SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 11, March 18, 2010

NHRA: Schumacher Snatches First Win, Points Lead in Gainesville

  Tony Schumacher in Gainesville
  Defending Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher took the points lead
with his win this past week at
Gainesville Raceway in Florida.

NEWS NUGGETS

THE CHAMP IS BACK!; SCHUMACHER GRABS FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON AND POINTS LEAD IN GAINESVILLE: It only took three races, one No. 1 qualifier, seven round wins and a Wally at the third race of the season, but seven-time and defending Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher took the points lead with his win at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals this past week at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. It was Schumacher’s fourth win at the historic track and 62nd of his career, the most all-time in the Top Fuel category.

Even more impressive than his final-round win over teammate Antron Brown was Schumacher’s semifinal win over longtime rival, Larry Dixon, when Schumacher set a national record for speed, driving his U.S. Army dragster to a blistering 324.98-mph run.

"This is absolutely special," said Schumacher. "First of all, this is the Gatornationals; it’s Gainesville. I’ve won it four times now. But my lights have been bad at the first two races. We’ve had a car that could win, and I’ve been doing everything I can. We finally started working on it hard, and we needed that confidence; I needed that confidence again. That was perfect. It was exactly what we had to go out and do at the exact right time."

Schumacher was joined in the winner’s circle by Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

For Wilkerson, it was also the first win of the season and boosted the driver back into the Top 10 point standings in Funny Car. Wilkerson was able to hold off teammate and defending Gatornationals winner Bob Tasca in the final round to collect his 14th career win.

Line was able to hold off the hot-handed Mike Edwards to successfully defend his 2009 Gatornationals win and earn his third win at the track. The win also gave Line the boost he needed, pushing him all the way up to fourth place and into the Top 10 point standings.

Former world champion Krawiec held off Shawn Gann in the final round en route to his first win of the season at the first race of the season for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. For more results from the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, visit www.NHRA.com.

Mike Edwards  
Mike Edwards earned his second-straight win of the season and 22nd of his career.  

EDWARDS WINS DELAYED ARIZONA NATIONALS PRO STOCK TITLE IN GAINESVILLE: Reigning NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards defeated Bob Yonke in the final round of the resumption of eliminations for the NHRA Arizona Nationals, which were contested during qualifying at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals. It was Edwards’ second-straight win of the season and 22nd of his career.

Eliminations were held during the third and fourth qualifying rounds of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.

"I didn’t like waiting three weeks, but a win is a win," said Edwards. "I’m just really thankful to do it. We ran well. There were some changes in the rules, but we adapted to those, and it seems like we’ve managed to keep up."

To see more results from the re-scheduled eliminations, visit www.NHRA.com.

DRISCOLL NAMED NHRA VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: After a national search, NHRA has hired motorsports executive Tony Driscoll as vice president of sales and business development. Driscoll will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will report to Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Driscoll has spent more than 10 years working in motorsports, most recently as senior director of partnership and integrated media sales for International Speedway Corp (ISC). ISC, whose primary business is the ownership and management of 13 NASCAR racetracks, is a leading promoter of motorsports activities. In his role as senior director, Driscoll was responsible for developing integrated partnership for Corporate America.

NHRA will maintain its strategic alliance with IMG, which began in 2008, as its exclusive outside sponsorship marketing agent at the league level. Driscoll will split time between NHRA’s corporate headquarters in Glendora, California, and his permanent location in Charlotte.

Coupled with IMG’s strong presences in New York, NHRA now boasts a strong sales effort presence in New York, Charlotte and Southern California.

"I’m excited to join NHRA and am anxious to get started on meeting the current partners and immediately make an impact on developing new partnerships," said Driscoll. "This is an incredible opportunity, and I believe my experience will allow me to contribute to the continued success of NHRA."

For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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 two.

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS, HOUSTON RACEWAY PARK, April 9–11: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops in the Lone Star State. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car); Ron Krisher (Pro Stock); and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, April 16–18: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes the first of two stops in Sin City. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock).

  Matt Hagan Funny car
  Matt Hagan set the national record for speed in Funny Car this past week at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

"I WANNA GO FAST!": Funny Car driver Matt Hagan on setting the national record for speed in Funny Car this past week at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals:

"There’s no doubt in my mind on any given day we have one of the fastest race cars out here. We just have to put a couple of laps together and make that all come together. When that happens, watch out, because we’re going to be somebody to really reckon with out here."

Eddie Krawiec  
Eddie Krawiec  

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

4:
That’s the number of Pro Stock Motorcycle riders that have won the first race of the season, the NHRA Gatornationals, and have gone on and won the world championship that same year, since the race was made the first race of the season for the class in 1996. Former world champion will look to get his name on that list as he battles for his second world championship this season.

(NOTE: In 2001, the Houston race was run before the Gatornationals, and Angelle Sampey won that event, the official first race of that season for the class, then went on to win the world championship that year.)

DID YOU KNOW…

…that the upcoming NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway will be the first national event in NHRA history where qualifying and eliminations for all four professional classes will be run four-wide instead of two.

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