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The Little Ol' FR 2009 NHRA Drag Racing Thread
FlAttorney's FR Racing ^ | March 12, 2009 | FlAttorney & Co. and a "cast of many"

Posted on 03/14/2009 4:53:38 PM PDT by flattorney

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1 posted on 03/14/2009 4:53:38 PM PDT by flattorney
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To: flattorney
(1) All posts by TAB for FlA & Co. unless noted otherwise.
(2) Many news and information posts are from multiple sources, which are compiled, edited, and additional comments added by FlA.
(3) Posted images, from various original sources, are digitized, edited, and enhanced by FlA & Co.
(4) Opinions expressed on this thread are just that. . . personal opinions and nothing more.
(5) Due to the recession, many companies are laying off website maintenance and support personnel, along with reducing website quality. They also are decreasing the amount of time that some webpages, photos, and videos are available in order to reduce monthly broadband costs. Accordingly, some posted links may only be valid for a limited period of time.
(6) On, February 5, 2009, the NHRA launched a new and dramatically different website. Unfortunately it has a number of problems, some significant. Hopefully NHRA will correct these issues on a go-forward basis but some are design and interface problems. For example, the homepage interface is extremely slow and sometimes hangs-up your computer when you attempt to navigate to other pages on the site. There also are a very large number of corrupted links for all NHRA information prior to the new website’s date. This has significantly affected all sponsors, and related drag racing, websites with support links to nhra.com’s webpages. One of the reasons for starting this thread was to provide additional trusted NHRA drag racing resources and provide correct and direct links to current and archive NHRA information. Alright. . . there’s another reason for starting this thread. My FR “Straight Talk” Racing Section is becoming too large for my profile page, primarily because of the NHRA section. With the major sponsorship issues, significant changes in teams, problems with NHRA’s website, etc., many issues did not stabilize until March so this FR thread could be posted.
(7) I/we don't plan on covering and posting every 2009 NHRA Full Throttle event. If you are interested in covering and post one or more races, please let me know in advance. If you plan on attending a 2009 NHRA Full Throttle event, or are interested in a particular one being covered, please advise in advance. If you would like a particular driver covered this season let me know and we will add he/she to our list. In addition to NHRA drag racing event posts, there will be special tribute posted to legend drivers, legend drag strips that are now only memories, and other items of interest.
(8) I greatly look forward to other FR members posts and contributions. Please advise if there are any posted factual errors or corrupted links. Spelling, grammar, typos, and errors due to lapses in brain waves activity don’t count *lol*. This is the busiest time of year for me. These posts were developed in between a zillion other things I have going on at work and my very heavy business/politics/personal travel schedule until May. Accordingly, I wasn't too worried about "style points".
(9) This is probably the only year I will do a thread of this nature at FR. It’s basically a political off-election year, forget about politics, forget about the recession and all the negative news, and just have fun thread. Thanks in advance. ~ fla
2 posted on 03/14/2009 4:54:01 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

      FlA Says: As of the end of the 2008 season, as a spectator, I have attended seventy-four(74) NHRA national championship events. I've also raced both big-block gas dragsters (injected, then blown - University of Texas student days) and blown alcohol dragsters since moving to Florida 10 years ago - which has basically been screwing around reliving my young, once and a while, after attending Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School at Gainesville. This decade, I’ve attended NHRA championship drag racing at Gainesville, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Pomona, and Memphis.
      The 1st-2nd quarter 2009 NHRA events I/we are attending include:
Mar 06-08: 51st Annual March Meet, Famoso Raceway, Bakersfield, CA (NHRA Nostalgia Drag Racing)
Mar 13-15: 40th Annual ACDelco Gatornationals, Gainesville, FL
Mar 27-29: 22nd Annual O’Reilly Spring Nationals, Houston. TX
      We usually attend one or two NHRA events in the Fall, but I don’t know my 3rd-4th quarter racing attendance schedule until early summer. I would like to attend the NHRA Nationals at the new zMAX Dragway at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Concord, NC (northeast of Charlotte). Interesting concept that Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith had two identical drag strips built side-by-side.

      I have attended NHRA professional drag racing since the age of 10, when my father took me to a match racing event between Don “The Snake” Prudhomme(NHRA 3rd greatest), Tom “The Mongoo$e” McEwen(16th greatest), and Ed “The Ace” McCulloch(19th greatest). Tom and Ed were wild and funny guys along with the ultimate "Cali cool". I have several great stories from my cigar smoking father and I hanging out in the pits with them between races. Don was Don, what can I say. God love him, Snake has never been Mr. Personality but he has his moments *lol*. And, I have always greatly admired Don because of his no BS, no candy-ass attitude. With this all-stars introduction to nitro drag racing I’ve been seriously hooked ever since.
      If you didn’t live in southern California, Texas was the second best place to live to see the NHRA racing legends. Many of them frequently raced here because ticket sales and crowds were good for racing events. Plus, a number of NHRA super-legends lived and based their racing operations out of Texas. For example, both nitro Funny Car legends Kenny Bernstein and Raymond Beadle lived and based their drag racing operations out of Dallas. Legendary NHRA Pro Stock World Champion(1981,82,83,84) Lee Shepherd(RIP) was based out of Arlington. In my book, Lee was "The Man" and his track death in 1985 really shook me up. Very bad testing accident and he was killed instantly. Then there was the legendary Eddie Hill, based out of Wichita Falls, who not only was a great dragster driver/innovator but the greatest nitro hydroplane drag boat driver in the history of the sport. Several of Eddie's drag boat records, set in the 1980's, will probably never be broken. These are just a few examples of Texas drag racing greats that I really liked. Texas was a drag racing hotbed back when I was young and it still is today. How could us young Texans go wrong? It was all about barbeque and/or Mexican food, chasing pretty girls, racing our own cars and dragsters on the weekends, and going to the drag strips when the NHRA "Top Guns" rolled into town.

