SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 13, April 1, 2010

NHRA: Force Takes First in Funny Car Four-Wide Nationals

 

  John Force Cory McClenathan
  John Force Cory McClenathan

NEWS NUGGETS

FORCE, McCLENATHAN TAKE THE WIN AT INAUGURAL NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS: Funny Car legend and 14-time Full Throttle world champion John Force added another stat to his amazing career: Winner of the first-ever national event contested in four lanes when he held off daughter Ashley Force Hood, Matt Hagan and Ron Capps to grab the win at the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals last weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

Though rain pushed the final round for Funny Car and Top Fuel to Monday morning, Force was able to power his Castrol GTX High-Mileage to his record-setting 128th career win and first at the track.

“This is a little taste of history,” said Force. “This was special, like beating the dragsters at Bristol (at the 1999 Showdown between Funny Cars and Top Fuelers). Thanks to Bruton and Marcus Smith. They took the money and spent it to make this happen. The hardest part was racing Ron Capps. He is always tough, and Hagan, now that he has John Medlen there, will put the fear into you. My own daughter also leaves nothing on the table.”

Joining Force in the winners’ circle among the Nitro classes was Top Fuel pilot Cory McClenathan. McClenathan had the car to beat all weekend—first on Saturday afternoon when he raced to his 35th No. 1 qualifier of his career. McClenathan’s FRAM dragster team was able to turn around his car after a blown tire after a first-round win nearly ended their weekend and push their driver all the way to the final round on Monday. From there, McClenathan was able to hold off runner-up Doug Kalitta, teammate Antron Brown and Charlotte native Doug Herbert to grab his second win of the season and 33rd of his career.

“We came here with the opinion that we need to be able to go four-wide, we need to understand the lights, and I had a certain way that I went about it all weekend long,” said McClenathan. “I kept the same plan, and it worked out for us. I was happy with the whole thing.”

To view the results from the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, visit www.NHRA.com.

Pro Stock Four Wide  
   


EDWARDS, SMITH TAKE WIN IN PRO STOCK CLASSES AT INAUGURAL NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS:
Defending NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards was able to hold off No. 1 qualifier and runner-up Jason Line and Greg Stanfield to grab his third win of the season, 23rd of his career and become the first ever Pro Stock driver to win an NHRA national event run completely using four lanes this past weekend at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

Though Edwards struggled in qualifying and ended his No. 1 qualifying streak at 12 No. 1 qualifiers entering this event, he had the car to beat Sunday and in to Monday.

“It was fun,” said Edwards. “It was confusing a lot of times, but it was fun. It was different, but you still had to do everything right. I had a good time, and anytime you can win a race, it’s a great time. This is a great start to hopefully another great season.”

Former Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Smith was able to turn his luck around after a rough start to the season in Gainesville. Smith raced his Al-Anabi Racing Buell to the No. 1 qualifier Friday and Saturday night, then showed his dominance over the four-wide competition as he held off runner-up and defending world champion Hector Arana, two-time U.S. Nationals winner Steve Johnson and Michael Phillips to earn his 11th career win and become the first Pro Stock Motorcycle rider to win a four-wide national event.

“I love this four-wide deal,” said Smith. “I’m glad that NHRA and Bruton (Smith) did this. It was fun, just like NASCAR having road races. It was a different atmosphere.”

To view the results from the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, visit www.NHRA.com.

NHRA, AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ANNOUNCE EXTENSION OF MULTIFACETED RELATIONSHIP: The NHRA and the Automobile Club of Southern California have extended and added to their landmark relationship, encompassing many facets of NHRA’s business, including museum, safety and race and track sponsorships. In addition to extending its current involvement, the Automobile Club of Southern California has expanded its sponsorship to include title rights of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International raceway outside St. Louis.

“Our association with the Automobile Club of Southern California is very special,” said NHRA President Tom Compton. “Their deep involvement with the NHRA has an impact on nearly every part of our business from the grassroots level all the way to the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Words simply can’t describe our appreciation for their support, and I want to personally thank Tom McKernan and his team for recognizing the value of association with NHRA.”

The relationship also includes naming rights for Auto Club Raceway at Pomona; entitlement rights of the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals held at Automobile Club Raceway at Pomona; sponsorship of the Auto Club Road to the Future Award annually recognizing the sport’s professional rookie of the year; presenting sponsorship of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum; and presenting sponsorship of the popular California Hot Rod Reunion at Auto Club Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, California.

In addition, Automobile Club of Southern California is presenting sponsor of the NHRA Safety Safari and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. Its naming rights at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona also affords Automobile Club of Southern California presenting sponsorship of the Top Eliminator Club for each of the two national events that NHRA conducts at the raceway.

For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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).

AAA INSURANCE NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS, GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, April 30–May 2: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the St. Louis metro area for the seventh stop on the 2010 schedule. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Del Worsham (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

 

  Jason Line
  Jason Line

HE SAID, SHE SAID

RUNNER UP, BUT STILL HAPPY: Pro Stock driver Jason Line on his runner-up finish at zMAX Dragway:

“It’s an accomplishment any time you make it to the final at one of these races, so it was still a pretty good day for the Summit Racing team. Although we didn’t make a very good run in the final, we were still able to finish ahead of the other two cars and claim the runner-up position.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

75%: That’s the percentage number of final rounds that Top Fuel pilot Doug Kalitta has been in so far this season. Kalitta has reached the final round at three of the first four races, the most of any driver in the Top Fuel class so far this year.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that Ford Racing extended its partnership with John Force Racing through 2014 and that the United States Air Force has joined Kenny Bernstein racing as an associate sponsor beginning this past weekend. For more information on these announcements, visit www.NHRA.com.

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