SEMA eNews Vol. 16, No. 30, July 25, 2013

NHRA: Johnson Wins Fourth Pro Stock Race of Season; Massey, C. Pedregon and Gann Win at Mopar Mile-High Nationals

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NEWS NUGGETS

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JOHNSON WINS FOURTH PRO STOCK RACE OF SEASON; MASSEY, C. PEDREGON AND GANN WIN AT MOPAR MILE-HIGH NATIONALS: Defending Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson continued his mastery of Bandimere Speedway during the Mopar Mile-High Nationals with his fifth win at the track and his fourth win of the 2013 season. Johnson started eliminations last Sunday as the No. 1 qualifier for the fifth time at the track and parlayed it into the win.

"Winning this weekend was very important to me because it was the 25th anniversary of Mopar's sponsorship of this race," Johnson said. "It's been a great marriage between Mopar and the Bandimere family, and I can't think of a better way to acknowledge and honor that relationship than with a win."

Spencer Massey won his third race of the season and closed to within 40 points behind Tony Schumacher in second. Cruz Pedregon continues his march to a third Funny Car world championship with his third win of the season. In Pro Stock Motorcycle Shawn Gann won his first race since his 2004 win at Denver when he defeated Hector Arana Jr. in the finals. View the full results.

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C. FORCE AMONG NITRO RACERS HEADING TO NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Sonoma Raceway July 26–28 for the Sonoma NHRA Nationals, and Courtney Force will be looking for her first career win at the track nestled in the heart of wine country. Force is currently seventh in points with two wins and leads the category with 42 bonus points amassed in qualifying.

"Since we picked up another win in Epping, our team is trying hard to just stay focused and take it round by round," Force said. "We want to try to pick up points during qualifying and obviously try to stay ahead on race day."

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will look to defend their 2012 wins at the 15th of 24 events. Brown also looks to string together a strong run to a possible second championship and put behind him the gremlins they have faced this year.

"When we go to a place like Sonoma , it's really a place where we can really make some power and I think that's going to be a big awakening for our Matco Tools team," Brown said. "We've been growing each and every race. We haven't had the run we've wanted lately, but we're smart enough to know that there's going to be growing pains. We just have to keep staying focused, and our goal in the next few races is to get into that race mode."

To purchase tickets, call 800-870-7223 or log onto www.racesonoma.com.

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EDWARDS IN PRO STOCK AND RAY IN PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE BRING SUCESS INTO NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will come from the highest sea-level track they race at as Bandimere Speedway is situated at 5,860 ft. to one of the lowest, Sonoma Raceway which is 15 ft. above sea level. Current Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards has three runner-up finishes at the track but has yet to win at the scenic facility.

"You are going from very extreme to a very extreme the other way," Edwards said. "The facilities there are top notch, and the track is usually pretty good there. I always look forward to going there, going to the wine country there in Sonoma."

Michael Ray is enjoying success in his sophomore season with two wins and two No. 1 qualifying positions on his Sovereign-Star Racing Buell. The two-wheel category makes more horsepower in lower sea-level conditions, and Ray expects big numbers at the event. "I think we really have a great shot at seeing a national speed record at Sonoma, based on the data we got at Epping," Ray said. "You could possibly see the first 200 [mph run] there as well. That is the last milestone out there for our class. It is the perfect place to do it."

To purchase tickets, call 800-870-7223 or log onto www.racesonoma.com.

FIELDS FILL FOR 2013 COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP:
Their are only four races remaining before the 2013 Countdown to the Championship begins at the NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway, September 13–15, and the fields are beginning to fill for the championship chase. In Top Fuel, points leader Shawn Langdon and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher earned berths at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals. In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson, on the strength of his fourth win of the season, and his teammate Jeg Coughlin, join Mike Edwards as Pro Stock qualifiers in the Countdown to the Championship. Hector Arana Jr. became the first racer in Pro Stock Motorcycle to secure a berth into the playoffs. The battle to the championship will continue as racers fight for the last spots up to and during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, August 28–September 2.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

O'REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS, Pacific Raceways, August 2–4:
The final race of the Western Swing takes to one of the most scenic tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, Pacific Raceways. The O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals is the 16th of 24 events and is one of the final races for racers looking to make the Countdown to the Championship. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) all took home wins at the event in 2012. To purchase tickets, call 253-639-5927 or visit www.pacificraceways.com.

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LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS, Brainerd International Raceway, August 15–18: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the land of 10,000 lakes when the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals takes to Brainerd International Raceway, August 15–18. Past winners of the event include Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). This is the 17th of 24 events and the race will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Long been known as one of the most die-hard NHRA fan bases in the country and those camping at 'The Zoo' make this a can't-miss stop on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing circuit. For tickets call 218-824-7223 or log onto www.brainerdraceway.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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“[Paul] was an excellent man and had a pure love for this sport as much as anyone who has ever been out here. He meant everything to my career. He was just a guy working on his own race car when I attracted his attention and he gave me the opportunity to drive a first-class race car. He was always behind you 100% and everything was positive."

—Mark Oswald who drove for the Paul Candies and Leonard Hughes team for 11 years, including the 1984 championship season in Funny Car. Candies died suddenly over the weekend.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

131: Number of races between wins for Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Shawn Gann. His last win was at Denver in 2004 when he defeated Craig Treble. Gann faced Hector Arana Jr. in the finals and his .055 reaction time and intense focus propelled him to the win. "When I get here from the time I walk out of my truck and get on my motorcycle to the time I walk back to my truck to leave here, I never look at anybody," Gann said. "What they do, what they don't do, all I know is where I'm at and where I'm headed and if I have lane choice or I don't. Otherwise I don't go shake anybody's hand and say 'Let's have a safe one.' I go up there and do my thing. I've been doing it all my life and the only place it is going to lead me is where it does."

DID YOU KNOW…

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JOHNNY GRAY AND DARRELL GWYNN FOUNDATION DONATE WHEELCHAIR AT BANDIMERE SPEEDWAY: Funny Car racer Johnny Gray in conjunction with the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Pitch Energy donated a custom electric wheelchair to eight-year-old Jose Hernandez-Marquez of Commerce, Colorado, at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals last Saturday. Hernandez-Marquez has been diagnosed with spastic quadriparesis resulting from a brain tumor. Gray was joined by his wife Terry, his sister Terry Chandler and representatives from Alex's Lemonade Stand. Gray's 8,000hp Funny Car will feature an Alex's Lemonade Stand/Darrell Foundation paints scheme for four events this season.

"It's a real honor to be associated with these two organizations," Gray said. "These two organizations have touched a lot of lives and what they do touches our lives, too. My hope is that our partnership with them for four races this year will raise awareness so that other people will also become involved."

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