SEMA eNews Vol. 19, No. 33, August 18, 2016

NHRA: Time is of the Essence at Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Brainerd

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NHRA News

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TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE AT LUCAS OIL NHRA NATIONALS IN BRAINERD: Timing is crucial in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. At 10,000hp, nitro-burning dragsters reach 330 mph in less than four seconds, and races are won and lost by hundredths of a second. Doing everything at the exact right time can lead to a championship, and drivers and teams heading to the 35th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, August 18–21, are well aware of that. The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will fight tooth and nail to hoist a Wally trophy in the Winner’s Circle come Sunday evening, but they will also be fighting time. The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals is the 17th of 24 events in the 2016 season and, more importantly, the penultimate race of the regular season. Drivers will compete for much more than a win at Brainerd International Raceway; they’ll be racing for a coveted spot in the NHRA’s six-race playoff—the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

SEATTLE NITRO FINALS WILL AIR LIVE DURING BRAINERD: FOX Sports 1 (FS1) is adding 30 minutes of live NHRA programming on Saturday, August 20, during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals to televise the postponed final rounds of Top Fuel and Funny Car from the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

The added telecast will air from 3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. (EDT) and will feature the Top Fuel final between Antron Brown and Steve Torrence as well as the Funny Car final between Del Worsham and Ron Capps. Both final rounds will take place during the third round of qualifying at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Brainerd. The Pro Stock final from Seattle between Vincent Nobile and Aaron Strong will take place during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

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JUSTIN SHEARER PLANS TO RACE AT THE CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS: Justin “Big Chief” Shearer, star of Discovery Channel’s reality television series “Street Outlaws,” plans to compete in his Pro Mod car in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, August 31–September 5 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.

“I’m super excited to have a chance to be part of the U.S. Nationals,” Shearer said. “It’s the biggest and most prestigious drag race in the world, so for me, it’s a dream come true. As a kid who always wanted to be a racecar driver, I’m getting closer to that goal. I have a lot of things to finalize first, but I’m smiling from ear-to-ear and just can’t stop."

Shearer recently appeared in an NHRA public service announcement encouraging hot-rod enthusiasts to race at NHRA tracks, and not illegally on public streets. Shearer filmed the PSA while attending the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey, where he met with several NHRA stars and spoke to many fans.

He Said, She Said

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"For me, it’s just feeding off the confidence of the team in general. Brainerd’s been exceptionally good to everyone at [Morgan Lucas Racing] over the last few years, and obviously Indianapolis has as well. This is a pretty exciting part of the year for us, and to have a racecar that appears to have turned a corner performance-wise gives us the momentum we’re going to need to try and make a run at this thing in the last six races of the Countdown. Over the last two races, we’ve seen a little bit of warm weather and a little bit of cool weather, and in both of those settings, our Lucas Oil dragster has run pretty good. That gives me a lot of confidence, knowing Aaron Brooks has got a handle on the racecar. We can run really good on a 110-degree race track, and we can run really good on an 80-degree race track.”

—Top Fuel racer Richie Crampton on racing at Brainerd International Raceway during the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Crampton won the event last season and is looking for his first win of the year this weekend.   

Inside the Numbers

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2006: The year that Tommy Johnson Jr. claimed his only Brainerd victory in Funny Car when he defeated Gary Scelzi. Johnson raced to the final round at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals; he has one win this year and is eighth in the Funny Car standings. His Don Schumacher Racing team is looking to catch a wave of momentum as the season enters the stretch run.

“This is the time of the season when you need to start performing at your best,” said Johnson, who has 13 career victories. “This is kind of when we were peaking last year. This year, we haven’t peaked yet. But I feel confident we’re getting there and that’s big. I can see our performance coming around and it’s important to be at your best this time of the year. I would love for nothing more than to go to Brainerd and hit the tuneup. Indy is coming up, so if you’re going to do any fine-tuning, you better do it here."

Did You Know?

LIMITED PREMIUM TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR NEW TOP ELIMINATOR CLUB AT LUCAS OIL RACEWAY: Premium Top Eliminator Club (TEC) tickets are going fast for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, August 31–September 5. Those who purchase tickets will be the first to experience the new TEC pavilion, which will be completed prior to the event at the historic facility. The building is located adjacent to the starting line of the dragstrip on the west side of the track. The TEC tickets offer a deluxe seating experience for the drag race over Labor Day weekend and include an unobstructed view down the racing surface.

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