SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 15, April 15, 2010

NHRA: Larry Dixon Becomes Eighth Driver to Reach 50-Win Milestone

  Matt Hagan Larry Dixon
  Matt Hagan Larry Dixon

NEWS NUGGETS

HAGAN GETS FIRST WIN; DIXON GETS 50TH AT O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS IN HOUSTON: Funny Car driver and sophomore sensation Matt Hagan powered his DieHard Dodge Charger to his first career win while Top Fuel veteran Larry Dixon became only the eighth driver in NHRA history to earn 50 career wins with his victory over Antron Brown at Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Hagan drove past drag racing veterans Melanie Troxel, Cruz Pedregon, Tony Pedregon and Jeff Arend in the final round to earn his spot in the winner’s circle at the end of the day.

“Other than my wife and kids, this is the best feeling in the world,” said Hagan. “You don’t understand how frustrating it was coming into the final round, and you’re ready for that first win to be over, well not over, but you’re ready to have it. It’s one of those things where you can taste it, you can feel it. You know, it’s just there, and you’re ready to just grab it. Thank goodness we did that today because that’s the first little hurdle you have to jump over before you go hunting a championship.”

With the win, Hagan moved from fourth to second in the point standings, but points leader John Force still has a strong lead over the competition, 70 points ahead of Hagan. Dixon held off a tough competition all weekend enroute to his 50th career win and third at Houston Raceway Park, but the work was well worth the celebration.

“Man, No. 50,” said Dixon. “I didn’t even think about it until they started talking about it (at the top end), but, yeah, that’s more than I ever thought I’d do in my lifetime, and I’m not done living yet.”

Dixon also moved up from fourth to second in the point standings, just 28 points away from first place Cory McClenathan.

For more results, visit www.NHRA.com

Jeg Coughlin Andrew Hines  
Jeg Coughlin Andrew Hines  

FORMER WORLD CHAMPIONS COUGHLIN AND HINES RETURN TO WINNERS CIRCLE IN HOUSTON AFTER LONG ABSENCE: Indianapolis 2009. After starting out the 2009 regular season with seven wins, that was the last visit to winners circle, and even the final round for four-time Full Throttle Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin—a good 11 races ago. But all that changed when Coughlin drove his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt past Allen Johnson in the final round to pick up his first win of the season at Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. It was also the fourth win at the track where Coughlin earned his first career Pro Stock win.

“This is a very special place for me to win a race,” said Coughlin. “I won my first Super Stock race here in 1994, and then I won my first Pro Stock race here in 1997. Our car has been temperamental for the last 12 races, but I think we’ve finally fixed the problems.”

Former Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Andrew Hines also had a bit of a dry spell between race wins. Hines’ last win and final round appearance came in the October Las Vegas race of last year, but all that changed when Hines was able to hold off defending world champion Hector Arana to earn his first win of the season and at Houston Raceway Park.

“It was good to get the first win of the year,” said Hines. “We had never won at this track before, so this one is huge. I was also beginning to question myself with no wins so far this year, but today’s win put that to rest. The Harley-Davidson ran great today, and it had to because of all the fast speeds that everyone was running.”

For more results, visit www.NHRA.com.

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NAMED TITLE RIGHTS SPONSOR OF FALL EVENT AT zMAX DRAGWAY: O’Reilly Auto Parts has agreed to a multiyear deal to become the title-rights sponsor of the third annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway, September 16–19. The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals is the second of six races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to 1, NHRA’s playoff-style format to determine the world champions in each of its four Full Throttle Series classes. Few would argue O’Reilly Auto Parts’ long-term commitment to NHRA. The auto-parts giant maintains title-rights sponsorship of four additional NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events, in Pomona, Houston, Topeka, and Dallas.

O’Reilly Auto parts also has naming rights to historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, home to the largest and most prestigious drag racing event in the world, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. zMAX Dragway is on the grounds of Charlotte Motor Speedway and is owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. The “Bellagio of dragstrips” is home to two NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events, including the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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).

SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS, ATLANTA DRAGWAY, May 14–16: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the Atlanta metro area for the eighth stop on the 2010 schedule. Defending event winners include Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel); Jack Beckman (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

UPS AND DOWNS: Top Fuel pilot Brandon Bernstein, after a mechanical malfunction during the burn out ended his day early in Houston: “Racing is fickle. As soon as you begin to feel you have turned the corner, something else happens to humble you again.”

  Greg Anderson
  Greg Anderson

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

2: That’s the number of drivers, Top Fuel’s Larry Dixon and Pro Stock’s Greg Anderson, that have ever won back-to-back wins at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Dixon did it in 2002 and 2003, while Anderson did it in 2003 and 2004 (Anderson also had back-to-back wins those same years at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, the second race held annually at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway).

Tony Schumacher, Ron Capps and Jeg Coughlin will try to get their names added to this list as they defend their 2009 wins this weekend.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will kick off this weekend with a free autograph session for fans on Thursday, April 15, from 7:00–8:00 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.

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