INDIANAPOLIS-BASED NHRA RACERS HAVE BUSY WEEKEND OFF: Nitro Generation was in full force last weekend in Indianapolis as four area NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers took part in two separate events. On Saturday, entrants to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis were greeted by a 7,000hp Funny Car in the shadow of two dinosaurs. Inside the main entrance, driver Mike Neff and Pro Stock Motorcycle champions Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec signed autographs for the thousands of guests who streamed into the museum.
“NHRA Drag Racing is a family sport more than it is just an outing and an activity,” Krawiec said. “One of the key things here that is awesome is to come and meet and greet with some of our future stars. Who knows, we could have met one of them this weekend. It’s great to do and exciting, and anytime you can bring the family is a good activity.”
Sunday featured Top Fuel racer Brandon Bernstein taking part in the IU Health Healthy Cooking Showdown against the first lady of Indiana, Cheri Daniels, at the Indiana State Fair. They were given similar pasta dishes to cook in a 30-minute race against the clock and judged by three independent judges. Bernstein made penne with fresh tomato sauce and was narrowly defeated by Daniels. Even in the losing effort, Bernstein was glad to take time out of his weekend to teach others about a healthy lifestyle.
COUGHLIN KEENLY FOCUSED ON CONSISTENCY EN ROUTE TO PROCUREMENT OF COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP BERTH: When four-time NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. announced that he would return to Pro Stock in 2012 following a year devoted solely to intense bracket racing and Sportsman competition, his name automatically returned to the list of drivers to never let out of sight. After all, the last time that Coughlin took a hiatus from Pro Stock, he returned with such vigor and drive that he won four events in eight final rounds to collect the biggest and brightest trophy at the end of the season.
JIMMY VASSER CHEVROLET TO ENTER COPO CAMARO IN FACTORY STOCK SHOWDOWN AT U.S. NATIONALS: Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet in Napa, California, will enter a Chevrolet COPO Camaro in the NHRA Factory Stock Showdown at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 29–September 3. Jimmy Vasser Jr.—the 1996 IndyCar World Series champion and co-owner of KV Racing Technology, which competes in the IZOD IndyCar Series with Chevrolet power—along with his father, Jim Vasser Sr.—a longtime drag racing aficionado, former racer and general manager of Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet—will operate the team. The car—The Jimmy Vasser Chevrolet King Kong COPO Camaro—will be driven by Bay Area drag racing star Eric Reyes.
LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, BRAINERD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, August 16–19: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 16th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points at the penultimate race in the regular season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 866-444-4455 or log on to BrainerdRaceway.com.
MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS PRESENTED BY AUTO-PLUS, LUCAS OIL RACEWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS, August 29–September 3: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 17th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season, and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points at the last race in the regular season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2011 winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY SUPER START BATTERIES, zMAX DRAGWAY, September 14–16: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its 18th stop of 23 events in the 2012 season for the first event of the Countdown to the Championship. The top 10 drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points in the Countdown—the NHRA’s playoffs. The 2011 winners were Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or log on to zMAXDragway.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
ENDERS, SHOWING THE BOYS SHE CAN HANG TOUGH, LOOKS TO ACCOMPLISH NEXT GOAL, A CHAMPIONSHIP: With two wins under her belt in the Pro Stock category, Erica Enders has her eye on the next prize: an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series championship. “It’s definitely our goal, and for this season, absolutely. We’ve got the race car, we’ve got the team and I’ve been driving really well. So I honestly, at the expense of sounding a little too positive, I think we can do it just as well as anybody else out there. And we’re actually gaining momentum.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
11: DRIVERS WHO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SECURE SPOTS IN BRAINERD FOR FULL THROTTLE COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP:
- Doug Kalitta will clinch by qualifying.
- Shawn Langdon can clinch by qualifying (depending on qualifying position and qualifying bonus points), or will clinch if Clay Millican or Bob Vandergriff Jr. lose in round one, or will clinch by winning round one.
- Morgan Lucas will clinch if Millican or Vandergriff lose in round one, or will clinch by winning round one.
- Brandon Bernstein will clinch if he goes one round further than Millican or Vandergriff.
- David Grubnic will clinch if he goes two rounds further than Millican or Vandergriff.
- Mike Neff will clinch by making a qualifying run.
- Johnny Gray will clinch by making a qualifying run.
- Courtney Force can clinch by winning round one (depending on qualifying position and qualifying bonus points), or will clinch by winning round two.
- Cruz Pedregon can clinch by earning maximum number of points.
- Shane Gray can clinch by earning maximum number of points.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
- Karen Stoffer can clinch by going one round further than Steve Johnson, or will clinch by winning round two.
DID YOU KNOW…
NHRA TECH DEPARTMENT APPROVES COCKPIT CANOPY FOR TOP FUEL: NHRA Technical Department officials have announced that a cockpit canopy for Top Fuel dragsters has been approved for use beginning with this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd. The cockpit canopy will be manufactured and distributed by Aerodine Composites Group and will be available for use by all Top Fuel teams. The equipment is an optional component, not mandatory.
“We were able to see the finished product yesterday and give our final approval to the Aerodine representatives,” said Glen Gray, NHRA vice president of technical operations. “The product includes a fresh air system, fire bottle and kick-out panels. The cockpit canopy will be available to any team that wants to use it starting this weekend in Brainerd.”