FIRST SEASON WINS FOR BIG NAMES COULD BE START OF ‘SWING’ SWEEP: The surprise in the winner’s circle Sunday as the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals came to a close might not have been who was there, but how long it had taken them to get there.
Top Fuel and Pro Stock event winners Spencer Massey and Mike Edwards were making their third winner’s circle appearance in 2011. But it was the presence of 15-time and defending Funny Car Full Throttle world champion John Force, joined by Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Karen Stoffer that may have had the biggest headlines of the day.For Force, it was his first win of the season after all but dominating the series in 2010 en route to his 15th world title, while for Stoffer, it was her first win in four years, dating back to Atlanta 2007, and assumed the points lead heading into the second race of the grueling Western Swing.
But while both drivers are relishing their first victories of the season, the all-too-familiar question lingers for all four Denver winners: Can they keep on that performance high and do what few have done—sweep the Western Swing? While Stoffer is unable to accomplish this task, since the Pro Stock Motorcycle category does not compete in Seattle, the opportunity is definitely there for the other three winners.
“Just like the military, it is all about teamwork,” Force said. “We have great guys. [Co-crew chiefs] Dean Antonelli and Ron Douglas have been struggling but they have all the same stuff that [crew chiefs] Jimmy Prock and Mike Neff have. Everybody was helping.”
Force knows that it’s that same teamwork and consistency that he’ll need to become the first driver ever to sweep the Western Swing twice. He first swept it in 1994.
“We got the double whammy here by taking home the Wally and also getting in front of the points,” said Stoffer. “We’re now in control of our own destiny.”
Stoffer, Force, Massey and Edwards would agree that their wins Sunday in Denver have put them in control of their own destiny as the NHRA Full Throttle Series heads to Infineon Raceway this weekend. And for Force, Edwards and Massey, it is up to them to either be a part of history and have their names added to the list of those who have swept the Western Swing, or become another statistic of drivers who were unable to complete this impressive task. For tickets to this weekend’s FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals, call 800/870-RACE (6223) or log on to infineonraceway.com.
STAR-STUDDED LINEUP OF NHRA LEGENDS SET FOR SONOMA: With three of NHRA’s most famous legends—“Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme—scheduled to be on hand to celebrate NHRA’s 60th anniversary season visit to Infineon Raceway, the 2011 FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals promises to be a can’t-miss event for fans in the heart of Wine Country. Garlits and Muldowney will be available throughout the weekend for meet-and-greets and autograph sessions with fans, and they will participate in the increasingly popular Track Walk with a Legend on Sunday morning. Infineon Raceway will also host other special events throughout the weekend, including the Nostalgia Get-Together, the Kickoff to the Countdown Party and a special screening of Heart Like a Wheel. Infineon has also teamed with Don Schumacher Racing to provide fans with an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at NHRA Drag Racing. For more information on some of these special events happening this weekend, log on to NHRA.com.
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 famed 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, August 5–7: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series visits the Great Northwest and the Seattle area to finish the three-race Western Swing. Defending event winners are Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 253/639-5927 or log on to extremetix.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, August 18–21: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series visits the land of a thousand lakes on its second-to-last stop before the Countdown to the Championship. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Bob Bode (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 218/824-7223 or log on to ticketreturn.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
FULL STEAM AHEAD!: Top Fuel driver Spencer Massey after collecting his third win of the season Sunday at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals: “I’m just ecstatic. I wanted to do well at this race, especially with our sponsor’s race in Sonoma being next week. Now, we get to go there with a full head of steam.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1975, SNAKE RECORDS FIRST FIVE-SECOND FUNNY CAR RUN: At the 1975 Winston World Finals in Ontario, California, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme made NHRA history when he became the first Funny Car driver to make a five-second run, posting a 5.98-second run. Will this weekend’s FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals see a Funny Car driver reach the 3-second mark?
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
15: After competing this past weekend at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver at 5,860 ft. above sea level, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will head to Sonoma this weekend for the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals and compete at Infineon Raceway, which sits just 15 ft. above sea level. That’s a difference of 5,845 ft.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that defending Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet will run a special FRAM/Autolite paint scheme on his Suzuki this weekend at the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.