and he is hoping that his streak will continue and he can move into 10th place with just three races remaining in the regular season. Wilkerson sits in 11th place, 69 points out of 10th, a place he wants to be before the Countdown to the Championship starts in Charlotte, September 14–16. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
Hector Arana Sr. clinched a spot in the Countdown with his performance in Sonoma.
SEVEN MORE DRIVERS CLINCH COUNTDOWN BERTHS IN SONOMA: Following the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, 14 drivers have secured invitations to the playoffs. Top Fuel racers Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher, Funny Car driver Ron Capps and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Jr. locked up their positions prior to the start of Sunday’s final eliminations. On Sunday, Pro Stock racers Mike Edwards and Vincent Nobile clinched by advancing to round two, and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana Sr. clinched by advancing to the semifinals. The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series regular season concludes Labor Day weekend at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. A six-race playoff series will lead to the crowning of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series champs.
COUNTDOWN FIELDS TO DATE
1. Spencer Massey
2. Antron Brown
3. Tony Schumacher
1. Robert Hight
2. Ron Capps
1. Greg Anderson
2. Jason Line
3. Allen Johnson
4. Mike Edwards
5. Vincent Nobile
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Eddie Krawiec
2. Andrew Hines
3. Hector Arana Jr.
4. Hector Arana Sr.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, August 3–5: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 15th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season in the Northwest, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points in the battles for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners are Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, August 16–19: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 16th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points at the penultimate race in the regular season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 218-824-7223 or log on to TicketReturn.com.
MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS, LUCAS OIL RACEWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS, August 29–September 3: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 17th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points at the final race in the regular season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
FIRST 2012 FINAL LEAVES HAGAN WITH POSITIVE OUTLOOK HEADING INTO COUNTDOWN: Reigning Funny Car world champ Matt Hagan and his Aaron’s Funny Car team have experienced their share of struggles this season. With only four round-wins heading into Sonoma, they nearly matched that total by advancing to their first final of the season. Hagan may have lost that round, but it left him feeling confident about his team’s chances of making the Countdown with only three races to go.
“We’ll take anything we can get right now. I don’t care if we have to spit, fight, pinch or bite to get into the Countdown. We showed some promise by getting to the final and made up lots of points. We still have a few races for us to do it. We definitely have a shot now. I’m excited, and I know our team is excited. We’ve got a chance to get in this thing.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
1: KALITTA EARNS FIRST NO. 1 QUALIFIER IN TWO YEARS: The 25th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals was as exciting during qualifying as on race day. The Technicoat Top Fueler driven by Doug Kalitta went straight to the No. 1 spot with a 3.785-second pass Friday night, the first No. 1 qualifier for the team since the 2010 Brainerd, Minnesota, event.
DID YOU KNOW…
FUNNY CAR ROOKIES DEJORIA AND FORCE RETURN TO PACIFIC RACEWAYS, SITE OF THEIR FIRST LUCAS OIL SERIES WINS: Courtney Force and Alexis DeJoria are in a tough battle for the Auto Club Road to the Future Award, presented each season to the top rookie driver at the season-ending awards ceremony. Both have experienced growing pains throughout their rookie campaigns; however, each has had plenty of moments to shine as well, and as the tour heads to Seattle, both are looking forward to returning to the track where they earned their first Wally trophies in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. DeJoria won in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the event last season, and Force claimed a Top Alcohol Dragster victory at the scenic facility in 2009. Each driver has made it to the final round this year but has yet to earn her first Funny Car Wally; could Pacific Raceways also be the home to the first Funny Car victory for one of them? For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.