SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 34, August 27, 2009

NHRA: Tasca Takes Second Career Win, Clinches Countdown Slot

  Bob Tasca
   

NEWS NUGGETS

TASCA WINS IN MAPLE GROVE, CLINCHES SPOT IN THE COUNTDOWN PLAYOFFS: Funny Car driver Bob Tasca’s weekend couldn’t have been any better. Not only did he pick up his second career win at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, but the sophomore Funny Car driver moved his Motorcraft Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang up two spots to the fourth position in the point standings and clinched his spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

But it wasn’t an easy task, by any means, as weather and track seepage troubles plagued the event all week and pushed the final round back nearly three hours. On top of that, Tasca had to drive by Countdown competitors Ron Capps, Robert Hight, John Force and Mike Neff en route to his second win of the season.

“For us, we don’t come out here to compete; we come out here to win,” said Tasca. “It’s about winning a championship. It’s about putting yourself in a position to win. Someone said to me, ‘Man, you got a lousy draw. You have to run Ron Capps first round.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t think it’s a lousy draw at all.’ We’re here to win a championship, and if we’re going to win a championship, we’re going to have to beat Capps and Force and (Tony) Pedregon, so we were up for the fight.”

In Top Fuel, Larry Dixon picked up his fifth win of the season and his first win at Maple Grove Raceway, one of the few remaining tracks where the two-time world champion had yet to win. Pro Stock defending world champion Jeg Coughlin drove past Johnny Gray to earn his sixth win of the season, while Pro Stock Motorcycle defending world champion Eddie Krawiec was able to ride his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson past runner up Michael Phillips for his fourth win.

Krawiec also clinched the top spot in the Pro Stock Motorcycle point standings, securing those 20 bonus points once the Countdown Playoffs begin in Charlotte. For results from the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, visit www.NHRA.com.

2010 NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE RELEASED: It’s the newest and most spectacular drag racing venue on the tour, and in 2010 zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. will play host to two NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. The new event is one of several exciting changes NHRA announced today as the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning organization revealed its 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Schedule.

The state-of-the-art dragstrip in the Charlotte, North Carolina, metro region will be the setting for two events: one in the spring and one in the fall, with an inaugural event added to the schedule on March 25–28, and the third annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals set for September 16–19. The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing schedule remains a 24-race schedule.

Two events—the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania (October 7–10), and the O’Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tennessee (August 20–22)—will swap traditional dates. The Memphis event now serves as the last race of the regular season and the final chance for Full Throttle professional teams to secure their positions in the top 10 for the Countdown to 1 playoffs. For a complete copy of the 2010 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule, visit www.NHRA.com.

FORCES, BROWN IMPRESS AT ESPN WORLD HEADQUARTERS:
A day after the 25th annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, when most drivers were traveling home for a few days of R&R or on their way to O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis for the pre-Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil test session, 14-time world champion John Force and 2009 Full Throttle world championship contenders Antron Brown and Ashley Force Hood flew to Bristol, Connecticut, for a full day of media and promotional events at ESPN’s world headquarters. The event featured interviews on notable ESPN programs, such as "First Take," "ESPN News," and "SportsCenter."

All three drivers also participated in a live online chat as part of ESPN’s "SportsNation" and spent time during the lunch hour signing autographs and posing for photos with ESPN employees from every branch of the worldwide leader in sports. The trio talked throughout the day with ESPN personalities and programming executives in the expansive newsrooms and studios that cover the massive campus, known in the sports world as the Mecca of sports journalist talent. For more information on this event, including a transcript from their ESPN SportsNation segment, visit www.NHRA.com.

U.S. NATIONALS-THEMED McDONALD’S PROMOTIONS: NHRA FANS WILL BE LOVIN’ IT!: NHRA drivers Cory McClenathan, Ashley Force Hood, Antron Brown and Eddie Krawiec will be serving up plenty of smiles for Indianapolis-area McDonald’s patrons during the week leading up to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. In addition to meeting some of their NHRA heroes during appearances at select McDonald’s locations, fans can receive a $7 discount on any adult general-admission ticket for the event at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, September 2–7.

From now until race weekend, customers can pick up a collector’s-edition cup featuring Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car driver Force Hood at any of the 155 Indianapolis McDonald’s restaurants participating in the special NHRA promotion. Bring the must-have cup to the O’Reilly Raceway Park box office and receive discounted admission to the world’s most prestigious drag race. To see a schedule of driver appearances at McDonald’s restaurants in Indianapolis, visit www.NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, O’REILLY RACEWAY PARK, SEPTEMBER 2–7: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to the famed "Big Go," the world’s most prestigious drag race. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Dave Connolly (Pro Stock); and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

NHRA CAROLINAS NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, SEPTEMBER 17–20: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads down to the Charlotte area for the second annual event and first race of the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); Justin Humphreys (Pro Stock); and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

O’REILLY SUPER START BATTERIES NHRA FALL NATIONALS, TEXAS MOTORPLEX, SEPTEMBER 24–27: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its second stop of the season in the Lone Star State for the second race of the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Defending event winners include J.R. Todd (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock); and Chris Rivas (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

14 YEARS, TWO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, ONE SPECIAL WIN: Top Fuel pilot Larry Dixon on his win this weekend at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, his first at Maple Grove Raceway: “This is such a historic racetrack, and I’ve always wanted to win here. My dad won here, running points races back in the day. I just love coming to this track, and for one reason or another, we’ve just never been able to close the deal. I’ve been halfway down the track thinking we’re going to win and then break an input shaft and lose, so just to see the win light come on, it was awesome.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

3-5: That’s Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards’ round win-loss record against defending world champion Jeg Coughlin this season. It is also Edwards’ final round record so far for the season. Edwards is currently third in the point standings, just two spots behind Coughlin heading into the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that only 10 spots are still open in all four NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing categories for the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Currently, there are two spots each in Top Fuel and Funny Car and three spots each in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, which begins in one week at the historic O’Reilly Raceway Park, will be the final race where drivers can clinch a spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs.

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