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NHRA: J. Force, Kalitta and Line End Western Swing With Victories

Compiled by SEMA Editors



J. FORCE, KALITTA AND LINE END WESTERN SWING WITH VICTORIES: John Force earned his third win of the season by racing to the Funny Car victory at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Seattle. Force defeated former teammate Gary Densham in the final round for his 141st career win. Force registered a run of 4.173 seconds at 302.48 mph in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to defeat Densham’s trailing Chevy Impala, which lost traction early in the run and finished in 5.808 at 120.44. Force has raced to four consecutive finals and has won twice in that stretch.

“I want to win; that is what it is all about,” Force said. “But we were having so much fun down there in the staging lanes. I know you are supposed to be serious because it is race day, but you are racing a friend.”


STEVENS TO JOIN ENDERS-STEVENS IN STRETCH RUN: Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens will have some very familiar company in the Elite Motorsports camp for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and at least part of the six-race Countdown to the Championship as her husband Richie Stevens joins Richard Freeman's front-running team in a second Elite car. Stevens, a six-time national event winner from New Orleans, will be driving a brand-new Rick Jones-built Camaro with identical horsepower to his wife's hot rod. Rick and Rickie Jones will tune both race cars, with two-time ADRL Pro Stock champion Cary Goforth handling clutch duties in the new entry. Stevens' car will be branded with Elite Motorsports in the primary sponsor position, with associate funding from Pierson Construction. Tom Pierson also will serve as a crewman.

"We're planning to run at least four races, and depending how we're doing, and any additional funding that comes up we may add some more events," Richie Stevens said. "This started as a way to shake down the new car for Erica. Believe it or not, Rick says this car will be even better than the one Erica's been driving. It's the next-generation chassis from their shop, and obviously their cars are the best.”


BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY WELCOMES NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Brainerd International Raceway, August 14–17, for the 17th race of the 2014 season at the 33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will all compete for Wally trophies at the historic race track in central Minnesota. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2. Brainerd International Raceway has been host to some of the world’s best drag racers for 32 years and will continue that in 2014. The multi-purpose motorsports complex just north of metropolitan Minneapolis, has been host to some of the most exciting NHRA action on the circuit.

He Said, She Said


"I hate this. It's race day and you do whatever you can to get the car to the finish line. I thought I felt it start spinning the tires. I'm not sure. Sometimes when something that big happens, it clears your short-term memory. The body is gone, fire. Not too bad of a fire this time. I could still see OK and then you start to slow down and you're just sliding because of oil. It's disappointing. The most disappointing thing is we didn't get the win light. It costs a lot of money to replace a body and we didn't get the win light. We have two races to get our act together. We'll clean our stuff up, we'll clean our act up, and we'll be ready for the next race."

—2012 Funny Car world champion Jack Beckman, on his engine explosion during his quarterfinal round loss to Alexis DeJoria. Beckman is fighting to gain entry into the Countdown to the Championship and is currently 11th in points, trailing Tim Wilkerson by 30 markers for the 10th and final position. There are only two races remaining before the start of the Countdown to the Championship, which begins in Charlotte.

Inside the Numbers

35: Number of wins Top Fuel racer Doug Kalitta has in his 385-race career. His 35th win moves him into a tie for fifth with legendary racer Don Garlits on the all-time Top Fuel win list. Tony Schumacher is the all-time Top Fuel win leader with 74 victories in his career. With the win, he also moves into a tie for 20th on the all-time NHRA win list with Garlits and Cruz Pedregon. Kalitta, who is still in search for his first Top Fuel world championship, moves to third on the list of winningest racers who have yet to win an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship. Ron Capps leads the list with 42 victories and Kurt Johnson has 40 victories without a championship.

Did You Know


BEST OF THE BEST TO BE HONORED AT CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: Winning the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is on the bucket list of every NHRA competitor. Besides winning a Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship, a victory can separate the all-time legends from the rest of the pack. For Top Fuel drivers Tony Schumacher and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden, their domination of the event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis is what makes them “Indy’s Winningest Drivers.”

Seven Top Fuel world championships and a record 74 career victories are enough to cement Tony Schumacher as the greatest dragster driver ever but it’s his nine Indianapolis wins that really separate the U.S. Army dragster pilot from the rest of the field. His inaugural win at the hallowed dragstrip that sits in the heart of Indiana came a year after his first world championship and he has gone on to win eight more times including four in a row from 2006–2009.

“Every driver has certain tracks that they’re good at,” Schumacher said. “I am extremely fortunate that mine is Indy.”