BROWN, BECKMAN GET SECOND WINS OF SEASON IN ATLANTA: In one of the most exciting Top Fuel finals this season, Antron Brown held off fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher en route to his second win of the season Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. Brown’s Matco Tools Dragster posted a 3.865-second run that was just enough to keep the seven-time world champion Schumacher from collecting his first Atlanta Dragway win—the only track on the NHRA Full Throttle schedule where he hasn’t won.
“It was tough all weekend,” said Brown. “Qualifying didn’t go like we wanted it to, of course. But our boys just pulled together like they did in Vegas, and when race day comes, the game face goes on. Any given Sunday, anybody can win it.”
With the win, Brown moved from third to second in the Top Fuel point standings, just behind leader Del Worsham, who fell in the first round of eliminations. In Funny Car, Brown’s fellow DSR teammate Jack Beckman also raced to his second win of the season, beating points leader Mike Neff in the final round with a 4.111-second run in his Aaron’s/Valvoline Dodge Charger. It was Beckman’s second win at Atlanta Dragway.
“Any win is a good win,” said Beckman. “But beating a John Force car has kind of got a nice topping on that ice cream sundae if you know what I mean. They are at the top of their game.”
With the win, Beckman moved from third to second in the Funny Car point standings, just 20 points behind leader Neff. For more results from the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, visit NHRA.com.
LINE GETS THIRD WIN OF THE SEASON AT SPONSOR’S EVENT; TONGLET COLLECTS FIRST OF 2011 IN ATLANTA: Pro Stock points leader Jason Line showed once again why he has the car to beat in 2011 when he held off fellow teammate Greg Anderson in the final round of Pro Stock competition Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Line raced to his third win of the season in a final round that saw both Summit Racing Pontiac GXPs in the final at their sponsor’s event.
“It was a good day, it really was,” said Line. “After the semis, Greg and I got down there, and we were excited. We felt we needed a miracle to win because we didn’t feel like we performed like we should’ve. But somehow we got it. But Summit won today, and that was the biggest thing.” With the win and final-round matchup, both Line and Anderson moved into the one and two spots in the Pro Stock point standings. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending world champion LE Tonglet returned to the winner’s circle for the first time this season after he held off Karen Stoffer in the final round on his Nitro Fish Suzuki. Tonglet took the No. 1 qualifying position in the final session of qualifying Saturday, then mowed down the competition en route to his sixth career win.
“We’re really happy with the way that Nitro Fish Suzuki is running,” said Tonglet. “It’s really been a fun bike to ride. It’s so smooth, and it’s just hauling butt. There is really nothing more we can do to it.” Tonglet moved from fifth to third in the point standings with the win, while runner-up Stoffer took over the points lead.
NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES READY FOR RETURN TO TOPEKA: As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series marches on, drivers and teams prepare for their second race in as many weeks and the seventh stop of the 2011 season, the NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. Last season, Tony Schumacher raced to his first win at Heartland Park, one of only two tracks on the NHRA circuit at the time where he had not won, while Funny Car driver Robert Hight won his third consecutive win of the season with his victory over Jeff Arend in the final round. Now, as the tour heads back to the rolling plains of Kansas, many drivers are searching for their first wins of the season, while others are hoping to continue their dominance and rack up as many points as they can before the Countdown to the playoffs begin in September. Will defending Full Throttle champions Larry Dixon and John Force end their winless spell for 2011? Dixon has two wins at Heartland Park Topeka while Force has nine. Will Top Fuel pilot Del Worsham continue his domination over the class and pick up his fourth win of 2011? How about the Pro Stock duo of Greg Anderson and Jason Line? While Anderson has four wins at Heartland Park, Line has never won at the Kansas track. Tickets for the NHRA Summer Nationals are still available. To purchase, call 800/43-RACES or go online at hpt.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, please contact Director of Social Media Michael Padian at email@example.com.
NHRA SUPERNATIONALS, OLD BRIDGE TOWNSHIP RACEWAY PARK, June 2–5: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its eighth stop of the season at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/43-RACES or go online at Racewaypark.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FORD NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS PRESENTED BY TRI-CITIES AREA FORD DEALERS, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, June 17–19: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Thunder Valley and its ninth stop on the circuit. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 423/989-6900 or go online at bristoldragway.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at email@example.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
KEEPING YOUR COINS IN THE ‘GOOD LUCK JAR’: Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Karen Stoffer on overcoming some of the struggles they faced during qualifying last weekend and making it to the final round and taking over the points lead at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals: “We’ve put a lot of coins in the bad-luck jar over the past year and now we’re moving them back to the good luck side of the jar.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1993, EPLER BREAKS 300 MPH BARRIER IN FUNNY CAR: At the 1993 NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, Jim Epler became the first Funny Car driver in NHRA history to break the 300-mph barrier with his pass of 300.40 mph during round one of eliminations. What records could be broken this weekend at the 23rd annual NHRA Summer Nationals, May 20–22?
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
1: Pro Stock defending world champion Greg Anderson needs only one more win at Heartland Park Topeka to tie NHRA Legend Warren Johnson for the most in Pro Stock at the Kansas track at five.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Funny Car driver Bob Tasca was in attendance as the Space Shuttle Endeavour made its lift-off at the NASA Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, for its final mission? Tasca, a close friend of Flight Commander Mark Kelly, flew to Florida following the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals to watch the final lift off.
“It’s really amazing. Just to look at it; 4 million lbs., sitting there on the launch pad. It accelerates in eight minutes. From blastoff to in-orbit in eight minutes. We talked about which would be louder, my Funny Car or the space shuttle. It was pretty loud, and I was 2½ miles away. The Funny Car is louder, but you’re standing right next to it. This thing was 2½ miles away and the ground was rumbling. It’s an amazing machine, to say the least. Amazing.”
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.