TODD ENDS SCHUMACHER WINNING STREAK IN DRAMATIC FASHION: For the first time in NHRA history, the reigning NHRA POWERade Series world champions were a stunning 0-4 in final rounds at the same event, the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. In defeating Tony Schumacher, J.R. Todd earned the first victory for the two-car Lucas Oil team.
In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson dealt Tony Pedregon his first loss of the year in five final rounds. In Pro Stock, Greg Stanfield earned a shocking victory over Jeg Coughlin Jr. to keep himself in contention for the 2008 world championship title. Stanfield and Coughlin were tied at the gate with twin .015 reaction times, but Stanfield ran the defending NHRA POWERade Series world champion down to reach the finish line first. Stanfield became the fourth driver in NHRA history to win event titles in five different categories.
Chris Rivas stunned Matt Smith, the defending NHRA POWERade Series Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, in the final round to earn his second event win of the year.
TEAMS LOOKING FOR MORE POINTS IN MEMPHIS: The Powerade Series points leaders are looking to maintain their positions in the Countdown to 1, but the others in the Countdown are looking to make their move at Memphis Motorsports Park. The O’Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals will be getting under way this weekend and those that are not in the top points position hope to move up like Tim Wilkerson, Greg Stanfield and Chris Rivas did with their wins in Dallas. The third race of the Countdown to 1 gets under way with qualifying on Friday and Saturday, and eliminations on Sunday.
NHRA SOFTBALL CLASSIC TICKETS ON SALE: Tickets for the NHRA Softball Classic go on sale today. They can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 213/480-3232 or going online to www.ie66ers.com or www.ticketmaster.com. The NHRA Softball Classic will be held November 12 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park in San Bernardino, California, home of the Inland Empire 66ers, the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first attempt at the game, at the Reading Phillies’ stadium in Pennsylvania, was rained out.
For fans who are interested in purchasing seats on the side of the field of their favorite team, Brown’s Bombers will occupy the home dugout, which is on the third base line, while Scelzi’s Superchargers will set up camp in the visitor’s dugout along the first base line. The first pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. Proceeds from the game will benefit the Drag Racing Association of Women. The game will be played prior to the final NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event of the 2008 season, the 44th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 13–16 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
LONGTIME NHRA EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES DIRECTOR DAN BRICKEY PASSES: Dan Brickey, longtime NHRA director of emergency medical services, passed away Monday after a lengthy illness. He was 58. During Brickey's 17-year tenure with NHRA, he was charged with ensuring the safety of competitors and fans who attended NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events. While working closely with the NHRA Safety Safari on driver rescue, Brickey coordinated all aspects of facility safety, as well as all ambulance, fire and other outside emergency services agencies for each event.
“Dan was both a friend and a dedicated professional who helped advance the emergency services program with the Safety Safari and did an outstanding job during his time at NHRA,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president of racing operations. “He will be missed. On behalf of the entire NHRA community, our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Brickey is survived by his daughters, Traci Bratton and Kelli Goldsmith, granddaughter Courtnee Bratton, grandsons Jakob Bratton and Matthew Goldsmith, sisters Janice Drake and Rhonda McCarver and brothers Dr. David Brickey and Eugene Brickey. A viewing will be held Friday, September 26, from 4:00 p.m–8:00 p.m. at Soller-Baker Funeral Home, 400 Twyckenham Blvd., Lafayette, Indiana, and funeral services will be held Saturday, September 27, at 10:00 a.m., at the Soller-Baker Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Dan Brickey Scholarship Fund, c/o Old National Bank, 140 S. Creasy Lane, Lafayette, Indiana 47905.
O’REILLY NHRA MID-SOUTH NATIONALS, MEMPHIS MOTORSPORTS PARK, SEPTEMBER 26–28: The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series heads to the south for its third stop in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Defending event winners include Melanie Troxel (Top Fuel); Gary Scelzi (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
VIRGINIA NHRA NATIONALS, VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK, OCTOBER 10–12: Making its fourth stop in the Countdown to 1 playoffs, the NHRA POWERade Series returns to Petersburg, Virginia, before the final two races of the season. Defending event winners include Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Gary Scelzi (Funny Car) and Dave Connolly (Pro Stock).
ACDELCO LAS VEGAS NHRA NATIONALS, OCTOBER 30–NOVEMBER 2: Making its second stop of the season in Las Vegas, drivers in all four professional categories will fight it out at the fifth and next-to-last race of the Countdown to 1. Defending event winners include Rod Fuller (Top Fuel), Tony Pedregon (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
HE ENJOYED BEATING THE ‘TOUGHEST’ GUY: J.R. Todd had only five round wins total for the season before his win in Dallas. So it is understandable why he was emotional about the win. “Tony's the toughest guy out here, and if you beat him, you've accomplished something,” Todd said. “I was pretty jacked up anyway, but racing him, you know you have to leave first because Alan Johnson makes big horsepower, and Tony doesn’t usually beat himself. When I heard the fans chanting my name, that was pretty special. I'm kind of choked up.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
63, 15, 8: Despite losing to J.R. Todd in the final round at Texas Motorplex, Tony Schumacher continued to rack up new records. In 2008, he has 63 round wins, 15 final round appearances and eight consecutive final round appearances. All three of these were new Top Fuel records established at the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that 17 of the 40 drivers in the Countdown to the Championship have won at Memphis Motorsports Park. Funny Car driver John Force leads them with five career wins.