SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 39, September 29, 2011

NHRA: Massey Moves Into Points Lead While Neff, Line and Krawiec Keep Top Spots After Dallas

NEWS NUGGETS

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MASSEY MOVES INTO POINTS LEAD WHILE NEFF, LINE AND KRAWIEC KEEP TOP SPOTS AFTER DALLAS:
Top Fuel pilot Spencer Massey had a near-perfect weekend as he returned to his home state of Texas for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. With a second consecutive runner-up finish for the season and the points lead after he knocked off teammate Antron Brown in the semifinal round, Massey and his Prestone/FRAM dragster left Texas Motorplex in the exact spot he wanted to be in—the lead.

“It was a great weekend,” said Massey. “Of course, that was a huge race against Antron. Beating him allowed us to take the top spot in the standings. When you face either of my teammates (Antron or Tony Schumacher), you know you have to bring your best up to the starting line.”

Massey sits seven points ahead of Brown in a Top Fuel class that has already seen three different points leaders since the Countdown began. In Funny Car, a first-round loss was not enough to kick Mike Neff off of the top of the point standings, though, it did close the gap between he and the field. Neff currently sits only four points ahead of second-place driver Matt Hagan and after an impressive win Sunday in Dallas, two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon sits in the third spot seven points out of first place. While the first and second spots in both Top Fuel and Funny Car are separated by less than a round win, Pro Stock is quite a different story. After making it to his second-consecutive final round for the Countdown to the Championship, Pro Stock points leader Jason Line defeated Kurt Johnson to score his fifth win of the season and strengthen his points lead over the competition.

“I certainly appreciate being in the lead, but we’ve only completed two of the six Countdown events, so there is a lot of racing left before the title is decided,” said Line. “There are several drivers, including my own teammate Greg Anderson, who have stumbled a bit out of the gate, but you know they are going to turn it around very soon, so we definitely have our work cut out for us.”

Line is currently 112 points ahead of second-place Anderson in the standings. Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Eddie Krawiec kept his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson in the top spot in the standings despite a second-round loss to race winner Michael Phillips in Dallas. Krawiec currently holds a 63-point lead over second-place Karen Stoffer, while rookie rider Hector Arana Jr. moved into the third spot, 90 points out of first place with his runner-up finish in Dallas. The NHRA Full Throttle Series will make its third stop in the NHRA Countdown this weekend at Maple Grove Raceway for the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals. For tickets, call 610/856-9210 or log on to extremetix.com.

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MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY SET FOR COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND NHRA 60TH ANNIVERSARY:
Five-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world champion and Pennsylvania local Joe Amato will headline NHRA’s 60th anniversary celebration at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway this weekend. Amato, who will be the NHRA Legend featured this weekend at Maple Grove, will be joined by such drag-racing greats as Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins, Bruce Larson and Larry Lombardo. In addition, NHRA legends Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden and Connie Kalitta will all be on hand during the weekend to meet fans and participate in the 60th celebration activities. The weekend’s 60th Anniversary-themed festivities will include autograph sessions with all eight drivers and a special car corral of legendary vehicles. All the excitement and heart-pounding drama that is the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship will be present as drivers look to make their moves for the world championships. For tickets, call 610/856-9210 or log on to extremetix.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

AUTO-PLUS NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, September 29–October 2: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its third stop in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship at scenic Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 610/856-9210 or log on to extremetix.com. For media credentials, contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at ssmith@nhra.com.

NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, October 14–16:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its fourth stop in the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship in Chandler, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix. Defending event winners are Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). (Pro Stock Motorcycle was not contested in 2010). For tickets, call 602/268-0200 or log on to firebirdraceway.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at avestal@nhra.com.

NHRA NEVADA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, October 27–30: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its stop at the penultimate race of the season in Las Vegas. Defending event winners are Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 702/644-4444 or log on to ticketmaster.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at abaca@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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14th TIME IS THE CHARM!:
Top Fuel pilot Bob Vandergriff after racing to his first win in 14 final-round appearances Sunday, the most before a win in NHRA history: “We’ve lost finals every way, and you begin to question it. But I’ve got a great bunch of guys with me now, and I knew it was going to happen, I was just hoping it was this time. I don’t think I could take another speech where I say, ‘Well, it’s all right,’ because it’s not all right. But it’s great. I’m just a little overwhelmed right now.”

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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2002, FORCE RACES TO 100TH VICTORY:
On April 14, 2002, Funny Car driver and 15-time world champion John Force held off Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final round at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston to become the first driver in NHRA history to win 100 races. Since that time, Force has racked up an additional 33 wins to set his current number at 133 race wins in 214 final-round appearances. No other driver in NHRA Full Throttle history has yet to hit the 100-race win mark. Force’s 100th win was voted the ninth greatest moment in NHRA history this week by fans.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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67: That’s the amount of points that separate first-place driver Mike Neff and fifth-place driver Ron Capps in the Funny Car points standings, making it the tightest race for the top spot in all four Full Throttle Series categories.

DID YOU KNOW…

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…that Top Fuel pilot Hillary Will is expected to return to action in 2012 behind the wheel of the Dote racing Top Fuel dragster? Will and the team are set to begin their season at the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, March 8–11 at Gainesville Raceway.

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

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