HIGHT WINS SECOND OF THE SEASON; BROWN, EDWARDS NAB FIRST WINS OF 2011 IN LAS VEGAS: The stakes were as high as ever as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series entered Las Vegas last week for its third stop in 2011—the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals—and by Sunday night, Funny Car driver Robert Hight stood in the Winner’s Circle for the second time that season, becoming the first Funny Car driver in the event’s 12-season history to be named a repeat winner (2007).
“It’s not getting any easier, but it’s a lot of hard work,” Hight told the media afterwards. “If you let your guard down any little bit, you are going to get beat. I had close side-by-side races in every round. There are no easy ones. In this day and age in this competition, it’s awesome.”
With his win, Hight extended the John Force Racing wins streak to five in a row, dating back to the final two races of 2010. He also took the points lead in Funny Car, 48 points ahead of second-place driver Cruz Pedregon. Hight was joined in the Winner’s Circle by Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown and Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards. Brown powered his Aaron’s/Matco Tools dragster past Brandon Bernstein to earn his first win of the season and first at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but it may have been his second round win over teammate and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher that got the most attention.
“This car was great all weekend, and it feels good to hit the jackpot here in Vegas,” said Brown. “This weekend, everything felt right. Our team just stepped up. We had to give it all we had and kept it going throughout eliminations. We got it done.”
The win pushed Antron up to the second spot in the point standings in Top Fuel, just eight points away from points leader Del Worsham. In Pro Stock, Mike Edwards dominated the class all weekend, taking his first No. 1 qualifier of the season with track temperatures reaching 130 degrees, then raced to his first win of the season and first since June 2010 when he drove his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP past Vincent Nobile in the final round.
“We started off (the season) pretty slow and pretty bad for us really,” said Edwards. “We regrouped and came in here with a new car and made some tremendous runs all weekend. It’s a total team effort. My guys did an awesome job all weekend. They gave me 110% and they never quit.” For more results from the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, visit NHRA.com.
FOUR NHRA LEGENDS FOR THE FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS: With a who’s who of NHRA legends scheduled to help celebrate NHRA’s 60th Anniversary season, the second annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 14–17 at zMAX Dragway, promises to be a can’t-miss event for fans in the heart of the motorsports-crazed Carolinas. The NHRA legends scheduled to be at zMAX Dragway to meet and greet fans during the race weekend are “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Kenny Bernstein and Connie Kalitta. The drivers will be available throughout the weekend for meet-and-greets and autograph sessions with fans. The event will also feature a vintage car corral, parade of classic cars and Four-Wide Track Walk, during which fans who have purchased a reserved ticket can walk beside and listen to stories told by one of the legends Sunday morning prior to the pre-race activities. Tickets are still available for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and can be purchased by visiting charlottemotorspeedway.com.
VISITMYRTLEBEACH.COM NHRA 4-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, April 14–17: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the “Bellagio of dragstrips” for the only 4-wide national event on the calendar. Defending event winners include Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/455-FANS (3267) or go online at Ticketmaster.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRING NATIONALS, ROYAL PURPLE RACEWAY, April 29–May 1: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops in the Lone Star State as it heads to Houston and Royal Purple Raceway. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Matt Hagan (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 281/383-RACE (7223) or go online at ExtremeTix.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS, ATLANTA DRAGWAY, May 13–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the South and the Georgia area for its sixth stop of 2011. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/884-NHRA (6472) or go online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
SO CLOSE HE CAN TASTE IT: Funny Car driver Johnny Gray after his runner-up finish at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas: “This is what it takes to form a championship team. We keep getting better and better as a team. Lee (Beard, crew chief) and Don (Schumacher, team owner) provide great leadership and along with Service Central, provide us with what we need to get the job done. It’s all good!”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1953, THE FIRST NHRA SANCTIONED EVENT IS HELD: On April 11–12, 1953: On the grounds that would one day become Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the Southern California Championship Drags, the first-ever sanctioned event in NHRA history, was held. An estimated 15,000–16,000 fans came out to see an entry list of 375 vehicles compete, with a total of 850 timed runs, including 175 in eliminations.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
74: That’s the number of points that separate first-place Top Fuel pilot Del Worsham from fifth-place driver Spencer Massey, making Top Fuel one of the closest classes so far in the 2011 season.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that NHRA has partnered with Ford for a special 60th Anniversary Sweepstakes to go along with the NHRA 60th Anniversary celebration? From now until November 30, residents of the United States who are at least 18 years old can enter the sweepstakes, and one lucky NHRA fan will be selected as the winner of the grand prize—a ’12 Ford Focus Titanium. Additional prizes will also be given. For more information on the 60th Anniversary Sweepstakes and how to enter, visit NHRA.com.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.