      When I get some time, maybe this Summer or Fall, I will try to write more about my early drag racing days, learning how to build injected and blown(supercharged) drag racing engines, and I will try to find some of my old "The Kid"(I've always looked much younger than my age) drag racing photos to posts. I would look forward to reading your personal drag racing posts about your experiences, be it attending races, actual drag racing, or whatever you feel like posting.
      Basically, it was a fluke how I got into drag race driving. At the age of sixteen, I was a bank drive-in teller and one of my regular customers drove up to the window pulling a nitro hydroplane drag boat. I was shocked because this good looking, well dressed, middle-age man looked and acted like a doctor or lawyer. I asked him if that was his boat, he said yes, and gave me tickets to the races that weekend. Bill("JW") owned both a nitro drag boat and two dirt sprint cars teams. He financed the racing operations, and built the engines, but didn’t do the driving. Even when I was young my primary emphasis in drag racing was, and still is, engine and racing technology. In high school, a group of us rebuilt donated cars and sold them to finance our drag racing. I enjoyed rebuilding the engines with my friend. His father was a great engine mechanic and taught us how to do it. Besides, anything was better that slaving away doing body work, *lol*. The more I got into drag racing, the more I wanted to understand/adapt the technology to make my cars go faster in the quarter-mile. Meeting JW was a perfect deal for me.
      Over the next two years, JW would let me hang around his racing shop, where I was always asking questions and wanting to understand, and he put me to work helping build racing engines. When I graduated high school he talked me into learning how to drive a dragster, because I complained how boring modified street car drag strip racing was. Further, University of Texas was a hotbed of drag racing activity which is were I earned my undergraduate business degree and then my law degree. I ended up racing both big-block injected and then later blown gas dragsters during my UT undergraduate years and was totally addicted.
      During my senior year, my father(4th generation attorney) put the fear of God into me as to how hard UT's School of Law was, and I would never make it through and graduate, if I didn't stop my large amount of time/investment spent drag racing and engine building. I was also worried about attending law school. So, I basically stopped my drag racing activities at the end of summer after I graduated. I really hated having to quit because I had a new big block Keith Black engine, with an 8-71 blower, and some first class hardware inside. The first of the summer, JW's nitro drag boat driver got hurt pretty bad in a crash. He decided not to race the rest of the season so he could spend all his time on his sprint cars operation while his driver fully recovered. We took one of his nitro engines and rebuilt it into a "tamer beast" that ran on racing gas or methanol. He was honest about it and hoped the new "mountain motor" would change my mind about quitting drag racing at the end of the summer. I loved that engine but was worried about being a bum like some of my drag racing UT fraternity brothers that it took them 6-7 years to get their undergraduate degrees, if they didn't drop out of school. I figured that after I graduated law school I could start drag racing again. Without question, drag racing is the most addictive thing I have ever done in my entire life.
      Well. . . it never happened. After law school, and moving back to Houston, I got sucked up in the attorney, politics, marriage, wealth building, and making the parent's proud "game". It wasn't until I moved to Florida ten years ago, and restructured a number of personal matters, that I finally got my life back. Now if I could retire from any involvement in GOP politics… *wishful thinking*.

NHRA Top 20 Greatest Drivers - Nitro Only
* Legendary nitro drivers I have watched race at NHRA events over the last three+ decades.

01. Don Garlits *
02. John Force *
03. Don Prudhomme *
05. Shirley Muldowney *
06. Kenny Bernstein *
09. Joe Amato *
10. Dale Armstrong (1)
11. Mickey Thompson
14. Eddie Hill *
16. Tom McEwen *
17. Jim Liberman (Jungle Jim died too young)
19. Ed McCulloch *
20. Raymond Beadle *
(1) I watched Dale many times, in the pits, when he was Kenny Bernstein's legendary crew chief. Still today, when Dale speaks everyone listens.

One More Thing:
      In addition to NHRA, my whole life I've been a major NASCAR fan and have attended many races. While I will attend five 2009 NASCAR supertrack races at Daytona and Talladega, I currently prefer NHRA championship drag racing. NHRA is like NASCAR was in the mid-late ‘90’s. We still have a number of super-legends and “old bulls” heavily involved in the sports. For example, two of the three guys that got me hooked on NHRA drag racing, 30+ years ago, being Don Prudhomme(Team Owner) and Ed McCulloch(Co-Team Owner/Crew Chief), are still at the track for almost every NHRA championship race. Further, the overall professionalism of NHRA drivers is superior to NASCAR drivers. You don’t see the public adolescent and unprofessional media behavior by NHRA drivers like you do with a number of NASCAR drivers. There are very few NHRA championship drivers that I personally don’t hold in high regard. This is more than I can say for some of the current NASCAR drivers. Sorry, I’m an old school type of racing guy and was born with this attitude.
      All I care about is responsible heads-up racing without all the sideshow yap and over-commercialization. I have no tolerance for the obvious soap opera agenda that NASCAR “brass” allows just to keep the sport in front of the main stream media. Same goes for NASCAR’s tolerated increase in wrecks, particular towards the end of races. Some of the recent NASCAR races I have attended were more like a Demolition Derby. For serious racing fans it gets very old. These are the primary reasons that, several years ago, I stopped following NASCAR even though I annually attend races at the two supertracks, which to-date I’ve attended twenty-four races. Another reason I prefer NHRA is that, unlike NASCAR, we have women drivers and they are very impressive.

3 posted on 03/14/2009 4:54:35 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
2009 NHRA Full Throttle Championship Drag Racing Series Schedule
Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock
February 5-8
Kragen OReilly NHRA Winternationals
Pomona, Calif.
February 20-22
Arizona NHRA Nationals
Phoenix, Ariz.
March 12-15
ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals
Gainesville, Fla.
March 27-29
OReilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Houston, Texas
April 2-5
SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, Nev.
April 16-19
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Atlanta, Ga.
May 1-3
OReilly NHRA Midwest Nationals
Madison, Ill.
May 15-17
NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals
Bristol, Tenn.
May 29-31
OReilly NHRA Summer Nationals
Topeka, Kan.
June 4-7
NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Chicago, Ill.
June 11-14
NHRA SuperNationals
Englishtown, N.J.
June 25-28
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Norwalk, Ohio
July 10-12
Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Denver, Colo.
July 17-19
NHRA Northwest Nationals
Seattle, Wash.
July 24-26
Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals
Sonoma, Calif.
August 13-16
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Brainerd, Minn.
August 20-23
Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals
Reading, Pa.
September 2-7
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
Indianapolis, Ind.
September 17-20
NHRA Nationals
Concord, N.C.
September 24-27
OReilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals
Dallas, Texas
October 2-4
OReilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals
Memphis, Tenn.
October 9-11
Virginia NHRA Nationals
Richmond, Va.
October 29-November 1
Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, Nev.
November 12-15
Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
Pomona, Calif.


