SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 12, March 25, 2010

NHRA: Drivers Go Head-to-Head-to-Head-to-Head This Weekend at zMAX Dragway

NEWS NUGGETS

John Force Antron Brown Brandon Bernstein Cory McClenathan
John Force Antron Brown Brandon Bernstein Cory McClenathan

IT’S FOUR-WIDE OR NOTHING! DRIVERS PREPARE FOR INAUGURAL EVENT AT zMAX DRAGWAY: For the first time ever in NHRA national event history, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will hold an entire event, qualifying and eliminations, using four lanes instead of the traditional two. At the very special and history-making inaugural event, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the first of two races in the season held at zMAX Dragway, drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag racing series will go head-to-head-to-head-to-head to compete for valuable points toward the Full Throttle world championships and a chance to hoist the coveted Wally at the end of eliminations on Sunday.

With all the excitement that an event like this brings it’s only understandable that the drivers are pumped and ready to end their week off and hit the track in Concord, North Carolina. “We’re going four wide. Wow,” said Top Fuel dragster pilot Antron Brown. “We experienced it already last year, and we made a good showing in the four-wide exhibition even though we didn’t have the results we were looking for during the regular race.”

“With two 8,000hp nitro-breathing dragsters or Funny Cars on the ready line, it’s bone-rattling,” said Top Fuel pilot Brandon Bernstein. “But with 32,000 hp on the starting grid, it’s pretty indescribable.”

“It’s going to be exciting,” said 14-time Funny Car world champion and NHRA legend John Force. “You’re talking over 30,000 hp at one time. You’re talking over 1,200 mph out there on that racetrack.”

“The qualifying is going to be pretty crazy and interesting,” said Top Fuel pilot Cory McClenathan. “We’re there to put a show on, and obviously everybody wants to win the race. I think the roar of three other dragsters, when you’re in your own car, is going to be a real rush.”

Tickets are still available and can be obtained by calling Charlotte Motor Speedway at 800/455-FANS (3267) or online at zmaxdragway.com. Right now, O’Reilly Auto Parts and zMAX Dragway have teamed up to offer fans $8 off on $45 tickets for Saturday and Sunday through purchasing tickets at participating O’Reilly Auto Parts stores throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana and Ohio. After purchasing the tickets, fans will receive a receipt that can be redeemed at the zMAX Dragway ticket window on event days or at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office in advance.

  U.S. Bob Sled Team
  The U.S. gold-medal-winning bobsled team will serve as honorary grand marshals for the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

OLYMPIC GOLD-MEDAL U.S. BOBSLEDDERS NAMED GRAND MARSHALS OF NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS: The U.S. gold-medal-winning bobsled team will serve as honorary grand marshals for the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, March 25–28 at zMAX Dragway. As honorary grand marshals, the crewmembers of the famous Night Train bobsled will be honored during pre-race festivities with a commemorative plaque, participate in a question-and-answer session during opening ceremonies and experience 30,000 hp firsthand as they stand on the starting line for the first four-wide pass during Sunday’s eliminations.

“It’s an honor to be named grand marshal for this event,” said Steven Holcomb, pilot of the gold-medal-winning bobsled. “The support of the racing community has been instrumental in our success, and it’s great to have this opportunity. Now I get to cheer for some of our biggest advocates that have supported us over the last few years. They’ve earned this gold medal too.”

The team, led by driver Holcomb and consisting of pushers Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen and Curt Tomasevicz, made history as it piloted the Night Train to a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia. The victory marked the first time in 62 years that the United States won an Olympic gold medal in bobsled competition. The famed Night Train sled was created by the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, a combination of NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine and Chassis Dynamics. For more information on this story, visit www.NHRA.com.

FULLER TAKES TWO OF THREE MATCH RACES ON DAY TWO OF YAS DRAG FESTIVAL: “Hot Rod” Fuller was the big winner on day two of the Yas Drag Festival, taking two of three races against teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. Fuller and Johnson finished the inaugural event at Yas Drag Centre in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, with three wins each.

“There are so many people who made this great event a success,” Fuller said. “The Yas Marina team and everyone at DSR all worked together, and now we have thousands of new Top Fuel fans. This is a great start for NHRA Drag Racing in Abu Dhabi.”

After earning one win light in Friday’s three races, Fuller evened the score at two wins each by powering to a run of 3.898 seconds at 499.97 kph to hold off Johnson.

“We’ve worked for months to come here and put on a good show, and I really think we did that,” said Johnson. “This entire event has been beyond my wildest imagination. What a great two days of drag racing.”

For more on this event, 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).

 

Tim Wilkerson Funny Car  
   

HE SAID, SHE SAID

DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE, DOUBLE YOUR FUN!: Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson on racing in the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway this weekend:

“Side-by-side Funny Car racing is pretty impressive on any track, but going four-wide just doubles everything up, and it’s kind of hard to believe. Maybe somebody ought to talk to Doublemint gum about this. You know the old slogan, ‘Double your pleasure, double your fun.’ This is going to be pretty intense, with points on the line, and it will be interesting to think about the strategies and how we can advance and earn as many Full Throttle points as possible.”


INSIDE THE NUMBERS


8:
That’s the number of drivers, who by winning the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, would not only be the first drivers to win the first national event held completely using four lanes, but would also become the first driver to win a second event at zMAX Dragway. Below are a list of drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the years they won their first event at zMAX Dragway:

TOP FUEL
Cory McClenathan (2009)
Tony Schumacher (2008)

FUNNY CAR
Jack Beckman (2008)
Robert Hight (2009)

PRO STOCK
Mike Edwards (2009)
Justin Humphreys (2008)

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
Hector Arana (2009)
Steve Johnson (2008)

DID YOU KNOW…

…that Todd Smith was named crew chief for the Copart/Lucas Oil Kenny Bernstein Racing Top Fuel dragster driven by Brandon Bernstein. “Todd has a wealth of experience and some new ideas that we felt might be beneficial, so we are going to try a new path,” said team owner Kenny Bernstein. Smith will make his debut as crew chief at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals this weekend at zMAX Dragway.

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