SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 20, May 20, 2010

NHRA: Larry Dixon Snatches 52nd Career Win, Fourth of the Season

NEWS NUGGETS

DIXON GRABS 52ND TOP FUEL WIN; COUGHLIN EARNS 50TH PRO STOCK WIN IN ATLANTA: Larry Dixon powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster past the likes of Steve Torrence, T.J. Zizzo, Tony Schumacher and Brandon Bernstein to pick up his 52nd career win in the Top Fuel category and fourth win of the season at the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Dixon’s historic win tied him with NHRA Legend Joe Amato for the second most wins in the Top Fuel category. Defending world champion Tony Schumacher currently holds the most wins all-time in the category with 63.

“I feel the same way (about tying Amato) as I do against the other people I grew up looking up to: Unworthy,” said Dixon. “Those were the guys growing up, and to be able to reach a number that he got…well, I’m a few championships behind him still. The guys I looked up to didn’t get 23 chances a year to win.”

The win also helped Dixon strengthen his points lead over the competition, giving him a 112-point lead over second-place driver Cory McClenathan.

Former Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin also made history in Atlanta. Coughlin drove his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt past third-year sensation Rickie Jones to pick up his 50th career Pro Stock win, a goal only accomplished by three other Pro Stock drivers in the history of NHRA Drag Racing.

“I was fortunate to eclipse the 50-win mark—including my Lucas Oil (Drag Racing Series) wins—a few years ago and thought I was done with 50 but was reminded here lately of the next plateau,” said Coughlin. “To celebrate it here, in JEGS’ 50th anniversary year, I’m very happy.”

It was also Coughlin’s second win of the season in three final-round appearances. For more results from the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, visit www.NHRA.com.

HIGHT RACES TO SECOND CONSECUTIVE WIN; HINES PICKS UP SECOND WIN OF THE SEASON IN ATLANTA: Defending Funny Car world champion Robert Hight held off fellow teammate Ashley Force Hood in the final round of competition to pick up his second consecutive win of the season Sunday at the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. It was Hight’s 16th career win and second at Atlanta Dragway. Hight also jumped from sixth to third place in the point standings with the win.

“No matter what, we couldn’t lose; it was going to be a Force win,” said Hight. “But to leave here 1-2-3 in points is pretty big right now, especially this early in the season. We were real happy with the way we finished last season and were looking forward to this year, but like last year, we struggled again. We didn’t get it turned around until Sunday morning in Madison when Jimmy Prock made a wholesale change to the car, and we haven’t looked back since.”

Former three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Andrew Hines rode his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson past runner-up and No. 1 qualifier, Hector Arana, to grab his second win of the season. The win also propelled Hines from fifth to third in the point standings.

“I had to push it in the final,” said Hines. “I knew Hector was strong. He had been running good all weekend, and he qualified No. 1, so I held onto the clutch lever with just the lightest amount of pressure that I could, and I was .006. That was a little closer than I wanted it, but I’ll take it.”

For more results from the 30th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, visit www.NHRA.com.

MOPAR HEMI CHALLENGE SERIES RETURNS IN 2010: Mopar has renewed its agreement with NHRA to support the Mopar Hemi Challenge Race Series, an extremely popular three-day event schedule of races that showcases the world’s fastest Super Stock race cars. The Mopar Hemi Challenge Race Series will open at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, June 18–20, before heading to the marquee 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, September 1–6.

The Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas that are most associated with the series will compete for the lucrative $10,000 winner’s purse at the world’s most prestigious drag race Labor Day weekend. The Mopar Hemi Challenge Series will conclude at the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals, Sept. 24–26, at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Ohio. The winner at the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion and JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals will earn $5,000 a piece. All three Mopar Hemi Challenge races will be stand-alone events.

For more on this story, visit www.NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SUMMER NATIONALS, HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, May 21–23: Drivers of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series head to the Heartland of America for the ninth event of the season. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock).

UNITED ASSOCIATION ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS, ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, June 3–6: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Windy City in the Chicago Metro area for the 10th event on the 2010 schedule. Defending event winners include Spencer Massey (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Matt Guidera (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

NHRA SUPERNATIONALS, OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK, June 10–13: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the East Coast just outside of New York City for the 11th stop on the 2010 schedule. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Craig Treble (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

HE SAID, SHE SAID

THE CLOCK IS TICKING…: Top Fuel pilot Brandon Bernstein on this weekend’s O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka:

“We are at the halfway point of the regular season before we enter the Countdown to 1, and we need to continue to work our way up the point ladder. We are currently sixth. The points are reset for the six-race Countdown finale, so the closer you are to the top of the point standings the more cushion you have for the Countdown. Counting this Topeka event, we have nine events before the Countdown starts.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

4: The number of active Funny Car drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series that have won at Heartland Park Topeka. That means that the chance of having a first-time Topeka winner at this weekend’s O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals is very high. Below is the list of current Funny Car drivers that have won in Topeka:

  • John Force (2008, 2005, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1996#, 1994#, 1993#)
  • Cruz Pedregon (1995, 1995#, 1994, 1992)
  • Ron Capps (2009, 2006, 1998)
  • Tony Pedregon (2003, 2002, 2001)

# signifies discontinued Western Auto Nationals

DID YOU KNOW…

…that at NHRA Unleashed events scheduled in 2010, the Disruptive Studios team will conduct auditions for individuals who have always dreamed of becoming a race car driver.

Contenders are planned to be selected from the thousands of anticipated auditions at NHRA Unleashed events for the potential opportunity to compete for a life-changing prize: a one-year completely funded ride in an NHRA series.

For more, visit www.NHRA.com.

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