2009 NHRA Full Throttle Championship Drag Racing Series Schedule
Pro Stock Motorcycles
March 12-15
ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals
Gainesville, FL
March 27-29
O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Houston, TX
April 16-19
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals
Atlanta, GA
May 1-3
O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals
Madison, IL
June 4-7
NHRA Route 66 Nationals
Chicago, IL
June 11-14
NHRA SuperNationals
Englishtown, NJ
June 25-28
Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals
Norwalk, OH
July 10-12
Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals
Denver, CO
July 24-26
Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals
Sonoma, CA
August 13-16
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Brainerd, MN
August 20-23
Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals
Reading, PA
September 2-7
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals
Indianapolis, IN
September 17-20
NHRA Nationals
Charlotte, NC
September 24-27 O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals Dallas, TX
October 2-4
O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals
Memphis, TN
October 29- November 1
Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
Las Vegas, NV
November 12-15
Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals
Pomona, CA

4 posted on 03/14/2009 4:55:14 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
2008 NHRA National Event Winners
Location TF Winner FC Winner PS Winner PSM Winner
Pomona Tony Schumacher Robert Hight Greg Anderson N/A
Phoenix Larry Dixon Jack Beckman V. Gaines N/A
Gainesville Tony Schumacher Tony Pedregon Jeg Coughlin Matt Guidera
Houston Antron Brown Del Worsham Greg Anderson Matt Smith
Las Vegas Cory McClenathan Tim Wilkerson Jason Line N/A
Atlanta Antron Brown Ashley Force Mike Edwards Andrew Hines
Madison Rod Fulller Tim Wilkerson Kurt Johnson Andrew Hines
Bristol Tony Schumacher Melanie Troxel Dave Connolly N/A
Topeka Hillary Will John Force Ron Krisher N/A
Chicago Tony Schumacher Tony Pedregon Kurt Johnson Chris Rivas
Englishtown Tony Schumacher Tim Wilkerson Greg Anderson Chip Ellis
Norwalk Doug Herbert Tony Pedregon Greg Anderson Hector Arana
Denver Tony Schumacher Tim Wilkerson Greg Anderson Matt Smith
Seattle Tony Schumacher Tony Bartone Jason Line N/A
Sonoma Tony Schumacher Robert Hight Dave Connolly Matt Guidera
Brainerd Tony Schumacher Tony Pedregon Kurt Johnson Matt Smith
Reading Tony Schumacher Jack Beckman Jeg Coughlin Matt Smith
Indianapolis Tony Schumacher Robert Hight Dave Connolly Steve Johnson
Charlotte Tony Schumacher Jack Beckman Justin Humphreys Steve Johnson
Dallas J.R. Todd Tim Wilkerson Greg Stanfield Chris Rivas
Memphis Tony Schumacher Tim Wilkerson Mike Edwards Criag Treble
Richmond Tony Schumacher Cruz Pedregon Dave Connolly N/A
Las Vegas Tony Schumacher Cruz Pedregon Jeg Coughlin Chris Rivas
Pomona Larry Dixon Cruz Pedregon Greg Anderson Chris Rivas

5 posted on 03/14/2009 4:55:46 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
NHRA 2009 Season News and Key Changes
Complied with Additions & Comments by FlA & Co.

02.05.09: The NHRA and ESPN have agreed to a five-year contract extension that will keep the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series on the air through 2016. The NHRA's developmental Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will also continue to air on ESPN2. Terms of the deal have ESPN2 and ESPN2HD showing the qualifying and finals for all 24 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. This year, 18 of those events will be telecast during prime time. ESPN2 has carried the series since 2001. Terms of the deal also have the NHRA's second-tier Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series airing on ESPN2 and ESP2HD. ESPN is a unit of Burbank-based The Walt Disney Co. The National Hot Rod Association is based in Glendora, California. It was founded by Wally Parks in 1951. In the motorsports world, NHRA is second to NASCAR in terms of attendance.
- - NOTE: NHRA pays ESPN to broadcast it’s races. Only major National sport I know that does this. That stated, the coverage is excellent and superior to NASCAR. – fla
02.07.09 ESPN Video: Paul Page & Mike Dunn's ‘09 NHRA Preview

NHRA 2009 Season Changes
NHRA Rules Committee | Amended Rules | Top Fuel & Funny Car Testing | Oildown Penalties Suspended
(1) The NHRA Championship Drag Racing series is now called the Full Throttle Series after the energy drink's parent, Coca-Cola, switched its drag racing sponsorship from its POWERade drink.
(2) Top Fuel and Funny Car categories will continue to race at 1,000 feet, instead of 1,320.
(3) There will continue to be no awarding of bonus points if nitro drivers set race elapsed-time records. Bonus points were suspended after NHRA changed from 1,320 feet to 1,000 feet nitro racing following the June 21, 2008 death of funny car driver and two-time NHRA Top Fuel World champion Scott Kalitta.
(4) Both Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars must have a specific NHRA approved electronic controlled safety shutoff system that senses manifold burst panel failure and simultaneously activates the fuel shutoff, shuts off ignition, and deploys the parachutes. This change was mandated for Funny Cars for the last two 2008 events being the Las Vegas NHRA Nationals and the NHRA Finals, Pomona. It is mandated for Top Fuel starting with the first race of the 2009 season being the Winternationals, Pomona. The purpose of the new regulation is to stop runaway nitro cars in the event the driver is knocked out, injured, or otherwise cannot manually perform these functions on a timely basis. - fla
(5) “Christmas Tree” Race Start Procedure: The tree will be activated, after both cars are properly staged (all pre-stage and stage lights are on), in a random variable between .80 to 1.30 seconds for Top Fuel and Funny Car, .80 to 1.10 seconds for Pro Stock, and no change for Pro Stock Motorcycles. Previously it was activated at a constant .93 seconds. NHRA will evaluate any further changes needed during the season. The change was made so drivers could no longer anticipate the timing lights in an attempt to “cut” a low starting reaction time. The new rule will significantly level the field as to reaction times. All other tree and driver starting procedures remain the same as last season. - fla
(6) Increase winner purses more than $1.3 million.
(7) NHRA plans on cutting Full Throttle Series event ticket prices for tracks they own in Pomona, Gainesville, Atlanta, Indianapolis, and other participating tracks. This is mostly a marketing gimmick, as NHRA is only offering discount tickets for the general admission "event filler crowd". - fla
(8) Like many major motor sports, NHRA is experiencing the worst loss of sponsors financial backing in twenty years. In the off-season, there were major changes among and within racing teams. The positive is that the 2009 season will be interesting and unpredictable. For example, in the nitro divisions, championship winners cannot be reasonably predicted. - fla
02.05.09: Road is rough for NHRA in hard economic times, plus 2009 Season Preview. Note: There are some article inaccuracies but it’s still a reasonable general overview. - fla
02.04.09: NHRA Battles Shaping Up Across Division Lines. ~ Previews for the NHRA Full Throttle Series Four Divisions

