SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 3, January 20, 2011

NHRA: Johnny Gray Moves Over to Funny Car and Don Schumacher Racing

NEWS NUGGETS

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SILLY SEASON CONTINUES! JOHNNY GRAY MOVES OVER TO FUNNY CAR AND DSR:
With only six weeks remaining until the first engines start up at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California, the off-season shuffle appropriately named, “the silly season,” continues as former Pro Stock driver and team owner Johnny Gray announced that he, along with sponsor TBC Retail Group, would be joining Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and fielding the Service Central Racing Dodge Charger Funny Car for the 2011 season. The addition of Johnny Gray gives DSR a total of four Funny Car teams competing this season in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Gray, who last year drove a Pro Stock car for Service Central, returns to the Funny Car wars in which he competed from 1999 to 2004 and again in 2006. Famed crew chief Lee Beard will take over tuning duties on the Service Central Dodge Charger.

“It’s been great driving Pro Stock, but it was time to move up into Funny Car for added exposure, and we decided Don Schumacher Racing was the way to go,” said Gray. “I had driven a Funny Car for Don several years ago (six races in 2004) and knew his was the right organization for our program. Lee Beard and I get along real well and always have. This looks like it was meant to be.”

Gray is the second driver to be added to the DSR lineup this off-season. This past November, DSR announced that Top Fuel driver and 2009 Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie-of-the-Year winner Spencer Massey would climb into the Prestone/Fram dragster for the 2011 season. For more information, visit NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 24–27: 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.

TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 10–13: The second stop in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and first race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, this showdown in the swamplands of Florida will bring added excitement as the NHRA celebrates its 60th anniversary. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle. For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at ssmith@nhra.com.

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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*Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins (near) defeated Ronnie Sox at the 1970 NHRA Winternationals, the first official race for the Pro Stock category.

1970, THE ADDITION OF PRO STOCK: In January 1970, NHRA announced a new addition to its official pro category lineup—the Pro Stock category. Since then, such famed NHRA drivers and legends like Bob Glidden, Warren Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, Greg Anderson and many, many more have raced in the famed category, and the highly competitive class has become a staple of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for more than 40 years.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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187: That’s the current qualifying streak (dating back to Las Vegas 2002) held by Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson, heading into the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season and the Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, February 24–27. In his 12-year career, Anderson has failed to qualify for the season-opening race only once (1998).*

*Anderson did not attend the season-opening race in Pomona in 2001.

DID YOU KNOW…

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…that a crew from the popular Science Channel TV program "How It’s Made" visited Morgan Lucas Racing last year to film a special show entitled "Dragsters?" The show will air for the first time this Friday, January 21, at 9:00 p.m. For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.

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