DEFENDING EVENT WINNERS HOPING FOR ADDITIONAL SEASON WINS WHILE ONE LOOKS FOR FIRST AS NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES HEADS TO CHICAGO: For Top Fuel pilot Larry Dixon, Pro Stock driver Mike Edwards and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet, the path down the 2011 season hasn’t been what they had hoped. As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to its 11th stop of the season, the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago, these defending event winners hope that a return to a track that brought them so much success just one year ago might be the push they need in the point standings with just five races left until the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. After all, it was here that the road to success for two of those drivers began last year; Dixon and Tonglet went on to win world championships at season’s end.
While Dixon and Tonglet look for their second wins of the season and Edwards hopes for his third, another defending event winner, Funny Car driver Matt Hagan, hopes that familiar territory will bring him the one thing he’s been craving all year—a win. Hagan’s 2010 win at Route 66 Raceway was the second of his career, and he scored it in the hometown of his title sponsor, DieHard, in front of a crowd of executives and employees who were excited to see their DieHard Dodge Charger race to the victory. The win also helped Hagan finish the season second in the point standings. But with a fifth-place standing entering the race, Hagan knows that the Chicago event is a do-or-die situation to find success in the Countdown playoffs.
“We want to win some races and get on a roll going into the Countdown,” Hagan said. “We did that last year, winning in Chicago, and then made a good run for the championship. We want to put the DieHard car back into that position as this season moves into its later stages.”
For tickets to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, call 815/727-RACE or log on to route66raceway.com.
FORCE, ANDERSON NOMINATED FOR BEST DRIVER ESPY AWARD: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series champs John Force and Greg Anderson earned two of the four coveted spots in the ESPY award voting for Best Driver. Force, who won his 15th NHRA Funny Car championship last season, and Anderson, who won his fourth NHRA Pro Stock championship, have both been nominated for the award but have not won. Also included in the nominations this year are NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and IndyCar competitor Dario Franchitti. Previous NHRA drivers nominated include Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher, Ashley Force Hood, Melanie Troxel and Tony Pedregon. To vote, log on to www.espn.com/espys. Voting ends July 9 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT).
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS, ROUTE 66 RACEWAY, July 7–10: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Chicago and the Windy City for its 11th stop of the season. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 815/727-RACE or log on to route66raceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, July 22–24: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to the Rocky Mountains of Denver and the first of three stops in the historic Western Swing. Defending event winners are Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/664-UWIN (8946) or log on to ticketreturn.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRAM-AUTOLITE NHRA NATIONALS, INFINEON RACEWAY, July 29–31: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Sonoma and the second of three stops in the historic Western Swing. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/870-RACE (6223) or log on to infineonraceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
HOMETOWN TRACK EQUALS HOMETOWN FEEL: Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher on what it means to race this weekend at his hometown track, Route 66 Raceway, where he has three wins: “It’s the race that is located right in my backyard. I love staying at home. I get to have all my family and friends come out. When you have that many people cheering you on, you naturally want to do everything in your power to bring home the winner’s trophy.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1976, ‘SNAKE’S’ NEAR-PERFECT SEASON: After winning six of eight events in 1975 en route to his first of four straight NHRA Funny Car championships, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme raced to seven wins in eight races the very next season, and he made a final-round appearance at the race he didn’t win, the U.S. Nationals. His second world-championship season is not only one of the most successful seasons he ever had, but also one of the most amazing seasons in NHRA history.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Ford Funny Car drivers Mike Neff, Robert Hight, John Force, Bob Tasca
199: With his recent victory at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Funny Car driver Mike Neff notched the 199th Funny Car win for Ford Racing. At this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Ford Racing will be looking for one more in its race to the 200 mark.
DID YOU KNOW…
|Mike Edwards defeated Jason Line in the final round of the 2010 O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals.|
…that in the past three years, there have been three different Pro Stock winners at Route 66 Raceway (2010: Mike Edwards, 2009: Jeg Coughlin, 2008: Kurt Johnson)? Will this weekend’s race bring a different winner as well?
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.