The severe economic downturn and loss of sponsors has been brutal for the start of the 2009 NHRA Top Fuel season. The Funny Car teams and drivers are in much better shape. Here’s a quick TF run-down I threw together. - fla

Top 16 NHRA Top Fuel Drivers, 2008 Final Points
01. Tony Schumacher
02. Larry Dixon
03. Cory McClenathan
04. Hillary Will (N)(X)
05. Antron Brown
06. Rod Fuller (N)(X)
07. Brandon Bernstein
08. Doug Herbert (N)
09. Doug Kalitta (O)
10. Dave Grubnic (N)
11. J.R. Todd (N)
12. Morgan Lucas
13. Bob Vandergriff Jr. (N)
14. Troy Buff (O)
15. Steve Torrence (N)
16. Clay Millican
(N)ot driving in 2009 due to loss of sponsorship
(O)nly has sponsorship for part of 2009 season
(X) On a lighter note, the cat is out of the bag. Hillary and Rod are having an off-track relationship which I heard about late last season. The love birds wanted to keep their situation under wraps due to worries about how their respective team owners might react. Currently, neither has a ride for ’09 so it’s not an issue. - fla

NHRA issues 10% pay cut to all employees In an emergency company meeting on Thursday, Feb. 12, at the NHRA Museum on the Pomona County Fairgrounds, NHRA president Tom Compton announced in a brief statement that the entire workforce of the NHRA --including himself and the board of directors -- would be taking at least a 10% cut in pay. Unconfirmed information indicates that those in management have been reported to taken a larger than 10% pay cut. This is a sad day for the National Hot Rod Association and its members, and yet another indicator of just how bad the economy is and how it is affecting all of motor sports. <> Some of NHRA’s corporate members deserve an immediate 100% pay cut. - fla

FlA’s Comments on Selected ’09 Rules Changes

General: As all major motorsports, NHRA’s 2009 strategy is to try and maintain their core fan base and not experience a major financial loss in an extremely difficult market. NHRA's likelihood of success is poor. Some of the rules changes that are needed, or need to be repealed, are being deferred to 2010 when there is a clearer picture of the economy and the depth of the recession. However, NHRA is still not doing enough to properly manage drivers safety, and these matters cannot be delayed. NHRA reminds me of where NASCAR was on ignoring driver, car and track safety issues before four drivers were killed at the track in nine months culminating with the death of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. on February 18, 2001. I was at the 2001 Daytona 500 and saw Dale die. I walked away from attending or having anything to do with NASCAR racing until the 2003 Daytona 500. Every veteran NHRA member knows the sad fact that if John Force had been killed in his horrific 2007 accident at Dallas, NHRA would be a much safer sport today. If we have a third straight year where a NHRA Championship Series driver is killed or critically injured due to safety issues, I don’t care how much NHRA cuts ticket prices, many veteran fans, including myself, will walk away from the sport. There’s a major difference between losing a driver because it’s a high risk sport, and losing a driver because the sanctioning organization continues to ignore serious safety issues.

