SEMA eNews Vol. 16, No. 21, May 23, 2013

NHRA: Gray Races to Funny Car Points Lead

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NEWS NUGGETS

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GRAY RACES TO FUNNY CAR POINTS LEAD: For the first time in his NHRA career, Johnny Gray stands alone atop the Funny Car points standings following his third win of the season at the recently completed event at Heartland Park Topeka. Gray raced to his third win of the season, which is a new record for most wins in a single season for the veteran racer. Gray, who is competing in his final full season in the NHRA, is looking for continued success as the season progresses.

"The way it came out, my crew chief Rob Wendland gave me a race car that ran real hard all day. You can win a lot of races off the intimidation factor, and my crew chief had her tuned up to where she was a little intimidating today. But Robert had a great racecar too—they just missed it a hair, and you know, Rob didn't. I owe it all to Rob, Rip [Reynolds, assistant crew chief], Ryan [Elliott] and the guys. I've got a great, great team. I just can't say enough about them."

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COUGHLIN MAKES HISTORY IN TOPEKA: Jeg Coughlin added another page to his historic racing resume when he recorded his 500th round win during then NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. He defeated Rickie Jones in the second round of eliminations to reach the impressive milestone that only 12 other racers have reached in the history of the sport. Coughlin went on to win the race, his first since Brainerd in 2010 and closed the gap in points behind Mike Edwards.

"We've been knocking on the door all year," said Coughlin. "We've had our ups and downs and never quite been able to seal the deal and get a race win. It almost brought a tear my eye to see the win light come on for our 500th-round win, then any day you are hoisting a Wally at the end—it's what you yearn for.”

U.S. NATIONALS TICKETS ON SALE: Tickets are now on sale for the 59th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals—the oldest and most prestigious event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule—held annually at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. This year's event will take place August 28–September 2, and includes two NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. To purchase tickets go to www.NHRAtix.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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TOYOTA NHRA SUMMERNATIONALS, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, May 30–June 2: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to 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 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 that will be televised on ESPN2HD. For tickets, call Bristol Dragway at 423-989-6900 or visit www.bristoldragway.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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"Shawn made a run in that final that would’ve beaten anybody. It was a stout run. He just went out and did what A.J. [Al Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson—Schumacher’s former crew chief] and Langdon do. He went fast and he wasn’t late on the tree. Either one of them makes a mistake and they get beat. We were machine-like. They just outperformed us. He’s a great dude. It’s a great team. It’s my old guys, and it’s going to be a battle to the end. No one’s ever doubted that.”

–Tony Schumacher on losing to Shawn Langdon in the final round at Topeka. Schumacher retains the points lead by 34 over Langdon.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

3: Times Shawn Langdon has defeated seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher in their final-round appearances. All of Langdon's three career wins have come with Schumacher in the opposite lane in the final round.

DID YOU KNOW…

John Force Racing Funny Cars qualified in the No 1, 2 and 3 positions heading into eliminations last Sunday for the NHRA Kansas Nationals. John qualified No. 1—the first time he had done that since the 2012 Chicago event, with Courtney qualifying second and Robert in third. The team has accomplished this feat once before in Houston in 2010 with John, Ashley Force-Hood and Robert. In Topeka, Robert raced to a runner-up finish with John and Courtney racing to second-round appearances.

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