Compiled by SEMA Editors
C. FORCE DEFEATS J. FORCE; HALL GETS FIRST NHRA WALLY: Capacity crowds saw history made at New England Dragway for the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals as Courtney Force faced her legendary father John Force in the finals for the first time in her young career and avenged her loss to him in the first round in Bristol. Courtney ran a 4.301-second pass to her father's losing run of 4.367.
"I definitely told him I was going to get some revenge [from last week]," Courtney said following the win. "We were able to do it. It was a lot of fun."
John Hall got his first win in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category when he defeated rookie Adam Arana in the finals. It was the first time both racers had made it to a final-round appearance. Spencer Massey took the win in Top Fuel, his second of the season, and Allen Johnson recorded his third win of the year in Pro Stock. Visit NHRA.com for more.
BROWN LOOKS FOR SUCCESS AT O'REILY AUTO PARTS ROUTE 66 NHRA NATIONALS: Defending Top Fuel event winner Antron Brown will attempt to break out of a four-race slump that has seen him lose in the first round in consecutive weeks as the NHRA returns to Route 66 Raceway, June 27–30. Jeff Arend in Funny Car, Erica Enders-Stevens in Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle's Andrew Hines will be primed for success when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series races in the shadow of the Windy City. Tickets are available by calling 888-629-7223 or by logging on to www.Route66Raceway.com.
NHRA TO RETURN TO PHOENIX IN 2014 AT WILD HORSE MOTORSPORTS PARK: NHRA officials announced it has entered into a multi-year agreement with the Sun Valley Corp.—a corporation of the Gila River Indian Community—to bring an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event to newly named Wild Horse Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix in 2014. "Working together with the Sun Valley Marina Corp., the new management team, and the Gila River Indian Community, we look forward to staging NHRA Drag Racing at all levels of competition at the track well into the future," said Tom Compton, president of the NHRA. More on the agreement can be found on NHRA.com.
DITKA NAMED HONORARY STARTER FOR CHICAGO EVENT: Mike Ditka, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl-winning coach, will be the honorary starter for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, June 27–30. Ditka is one of only two people to win a Super Bowl as a player and a coach. He was the Chicago Bears coach in their championship season of 1986 and has since then been ingrained in Chicago sports lore. He will be available for autograph sessions on Sunday. More information can be found on NHRA.com. Tickets for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals are on sale and can be purchased by calling 888-629-7223 or logging on to www.Route66Raceway.com.
DEJORIA TO THROW OUT FIRST PITCH AT CHICAGO WHITE SOX GAME WEDNESDAY: Before the start of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, Alexis DeJoria will take to the mound at the Chicago White Sox game to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The game will take place at U.S. Cellular Field on the south side of Chicago and will feature the Sox in competition against the New York Mets. "I'm excited to throw out the first pitch. This is such an incredible opportunity and something that I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm looking forward to representing not only Team Patron, but Kalitta Motorsports and the NHRA at the game, and perhaps draw some new fans out to the races this weekend."
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA NATIONALS, Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, July 4–7: The fireworks display last Friday after qualifying at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals has quickly become one of the can't-miss traditions in motorsports, and Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park is one of the most fan-friendly venues in all of entertainment and its dragstrip features a tremendous surface for all four categories in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the 2012 winners. To purchase tickets call 419-663-0502 or visit www.SummitMotorSportsPark.com.
MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, Bandimere Speedway, July 19–21: The famed NHRA Western Swing kicks off at high-altitude Bandimere Speedway near Denver where NHRA teams most adjust their tune-ups to compensate for some of the most extreme racing conditions they will face all season. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawic (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were the 2012 winners. To purchase tickets, call 800-664-UWIN or visit www.bandimere.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
“I started in 1992 in a Junior Dragster and dreamed of being a pro driver someday. A lot of kids have that dream and it doesn't happen for many of them. lt was one of those moments where it was hard not to be emotional because we had worked so long and hard to get there. That moment you work your entire life for; you breathe drag racing and it is hard to explain that exact moment, but it was a huge deal for my family."
– Erica Enders-Stevens recalling her first career Pro Stock win at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in 2012.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: The number of final-round appearances Shane Gray has raced to in 2013 without securing a victory. Gray is a former Comp Eliminator racer in the Lucas Oil Series and his most recent runner-up finish came in Epping, New Hampshire, against Allen Johnson. "Going into that final round I thought we were going to win it," said Gray. "This Gray Motorsports team put together an awesome car all weekend long. I'm real proud to be part of this, and I'm looking forward to finally getting back to the winner's circle. We have to believe it's coming."
The driver who advanced to the most final rounds before his or her first victory is Bob Vandergriff Jr. with 13 runner-up finishes before he broke through to score his first victory.
DID YOU KNOW…
NHRA PSM CHAMP KRAWIEC NAMED TO IMA BOARD: 2012 Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Eddie Krawiec was recently named to the board of directors for the Indiana Motorsports Association (IMA). The IMA is a specialized association which unifies all motorsports business-related interests within the State of Indiana. Krawiec is the only racer on the board and joins Mike Lewis of Don Schumacher Racing, Murph McKinney of McKinney Corp., Wes Collier of Lucas Oil Raceway and others in the racing community.
"I've always had a relationship with motorsports companies in the area from working here at Vance & Hines," Krawiec said. "They asked me to come on board to give the racer insight and from being involved managing the drag strip at Englishtown. I think everything came together and they felt I was a good fit and addition."