SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 45, November 10, 2011

NHRA: First- to Fifth-Place Drivers All See Their Chance for Full Throttle World Championship

NEWS NUGGETS

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WHO’S IT GOING TO BE? FIRST- TO FIFTH-PLACE DRIVERS ALL HAVE CHANCE FOR FULL THROTTLE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: Exciting. Thrilling. Heart-pounding. These are all words that can describe the battle for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing world championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car as the series makes the final stop of 2011, at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals this weekend at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The reason for the excitement? For the first time since the NHRA Countdown was introduced in 2007, five drivers in Top Fuel and eight drivers in Funny Car all have a mathematical chance to win the world championship at the season-ending event. In Top Fuel, the talk heading into the event has been all about points leader Spencer Massey, second-place driver Del Worsham and third-place driver Antron Brown. But with fourth-place driver and defending world champion Larry Dixon 44 points out of the lead, the top four in the category are all within range of racing to the world title.

“I believe when it’s all said and done, I’m going to have to win in Pomona [to win the championship],” said Worsham. “The competition out there is awful tough, and everybody runs pretty well. There are great drivers and everybody peaks at different times, and basically I feel good about going into Pomona right now with a win in Las Vegas and a brand-new car that runs great and a team that’s been in this position before.”

In Funny Car, while first-, second- and third-place drivers Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon are within 26 points of each other, regular-season points leader Mike Neff sits 34 points out of the lead, 2009 world champion Robert Hight is 71 points out and Ron Capps is 72 points back in sixth place.

“As a seven-year-old kid when I went to Orange County International Raceway for my first race, I thought these cars were the coolest things on the planet,” said Beckman. “I never would have dreamed I’d get a paycheck to drive one of them and contend for the championship, so this is all good for me.”

For tickets to the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to extremetix.com.

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FANS VOTE TO DETERMINE THE 2011 NHRA FULL THROTTLE HARD-WORKING CREW AWARD: For every pass that an NHRA driver or rider completes down the track, there’s a hard-working crew that toiled diligently back in the pits to make that run possible. Throughout the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, title sponsor Full Throttle Energy Drink has recognized those crewmembers who have made a difference at every race. Now fans have a chance to decide the crews in each Full Throttle class whose diligence and extra effort resulted in the most impactful performances of the season. From now until Sunday, November 13, at 12:00 a.m. (EST), fans are invited to vote for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award winners. The recipients of the award, as determined by online fan voting during this two-week period, will be honored in each of the four classes at the season-ending awards ceremony. The winning crew also receives a cash bonus from title sponsor Full Throttle Energy Drink. To view the top moments in each category, log on to NHRA.com.

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FOUR-TIME NHRA PRO STOCK WORLD CHAMPION COUGHLIN TO RETURN TO NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING:
At a press conference at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Mopar revealed that four-time NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin would join the Team Mopar roster in 2012, driving the Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock class.

“I’m extremely excited to join forces with Mopar in 2012,” said Coughlin. “The entire Coughlin Brothers Racing team has high expectations for the 2012 season, and we expect to field a premier program with our Mopar/JEGS.com Dodge Avenger team, from top to bottom.”

Coughlin will join veteran racer Allen Johnson as the only two drivers in the Pro Stock class directly sponsored by Mopar.

“Adding Jeg Jr. to the Team Mopar roster is a great addition for the brand,” said Johnson. “This puts at least two very strong Mopar cars in the Pro Stock field next year, and I think it gives the brand an excellent chance of seeing a Mopar-powered driver bring home the Pro Stock championship in 2012.”

For more information on this story, log on to NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NHRA FINALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, November 10–13: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its final stop of 2011 where it all began—in Southern California. It is also the spot where world champions will be crowned. Defending event winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to extremetix.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at zelcock@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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FINISHING WITH A BANG: NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock world champion Jason Line on how important it is to him to win the Auto Club NHRA Finals after he clinched his second world championship in Las Vegas: “Yeah, it’s really important. If you want to be the best, you should have to do it every week. So that is our goal, and hopefully we can go to Pomona and make that happen.”

60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY

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2010, FORCE COMPLETES COMBACK, WINS 15TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP: After being critically injured in a high-speed accident in 2007 in Dallas, Force came full circle when he raced to his record-breaking 15th world championship in 2010. Force powered his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang to wins at the final two races of the season to move past points leader Matt Hagan and become the oldest world champion in NHRA history at the age of 61. Force’s record-setting championship is one of the five top moments in NHRA history that fans can still vote on to determine No. 1.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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1: Since the introduction of the Countdown to the Championship in 2007, only one driver in Funny Car has entered the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals with the points lead but failed to win the world championship. Matt Hagan, who leads the points entering this event, lost the 2010 Full Throttle Series points lead and world championship to John Force at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

DID YOU KNOW

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…that 69 points separate first-place Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec from second-place rider Hector Arana Jr. heading into the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals? Krawiec is competing for his second world championship (2008), while Arana is hoping to sweep his first world title and also the Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which recognizes the top performing rookie driver of the season.

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

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