SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 29, July 19, 2012

NHRA: Mopar Mile-High Nationals Set to Kick Off the Swing

NEWS NUGGETS

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MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS SET TO KICK OFF THE SWING: The traditional three-week NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Western Swing kicks off at Bandimere Speedway with the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 20–22. The 13th of 23 events in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series marks the middle of the season and the deal breaker to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship—the NHRA’s playoffs. Drivers in all four categories—Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle—will race to the top of the mountain. The Full Throttle teams travel high and deep into the Rocky Mountains to more than 5,800 ft., where the altitude affects everything from engine tune-ups to aerodynamics, to begin the Western Swing. Crews must make changes to established power-making combinations and battle lack of downforce to tackle the environs. The event is a testament to the skill and adaptability of the racers.

In addition to the racing action, a host of activities will be held in celebration of the 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals. On Thursday, July 19, fans are invited to attend the Mopar Block Party in downtown Golden, Colorado, from 6:00 p.m.–11:00 p.m., featuring a live band, car displays and a driver autograph session. On Saturday before racing, the Go Red for Women Track Walk will begin at 8:30 a.m. to bring awareness to heart disease (www.goredforwomen.org). This experience gives fans the chance to walk the same track where NHRA drivers compete at speeds of 300 mph and be joined by NHRA racers. The event is free for all Saturday ticket holders. For tickets, call 800-664-UWIN (8946) or log on to Bandimere.com.

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GOODYEAR GIVES BACK, JOINS FORCES WITH THE NHRA TO SUPPORT THE TROOPS: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.—exclusive tire supplier of NHRA’s Top Fuel and Funny Car classes—is honoring and supporting U.S. armed forces with the launch of the Goodyear Gives Back campaign—a fundraising effort designed to generate support for the U.S. armed forces and their families who make sacrifices to protect Americans’ freedom. A number of initiatives are part of this year’s program, including at-track activities and the launch of Goodyear.com/GivesBack. To kick off this year’s program, Goodyear is leading the way with its own donation to the Support Our Troops organization.

During the Goodyear Gives Back event from July 1 through August 31, Goodyear will donate $1 per select Goodyear tire sold to Support Our Troops. In the past two years, contributions generated through the Goodyear effort have amounted to nearly $400,000 in cash and product and have benefited U.S. servicemen and servicewomen directly and through the programs operated by Support Our Troops. This nonprofit nationwide organization works to bolster the morale and well-being of America’s troops and their families by delivering more than $20 million per year in care packs and requested items to the front lines, providing positive support at home and kids’ camp assistance and more. Consumers and race fans can get involved in this year’s Goodyear Gives Back campaign by logging on to Goodyear.com/GivesBack and bidding on authentic, race-used Goodyear NHRA and NASCAR tires autographed by drivers who used them in races as well as other unique items, including authentic motorsports experiences and memorabilia. All proceeds will go directly to Support Our Troops.

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ERIC MEDLEN NITRO NIGHT PLANNED FOR SONOMA: Infineon Raceway will honor the memory of the late Eric Medlen during the fifth annual AutoTrader.com Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity Dinner at Stone Tree Golf Club, Thursday, July 28. Medlen, a native of Oakdale, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, won the Funny Car title at Infineon Raceway—his home track—in 2006. He succumbed in March 2007 to injuries sustained from a testing accident. Medlen was a member of John Force Racing. Funny Car drivers Jack Beckman (Aaron’s/Valvoline Dodge), Ron Capps (NAPA Auto Parts Dodge) and Melanie Troxel (ProCare Rx Toyota) will attend, as will Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas (GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster) and Shawn Langdon (Lucas Oil/Speedco dragster). The event will be hosted for the second consecutive year at Stone Tree Golf Club, which is less than five miles from Infineon Raceway in Novato, providing easy access for fans and race teams. Nitro Night also serves as a kickoff to the FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway July 29–31. This year’s event marks the series’ 24th annual visit to the Sonoma Valley and will feature professional competition in the Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes. To reserve your seat for the dinner, contact Denise Silver, 707-933-3950 or dsilver@infineonraceway.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY, July 20–22: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 13th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points in the battles for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners are Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Karen Stoffer (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-664-UWIN (8946) or log on to Bandimere.com.

NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS, SONOMA, July 27–29: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 14th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points in the battles for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners were Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-870-RACE (7223) or log on to RaceSonoma.com.

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS, PACIFIC RACEWAYS, August 3–5: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 15th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season in the Northwest, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points in the battles for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners were Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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Shawn Langdon in 1997.

 

LANGDON READY FOR DENVER, SITE OF SUCCESS SINCE BEING A JR. DRAG RACER: Shawn Langdon is still looking for that elusive first win in Top Fuel, and he really is hoping that it comes at the next NHRA event—the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver, as the NHRA returns to Bandimere Speedway, where Langdon and his family have had a lot of success.

“I’m always excited to go Denver because I won my first NHRA national championship there in the Jr. Dragster class in 1997, so for me, going back to Bandimere Speedway always gives me a special feeling because of all the good memories I have there. Plus, the Bandimere family always puts on a great show; they have a great track, and it’s always an exciting event for me. I was also there when my dad won the Super Gas title in 1985, so it’s just one of those tracks where you just get that special feeling when you roll into the gate.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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5: JUST FIVE RACES BEFORE COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: With only five races remaining in the NHRA regular season, it is crunch time for those wanting to make the Countdown, especially those on the outside looking in, including reigning Funny Car world champ Matt Hagan, rookie Alexis DeJoria and veteran Tim Wilkerson in Funny Car; Clay Millican and Bob Vandergriff, who are tied for 10th in Top Fuel, and Terry McMillen, who is right behind them; four-time Pro Stock world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. is in 11th in that category, just four points out of 10th; and rookie Pro Stock Motorcycle rider John Hall and veteran Steve Johnson are looking to earn a berth to the Countdown in the final stretch of the regular season.

DID YOU KNOW…

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ONE SPOT LEFT IN TOP FUEL NHRA TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUT: The first six different NHRA winners in both Top Fuel and Funny Car are guaranteed starting spots in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, but the seventh winner also has a good shot at qualifying for the $100,000 bonus race at Indy, presuming that the points leader after Brainerd has won an event, which is likely, although not guaranteed, at this point in the season. With one position left in Top Fuel and only four races remaining, it begs the question of who will be the potential seventh qualifier for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout. Qualified drivers in Top Fuel are Spencer Massey, Antron Brown, Steve Torrence, Morgan Lucas, Tony Schumacher and David Grubnic. Qualified drivers in Funny Car are John Force, Robert Hight, Mike Neff, Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and Johnny Gray. The seventh winner in Funny Car is Jeff Arend. The eighth and final position in both Top Fuel and Funny Car will be chosen by a fan vote that goes live August 20, followed by a weighted lottery August 29.

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