SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 38, September 23, 2010

NHRA: Dixon Gets 11th Win of the Season in North Carolina

NEWS NUGGETS

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DIXON GETS 11TH WIN OF THE SEASON; PEDREGON GRABS FIRST WIN AT CHARLOTTE:
Larry Dixon continued his domination over the Top Fuel class as he powered his Al-Anabi Racing dragster past Dave Grubnic, Tony Schumacher, Cory McClenathan and Doug Kalitta to grab the win Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. It was Dixon’s 11th win of the season in 11 final round appearances, the most in the category for the year.

“I can’t believe the amount of wins we’ve had and the amount of finals we’ve been in without losing,” said Dixon. “It’s hard to imagine when you think about all the great cars that are out here. It’s a credit to the team. They are an unbelievable bunch of guys.”

With his win, Dixon strengthened his lead in the point standings over second-place McClenathan by 85 points and over third-place and defending world champion Schumacher by 148 points. In Funny Car, two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon not only picked up his first No. 1 qualifier of the season Saturday, but also grabbed his first win of the season, as his Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry mowed over the field Sunday to nab the seasoned driver his 27th career win.

“I’ve had some great cars in my career when I drove for guys like Larry Minor and Joe Gibbs, but I don’t think I’ve been in a better car than I had this weekend,” said Pedregon. “I can’t say enough about the team. Me and (crew chief) Danny DeGennaro, who’s a young guy in his 30s, were both kind of on the sidelines this off-season. We worked real hard to get to this point. It took us awhile to get going, and there were times I thought, ‘What the heck are we doing this for?’ but we stayed at it.”

Points leader John Force kept his lead leaving the event, despite a first-round loss to Paul Lee, but runner-up finisher and second-place driver Jack Beckman closed the gap, coming within four points of the 15-time world champion. This weekend, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Dallas, Texas, region for the O’Reilly Super Start Batters NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. For tickets, call 800/MOTORPLEX or online at texasmotorplex.com.

ANDERSON GRABS HOMETOWN WIN, TONGLET VICTORIOUS OVER HINES ONCE AGAIN IN CHARLOTTE: Pro Stock driver and former three-time world champion Greg Anderson found the success he’d been looking for at zMAX Dragway since the track opened in 2008 and drove his way to the Winner’s Circle Sunday at the recently completed O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals. Anderson held off the competition in his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP en route to his third win of the season and 63rd of his career.

“Today I had the best hot rod on the grounds, by far,” said Anderson. “I’m a lucky man. This is my home track, and I have struggled here, but zMAX Dragway is now officially my favorite track. Heck, I didn’t even know where the press room was until this weekend, but now I want to race here 10 times a year.”

Anderson closed the gap in the point standings with his win, coming within 27 points of leader Mike Edwards. Anderson was joined in Winner’s Circle by Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet, who picked up his third win of the season in a final round re-match from the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Tonglet was able to hold off points leader Hines in the final round yet again to pick up the win in his new NitroFish colors.

“We’re not even thinking about the rookie of the year anymore,” said Tonglet. “We’ve got a bigger thing, the championship, on our minds. With NitroFish behind us, we have a good shot. Hopefully, we keep going rounds and we can run this good in Dallas.”

Tonglet closed the points gap to Hines with his win to just 66 points outside of first place. This weekend, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Dallas, Texas, region for the O’Reilly Super Start Batters NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. For tickets, call 800/MOTORPLEX or online at texasmotorplex.com.

NHRA RACERS WILL BOWL WITH FANS AT THE TEXAS MOTORPLEX BIRTHDAY BOWLING PARTY: Some of the biggest names in drag racing will help celebrate the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals on September 23 at Splitsville (401 Curtis Mathes Way in Arlington). Racers will be on hand to sign autographs, hand out Texas Motorplex cupcakes and bowl with fans from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Fans can sign up to bowl with racers, listen to live music on the patio and get ready for a weekend of blazing hot NHRA action at Texas Motorplex. Fans will have the chance to bowl against such drivers as two-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion Larry Dixon, defending Funny Car world champion Robert Hight, Funny Car and Pro Mod Driver Melanie Troxel and many, many more. For more information on this event, including a full list of drivers participating, visit NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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). For tickets, call 800/MOTORPLEX or online at texasmotorplex.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at mpadian@nhra.com.

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). For tickets, call 610/856-7200 or online at maplegroveraceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at ssmith@nhra.com.

NHRA LAS VEGAS NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, October 28–31: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to Sin City for its fifth stop in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Defending event winners include Spencer Massey (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Larry Morgan (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/644-4444 or online at lvms.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at avestal@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

PRESSURE POINT: Funny Car driver Matt Hagan on the stresses of competing in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship: “You can see that the pressure of the playoffs is starting to eat at some people. I think that the biggest thing we can do for ourselves is just take a deep breath and let it all out and just go racing and have fun. Whether you admit that it weighs on you or not, it’s going to weigh on you to some extent, so we just want to do the best job we can and not leave anything on the table.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

4: The number of points separating Funny Car first-place driver John Force and second-place driver Jack Beckman. It’s also the number of races left in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season. Drivers have only four more chances to grab the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championship.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that Get Screened America Pro Mod driver Melanie Troxel became the first female driver

to win in the Pro Mod class Sunday at the recently completed O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway. With the win, Troxel entered a very small list of drivers who have won in four categories in NHRA Drag Racing. Troxel has collected wins in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and now Pro Mod classes. For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA MEDIA CENTER online.

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