UPDATE NOTE: NHRA has already amended the 2009 rules three times with the lastest being March 5, 2009
1. 1,000 Feet Nitro Racing: After Scott Kalitta's untimely June 21, 2008 death, the NHRA mandated 1,000 feet, verses 1,320 feet (quarter-mile), racing for Top Fuel and Funny Car. This was probably the most controversial decision since the NHRA banned the use of nitromethane from April 1957 until the 1964 Season, except for the 1963 Winternationals. Informationally, the only reason the NHRA lifted the ban for the 1963 Winternationals was to increase fans attendance and interest for the '63 season. The owner of the legendary Lions Drag Strip lifted the tracks nitro ban in January 1962 and it was hurting NHRA's business.
      The reason the NHRA's 1,000 ft. nitro racing mandated is so controversial, is that the length of the track and shutdown area had nothing to do with the horrific top-end crash/death of veteran driver Scott Kalitta(Funny Car) in the NHRA POWERade Racing Series, or the horrific March 8, 2008 top-end crash/death of veteran driver John Shoemaker(nostalgia Top Fuel dragster) in the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series. Based on the unpublished and confidential end-track photos and videos I have of both Scott's and John’s accidents, neither driver had any real chance of survival. The bottom-line is, that if a nitro driver is knocked out by a top-end engine explosion(Scott), or passes out at the top-end of a run(John), and the throttle hangs wide-open/driver doesn't lift off the throttle, a shorter 320 feet official track length, or another 500 feet in the shutdown area will not save the driver's life. And, it doesn't matter if the dragster is going 320 mph(Scott) or 260 mph(John). Due to forward motion crash physics, the chances of surviving a top-end runaway nitro dragster crash, in these circumstances, are between slim and none. - See my FR "Straight Talk" NHRA Drivers Memorial section for more info
      NHRA will continue to see major attendance decreases, due to 1,000 feet nitro racing, for the simple reason that the majority of veteran fans, that annually support NHRA with multiple event attendance, don’t like it. And, NHRA “brass” knows it. Further, serious nitro drag racing fans don’t give a [beep] what Don Garlits, John Force, Kenny Bernstein, and other NHRA corporate mouthpieces have to say in their MSM statements that NHRA made the right decision going to 1,000 feet, it’s good for the sport, the fan’s like it, and all their other erroneous comments. All this does is further alienate and insult NHRA's core fan base.
      Further, the NHRA's belief that 1,000 ft. nitro racing will reduce top-end motor explosions, fires, and expensive internal motor damage is total nonsense. And, every NHRA veteran with a basic understanding of nitro motors knows it. Crew chiefs will just build/tune nitro motors to lean out and "nose over" at 1,000 ft., instead of 1,320 ft., and we are back to square one as to top-end explosions/fires. From track reports, this is exactly what transpired during off-season testing here in Florida and Arizona.
      What I loathe about 1,000 ft. nitro racing is it's for candy-ass drivers and fans - no fans disrespect intended, but drivers disrespect intended. Any honest top nitro or alcohol dragster driver, which I've driven the latter(both blown gas and blown alcohol dragsters), will tell you it's much harder to drive 1,320 ft. than 1,000 ft. due to the engine's power/acceleration curve. It's amazing how the final 320 feet changes everything. Some drag racing organizations only race an 1/8 mile, which is 660 ft. Is this the direction of NHRA with nitro dragsters already running 320+ mph in off-season 1,000 ft. testing? NHRA has always been the elite drag racing organization. Bottom-line. . ., you run 660 ft. and 1,000 ft lengths in drag racing school, until you get the experience to make full 1,320 ft passes. That's where these shorter distances need to stay.
      After attending the 2008 NHRA Finals in Pomona, and talking to some of the "they really know" crew chiefs and drivers in the pits, there appears an above average chance that NHRA will return to quarter-mile nitro drag racing in 2010, or a mixed 1,000 ft/1,320 ft format depending on the track. Some of the crew chiefs' logic expressed for staying at 1,000 ft racing, for the 2009 season, made sense from a macro perspective. Further, decisions are not made in a vacuum and there is a lot of politics involved in this matter - some that has nothing to do with drivers safety. So, like many NHRA veterans, I'll shut my yap for 2009 except for this season opening statement.
      P.S. I will know more about this situation after attending the 2009 NHRA Gatornationals and Spring Nationals. If there are any major changes I will post an update to my comments. - fla
2. Oildown Penalties Suspended: A totally incompetent decision. This decision does one thing - it encourages crew chiefs and drivers to unreasonably push the limits of their nitro engines which will result in more explosions, fires, and potentially killing another driver. It will also cause more racing delays, while the track is cleaned up, and a more inconsistent track. Instead of suspending the track oildown penalties (monetary fines and loss of points), NHRA should have doubled them for 2009, as part of an emphasis to greatly reduce the out of control nitro engine explosions and fires, which the shear number are the worse in my 30+ years of NHRA involvement. There is no logic in NHRA’s decision. In their press release they twice state the following: . . . The move is designed to save teams money . . .This move is designed to ease the financial burden on the race teams. NHRA position is poppycock. A bad three day racing weekend of blowing up nitro motors and frying dragsters and chassis with major oil/fuel fires can cost team sponsors $100,000 to $250,000. The suspended oildown monetary fine is peanuts compared to these costs. Hopefully, NHRA will reverse this very poorly thought out decision.
3. No bonus points for 1,000 feet nitro National elapsed-time records: Poor decision, but I'll pass comment because there are bigger fish to fry. However, it must be stated that Doug Kalitta lost a NHRA Top Fuel World Championship to Tony Schumacher when Tony set a NHRA national e.t. record and his bonus points edged out Doug's total points for the season.
4. “Christmas Tree” Timing Change: Great decision and well needed change. This helps the less experienced drivers and there will be less races decided by drivers blindly “cutting the tree”. For 2009, we will probably see average reactions times increase and more red lights, even by the seasoned veterans.
5. Electronic Safety Shutoff System: While NHRA gives credit to the company that designed this new electronic system, is was actually my main men Del Worsham and his father Chuck that were the first to design and adopt a system like this in 2008. While this system is an excellent idea, that I support 100%, it is only a detective measure. Protective measures are 100% superior to detective measures. NHRA needs to mandate rules changes to put a stop to the out of control nitro engine explosions and fires. Without question, another nitro driver will be killed by one of these massive explosions and fires, unless NHRA puts a stop to them. It must be remembered that nitromethane produces a high explosive factor than TNT. Further this new system only works if the burst panel blows out. Many serious nitro fires are caused by pushed out head gaskets, and the like, that don't blow out the burst panel. I've also witnessed serious fires because rods were kicked out the side of the aluminum nitro engine block, yet the burst panel was intact. In these cases, the current new electronic shutoff system is useless. Further, this is an electronic system with electrical wires. I question if the system will work properly/timely in some of the worst engine explosions and/or a split second massive fire that destroys the electrical wiring. I'll understand this situation better after attending March 2009 NHRA races and talking with some of the nitro crew members and drivers.
6 posted on 03/14/2009 4:56:23 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
      FlA Says: Per below, the NHRA announced a new website. Unfortunately it has a number of problems. I have to agree with what a 32 year NHRA veteran member wrote - “NHRA's new site is a molasses slow and poorly thought out mess. They launched the new web yet it is not finished. It has many urls and pages that do not work. This mess can not make sponsors happy. Except for nhra.com none of their previous urls work. Sponsors new 2009 web sites will have to be upgraded. If you try to Google for nhra.com pre 2/5/09 info none of the links work. I tried to logon to nhra.com with my paid membership access information, it did not work. Someone needs their butt kicked over this!”
      One upset NHRA member bacon spammed the new site.... funny. Oh well, we can’t expect too much from NHRA. It was purchased in the 2007-2008 off-season and is now owned by investment banking marketing weenies. They know nothing about the sport and only care about how much money they can suck out of it. With the severe economic downturn seriously affecting NHRA, along with other major motor sports, the new owners aren’t looking too smart. Maybe we will get lucky and they will have to sell NHRA to somebody that cares about the sport *wishful thinking*.
      P.S. I had our IT manager, here at the Firm, analyze NHRA’s new website as to why it’s so slow, what could be done to remedy it’s technical problems, and how to address/correct the significant number of archive links that no longer work. She got me, and my right hand helper and webmaster, educated on the problems and how to address all the issues. - fla

How ex-site-ing: The new NHRA.com is here
NHRA Dragster Insider by Phil Burgess
February 5, 2009

