Compiled by SEMA Editors
LANGDON, HIGHT, EDWARDS, HALL RACE TO VICTORY AT THE CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: Shawn Langdon raced to his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win in Top Fuel and joined Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) as winners. Langdon swept the weekend and pocketed more than $200,000 as he also won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout in Top Fuel as well.
"This is the biggest race of the year by far and this team just did a phenomenal job," Langdon said. "With how special this event is and with the history behind the race, it was important for me to win this and I wanted it bad."
In Funny Car, Hight raced to his third career Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory, which ties him for third in all-time Funny Car event wins. "This is definitely the biggest win of my career," Hight said. "We won four races in a row last year, and then to go into that dry spell, you start wondering and doubting yourself and that wears on you."
Pro Stock's Edwards returned to victory lane at the event for the frist time since 1998 when he defeated V. Gaines on a holeshot in the finals. "If you keep running well and keep giving yourself opportunities, that's all you can ask for," said Edwards. "It's a tremendous feeling to win this race. That was some of the best Pro Stock racing in a long time. It's just anybody's race out there, and I'm just fortunate to get the win."
Hall won his second race of the season when he defeated team owner Matt Smith in the finals. "We just went for it, and I was lucky enough to get the win," Hall said. "It felt great to get that second Wally, and this is huge for Viper Motorcycles."
For more, log onto NHRA.com.
LANGDON AND BECKMAN WIN TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUTS: Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Jack Beckman (Funny Car) took home $100,000 paydays in their respective categories when they won their Traxxas Nitro Shootout events during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. In Top Fuel, Langdon defeated Tony Schumacher, Spencer Massey and Steve Torrence en route to the large payday.
"I wanted to get in bad last year, and we weren't able to do that," Langdon said. "It was a great feeling just to get in and be part of it. There's a lot of attention drawn to this one event. I'm hitting the gas in the finals for $100,000. It gets you in the stomach."
In Funny Car, Beckman defeated Ron Capps, Courtney Force and Cruz Pedregdon to win the event. Beckman won in spectacular fashion after an engine explosion sent the carbon fiber body on his Funny Car high into the air. "The fact that we haven't won anything this year makes it that much better," Beckman said. "I'm actually at a little bit of a loss for words right now becuase it's really surreal. I intended to be down here with an intact Dodge Charger and a bunch of happy guys, and they're happy, but now they've got to work five more hours than they would have had to tonight."
For more, log onto NHRA.com.
COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP FIELDS SET: The fields in the Countdown to the Championship have been set in all four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) start the playoffs as the No. 1 seeds in their respective categories. Two former champions powered their way into the Countdown to the Championship during eliminations on Monday. In Funny Car, Del Worsham, the 2011 Top Fuel world champion, earned a berth in the 10-car field when he beat John Force in the second round of eliminations and Bob Tasca III was defeated in the first round. Worsham is the 10th seed in the Countdown.
"What a job," Worsham said. "All I can say is all the guys, Nicky [Boninfante, Jon O. [Oberhofer], Jim O. [Oberhofer] and everybody on our team, it was all them. They did a great job today."
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, LE Tonglet bumped his way into the field when he defeated Hector Arana Jr. in the second round. "This is the best bike that I've had all year by a mile," Tonglet said. "I just tried to do my job and not get too worked up. We've had a fast bike all weekend, so that wasn't a concern."
The first race in the Countdown to the Championship takes place at zMAX Dragway, September 13–15.
CARLYLE TOOLS NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY NAPA AUTO PARTS, zMAX Dragway, September 13–15: The Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts marks the first race in the six-race Countdown to the Champship—the NHRA playoffs—that will crown the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world champions. While a championship can't be won at the first race in the Countdown to the Championship, racers will be anxious to charge out the gate and build momentum for the stretch run. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel,) Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are defending event winners. For tickets, call 800-455-3267 or log on to www.zmaxdragway.com.
AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS, Texas Motorplex, September 19–22: The AAA Texas Fall Nationals is the second race of the Countdown to the Championship and pivotal to the championship battle. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) took home wins in 2012. Brown and Johnson parlayed their wins into championships and drivers will once attempt to take home the NHRA Wally in the Lone Star state.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
“I take it one round at a time and try not to get ahead of myself. I did that a little in the middle of the season but I think I learned my lesson. One round at a time, staying relaxed, racing my own lane and not worrying about who is next to me. Just believing in the Lucas Oil Buell that I'm riding because it is one hell of a machine and I know that if I can ride it the way it is supposed to be ridden that she'll lead me to the championship."
—Hector Arana Jr. on his mindset going into the Countdown to the Championship that begins at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carlolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts, September 13–15.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
500: Number of round wins Ron Capps has earned in his 405 race career, which includes Top Fuel and Funny Car. Capps earned his 500th round win when he defeated Alexis DeJoria in the first round of eliminations at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. He becomes just the 13th racer in NHRA history to accomplish this incredible feat. He has 41 career national event victories in 82 final round apperances and 15 No. 1 qualifying positions.
DID YOU KNOW…
60TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION PLANNED FOR 2014 CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: The memories are still fresh from this year's Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, but prepartion is already underway for the 60th anniversary of the event taking place in 2014. The NHRA is planning a number of special-theme-park-style attractions that will bring to life some of the biggest and most historical events that have occurred in the past 60 years at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Also, a yearlong 60th anniversary sweepstakes promotion presented by Candlewood Suites will award the grand-prize winner a trip for two to the 2014 event. Check NHRA.com for more information leading up to the event.