SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 35, September 1, 2011

NHRA: Drivers Hoping to Make Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship

 

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Bob Tasca III David Grubnic

NEWS NUGGETS

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS IS LAST CHANCE FOR DRIVERS HOPING TO MAKE THE FULL THROTTLE COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Funny Car driver Bob Tasca knows what type of Labor Day weekend he’ll be having. While many people may spend their last long weekend of summer relaxing by the pool, the New England native will spend his days counting points and crossing fingers as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. It’s the final race of the regular season and the place where drivers will have one more shot at locking in a spot in the top 10 point standings before the start of the Countdown to the Championship—NHRA’s six-race playoffs to determine the world champions. Tasca sits in the 10th and last spot in the Funny Car points but has yet to secure his spot in the Countdown. With 11th-place driver Johnny Gray just 62 points behind, or just a little more than three round-wins, Tasca knows just how important his approach to Indy will be.

“When the NHRA made Indy the last-chance race, the last race to make the top 10 playoff field, this race took on an even greater significance,” said Tasca. “For teams like us, the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang Funny Car team, it’s time to prove we are a championship contender. Last year in Pomona, it was great blocking for 2010 Funny Car world champion John Force, but we’re ready to go for our own title.”

Tasca isn’t the only one feeling the pressure. Top Fuel driver Dave Grubnic also sits in the 10th spot in his category—just 19 points, a little less than a round-win—ahead of Terry McMillen. It’s a pressure Grubnic has had before when he moved from 11th to 10th last year with two races left before the start of the Countdown. Can Grubnic hold on again this year to make his third Countdown appearance? Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle also have tight races for the Countdown heading into Indy, with Ron Krisher working to hold off Larry Morgan and Ronnie Humphrey in Pro Stock and Jim Underdahl hoping to hold off hard-charging Chip Ellis and David Hope in the two-wheel category.

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SPECIAL TICKET OFFERS AVAILABLE FOR MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS:
Two special ticket offers are available for the upcoming Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. The first one will be available to all active and retired military personnel. As a special thank you to all who have bravely served our country, the NHRA will offer free general-admission tickets to both active and retired military for the Friday night qualifying session during the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, September 2. The offer must be taken advantage of at the gate on September 2. One complimentary ticket per person will be issued, and proof of active or retired military status will be required to receive the complimentary general-admission ticket.

In another great ticket offer for fans, Lucas Oil is sponsoring a limited number of specially priced general-admission tickets during the weekend in honor of the NHRA’s 60th anniversary season. A total of 6,000 tickets will be offered to the public at $20 per ticket with 2,000 available for Friday—1,000 tickets each on both Saturday and Sunday and 2,000 tickets on Monday. These tickets will be good for admission to the general admission section of the grandstands located on the west side of the track. This limited-edition offer will be available starting on Tuesday at NHRATIX.com and buyers should use the password "LUCAS" at time of checkout. Additionally, fans may continue to purchase general-admission, reserved-seat and Top Eliminator Club tickets for the event at both NHRATIX.com and at by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at 800/884-NHRA. Fans purchasing adult-reserved and general-admission tickets in advance will save $2 per ticket on gate ticket prices.

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JOHN FORCE RACING MUSTANGS ON DISPLAY AT INDIANAPOLIS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FOR MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS WEEK:
As thousands of NHRA Full Throttle Racing Series fans begin to arrive in Indianapolis for the 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, they will be greeted by two John Force Racing Ford Mustang Funny Cars. The Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang driven by John Force and the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang driven by Robert Hight will be on display at the Indianapolis International Airport for the next week getting fans and travelers revved up for the drag race.

“We are excited to have two of our John Force Racing Road Show Mustangs on display at the Indianapolis International Airport,” said Force, a four-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner. “Robert and I have won Indy six times, so to have our Mustangs here to welcome everyone to Indianapolis is pretty cool.”

One JFR Ford Mustang Funny Car will be located on the first level by the baggage claim carousels and the other Funny Car will be on the second level in the Food Court. The 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals runs from August 31–September 5 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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. 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.

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 avestal@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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IT’S MORE THAN JUST A WALLY:
Funny Car driver Jack Beckman on what it means to race at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil: “Indy is the big race. I didn’t realize how special it was until I had raced there. That trophy is the exact same height, shape and weight as all the Wallys, but it says U.S. Nationals, and that means a lot to any driver.”

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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1971, THE BURNDOWN IN INDY:
In the Top Fuel final round of the 1971 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, Steve Carbone and Don Garlits engaged in one of the more intense staging duels in NHRA history. Prior to the match, Carbone had insisted that he would not stage first in response to a Garlits psyche job that he believed cost him the 1968 Top Fuel final. Carbone outwaited his heavily favored opponent, then raced to victory over a tire-smoking Garlits.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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8: Top Fuel pilot Tony Schumacher is tied with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits for the most wins in Top Fuel at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. A ninth win at this year’s event would move Schumacher past Garlits and tie him for first place with NHRA Legend Bob Glidden for the most Mac Tools U.S. Nationals wins. Schumacher is on a streak of four final-round appearances in the last four races but has yet to secure his first win of the season.

DID YOU KNOW…

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… that Mac Tools—a hand-tools manufacturer and the title sponsor of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil— will again serve as the primary sponsorship partner on the Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta this week at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis?

“It’s great to see that big Mac Tools logo on the side of our dragster again,” said Kalitta. “We’ve had great success throughout the years with our friends at Mac Tools, and we’re excited to race under their banner.”

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

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