DIXON, SCELZI, COUGHLIN AND HINES END UP IN WINNER’S CIRCLE IN CHICAGO: Larry Dixon tied legend Kenny Bernstein with his 39th career Top Fuel win Sunday, beating points-leader Rod Fuller with a 4.579 at 322.11-mph run to capture the title at the 10th annual Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals. Dixon was joined in the winner’s circle by Funny Car driver Gary Scelzi, who beat event runner-up and teammate Ron Capps to grab his 35th career win; Pro Stock driver Jeg Couglin, who knocked off defending series champion Jason Line; and defending Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Andrew Hines, who collected his first win of 2007 over runner-up Matt Smith.
K.J. DOWNS STANFIELD FOR $50,000 KING DEMON CROWN PRIZE: Veteran Pro Stock racer Kurt Johnson became the first four-time winner of the King Demon Crown Saturday, pocketing the $50,000 top prize of the special event by beating surprise finalist Greg Stanfield at Route 66 Raceway. Aside from Johnson’s top prize of $50,000, Stanfield earned $10,000 for his runner-up finish, while Greg Anderson and fellow semifinalist Allen Johnson were awarded $3,000 each. Dave Connolly, Vieri Gaines, Jason Line and Mike Edwards each took home $2,500 for making the field.
POINTS STANDINGS SHIFT AFTER CHICAGO: It was a big championship points week in Chicago for many drivers as many big names failed to qualify for the event. Top Fuel pilot and points leader heading into the event Brandon Berstein collected his second DNQ of the season and gave up the points lead to event runner-up “Hot” Rod Fuller. Entering the event second in points in the Funny Car class, driver Robert Hight earned his first career DNQ, giving points-leader and event runner-up Ron Capps a 140 point cushion. In the Pro Stock category second-place points driver Dave Connolly was bumped to third place by teammate and event winner Jeg Coughlin, while Pro Stock Motorcycle points-leader Matt Smith kept his points lead with a runner-up finish in Chicago.
HUNT WINS DOOR-TO-DOOR FINAL AT NORTHEAST SPORT COMPACT NATIONALS: Pro FWD driver Jason Hunt grabbed his second win of the season and fifth career win in a thrilling race against fellow competitor Gary Gardella at the Northeast NHRA Sport Compact Nationals at Atco, New Jersey. Hunt crossed the finish line first with a time of 7.47 seconds to Gardella’s 7.49. Other event winners include Modified driver Ken Scheepers, Hot Rod racer Stephanie Eggum, Honda Tuning Magazine All Motor driver Jeremy Lookofsky and Pro RWD driver Boris Rojas.
DIVISION 1 CLAIMS SECOND STRAIGHT JEGS ALLSTARS TITLE: Led by strong performances by Top Alcohol Funny Car kingpin Frank Manzo and Competition star Sal Biondo, the team from the Northeast Division (Division 1) successfully defended its overall team title in the 23rd annual Jegs Allstars competition. Individual winners besides Manzo and Biondo include Craig Abbott (Div. 4) in Super Street, Michael Iacono (Div. 1) in Super Stock, Russ Linke (Div. 1) in Stock, Spencer Massey (Div. 4) in Top Alcohol Dragster, Ron Erks (Div. 4) in Super Comp and Ed Olpin (Div. 7) in Super Gas.
PROCARE RX NHRA SUPERNATIONALS, ENGLISHTOWN, NEW JERSEY, OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK, JUNE 21–24: The legendary dragstrip will host its 38th NHRA POWERade Series race and this one will carry more meaning than ever as the first-ever Countdown to the Championship nears the final stages of the regular season and drivers on the bubble scurry for every last point needed to secure a spot in the Top 8.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, NORWALK, OHIO, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, JUNE 28–JULY 1: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will make its first appearance at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. Catch all your favorite Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers as they battle it out at this Inaugural event.
O’REILLY NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS, BRISTOL, TENNESSEE, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, JULY 6–8: Rescheduled from its original mandate due to track surface conditions, this favorite stop for drivers never fails to produce an exciting weekend for racing. Defending event winners include Doug Kalitta, Ron Capps and Jason Line.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
143: The number of points separating Funny Car defending champion John Force, currently 17th in the points standings, from his teammate, daughter and rookie driver Ashley Force, currently in seventh place. The 117 points separate the defending champion Force from the eighth place and eventual cut off spot in the Countdown to the Championship format. The eighth place spot is currently held by driver Del Worsham.
DRIVERS TELL ALL
FUNNY CAR DRIVER ASHLEY FORCE ON HER ENGINE EXPLOSION IN CHICAGO: After a wild ride during qualifying at the Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Funny Car driver Ashley Force talks about her fiery ride created by a supercharger explosion on her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. “I remember thinking we were getting down the track pretty well, (especially) since everyone else was having trouble. We were getting to the end and then ‘boom!’ I screamed because it scared me. I wasn’t expecting it.”
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