SEMA eNews Vol. 19, No. 32, August 11, 2016

NHRA: Seattle Final Rounds Rained Out; Nitro Finals Moved to Brainerd, Pro Stock to Indy

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NHRA News

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SEATTLE FINAL ROUNDS RAINED OUT; NITRO FINALS MOVED TO BRAINERD, PRO STOCK TO INDY: The final rounds of the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Pacific Raceways have been delayed due to inclement weather. After multiple rain delays, NHRA officials announced the Funny Car final round between Del Worsham and Ron Capps and the Top Fuel final round between Antron Brown and Steve Torrence will be completed during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd. The Pro Stock final between Washington native Aaron Strong and Vincent Nobile will be decided at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, August 31–September 5.

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MORE COUNTDOWN PLAYOFF POSITIONS CLINCHED IN SEATTLE: After the rain postponement of the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil in Seattle, six Top Fuel drivers have clinched their berths in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. In Funny Car, seven drivers have locked up their invitations to the six-race battle for the titles while four racers have locked in their position in Pro Stock and three in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Only the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd and the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indy remain for drivers to earn their berths, which are based on finishing the regular season in the top 10 in points.

PAPA JOHN'S DELIVERS SUPPORT TO PRITCHETT: Papa John's International Inc. announced it will sponsor sponsor Leah Pritchett's Don Schumacher Racing Top Fuel dragster team at the upcoming NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals as it did during the recent event in Seattle.

“This means so much to me, our team and the sport of NHRA drag racing,” said Pritchett. “We are huge fans of Papa John’s Pizza and are confident it will help fuel us to victory. My dream is one day to walk into a location and order a ‘Leah’s Nitro Pizza’ on the Papa John’s menu. One requirement—it has to be spicy!”

He Said, She Said

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“I have to thank everyone at Simpson Racing and their Stilo helmet for protecting me. To hit a concrete guard wall and move it two feet and not break any bones is a testament to their equipment and NHRA safety requirements. I am going to see a physical therapist in Tahoe. Thankfully we have a weekend off. My goal is to get healed up as soon as possible. I want to say sorry to my team to have to witness that. We were planning on making a lot of changes to my car after this race and my dad joked that I gave them a head start. I definitely feel bad we ruined the body and the chassis. Luckily we have some time and can get the car fixed up and my own body fixed up. I am looking forward to getting back as fast as I can. I want to thank all the fans for all their support.”

—Funny Car racer Courtney Force on her contact with the safety barrier during eliminations in Seattle last Sunday.   

Inside the Numbers

3.832: Number in seconds of the current Funny Car national E.T. record set by Del Worsham during qualifying at the Protect the Harvest NHRA Nationals presented by Lucas Oil at Seattle. During the course of the weekend, four of the quickest runs in Funny Car history were posted during qualifying. Worsham secured the No. 1 qualifying position with the run and is in the rain-postponed finals that will take place in Brainerd, Minnesota, during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, August 18–21.

Did You Know

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SMITH TO TUNE LEE/KALITTA MOTORSPORTS FUNNY CAR ENTRY: Championship-winning tuner Todd Smith has been named as the crew chief on the McLeod Racing Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Paul Lee. Smith will lead the third Funny Car team for Kalitta Motorsports that will begin running at the NHRA Keystone Nationals later this fall.

“I am excited to be back with Team Kalitta and to be able to work with Paul and the McLeod team on putting this new operation together,” said Smith. “Lee is a talented driver, and with the Kalitta equipment, I am confident in our chances to have success.”

Smith has spent five seasons previously with Kalitta Motorsports working with drivers Connie, Doug and Scott Kalitta throughout the late ’90s. After departing, he led Jack Beckman to the 2012 Funny Car Championship. Last season, he worked with Brittany Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel team.

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