DRIVERS FIND STREAK OF SUCCESS BEFORE COUNTDOWN CUTOFF: For Funny Car driver Johnny Gray, Sunday’s eliminations round at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway was all or nothing. Sitting 95 points behind 10th-place driver Bob Tasca entering the event, Gray knew that if he wanted any chance of moving into that 10th-place spot and competing in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship—NHRA’s six-race playoff to determine the world champions—he would have to win at Brainerd. Gray did just that, holding off fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the final round to collect his first race win.
“You’ve got to have a good car and a bit of luck to win, and we had both of them today,” said Gray. “If we don’t make the Countdown, well some of the cars who crucified us early in the season when we didn’t have a good car will pay in those last six races. We’ve got a good race car now and it’s going to get better.”
With the win, Gray moved to within 62 points, or within three round wins of 10th-place driver Bob Tasca. “We’ll take this momentum to Indy and do the best we can,” said Gray. “If Tasca has some bad luck, we’ll have a chance.”
Gray wasn’t the only driver making some important moves before the Countdown Sunday. Fellow teammate Antron Brown moved up to the second spot in the Top Fuel point standings with his race win, while defending NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson moved past teammate Jason Line to take the top spot in the Pro Stock point standings. Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec also took the top spot in the point standings in his category with his semifinal round appearance. To see more results from the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, visit NHRA.com.
WITH ONE RACE LEFT BEFORE CUTOFF, COUNTDOWN LINEUP NEARLY COMPLETE: As racing came to an end Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, nine additional drivers clinched spots in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. With just one race remaining before the cutoff, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, only three spots remain in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock, while Pro Stock Motorcycle has four more spots open for Countdown contenders. Below are the drivers who have secured spots so far in the Countdown to the Championship:
|| FUNNY CAR
||PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
|Del Worsham||Mike Neff||Jason Line||Karen Stoffer|
|Spencer Massey||Robert Hight||Greg Anderson||Eddie Krawiec|
|Antron Brown||Jack Beckman||Mike Edwards||LE Tonglet|
|Tony Schumacher||Cruz Pedregon||Vincent Nobile||Andrew Hines|
|Larry Dixon||Matt Hagan||Erica Enders||Matt Smith|
|Doug Kalitta||Ron Capps||Allen Johnson||Hector Arana Sr.|
|Brandon Bernstein||John Force||Rodger Brogdon|
TEAMS PREPARE FOR MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS WITH INDY TEST THIS WEEK: With just one week left before the final race of the regular season—the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals—NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing teams head to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for one of the biggest testing sessions of the season. Teams in all four of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing categories will have one last chance to collect data, test new parts and try new combinations before the Countdown to the Championship gets underway. Testing will be held Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, from 9:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and will be closed to the public.
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 one of the most prestigious races 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS, TEXAS MOTORPLEX, September 22–25: The NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship makes its second of six stops with a visit to the Lone Star State. Defending event winners are Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/668-6775 or log on to extremetix.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
RUNNING FOR NO. 1: Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown after his race win Sunday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota, which moved him up to second in the point standings: “The closer to the top spot at the beginning of the Countdown, the better your chances are for a championship. The top driver gets a 30-point cushion and we’d like to keep our deficit at that number by finishing in second place after the Indy race.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1982, ‘GREATEST RUN EVER’: At the 1982 running of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme stole the show with an amazing 5.637-second qualifying pass that was nearly two-tenths quicker than the existing Funny Car record. Prior to the event, no Funny Car had even run in the 5.7s, let alone the 5.6s. Though Prudhomme didn’t go on to win the event, the spectacular qualifying run was rightfully named and considered “One of the Greatest Runs Ever.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
43: That’s the number of points that separate 10th-place Pro Stock driver Ron Krisher, 11th-place Larry Morgan and 12th-place Ronnie Humphrey. That’s just over two rounds of racing. All three drivers will be looking to lock in the 10th and final spot in the Countdown to the Championship at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals next week.
DID YOU KNOW…
… that NHRA’S 60 Greatest Moments have been narrowed down to the Top 20 Moments decided by fan voting? Fans will have the opportunity to vote to determine their favorite moments of the 20 picked from now until the conclusion of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, September 5, at which point the Top 10 Moments will be identified and announced. To learn more and see a list of the Top 20 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.