Top 10 Stories From Our Archives
NHRA: World Champ Dixon Hopes Englishtown Record Will Help Secure First Win of 2011
WORLD CHAMP DIXON HOPES ENGLISHTOWN RECORD WILL HELP SECURE FIRST WIN OF 2011, BROWN HOPES MID-SEASON SUCCESS WILL BRING FIRST WIN AT ‘HOMETOWN’ TRACK: It’s been a long first half of the regular season for defending Top Fuel world champion Larry Dixon. After racing to 12 wins in 12 final-round appearances in 2010, en route to his third world championship, the driver of the Al-Anabi Racing dragster has yet to visit Winner’s Circle in 2011, losing two final-round appearances to teammate and current points leader Del Worsham. But for a driver educated in the rich history of NHRA Drag Racing, Dixon has one strong advantage heading into the 42nd annual NHRA SuperNationals at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. He is tied for the most wins in the Top Fuel category at Englishtown. Dixon and NHRA Legend Joe Amato are tied for the most wins at the famed track, with six a piece. Dixon will be competing for his first win of the season and a shot to take the points lead from his teammate Worsham with only nine races left before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
“I don’t know why I have the record I do at Englishtown, but I definitely like racing there,” said Dixon. “You’d have to think the cars and setups I’ve run over the years are conducive to running well there. It’s one of the tracks where my Dad raced so I always enjoy racing there, and I always get some good feelings when I go to a track that’s been on our circuit for a long time.”
Dixon’s strongest competitor this weekend may be the hard-charging Matco Tools dragster driven by New Jersey native Antron Brown. Brown has already collected wins at both Las Vegas and Atlanta this season and currently sits fifth in the point standings. After a second-round loss at the recently completed NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka, Brown hopes to not only get back in the winning groove, but to secure his first Top Fuel victory at his hometown track—Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
“It’s definitely good times when I come here, back to New Jersey,” said Brown, who won this event twice in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category (2005, 2002). “This track has a lot of history for me, and New Jersey is where it all began. And racing at home, in front of family and friends, I want to do well. I’m able to lie back, relax and have fun.” Tickets are still available for the NHRA SuperNationals. To purchase, call 800/43-RACES or go online at Racewaypark.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.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT MOTORSPORTS PARK, June 23–26: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Norwalk, Ohio, and its 10th stop on the circuit. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 419/668-5555 or go online at summitmotorsportspark.tix.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN: Pro Stock driver Shane Gray on what it took to grab his second career win at the recently completed NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka: “We’ve struggled pretty much since the year started—had car issues, engine issues. We just went back to the shop, regrouped, dissected the motor, dissected people, made probably 100 test runs, came here and the car ran really well.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1986, “BIG DADDY’S” BIG BLOWOVER IN ENGLISHTOWN: On July 12, 1986 at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, while trying to back up his 5.343-second run from the previous day to set a national record, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits launched into a spectacular power wheelstand in his Swamp Rat XXX dragster, that would forever be known in NHRA history as the famous Garlits Blowover. The dragster went vertical and flipped around in the air. Once it landed it was pointed back toward the startling line. Garlits was able to stop the car, climb out onto the track and hold up both arms, signaling to the fans that he was okay. Upon doing so the fans went crazy.
Here is how Garlits described it in his own words: “The car went up on the rear wheels, flipped over onto the wing stand, knocked the wing off, skidded down the track on the wing stand, turned around, did a 180, came down on its side going backwards, bounced up, hit on its wheels, and, because of the impact, I floorboarded the engine while bracing myself. The car shot forward back towards the starting line and I shut it off: Spectacular!”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
6: With his recent win in Super Comp at the JEGS NHRA Pacific SPORTSnationals, four-time Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin became the first driver in NHRA history to win an event in six different categories. (Pro Stock, Competition Eliminator, Super Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas, Top Dragster).
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Top Fuel points leader Del Worsham participated in a pre-race burnout in his Al-Anabi dragster at the Coca-Cola 600 Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Worsham did an extended burnout down pit road in his Al-Anabi dragster as part of the pre-race ceremonies for the event. “I looked down pit road, and I saw all of the cup teams watching,” said Worsham. “It was exciting, it was exhilarating and it was crazy.”
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.