SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 36, September 9, 2010

NHRA: Force Hood Moves to 4th With First Countdown to Championship Win

  Larry Dixon
  Larry Dixon

NEWS NUGGETS

DIXON GETS FOURTH MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS WIN; FORCE HOOD GRABS SECOND CONSECUTIVE AT “BIG GO!”: Larry Dixon showed why he was No. 1 in the Top Fuel point standings heading into the Countdown to the Championship when he held off Cory McClenathan to pick up his fourth win in Indianapolis and 10th win of the season at the recently completed Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Dixon dominated the class all weekend, earning his sixth No. 1 qualifier of the season and mowing through the competition on Monday’s eliminations.

“This means so much for me personally, from my dad racing here and all of the years with ‘Snake’ (Don Prudhomme) and how much it meant to him and now racing for Sheikh Khalid and especially the Johnson family for all they sacrificed at this event,” said Dixon. “And for Jason (McCulloch) to win his first Indy as a crew chief? I’m jacked up for him.”

Ashley Force Hood  
Ashley Force Hood  

With his win, Dixon was able to build a 46-point lead over second-place driver Cory McClenathan and an 87-point lead over defending world champion and third-place driver Tony Schumacher.

In Funny Car, defending event winner Ashley Force Hood raced her Castrol GTX Ford Mustang past father and team owner John Force in the final round to pick up her second Funny Car win at Indy and first win of the 2010 season. Even more impressive, Force Hood moved from eighth to fourth place in the point standings with her first win in the Countdown to the Championship.

“This has just been an amazing day,” said Force Hood. “This may mean more than last year because we struggled so much this season. Last year we were on a roll—we had gone to some finals and won some races and were up high in the points—but this year it’s been the other end of the spectrum, but our team has stayed positive and we just said we’d use the start of the playoffs to turn it all around and forget the past.”

Runner-up finisher Force kept his points lead in Funny Car—60 points over second place Jack Beckman—while defending world champion Robert Hight dropped from second to fifth place in the point standings with his second-round loss to Paul Lee.

For more results from the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, visit www.NHRA.com

  Tonglet
  LE Tonglet

PRO STOCK DRIVER STANFIElD AND PRO STOCK BIKE RIDER TONGLET GRAB FIRST MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS TITLES: Pro Stock driver Greg Stanfield shocked the class when he held off defending world champion and current points leader Mike Edwards to pick up his first win in Indy at the recently completed Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Stanfield had a .020 reaction time to beat Edwards on a holeshot and earn his first win of the season.

“This is just a huge win for me, especially after coming so close here last year (in a .001-second loss to Jeg Coughlin in the final),” said Stanfield. “And it was really exciting for our Nitro Fish Gear team owner, Kenny Koretsky, who was the Pro Stock runner-up at the 2004 Indy (which was the 50th anniversary of the event).”

Greg Stanfield  
Greg Stanfield picked up his first win in Indy at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.  

Stanfield’s win propelled him from eighth to third in the Pro Stock point standings, but Edwards’ runner-up finish helped give him a 52-point lead over the competition.

Stanfield wasn’t the only first-time Indy winner Monday as Pro Stock Motorcycle rider and Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie of the Year candidate LE Tonglet joined him in Winner’s Circle. Tonglet held off current points leader and three-time world champion Andrew Hines in the final round to pick up his first U.S. Nationals win and second win of the season.

“In Brainerd, when we broke that engine, our season was over,” said Tonglet. “We weren’t coming here but Vance & Hines and Fuel Pak stepped up and helped us out. Even so, I never expected to be sitting here telling you all how good I feel right now.”

With his win, Tonglet moved from seventh all the way up to second place in the point standings, just 88 points behind first-place driver Hines.

For more results from the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, visit www.NHRA.com.

ESPN EXPANDS, ENHANCES COVERAGE OF COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Capitalizing on the increasing popularity of the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA has announced that ESPN will be expanding its coverage of the NHRA Full Throttle Series’ six-race playoff across multiple platforms and making all of the racing available live to racing fans. The six-race playoff began last weekend with the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil and continues September 16–19, with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina.

Live coverage of the full days of eliminations action for all six races in the Countdown to the Championship will be televised on ESPN3, ESPN’s live sports broadband network at www.espn3.com. It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider and is currently available in more than 53 million homes—a majority of U.S. broadband homes. It will also be available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

Television coverage of the remaining five races in the Countdown to 1 will be split between ESPN2 HD and ESPN HD, and each of the five races will be presented in prime time. For a complete listing of TV times for the remaining five races, visit www.NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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 the Championship playoffs. Defending event winners include Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

O’REILLY SUPER START BATTERIES NHRA FALL NATIONALS, TEXAS MOTORPLEX, September 23–26: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its second stop in the Lone Star State and third stop of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

TOYO TIRES NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, October 7–10: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to the East Coast and Pennsylvania for its fourth stop in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

 

  Andrew Hines
  Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion and current points leader Andrew Hines.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

NATIONAL RECORD, BUT NO WIN: Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion and current points leader Andrew Hines on finishing runner-up at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, but setting the National E.T. record (6.815) in the process:

“To come in here leading by 30 points and leave leading by 88 is a pretty good weekend. It’s been more than a year since the Screamin’ Eagle team held the national E.T. record, and that’s something we are proud to get back. I’ve got a good, consistent V-Rod to ride for the rest of the Countdown.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

2: Only two drivers, Top Fuel’s Cory McClenathan and Pro Stock’s Mike Edwards, have more than one victory at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte. Both those wins came at the 2009 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and the Inaugural NHRA 4-Wide Nationals this past Spring. Both drivers will look to defend their wins next weekend in Concord, North Carolina.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that of the remaining five events in the Countdown to the Championship, the drivers in the Countdown in each category with the most combined wins at those events are as follows:

  • Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher (16 wins)
  • Funny Car: John Force (20 wins)
  • Pro Stock: Greg Anderson (13 wins)
  • Pro Stock Motorcycle: Andrew Hines (4 wins)
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