BROWN, CAPPS STEAL SHOW IN PHOENIX SUN AND FIRST TWO EVENTS OF 2009: To say that Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown and Funny Car driver Ron Capps are off to a strong start for the 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing season would be an understatement.
Both drivers have not only dominated their respective fields in the first two events, but have also built an impressive lead in the Full Throttle point standings.
After an impressive Top Fuel debut season in 2008 that saw two wins in five final-round appearances, Brown began his 2009 season in similar fashion with a No. 1 qualifier and runner-up finish at the season opening Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
The Matco Tools dragster pilot made better in Phoenix with a win over two-time event winner Brandon Bernstein. “This just shows how strong our team really is here at Mike Ashley Racing,” said Brown. “With all the adversity we dealt with this off-season, this is just an awesome feeling.”
NAPA Dodge Charger driver Ron Capps has also been on a tear in the Funny Car class. Capps’ dismal 2008 season showed signs of what's to come at the season ending Auto Club finals in Pomona, California, as Capps drove to a runner-up finish.
Capps picked up where he left off with his win in Pomona and then followed that with a No. 1 qualifier and win at Firebird International Raceway on Sunday. He currently holds a 97-point lead over second-place drivers Robert Hight and Del Worsham.
“It’s like a really good cook learning how to cook again completely differently,” said Capps. “The car is just so different to run, to feel, and it puts me in the trunk at half-track. It’s so much fun to drive, and when the win light comes on, it’s even better.”
Both Brown and Capps hope to continue their 2009 success as the NHRA returns to Florida for the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, March 12–15 at Gainesville Raceway. Capps will look to collect his third win at the famed track, while Brown hopes to grab his first Gators win.
NHRA ANNOUNCES FAN-RELIEF PROGRAMS FOR GAINESVILLE AND ATLANTA: NHRA has extended the fan-relief program, announced earlier in the year, to the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway and the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. For both events, NHRA has announced $20 adult general-admission tickets on the spectator-side grandstands on professional qualifying and elimination days (Friday through Sunday).
A total of 1,500 tickets per day are available at the $20 price, and tickets are available for advance purchase on a first-come first-serve basis. NHRA and Ticketmaster have also teamed up to eliminate the convenience fees on fan-relief $20 adult general-admission tickets purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.
To help families attend NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events, NHRA also announced that in 2009, children 12 and younger will be admitted free at all NHRA-owned tracks, including Pomona, Gainesville, Atlanta and Indianapolis, as well as at other participating national event tracks when accompanied by a paid adult.
NHRA will also offer a military-appreciation offer, which includes one free Friday reserved ticket to any active military personnel with proof of status. The military offer is only available at the box office on-site. To take full advantage of these Fan-Relief programs, call 800/884-6472 or visit www.ticketmaster.com.
LUCAS OIL NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR OF MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS: Lucas Oil Products has been named a presenting sponsor of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race. The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil is set for September 2–7 at historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The race is the final event of the regular season in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. The commitment increases Lucas Oil’s involvement in NHRA Championship Drag Racing.
The company also sponsors the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for NHRA’s large sportsman racing community. It is also the sponsor of the popular Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, and was recently named the title sponsor of the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals in Phoenix. In addition, Lucas Oil provides several sponsorships for race teams, including the Top Fuel dragsters driven by Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon and European champion Andy Carter.
ACDELCO NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, MARCH 12–15: The Pro Stock Motorcycle category opens its 2009 season at the Gatornationals, annually one of the most popular stops on the NHRA Full Throttle Series tour. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Matt Guidera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
O’REILLY NHRA SPRING NATIONALS, HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK, MARCH 27–29: Heading back to the Lone Star State, all four categories in the NHRA Full Throttle Series will compete for points towards the Countdown to the Championship. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Del Worsham (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, APRIL 2–5: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing returns to Sin City for the annual spring event. Defending event winners include Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); and Jason Line (Pro Stock).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
RACING WITHOUT THE CHIEF: Funny Car driver Mike Neff on racing to a runner-up finish in Phoenix without crew chief John Medlen, who was in Indianapolis recovering from a heart procedure:
“Medlen is one of the smartest guys I know, without a doubt,” said Neff. “It is his car and he set all this stuff up. I didn’t come in here and wave a magic wand. I just picked up and tried to do what he would do. I tried to continue on how he would do it.
"There is no question our performance would have been the same. We didn’t do anything differently…Our number one concern is his health and him getting better. That is more important than winning a drag race. We are just hoping he gets better and back out here. We’ll save that win for another day.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
2: That’s the number of drivers that have won the season-opening NHRA Winternationals, the Phoenix event, and the Gatornationals to start the season. Ron Capps hopes to be the first Funny Car driver and third NHRA Full Throttle Series driver to go perfect the first three races of the season.
|Jim Yates (Pro Stock)||
|Darrell Alderman (Pro Stock)||
DID YOU KNOW…
…that in two weeks, the NHRA Full Throttle series returns to Gainesville for the ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals which is also the traditional start of the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock Motorcycle season.
Rider Eddie Krawiec will look to defend his world championship against two-time champ Matt Smith, three-time champion and teammate Andrew Hines, and 2008 Gatornationals winner Matt Guidera.