SEMA eNews Vol. 16, No. 31, August 1, 2013

NHRA: Capps Secures Fourth Win at Sonoma; Langdon, Nobile and Arana Jr. Take Home Nationals Victories

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NEWS NUGGETS

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CAPPS SECURES FOURTH WIN AT SONOMA RACEWAY; LANGDON, NOBILE AND ARANA JR. TAKE HOME NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS VICTORIES: Behind the wheel of his NAPA Dodge Charger Funny Car, Ron Capps continued his mastery of Sonoma Raceway when he defeated John Force for his fourth win in wine country. The win moved him to second in Funny Car points just behind his teammate Matt Hagan.

"You're not just racing any car in the final—you're racing John Force," Capps said. "It can be intimidating to a lot of people. This place has a lot of great memories. We have a big NAPA presence here and we're the only Don Schumacher Racing car in the final. No pressure, right?"

In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon defeated close friend and high school classmate Morgan Lucas in the finals, and Vincent Nobile knocked off Jeg Coughlin Jr. in Pro Stock. Hector Arana Jr. returned to winning form when he secured his fourth Wally of the year, defeating Matt Smith in the Pro Stock Motorcycle finals. View the full results.

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TORRENCE, S. GRAY RACE INTO O'REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS FOCUSED ON RESULTS: Two veterans of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series come into the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals with momentum propelling them into the conclusion of the Western Swing. In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence comes into the event with one win, one No. 1 qualifying position and twice starting in the second position in 2013. Torrence, the defending event winner, is 10th in points and is battling to secure a berth in the Countdown to the Championship.

"This team has been in that mode for several races now," Torrence said. "We've been digging deep and scratching and clawing to try to get every point we possible can." Gray in Pro Stock is fifth in points and is on the verge of getting his first win of the season. His three runner-up finishes is a single-season record for the four-year veteran who is constantly working on improving his driving skills. "It's really going to be about me getting more consistent on the starting line," Gray said. "I just need to get up on the wheel and do a better job. I've got a great car, great team, and if I do my job to the best of my ability, there isn't any reason why we shouldn't have a win or two before the end of the season."

Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) join Torrence as defending champions of the event. For tickets call 253-639-5927 or log on to www.pacificraceways.com.

RACERS CONTINUE TO EARN BERTHS FOR 2013 COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP: Two more racers earned berths into the Countdown to the Championship at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. In Top Fuel, Spencer Massey joined his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher and points leader Shawn Langdon as racers locked into a position. Massey clinched after qualifying for the event. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, 2007 Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith gained entry after racing to a runner-up finish. Three races remain for racers to enter into the Countdown to the Championship, and racers will battle for every point available in the events. 


COMING ATTRACTIONS

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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. Last season's winners of the event included Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock). This is the 17th of 24 events and the race will be televised nationally on ESPN2. For tickets, call 218-824-7223 or log on to www.brainerdraceway.com. For media credentials, contact Josh Hachat, media relations manager, at Jhachat@nhra.com.

CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 28–Sept 2: The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals returns to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 28–September 2. Names like Don Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden and Don Garlits have cemented themselves in racing lore by winning at this event. Tony Schumacher is the defending and nine-time Top Fuel champion and will look to break his tie with Glidden to become the winningest driver of the event. Mike Neff (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) wrote their names in the record books as they also took home wins during the 2012 event. This is the 18th of 24 events and the last time racers can earn points to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship. Also taking place during the weekend will be the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, a specialty race within a race for eight competitors in Top Fuel and Funny Car. For tickets, call 800-884-6472 or log onto www.NHRAtix.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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“It was a good weekend out here for this entire team. The car has definitely turned the corner. People are pushing and working hard. Everyone was happy to go out today in the first round and put up our best pass of the weekend. We were building toward that. There is nothing better than when you make changes to the car, and it responds by working exactly the way you hoped it would. That really builds confidence in everyone involved. That's the biggest benefit."

—2012 Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown on racing to the semifinals at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. The run to the semifinals was just the second time in eight races Brown has made it out of the first round. He currently is fifth in Top Fuel points and is a 2009 winner at Pacific Raceways.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

5: Number of tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit that have seen the Funny Car Category post performances in the three-second zone. Sonoma Raceway became witness to this number when Matt Hagan blasted down the track at 3.986 seconds during Friday night qualifying. zMax Dragway in Concord, North Carolina, was the first track to see a sub-four-second run when Hagan posted a time of 3.995 in 2011. Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Maple Grove Raceway and Route 66 Raceway have also seen Funny Car runs in the three-second range. Jack Beckman is the current national record holder with a run of 3.986 seconds, set at Maple Grove Raceway last season.

DID YOU KNOW…

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EDWARDS RACES TO 52ND NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITION IN HIS CAREER AND MOVES UP RECORD BOOKS: Mike Edwards raced to his 11th No. 1 qualifying position of the season during the NHRA Sonoma Nationals with his pass of 6.526 seconds at 212.56 mph. It was also his 52nd career No. 1 qualifying position and moved him into a tie with Don Prudhomme for ninth on the all-time leaders in No. 1 qualifying positions. Edwards and Greg Anderson share the record for the most No. 1 qualifying positions for a single season in any NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series category with 16.

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