SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 17, April 28, 2011

NHRA: 2010 World Champs Look for First Wins of Season Heading Into Houston

NEWS NUGGETS

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2010 WORLD CHAMPS LOOK FOR FIRST WINS OF SEASON AS NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES HEADS TO HOUSTON:
As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season makes its fifth stop on the 22-race season, the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston, many well known drivers, including three of the four 2010 world champions, are still looking for their first wins of the season. Defending Top Fuel world champion Larry Dixon came within inches of taking home his first Wally Trophy of 2011 just two weeks ago at the VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte, but it was Dixon’s teammate Del Worsham who hoisted the trophy in the Winner’s Circle, his second of the season.

“We were five thousandths short of being enough,” said Dixon. “In spite of losing, the only guy I would be OK losing to is my teammate, Del Worsham.”

Another world champion looking for his first win of the season is 15-time Funny Car world champion John Force. In the first four races of the season, Force has yet to make it out of the second round of eliminations, a drastic change from the back-to-back wins he had to end the 2010 season. Though Force has struggled on Eliminations day, his qualifying performance has been right on par with 2010, with two No. 1 qualifiers in the first four races of the season. Force is currently seventh in the point standings, 132 points behind teammate and leader Robert Hight. One world champion ready to get his second start of the season is Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion LE Tonglet. Tonglet got his first taste of action defending his world title at the season-opening Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in March and made it all the way to the semifinals before losing to eventual race winner Eddie Krawiec. Since then, the Pro Stock Motorcycle category has had nearly a two-month break from racing but will make their second start of the season this weekend in Houston. Tonglet is currently fourth in the point standings, just 50 points behind Krawiec. Tickets are going fast for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals this weekend; Top Eliminator Club seats and ticket packages, including the special track walk Sunday morning with NHRA Legend Shirley Muldowney, are already sold out! To get your race tickets before they are completely gone, call 281/383-RACE (7223) or go online at ExtremeTix.com.

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HAGAN SET TO THROW OUT FIRST PITCH AT HOUSTON ASTROS GAME:
NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan will throw out the first pitch at the Houston Astros game Thursday night, April 28, at a very special NHRA Night at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

“I’m excited—ecstatic,” said Hagan, who threw out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game last July. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m getting a second go-around.”

Hagan will also join a list of drivers, including Allen Johnson, Dave Grubnic, Erica Enders, Morgan Lucas, Melanie Troxel, Shawn Langdon and more, for an autograph session on the main concourse of Minute Maid Park an hour prior to the start of the game. For more information, including how to purchase tickets to the game, visit NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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 avestal@nhra.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 Atlanta 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 contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at zelcock@nhra.com.

NHRA SUMMER NATIONALS, HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, May 20–22:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its seventh stop of the season during the start of the summer months. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/43-RACES or go online at hpt.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Social Media Michael Padian at mpadian@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID



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HOT RACE TRACKS:
Funny Car driver Jack Beckman on testing in Las Vegas before racing to his first win of the season at the recently completed VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals: “We are now getting into that part of the year with few cool tracks and a whole lot of hot ones, so it is more important to have a solid hot-weather setup. We made big strides during testing in Vegas, and it paid off in Charlotte. The jury is still out about when it is REALLY hot, but I think we’ve got it.”

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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1977, MULDOWNEY BECOMES FIRST FEMALE WORLD CHAMPION:
In her first full season as a points contender, Top Fuel pilot and NHRA Legend Shirley Muldowney became the first female to win a world championship when she claimed the 1977 Top Fuel world title. Muldowney will be the NHRA Legend honored this weekend at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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7: That’s the number of Pro Stock Motorcycle riders in NHRA history that have won the first two races to start off a season. Eddie Krawiec will look to join that list this weekend as the Pro Stock Motorcycle category makes its second stop of 2011 at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals.

DID YOU KNOW…

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…that as a preview to the 24th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, John Force Entertainment has posted the first installment of Nitro Rewind on the NHRA YouTube channel? The show, an Internet-based broadcast, is hosted by Bill Stephens and will feature interviews from Top Fuel and Funny Car NHRA competitors throughout the season. For more information, visit NHRA.com.

For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.

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