      Welcome to the new NHRA.com! If you've been around this neck of the woods since we kicked off this whole dot-com craze back in 1995, you've lived through quite a few "new" new NHRA.coms, but this one represents one of the biggest – if not the biggest – wholesale changes to the site in its 15-year history. Developed in conjunction with our new pals at AmericanEagle.com, it's quite a masterpiece and way more than just a shiny new coat of paint. With the fancy new rotating top stories, home-page video and photo galleries, and the slick race interface, it's pretty darned cool.
      I won't lie to you; it's been a massive undertaking, and one that's still under way. When you consider that NHRA.com has been around since Larry Dixon was a rookie driver and that all we've done in the interceding years is add to it, both in terms of content and functionality, you can understand what a deep and wide site is. Anyone who has ever tried to move after living somewhere for 15 years can appreciate the amount of stuff you accumulate throughout the years, and we're no different. We had to sort through all of the stuff, figure out what worked with the new décor, what didn't ,and what could be repurposed, then pack up all of the boxes of stuff and ship it to the new address, where it was unpacked, prettied up, and, in some cases, moved to a different room. Some of it still hasn't been unpacked, and some of it is still waiting to be moved to our new home.
      Having been point man for the initial NHRA.com launch, it has been my baby and my master for a long time, so it has been simultaneously thrilling and chilling to watch the newest incarnation being assembled. Web design is no longer the black art that it once was and is widely understood and practiced by many. Even the earliest teenagers get exposed to snippets of HTML code while they're endlessly rebuilding their MySpace pages (mostly to include horrible backgrounds upon which their prattlings cannot even be read), and free design templates are widely available online. All of this is fine if you're building a gallery of vacation photos or creating a small Web site, but when you're trying to tame a monster like NHRA.com, it's a whole 'nother Oprah.
      During the years, as we have added features to NHRA.com, we have sought to interweave the many pieces, much in the way that a driver's most recent news items or team reports are headlined on their driver-profile pages and how the individual team reports are linked back to the driver profiles. We also worked to compartmentalize the events by adding event-specific navigation on all of the related pages so that you could seamlessly click between the results and photo galleries. We worked hard to maintain those types of user-friendly perks, so the challenge was to find out how to do them with our new system. For the last six years, we've been using the same content-management system to post stories to the site. It started out as a pretty low-dollar program – big-time newspapers use content-management systems that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars – that did the basics, but it has been modified internally during the years by our staff. We've made it do tricks the likes of which its original programmers never conceived, and there's pretty much nothing that we couldn’t do with it.
      The new NHRA.com brings with it a new content-management system and a whole new way of doing things. It's super powerful, and it's going to be fun (and a bit daunting) to uncover its subtleties and mysteries and to find new ways to do familiar things and familiar ways to do new things. For sure, things will look and act differently. You certainly have seen that on the home page already and noticed that some things (Photo of the Week, Quarter-Mile Cuisine, Special Sections, etc.) are in different places, all of which can be easily found under the Features navigation. Heck, just look at this page. It's narrower than its predecessor and has a different background color and different headline treatment. We'll also be able to embed slide shows in the stories and blogs if we choose and do all kinds of other fancy tricks, so be looking for that.
      One of the coolest things about the new site – coming soon! – is the long-awaited live-timing component. Here's a stealthily disguised preview that allows you to get the idea, but suffice it to say that you'll be able to watch the incremental numbers pop up in real time while a simulated pair of cars races underneath the info. We hope to have it fully functional before long. In addition to the usual video highlights from the national events, we'll be co-hosting Full Throttle TV, which will be mirrored on Full Throttle's site. The Full Throttle TV crew will produce interesting features that will play both at the events and online. We're really looking forward to it.
      With any project this big, there's sure to be room for improvement, and yes, even a few hiccups, despite our continual testing, known as beta testing in the computer world. Sometimes developing and beta testing complex components is a little like tuning a fuel car: You mess with the blower and get it working well, and suddenly the fuel system is out of whack. You fix the fuel system, and the clutch starts acting all possessed. I've been on beta-testing teams for a number of video games where one well-thought-out request to the developers crashed the entire game.
      I had a trio of solid NHRA citizens do a little beta testing for me late last week and early this week, each bringing his own special set of skills to the scrutiny. "Bloggin' Bob" Wilber looked at it from a team-manager aspect, making sure that the drivers looked good and that all of the fan-oriented stuff jibed. "Talented Todd" Myers, publicist for Kalitta Motorsports and an accomplished graphic artist (he designed the graphics for the most recent NHRA.com Web site as well as past Web sites, such as the 50th anniversary U.S. Nationals and 40th anniversary NHRA Finals), looked at it from a graphical and functional standpoint, and former NHRA.com webmaster Brent "FlashMaster" Friar looked at things from a coding point of view. Thanks to them for their input.
      On Tuesday night, a small team – current webmaster Jade Davidson, ND Associate Editor Candida Benson, Director of Information Technology Jared Robison, and yours truly -- pulled a Full Throttle- and pizza-fueled all-nighter double-checking links, databases, and images and updating stories with the freshest news and blogs in anticipation of today's launch.
      The plan is to just keep on truckin' from this point. I'd like to officially welcome 'Dida to the NHRA.com Web team. She'has administered NHRA's Jr. Drag Racing League Web site the last few years and obviously has a head for this stuff. She'll be a welcome addition to the small crew that keeps the bits and bytes flowing and take a little pressure off of me so that I can concentrate on making more memories for y'all here. Candida, me, ND Senior Editor Kevin McKenna, and ND Associate Editor Brad Littlefield will be the traveling NHRA.com crew this year to cover the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events, and everyone from the DRAGSTER staff will be offering their story ideas and talents to the site. So, here we are. Take some time to poke around and share your thoughts and constructive comments. We're all about making stuff better.

7 posted on 03/14/2009 4:57:14 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
01.29.08: Wally Day and Fundraising Dinner at NHRA Museum

In honor of National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Founder Wally Parks, the Automobile Club of Southern California and Shelby Automobiles Inc. will host the annual Wally Parks Fundraising Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009 at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, 6 p.m.- the first night of the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA."The Wally Dinner is one of the Museum's major fund raising efforts," explained Museum Executive Director Tony Thacker. "We are very excited to present an evening with a new vehicle reveal, a live auction, and a panel discussion - all to benefit the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum."

Forty years since they fielded a Top Fuel dragster, Carroll Shelby and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme will unveil a limited-edition Shelby Mustang built by Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas for the event opening. The event will also present "Bench Racing with Legends", a panel discussion with moderator Mike Dunn and panelists John Force, Don Prudhomme, Ed McCulloch, and Jerry Ruth.(1) Also, a live racing memorabilia auction featuring historic motorsports artifacts will conclude the evening's festivities. Wally Day on Feb. 5th is a free museum day and opened to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum is located at 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Gate 1 of the Los Angeles County Fairplex in Pomona, CA.

(1) From the articles and videos I read/watched of the Legends panel discussion, it was great with some very funny moments. - fla

New Shelby Mustang revealed as race-only 'R Model - New limited edition car details and specs

Museum and Vintage Photos of Don Prudhomme with Carroll Shelby and
with Wally Parks along with a major hottie.



