DRIVERS PREPARE FOR FINAL COUNTDOWN PUSH: With only one race left in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series regular season, the Countdown to 10, whether they’re first or 15th in the point standings, drivers are preparing themselves for one last chance to pick up as many points as they can next week at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, before the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and the start of the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Of the drivers, 30 of the 40 spots have been clinched, with two drivers, Top Fuel’s Larry Dixon and Pro Stock’s Mike Edwards, clinching the No. 1 spots in their respective categories and securing that 20-point bonus that comes with being No. 1 entering the Countdown to 1.
“Today wasn’t our day,” said Dixon, after a semifinal round loss to Brandon Bernstein at the just completed Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. “The consolation prize is the Al-Anabi Toyota team locked in the No. 1 seed for the Countdown, and getting those extra 30 points (10 ahead of second place, plus the 20-point bonus) over whoever ends up No. 2 when the Countdown begins is big. I’ve said before that we sure could have used those extra 30 points last season so I’m glad to have them this year.”
While Dixon and Edwards are locked into the field at the top of the point standings, an all-out battle is taking place for the 10th-place spot in all four categories. With the final race of the season just one week away, only 33 points in Funny Car separate 10th place and two-time world champion Tony Pedregon from 11th place Jeff Arend, and only 19 points in Top Fuel separate 10th place David Grubnic from 11th place Terry McMillen. A first-round loss in Brainerd for any of these drivers could spell the end of their 2010 world championship campaigns.
And while the competition for the final spot heats up in the two Nitro classes, nearly half the field in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class awaits its fate heading into Brainerd. With the regular season schedule for the bike class being six races shorter than that of Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, only the top five drivers in the point standings have clinched their spots in the Countdown, leaving five openings, the most of any of the four classes, still up for grabs at Brainerd in Pro Stock Motorcycle. The upcoming Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway should prove to be one of the most exciting and instrumental races of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
For tickets to the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, call 866/444-4455 or online at www.brainerdraceway.com.
FRIEND OF NHRA, LEGENDARY MOTORSPORTS REPORTER FROSCHER DIES AT 79: Norm Froscher, a longtime friend and supporter of NHRA drag racing who worked for several Florida newspapers, including The Gainesville Sun, and later as a freelance writer, died July 29. He was 79. The media center at NHRA’s Gainesville Raceway, where Froscher tirelessly worked to cover nearly every edition of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, is named in his honor.
“Everyone at NHRA is saddened by the news of the passing of Norm Froscher,” said Jerry Archambeault, NHRA vice president of communications and public relations. “Norm was a constant fixture at Gainesville Raceway, treating the facility as though it was his second home. He was not just a reporter but a friend to every racer that went down the dragstrip and everyone at NHRA. We will miss him, but his spirit will always be with us.”
Legendary racer Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, a five-time Gatornationals champ, added, “I am really sorry to hear about Norm. We became good friends through the years, and I always looked forward to seeing him each year in Gainesville. As far as I am concerned, he had a great deal to do with helping my career and the growth of drag racing from his articles about everything from race results to unique feature stories. I will always picture him in my mind walking around chewing on a cigar. He is just one guy that I always enjoyed speaking with. He always had some great questions, and I enjoyed answering them. I am going to miss him.”
For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, August 12–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to northern Minnesota for the final race of the Countdown to 10 regular season. Defending event winners include Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, O’REILLY RACEWAY PARK AT INDIANAPOLIS, September 1–6: The famed Labor Day event at historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis is the first of six races in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, September 16–19: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its second stop of the season in North Carolina and second stop of the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Defending event winners include Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
|Ashley Force Hood:
“For some reason, we are just having a crappy year, [but] we got in the Countdown [and] we will just keep plugging away.”
HE SAID, SHE SAID
MADE THE COUNTDOWN; NOW WAITING FOR A WIN: Funny Car driver Ashley Force Hood on the struggles of the 2010 season and clinching her spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs:
“For some reason, we are just having a crappy year, (but) we got in the Countdown (and) we will just keep plugging away.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: In the past four races Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson has moved up four spots in the point standings from 15th to 11th. He is currently 80 points behind 10th-place driver Rodger Brogdon. Johnson has four wins at Brainerd International Raceway. A fifth could give him the push he needs to lock up the 10th and final spot in the Countdown to 1 playoffs. Johnson has never finished outside the Top 10 in his 17-year career.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Funny Car driver and Get Screened America Pro Mod driver Melanie Troxel, along with Pro Mod drivers Roger Burgess, Raymond Commisso, Mike Knowles, Brad Personett, Derrick Townes, Danny Row, Michael Janis, Ike Maier and series points leader Von Smith will race this weekend in the Pro Mod field at the inaugural NHRA Unleashed presented by Lucas Oil event at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis?
For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.