SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 46, November 18, 2010

NHRA: Dixon, Force, Anderson, Tonglet Crowned NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Champs

NEWS NUGGETS

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FULL THROTTLE TOP FUEL WORLD CHAMPION

Larry Dixon
Al-Anabi Racing Dragster
Round Win/Loss Record:
62-11
No. 1 Qualifiers: 8
2010 Race Wins: 12
2010 Runner-up Finishes: none
Season Summary: Dixon had one of the most impressive seasons in NHRA Top Fuel history, posting 12 wins in 12 final-round appearances and holding the points lead for seven months. He started the season off right, winning the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, the opening race of the 2010 season, then following it up quickly with back-to-back wins in Houston and Las Vegas. He finished the regular season with nine wins, five No. 1 qualifiers and the points lead heading into the Countdown to the Championship. Once in the Countdown, he showed his dominance yet again, picking up three wins and three No. 1 qualifiers. His first-round win against Mike Strasburg at the final race of the season, the Auto Club NHRA Finals, was just enough to clinch his third career Full Throttle world championship in Top Fuel.

Championship Quote: “I’ve never had so much excitement for a first-round win in my life. It was just a great job by the team this year. It’s a credit to the whole Al-Anabi crew and everybody pitched in to make it happen. This is what we work so hard for.”

FULL THROTTLE FUNNY CAR WORLD CHAMPION

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John Force
Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang
Round Win/Loss Record:
44-17
No. 1 Qualifiers: 3
2010 Race Wins: 6
2010 Runner-up Finishes: 5
Season Summary: After finishing the 2009 season winless, the first time he had done so since 1986, Force started things out right by winning the season opener, the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, then followed it with a win at the inaugural NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte and another win at Las Vegas. Force entered the Countdown to the Championship with four wins, three No. 1 qualifiers, and the points lead under his belt, but a first-round loss in Reading, Pennsylvania, along with Funny Car driver Matt Hagan setting a national record for time (which gives a driver 20 bonus points), Force was bumped back down to second place, 64 points behind Hagan. He came back strong in Las Vegas and beat Hagan in the final round to narrow the points deficit to just 37 heading into the final race of the season, the Auto Club NHRA Finals. After fellow Ford driver Bob Tasca was able to beat Hagan in the first round of eliminations, Force needed to merely make a semifinal-round appearance to clinch the title. He not only made that appearance, but also won the race, his sixth for the season, and clinched his 15th Full Throttle world championship in Funny Car. At 61 years old, Force became the oldest NHRA Full Throttle Series world champion in NHRA history.

Championship Quote: “I want to thank my doctors and trainers that got my arms and legs back (after the 2007 crash). I am 40 again! I am still ugly, but I am 40. The sponsors and the family—my wife my children—were all behind me when I said I was useless with no arms or legs. I can’t move with these pins in me. They told me to quit whining and get up and go. I love the cheer of the crowd. You are something else. What you do here is great. God bless you. God bless America and our veterans, the military and the men and women of the armed forces.”

FULL THROTTLE PRO STOCK WORLD CHAMPION

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Greg Anderson
Summit Racing Pontiac GXP
Round Win/Loss Record:
42-18
No. 1 Qualifiers: none
2010 Race Wins: 5
2010 Runner-up Finishes: 2
Season Summary: Anderson had a rough first half of the season, making only one final-round appearance in the first 12 races and dropping as low as fourth in the point standings. But back-to-back wins in Norwalk and Seattle, including his K&N Filters Pro Stock Battle bonus event win, boosted the three-time world champion’s confidence as the Countdown to the Championship neared. Once the Countdown started at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at historic O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, a second-round loss to defending world champion Mike Edwards at that event pushed Anderson down to the fifth spot in the point standings. He came back strong though, picking up three wins in four final-round appearances and clinching his fourth world championship during qualifying at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the final race of the season.

Championship Quote: “It doesn’t get any better than this. This has absolutely been the most trying season and will be the most rewarding one for me. You couldn’t have bet me any amount of money a few months ago that this would happen. You can never give up. I think we had a great, great last five or six races, and it’s not because fluke things happened. We had great races. I feel horrible for Mike (Edwards). I know what he feels like right now, but I’m so happy for my team. This is the most gratifying one without a doubt.”

FULL THROTTLE PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE WORLD CHAMPION

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LE Tonglet
NitroFish Gear Suzuki
Round Win/Loss Record:
32-12
No. 1 Qualifiers: 1
2010 Race Wins: 5
2010 Runner-up Finishes: 2
Season Summary: In just his first year of competition, Tonglet came out strong, making his first final-round appearance in just his fourth race of the season in St. Louis, then raced to his first career win just two races later in Chicago. Tonglet finished the regular season in the seventh spot in the points standings, but with sponsorship woes, was unsure if he’d even be able to finish the season. After gaining the support of NitroFish Gear owner Kenny Koretsky, Tonglet began his march towards the championship at the first race of the Countdown to the Championship, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Tonglet went on to pick up four wins in five final-round appearances in the Countdown and, after points leader Andrew Hines fouled out in the first round of eliminations at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals, Tonglet clinched his first Full Throttle world championship after beating Steve Johnson in the second round. At the age of 20, Tonglet became the youngest NHRA Full Throttle Series world champion in NHRA history.

Championship Quote: “This is just unbelievable. I can’t thank my family and Kenny Koretsky enough for this. Without Kenny, we wouldn’t have made it past Indy. We were on a tight budget and thankfully he stepped up at the right time, and we have just been on a roll since then. This is for my dad because he hasn’t won one of these. This is just awesome to be going back home with this championship.”

COMING ATTRACTIONS

KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 24–27, 2011: The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and 60th anniversary season of NHRA kicks off at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at the 51st running of this event. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at mpadian@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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RECORD-SETTING WIN: Former NHRA Full Throttle world champion Eddie Krawiec on setting the national record for time with his winning pass Sunday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Pomona: “I didn’t know we could set a record here, but I’m glad to be the guy holding that time slip. Weather has been phenomenal, and that was a big help. The way this class is, you never know where records can be set. For our team, it was a bittersweet day, but this (win) does take the sting out of (teammate Andrew Hines) not winning the championship.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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1: Since the start of the Countdown to the Championship in 2007, this was the first year that all four NHRA Full Throttle world champions were crowned at the final race of the season, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

DID YOU KNOW…

…that at the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series awards ceremony Monday night at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in West Los Angeles the winners of the Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award and the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award were announced? Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion LE Tonglet was named winner of the $20,000 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, which recognizes the top NHRA rookie performer of the year, while the Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award was given to Dominick Lagana’s Big O Tires dragster crew in Top Fuel ($25,000) for advancing to the final round at the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals; Ashley Force Hood’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang crew in Funny Car ($25,000) for winning the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals for a second consecutive year; The entire Summit Racing crew in Pro Stock ($15,000) for putting both cars in the final at the NRHA Las Vegas Nationals; and rookie Tonglet’s NitroFish Suzuki crew in Pro Stock Motorcycle ($5,000) for racing to victory at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA MEDIA CENTER online.

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