SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 7, February 18, 2010

NHRA: Force Snaps 40-Race Winless Streak

  John Force
  John Force

NEWS NUGGETS

FORCE ENDS 40-RACE WINLESS STREAK WITH FUNNY CAR WIN AT 50TH WINTERNATIONALS: In what could only be described as a Hollywood ending, 14-time NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car world champion and drag-racing legend John Force ended his 40-race winless streak in front of his hometown crowd at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, as he drove his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang past Ron Capps in the final round of the history-making 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals. The NHRA legend also took over the points lead in Funny Car for the first time since November 2006, when he won his record-setting 14th world championship.

“I read in the paper that 60 is the new 40, and I’m going with that,” said Force after the win. “I am just a guy that won a race with a great team around me. Sometimes a little bit of change gets people moving again and this team is moving again. I am proud that I could win this 50th (Winternationals).”

Force was joined in the winner’s circle with California-native Larry Dixon, who won in Top Fuel, and defending Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards. Dixon drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to his first win of the season and fourth at the Winternationals, a huge improvement from last season, when Dixon failed to qualify for the season-opening event.

Larry Dixon Mike Edwards
Larry Dixon Mike Edwards

“It’s beyond words,” said Dixon, who earned his 49th career win, which ties him for eighth place on the all-time NHRA wins list with Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. “With all the hype going into this race for the 50th, it feels good to just have a shot at it. Then to actually do it, I really feel blessed to be in this car and with this team.”

Edwards continued his dominance in the Pro Stock category. The defending champ took the No. 1 qualifying position on Thursday and was the quickest car in the class every qualifying run, which secured him the full 12 bonus points in qualifying. Edwards then picked through the field en route to his 21st career win.

“It’s a major win,” said Edwards. “What a way to start the season. My team is outrageously dependable and they make the car go down the track. We are real fortunate to have what we have.”

The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will roll-on with its second stop of the 2010 season at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix for the 26th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals.

MOTOROLA NHRA LIVE TIMING NOW AVAILABLE ON NHRA.COM: Live timing from NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events is now available on www.NHRA.com. Live timing began this past week for the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals and will be available for all NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing events. Motorola NHRA Live Timing will feature live timing from NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events so fans at home can follow the action as it is happening on the track, including all competitors and categories; full listings of incremental times and speeds; updated qualifying and elimination ladders; current weather and atmospheric conditions at the event; and complete race archive data back to the 2009 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.

Through the O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, in addition to the live data, NHRA is making available the complete archive timing data to all www.NHRA.com visitors. After the introductory period, NHRA members will have access to the archive data as a benefit of their NHRA membership. Non-NHRA members can purchase complete archive data for a special introductory price of $19.95. All visitors to www.NHRA.com will have access to free real-time data. The new www.NHRA.com live timing complements last year’s launch of NHRA mobile application. For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.

NHRA SALUTES MILITARY WITH DISCOUNTED TICKETS FOR GAINESVILLE, ATLANTA, INDY, POMONA: For the second year, NHRA will provide discounted tickets for active-duty military at the four NHRA-owned and operated facilities. Active-duty military with proof of status will be able to purchase up to two $10 adult general-admission tickets for the Friday session of the NHRA Gatornationals, March 11–14 at Gainesville Raceway, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 14–16 at Atlanta Dragway, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, September 1–6 at O’Reilly Raceway park at Indianapolis, and the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, November 11–14 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The military discount will only be redeemable at the track ticket offices on the Friday of race weekend. For information about the military discount at NHRA-owned venues, call 800/884-4762.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, February 19–21: The traditional second stop on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing tour, competitors will head to the Valley of the Sun for the second race in the 2010 season. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock).

NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 11–14: The traditional season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to this historic event in the swamp lands of Florida. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, March 25–28: For the first time in NHRA Nationals history, qualifying and eliminations for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle at an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event will be conducted four-wide instead of just two.

  Cory McClenathan
  Cory McClenathan

HE SAID, SHE SAID

NOT SETTLING FOR SECOND-PLACE: Cory McClenathan after racing to the No. 1 qualifying position in Top Fuel at the Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, the first of 23 races on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season: “We plan on making noise early. I’m tired of waiting, lurking; we’re going to try to go toe-to-toe with these guys from day one.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

7: That’s the number of drivers that have won the season-opening NHRA Winternationals and NHRA Arizona Nationals, the second stop on the NHRA Full Throttle series since 1990, in the same season. Below is the list of those drivers and the years. Ron Capps made the repeat last season, and John Force, who also performed the feat in 1997, will try to become only the second driver in NHRA history to accomplish the task twice in his career.

  • Gary Scelzi (Top Fuel) - 1997
  • Ron Capps (Funny Car) - 2009
  • John Force (Funny Car) - 1997
  • Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) - 2000
  • Jim Yates (Pro Stock) - 1996
  • Darrell Alderman (Pro Stock) - 1995, 1991
  • Jerry Eckman (Pro Stock) - 1992

DID YOU KNOW…

…that Advertising Edge has signed a multiyear agreement to become the official uniform of NHRA. The terms of the agreement call for Advertising Edge to provide NHRA with hats, staff uniforms, shirts, event winner jackets, and other special apparel items. For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.

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