8 posted on 03/14/2009 4:57:48 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
JIM DUNN BEGINS 60th SEASON
Competition Plus by Kirk Weeks
Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Senior Jim Dunn Is In No Mood To Call It A Career
San Barnardino Sun, by Louis Brewster
Feb. 3, 2009

There was a time when Jim Dunn was best-known as the Long Beach firefighter who also was a drag racer. For a while, he was best known as the father of Mike Dunn, the former racer who now is an analyst for ESPN. With the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series opener just around the corner at Pomona Raceway, Dunn has evolved into a role as an elder statesman for the sport. That's a natural, given this will be his 60th season.

"I didn't even think I'd live to be 60, let alone be involved with something for 60 years," Dunn said as he prepared the Canidae/Lucas Oil Chevy Funny Car to be driven by Jerry Toliver. "I've seen drag racing going from good to bad and back to good again. "But it's hard to do it now. The fun days were when we'd go to a little match race for four days. Now you've got to have 10-20 guys on the team just to get it started." Dunn, perhaps better known as tuner, scored numerous wins, including a victory at the 1972 Supernationals at Ontario Motor Speedway and the 1981 World Finals at Orange County International Raceway in Irvine.

"Everybody asks how you can do this for 60 years. I must just really love pain or I'm just really stupid," Dunn said with a laugh. "It's been good for me because I enjoy working on the cars. I enjoy listening to them and hearing them. Everybody gets caught up winning and is hurt if they don't. "If you win a race, that's a bonus. Just getting there and getting them started is the fun part. I do it for myself because I enjoy it. When the car starts and does what you ask it to, that's the whole emotional trap right there."

Despite modern technology, Dunn relies on old-school methods. "I still tune mostly by feel and the computer tells me if I'm right or wrong. That's my back-up tool," Dunn said. "The new guys do it just the opposite way. They tune by computer and then maybe check it out by feel to see if they're right. The new guys are a lot better with the computers than I am, but I think I'm better than they are with just gut feeling. "They haven't had the experience. You don't know until it happens."

# # # # #

BUSY NHRA MUSEUM - - The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum will host three free events at Fairplex, beginning with WallyDay on Thursday. Other events include the semi-annual Night of Champions with the Auto Club question-and-answer session with NHRA drivers on Friday and the popular Racing Collectible Show on Saturday. "During these difficult economic times, families are looking for savings and the museum is pleased to offer a fun and free time for all," museum executive director Tony Thacker said. Among the highlights will be the unveiling of a limited-edition Shelby Mustang at a fundraising dinner. Ticket for the 6 p.m. dinner can be reserved by calling (909) 622-8562.

EXHIBITION RUNS - - NHRA's Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series will be showcased at the Winternationals with several exhibitions runs, including some by the famed "Winged Express" fuel-altered. Originally driven to fame by the late "Wild Willie" Borsch, it recently was ranked second overall among all cars from drag racing history in a recent NHRA.com poll. Mike Boyd will drive the four-wheeled dragster which is capable of speeds in excess of 200 mph Saturday and Sunday.

9 posted on 03/14/2009 5:00:27 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Because it rained almost the entire Winternationals, which took six days to complete instead of the scheduled four, this nostalgia showcase had to be cancelled. Hopefully it will be rescheduled for another NHRA event. - fla

Blasts From the Past: The Winged Express, Nostalgia Dragsters and Funny Cars Showcased at 2009 Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals

- - Winged Express fuel altered will make exhibition passes in Pomona

01.30.09/02.04.09 NHRA, FlA & Co. - The famed Winged Express fuel altered of Al "Mousie" Marcellus and driver Mike Boyd, one of the most recognizable cars in the sport's history, will make exhibition runs Saturday and Sunday at the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals in conjunction with a series of exhibition runs by cars from NHRA's Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series. The Winged Express, originally driven to great fame by the late "Wild Willie" Borsch, recently was voted the top exhibition car in an online poll of NHRA.com visitors and was ranked second overall among all cars from drag racing history. Four Nostalgia Top Fuel cars and four Nostalgia Funny Cars also will make runs both days.

Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters and Nostalgia Funny Cars from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series also will make scheduled runs Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the cars will be featured between the pro qualifying sessions. On Sunday, they are scheduled to appear between the semifinals and final round of pro eliminations.

Headlining the Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragsters will be Troy Green, driver of the High Speed Motorsports dragster that won the season championship last year in the Heritage Series. He will be joined by Rick White, driver of the Neil & White dragster, and Brendan Murry, who pilots a unique Chevy-powered dragster. Those cars are front-engine dragsters that reach speeds of 250 mph and produce elapsed times in the 5.7- and 5.8-second range.

Veteran racer Mendy Fry leads the Nostalgia Funny Car entries. She will be driving the popular Bombsquad Funny Car that is owned by Mike McCain and tuned by legendary crew chief Roland Leong. Jeff Utterback will drive the Pisano & Matsubara 1960s and ’70s tribute car that is owned by Danny Pisano. The Crazy Horse Hot Wheels Mustang will be driven by Ryan Kono, and the Little Nate Funny Car will be driven by Nate Bugg.

In addition to the exhibition runs, officials from the NHRA Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series and the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California will host a large display of vehicles from the Parks NHRA Museum and cars that have participated in NHRA Cacklefests in a special exhibit in the NHRA Nitro Alley.



The Winged Express ~ Websites: Official | Tribute | Videos: Pit interview with driver Mike Boyd
Racing Action - ‘08 California Hot Rod Reunion | ‘07 Auto Club Raceway at Pomona

10 posted on 03/14/2009 5:01:16 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
John Force Racing
John Force: NHRA 2nd Greatest | 2008 Inducted, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2008 Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award
NHRA Funny Car World Champion 1990, ‘91, ‘93, ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, ‘01, ‘02, ‘04, ‘06
Team Force Funny Cars: John Force ~ Ashley Force Hood ~ Robert Hight ~ Mike Neff
Ashley, Robert, and Mike all won NHRA’s top rookie of the year awards

