Compiled by SEMA Staff
GRUBNIC RETURNS TO SITE OF FIRST NHRA VICTORY: A win at Heartland Park Topeka one year ago ended a nearly six-year winless slump for veteran Top Fuel driver David Grubnic in the 8,000-hp Top Fuel category in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This season, the driver of the Candlewood Suites Top Fuel dragster will try to claim his third victory at the Kansas multipurpose motorsports complex as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series pulls into the Midwest facility for the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 17–19. Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) join Grubnic as the defending winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in Topeka, the eighth of 24 events in the 2013 season, which will be televised on ESPN2HD.
To kick off the Kansas Nationals, fans will get a sneak preview of the event at the annual Speed Fest, Thursday, May 16, from 12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. in the heart of Topeka, on 8th Avenue and Kansas Avenue. This free event provides fans the opportunity to see some amazing cars on display and meet some of the biggest NHRA stars for autographs, including Robert Hight, Brandon Bernstein, Shawn Langdon, Morgan Lucas, Allen Johnson and Erica Enders-Stevens, to name a few. Autograph sessions will be held from 6:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. For more information go to www.nhra.com or to purchase tickets, call 800-884-6472 or go to www.NHRATix.com.
COURTNEY FORCE SPEAKS TO AUTOMOTIVE TECHNOLOGY STUDENTS: Courtney Force attended the Ford/AAA Auto Skills Competition hosted by AAA Missouri, May 8, at the Great Wolfe Lodge in Kansas City, Kansas. Force spoke to an audience of more than 100 automotive technology students interested in developing careers in the automotive industry who are currently competing for scholarships through this program. Force touched on the importance of staying in school, furthering your education, the significance of a career in an automotive field, safety, performance and the importance of having knowledgeable and passionate individuals in the automotive industry.
“These events are a lot of fun because it gives me a chance to talk to high school students who are interested in what I grew up around. I wish these teams all the best of luck and really hope they continue their education to reach their goals,” said Force.
TORRENCE TEAMS WITH BEARD: Steve Torrence returned to Atlanta Dragway with Lee Beard taking over tuning duties on his Torrence Racing/Capco Contractors Inc. Top Fuel Dragster beginning at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Beard is a three-time world champion tuner and takes over for Richard Hogan.
"I am excited about being here,” said Beard, who returned Wednesday from a drag-racing trip to Australia. “I am committed to getting this team back on the right track. I’m not afraid to work hard.”
The team qualified solidly in the field in 10th but was narrowly defeated in the first round by Spencer Massey. Torrence is looking forward to the remainder of the season and the new partnership. “I am excited to have Lee on our team,” said Torrence. “We made the change because we need to try something new in an effort to get back into this championship hunt. The results so far this season do not reflect on the amount of hard work and talent this team has.”
TOYOTA NHRA SUMMERNATIONALS, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, May 30–June 2: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park for the 44th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals, May 30–June 2. The race, which will be televised on ESPN2HD, is the ninth of 24 events in the 2013 season. The 2012 Toyota NHRA Summernationals winners were Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Englishtown native Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). To purchase tickets for the Toyota NHRA Summernationals, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at 732-446-7800 or visit www.racewaypark.com.
FORD NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS, Bristol Dragway, June 14–16: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will return to East Tennessee for the 13th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, June 14–16, at Bristol Dragway. Set for Father’s Day weekend, this event is the 10th of 24 races in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock drivers will battle on the legendary dragstrip all weekend for the Wally trophy. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) are the defending winners of the event, which will be televised on ESPN2HD. For tickets, call Bristol Dragway at 423-989-6900 or visit www.bristoldragway.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
BROWN DOMINATES ATLANTA DRAGWAY: "This is big, especially down here at the Southern Nationals," Brown said. "This track has always been special to us. It's our fifth time winning—two times in Pro Stock Motorcycle and three times now in Top Fuel. So, we like this place a lot. It reminds me a lot of tracks where I grew up in (New Jersey), like one of the grassroots tracks that's been around forever. It's got that special atmosphere, and the fans here are just intense." Antron Brown on his fifth career Atlanta Dragway victory. (Top Fuel 2008, 2011; Pro Stock Motorcycle 2001, 2006)
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
498: Number of round wins Jeg Coughlin has entering into the Kansas NHRA Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. If Coughlin races to the semifinals this weekend he would become just the 12th driver in the history of the NHRA to reach 500 round wins in his career. John Force has the most round wins with 1,118.
DID YOU KNOW…
For the first time in their racing careers both Johnny and Shane Gray raced to the finals at the same event. Shane Gray was narrowly defeated in the finals by Mike Edwards but Johnny was victorious over Don Schumacher Racing Teammate Matt Hagan. "We weren't able to pull it off this time, but both of our cars are running well, and I think there is a really good chance that we can do that this year. That would be the absolute best way for me to end my career, standing on the stage with my son after both of us have won a race. That would do it all for me."