STORY LINES STRONG; COMPETITION STRONGER HEADING INTO ROUTE 66 RACEWAY: With the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series entering into a 7 races in 8 weeks stretch in the 2010 schedule, the competition is heating up, and so are the storylines—proof enough that this week’s United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway will be filled with plenty of excitement and action in all four categories of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
In Top Fuel, one of the biggest storylines of the season has been the rivalry building between defending world champion Tony Schumacher and two-time world champion Larry Dixon; a rivalry that has carried over from the 2009 season finale in Pomona where Schumacher edged Dixon out of the world championship by a mere two points. In what has become a regular occurrence in the first nine races of the season, Dixon and Schumacher have met five times in the semifinal round, including three-consecutive semifinal matchups heading into this weekend, with Schumacher holding the edge over Dixon with three wins. But Dixon controls the points lead in the category with a 108-point lead over third-place Schumacher.
In Funny Car, the hot story is the hot driving by defending world champion Robert Hight. Hight enters the event on a winning streak of three-consecutive wins. In the past three races Hight has earned 364 points, compared to the 315 points he had earned the first six races of the season, and has vaulted his Auto Club Ford Mustang from ninth all the way up to second in the point standings, just 49 points away from first-place driver John Force.
Pro Stock has seen more domination by defending world champion Mike Edwards, who currently enjoys a 267-point lead over the competition, but one of the rising stories of the past few races has been the amazing driving skills of young gun Rickie Jones. Jones did the one thing that has seemed impossible all season two races ago when he beat Edwards in the first round on a holeshot win. Jones then went on to beat three-time world champion Greg Anderson in the second round, on a holeshot and Johnny Gray, before falling to Jeg Coughlin in the final round. Jones then continued his dominance over the Christmas Tree in Topeka, beating both Shane Gray and Kurt Johnson on holeshot wins and making it to the semifinals. In two races, Jones has moved from 13th in the point standings and into the top 10 to the ninth spot.
Pro Stock Motorcycle has been just as competitive as ever, but three-time world champion Andrew Hines is showing why he’s the driver to be reckoned with. Hines is the only driver in the class to have more than one win so far in the season and enters the event coming off his 20th career win. But defending world champion Hector “The Hammer” Arana currently controls the points lead, nearly 101 points ahead of the field.
For tickets to the 13th annual United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals, call 815/727-RACE or visit online at Ticketmaster.com.
K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE FIELD TAKING SHAPE; FAN VOTE TO DETERMINE NO. 8 DRIVER: Only three races remain until the eight-car field for the lucrative K&N Horsepower Challenge, a special race-within-a-race bonus event for Pro Stock competitors is finalized. The K&N Horsepower Challenge will be contested June 26 during the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk. Until then, Pro Stock drivers have three races—in Chicago, Englishtown and Bristol—to improve their positions in the points standings and earn a spot in the event. If they fail to make the cut via their qualifying performances, they can rely on their popularity among NHRA fans as a last resort to make the starting lineup.
Seven of the K&N Horsepower Challenge participants will be those drivers who accumulate the most points during qualifying at each NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event during the 25-race Challenge series. The eighth driver who will compete for $50,000 winner’s share of the K&N Horsepower Challenge purse will be selected via a special online fan vote. Registration for the promotion has closed; however, NHRA fans can still vote for the driver to fill the eighth-place starting spot for the K&N Horsepower Challenge.
NHRA SIGNS MARKETING PARTNERSHIP WITH HONDA POWER EQUIPMENT: NHRA has signed a marketing partnership with Honda Power Equipment, a division of American Honda Motor Co. Inc. As part of the agreement, Honda Power Equipment will provide NHRA with portable generators for use at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events as well as at each of its seven geographic division offices and all of its owned and operated racing facilities throughout the United States. In return, NHRA will provide Honda Power Equipment with multiple exposure platforms, including an on-site display presence at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events as well as a presence on NHRA.com, the official website of NHRA.
“We are thrilled to welcome Honda Power Equipment into the NHRA family of marketing partners,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Honda generators will provide NHRA with the power to operate equipment at our events across the country.”
For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.
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).
NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, June 18–20: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the Thunder Valley of north Tennessee. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Del Worsham (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
DATA DOWNLOAD: Funny Car driver Jack Beckman on the competitive Funny Car class: “These Nitro cars are tough. You come back, you download the data recorder—there’s 47 graphs to look at—and you make a small change to one and it affects 25 of the other parameters on the car.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
1: The number of drivers who have won a race in more than one Full Throttle Drag Racing Series category at Route 66 Raceway (Gary Scelzi, TF: 2000, FC: 2005, ’07). Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown, who has two wins at Route 66 Raceway in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, will try to become the second on that list at this week’s United Association Route 66 NHRA Nationals.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that NHRA has released a new music album? "Go Fast: The Official Music of the NHRA," is a 10-song compilation highlighting the sights and sounds that drag racing fans have long associated with the sport. To listen to an exclusive preview of the album, visit www.NHRA.com.