SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 33, August 18, 2011

NHRA: Top Spots at Stake in Brainerd

 

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NEWS NUGGETS

SOME HOPE FOR COUNTDOWN BERTH WHILE OTHERS LOOK TO SECURE TOP SPOTS IN POINT STANDINGS:
Funny Car driver Johnny Gray knows it’s do-or-die time. With just two races left until the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship begins, Gray knows that his 11th-place spot in the point standings is not enough to get him into the Top 10 and into Countdown contention. And he’s not alone. As the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Brainerd, Minnesota, this weekend for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, many drivers are looking for last-minute success to secure their spots in the Countdown.

“We still have a mathematical chance to get into the Countdown, and considering how much we’ve improved, I think we have a good shot to get there,” said Gray, who sits 95 points behind 10th-place driver Bob Tasca. “We’re just going to try to go rounds, maybe shake up some of the standings and have some fun, not just this weekend, but for the rest of the season.”

Other drivers hoping to move into the Top 10 in the point standings are Top Fuel driver Terry McMillen, Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider David Hope. While some drivers are just looking to make the Countdown to the Championship, others are trying to solidify that top spot in the point standings when it starts. A spot that guarantees each driver in it a 30-point bonus once the Countdown begins. One of those drivers is Top Fuel point leader Del Worsham. Though Worsham has raced to six wins in seven final-round appearances this year, he has yet to secure his No. 1 standing with just two races left. A win in Brainerd this weekend could do just that.

“I don’t know about the rest of the competition, but I’m paying close attention to points right now,” said Worsham. “If we can pull off the No. 1 seed going into the Countdown, that would be huge. It’s definitely not sealed up by any means, but we’ve put a little gap there. When it comes down to it in the end, if you lose the championship by 29 points and you didn’t have those 30 points, you’d kick yourself in the butt.”

Will the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals be the make-or-break point for many drivers and their hopes of a world championship? Only time will tell. For tickets, call 218/824-7223 or log on to ticketreturn.com.

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NHRA, LUCAS OIL RACEWAY DONATE INDY TICKETS TO AREA FIRST RESPONDERS: NHRA and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis will make a sizable ticket donation to police and fire departments in the area for the upcoming Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. This donation coincides with many special tributes that are planned for the event, which will honor and remember those who made great sacrifices in the moments after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Morgan Lucas racing Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon helped kick off this exciting initiative as they presented the first tickets to Brownsburg firefighters and police officers at Firehouse 131 on U.S. Highway 136 in downtown Brownsburg Thursday. Receiving the tickets were Brownsburg Fire Chief Oran True and Brownsburg Police Chief Mike Dove. The drivers also took a tour of the firehouse, signed autographs and spent time with those at the firehouse. For more on this story, log on to NHRA.com. To purchase tickets for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, log on to NHRATix.com or visit the Lucas Oil Raceway box office before the event. Tickets also can be purchased by calling NHRA at 800/884-NHRA (6472).

COMING ATTRACTIONS

LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INT’L RACEWAY, August 18–21: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series visits the Land of 10,000 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 ssmith@nhra.com.

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, LUCAS OIL RACEWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS, August 31–September 5: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its last stop before the Countdown to the Championship at the most prestigious race in the world. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car), Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at ssmith@nhra.com.

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, September 15–18: The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship begins in Charlotte at the second stop of the season at zMAX Dragway. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/455-FANS (3267) or log on to charlottemotorspeedway.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at abaca@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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PRETENDING CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE: Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson on how he plans to approach the final two races before the Countdown to the Championship: “We want to hit our stride from here on out. Starting at Brainerd, we are pretending that the Countdown has already started, and we are going to turn up the wick. We have to make good decisions each and every round and make sure we don’t make any mistakes.”

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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1960, FOUNDING OF NATIONAL DRAGSTER: In 1960, NHRA founder Wally Parks, after deciding that his organization needed a professional and official voice, created National DRAGSTER magazine. Initially offered as a biweekly digest of the latest news to its membership, it quickly became a weekly publication that covered the full spectrum of the growing sport.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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11: That’s the number of wins that John Force has at Brainerd International Raceway—the most of any NHRA driver at any track on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule. Force hopes to race to his second win of the season and 12th at Brainerd International Raceway this weekend during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

DID YOU KNOW…

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… that voting for the top 20 of NHRA’s 60 greatest moments will end Saturday, August 20? Fans can visit NHRA’s Facebook page until midnight on Saturday and vote for their favorite moments in NHRA history. The top 20 moments will be unveiled on the Facebook page Monday, August 22. Fans will then have the opportunity to vote for the top 10 moments, with voting ending Monday, September 5. To see an up-to-the-minute ranking of the moments, log on to NHRA.com.

For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or log on to the NHRA Media Center.

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