DRIVERS PREPARE FOR LONE STAR SHOOTOUT AS NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES HEADS TO HOUSTON: With four races already complete in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag racing Series and points starting to add up towards the 2010 world championships, NHRA drivers are ready to hit the track once again this weekend for the 23rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Defending event winners Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car), Ron Krisher (Pro Stock) and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are all battling to grab that top spot in the point standings in each of their respective categories. For all teams, Houston is a chance to secure a spot in the Top 10 point standings early in the regular season of the Countdown to the Championship.
“We’re four races into the season, and our Al-Anabi team is fourth in the points,” said Top Fuel pilot Larry Dixon. “We’re in pretty good shape, but I think we could be in a better position than we are. We’ve lost some close races, but I know we have a great package when we roll into every event.”
Dixon is only 77 points behind current leader Cory McClenathan. A win in Houston would give Dixon his second of the season and tie him with Kenny Bernstein for the most wins in the Top Fuel category at Houston Raceway Park. It would also give the two-time world champion his 50th win of his career, making him only the eighth driver in NHRA history to do so. Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin is another driver hoping for some Houston success. Currently ninth in the point standings, a win would help the four-time Full Throttle world champion move to a more secure spot in the point standings.
“I have a lot of great memories of (Houston Raceway Park),” said Coughlin. “Of course, that first Pro Stock win was a highlight. We were just getting our feet wet in the class, prepping for the ’98 season, and we ended up winning. It really was unexpected, but very exciting.”
Coughlin will have his work cut out for him, as defending Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards will enter the race with three wins out of the first four races and a 181-point lead over second-place Jason Line. Tickets are still available for the 23rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals and can be purchased by calling 281/383-RACE or online at www.HoustonRaceway.com.
ASTRONAUT GRAND MARSHAL AND UNIVERSITY MARCHING BAND NATIONAL ANTHEM PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHT HOUSTON ACTION THIS WEEKEND: Capt. Mark Kelly, NASA Astronaut, will be the grand marshal at the 23rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend at Houston Raceway Park. Kelly is a veteran of three space-shuttle flights since joining the space program in 1996, and has logged 38 days and more than 12 million miles in space.
Houston Raceway Park will also welcome the award-winning University of Houston’s “Spirit of Houston” Marching Band, who will perform the national anthem before the start of eliminations on Sunday. The Spirit of Houston Marching Band has performed in front of millions of people as part of the Super Bowl’s halftime show and has marched in numerous parades across the United States. To see more of the festivities planned for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, visit www.NHRA.com.
PREFERRED SEATING OFFERED FOR ADVANCE TICKET PURCHASES AT NHRA UNLEASHED EVENTS: Those who purchase advance tickets for NHRA Unleashed events through www.NHRA.com will have access to a preferred seating section at each venue. Advance tickets for each NHRA Unleashed event will go on sale at 10 a.m. (EST) on each date and can be purchased by visiting www.NHRA.com and clicking on the NHRA Unleashed box on the homepage.
After purchasing the tickets online and printing them, fans simply take the ticket to the NHRA Unleashed event where they will be supplied with a wrist band that will allow seating in the preferred seating section. The seating will vary at each event and will be marked to find easily.
The preferred seating will provide spectators an up-close and personal view of all the on track action during the NHRA Unleashed event, a celebration of pure American horsepower. The first of four inaugural NHRA Unleashed events will be held June 11–13 at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia.
Tickets for this historic event will go on sale April 3. NHRA Unleashed tickets are $10 for adults on Friday and $20 for Saturday and Sunday. A three-day pass is $40 and a Saturday–Sunday pass is $35. Tickets for children 6–12 are $5 for one day, or a three-day ticket is $10. Children five and under are free. For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.
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).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
A LITTLE AT HOME IN HOUSTON: Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown on racing in Houston this weekend: “Houston is a race track I always look forward to. I’ve raced there many times on the bikes and I spent a lot of time in Louisiana with my wife and we’ll have a lot of friends and family at the Houston race with us. We have some great memories from Houston having won our first Top Fuel race their two years ago, and our goal is to get our first win of 2010 at Houston Raceway Park.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
1.000: That’s Top Fuel pilot Shawn Langdon’s starting line winning percentage, the highest among NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers this season. Langdon has never been second off the starting line the entire season.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that the www.SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will kick off next weekend with a free autograph session for fans on Thursday, April 15, from 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. at the Town Square Entertainment Center located at 6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South in Las Vegas. Full Throttle Series drivers who will be in attendance include: Brandon Bernstein, Jack Beckman, Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon, Allen Johnson, David Grubnic, Jeff Arend, Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Larry Morgan, Johnny Gray, Shane Gray, Gary Densham and Bob Bode.