02.04.09: John Force Has An Edge In Latest Title Bid - New Castrol Brand Backs the Boss at Pomona
      John Force will have a little extra Edge this week when he begins his quest for an unprecedented 15th NHRA Funny Car Championship. During the season-opening 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at pomona, Force will drive a distinctive gold-and-black Ford Mustang that touts his long-time sponsor's newest synthetic lubricant, Castrol Edge. The 59-year-old icon will drive the special edition Castrol Edge Ford in the season's first three races before returning to more familiar green-and-white Castrol GTX High Mileage livery at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas. "Castrol has been with me for all my wins and all my championships," Force said, "and it's exciting for me to be able to help them launch a new brand, Castrol Edge. We had the Edge car at the Super Bowl last week and this week our goal is to get it into the winners' circle."
      Fully recovered from injuries suffered 15 months ago in a crash at Dallas, Texas, the 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection is anxious to prove this year that he not only still can win races, but also win championships. "I'm in better shape now than I was before the accident," Force said. "I've got my weight back up around 200, but I've got more muscle. Since I got out of rehab, I go to the gym every day and work out. When I miss a day, I can tell (the difference)."
      Winner of the last Winston Championship and the first POWERade championship, Force now is focused on becoming the first NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Champion. It's a prospect that legitimately excites the 126-time tour winner. "Being the first, that's history," Force said. "That's something to race for. We struggled last year. It was part me; it was part the car. It started coming around -- and then the season was over. We're excited. We've got a new clutch setup, a new injector, a new supercharger program. "(Crew chief Austin) Coil is motivated. He's been in the shop every day, even during vacation. Last year was a wake up call for him, just like it was for me. We won so much that we forgot how tough it was. We only won one time last year and it's been a long time (1989) since that's happened."
      Force started the 2008 season in spectacular fashion by recording the quickest time during pre-season testing before reaching the semifinal round at the Winternationals, his first competitive appearance since the accident. However, that proved to be one of the season highlights. Although he was able to extend to 22 the number of consecutive seasons in which he has earned at least one tour victory, tying the record first set by Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson, and even though he was in the other lane when daughter Ashley became the first woman to win an NHRA Funny Car race, he never seriously contended for the championship.
      Ultimately, he finished seventh in driver points for the second straight year, marking just the fourth time in the last 26 seasons he has been outside the Top 5. Now, as he begins his 24th season with Castrol sponsorship and his 25th year with Coil as crew chief, the 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection again is poised to challenge for the sport's ultimate prize. In effect, he's ready to regain his Edge. – John Force Racing

FlA Says: John’s finally back to his old’ self after his horrendous accident at the ’07 Fall Nationals in Dallas. From watching the video, he was very funny at the legends panel discussion at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Feb 5, 2009 fundraiser. When I talk to John at the track, usually during early testing or first round qualifying when things are slow, I’m always surprised how different he is away from the crowds and television cameras. He’s really an outstanding guy. I’m looking forward to seeing him at the Gatornationals, Gainesville. Sponsorship issues are hurting John Force Racing, but not as bad as other teams. Currently John is having to fund some of the costs out of his own pocket to run four NHRA Championship racing teams. John’s new funny car and colors are snappy. Notice the car’s new aerodynamic effects. With the Pomona rain and bad weather John had lots of time to sign autographs. <> Here’s a good Feb 4, 2009 interview with John. It was conducted by a representative of Ford Motor Racing, so there’s understandable bias, but it’s still a good read.




02.10.09: John Force Racing Pomona Final Report
02.01.09: John Force Enjoys and Thrills Fans at Super Bowl | Video: John Force Superbowl Interview
01.02.09: John Force Racing Renews Sponsor
11.16.08: Force of Nature Video: What Will John Do In The Offseason?


11 posted on 03/14/2009 5:02:27 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Do you have a ping list?

If you do PLEASE put me on it!

THANKS!

prisoner6

also find me at http://www.durangoclub.com

Yes I'm a PROUD Durango owner and some of us drag 'em!

12 posted on 03/14/2009 5:02:32 PM PDT by prisoner6 (Right Wing Nuts hold the country together as the loose screws of the Left fall out.)
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To: flattorney
John Force autographed drag race edition Ford Mustang Cobra Jet
fetches $375,000 at Barrett-Jackson Auction

01.19.09: Ford will only be making 50 units of the race-ready 2008 Ford Mustang FR500CJ. One of the units, signed by the legendary John Force, was auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., for a total of $375,000. John Force was there on hand to say a few word about the Ford Mustang FR500CJ which sold for a total of $306,000 over its retail price-tag. Power for the NHRA-legal FR500CJ comes from a 5.4L supercharged V8 producing 428-hp. The drag-racer Cobra Jet is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and a drag race wheel/tire combination. Proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. (Notes: MSRP is $69,900. JFR's 2008 NHRA Rookie of the Year Mike Neff also autographed the Cobra Jet’s engine compartment hood and his name is on the car's upper door panels with John. - fla)

MORE >> While the 2010 Shelby GT500 disappointingly failed to cross the block, Mustang fans were still treated to a pretty good show when a 2009 FR500CJ Cobra Jet roared up on stage. Behind the wheel was none other than legendary drag racer John Force, who personally testified to the car's capability on the dragstrip. This particular car is the prototype and the very first one built with the FR500CJXX1 serial number. We didn't expect the FR500CJ to fetch as much money as the first production Camaro, but we were thoroughly surprised when it trounced its fellow pony car with a final bid of $375,000, or $412,500 after auction fees.


11.04.08: Ford Press Release: Cobra Jet The Latest Addition To The Mustang FR500 Series Of Race Cars
- - Dearborn, Mich – With the addition of the 2008 Cobra Jet Mustang, Ford Racing will have once again expanded its current stable of race-ready Mustang race cars. This time, however, the Mustang is designed for drag racing. The Mustang FR500CJ, known simply as the Cobra Jet, will be officially unveiled Nov. 4 at the 2008 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. It joins its road racing brethren: the Mustang FR500S, the Mustang FR500C and the Mustang FR500GT. “The Cobra Jet is the newest offspring of the Ford Racing lineup of race cars,” said Jamie Allison, manager of the Ford Racing Performance Group. “We started with the FR500C in 2005 and then followed by the FR500S in 2007.

From John Force Feb. 4, 2009 Interview:
(Note: Interview was conducted by a representitve of Ford Motor Racing – fla)
Interviewer: You got to drive the new FR500CJ Cobra Jet Mustang after the last race. Your thoughts on the 2008 40th anniversary Cobra Jet?
John Force: "This car is unbelievable; I drove it. This car is a race ready drag car that you can take to NHRA tech the minute it is delivered to you. It even comes with drag slicks with stuff that I didn't think Ford could do, so Ford is thinking out of the box. That's what's really exciting about it. This car is a 10-second car. I drove it, I raced Tasca in Pomona last fall in it. It's got the big motor, it's got the transmission, the gear ratio, the big tire, the aero-dynamics, everything to give you a car that can kick some butt. So there is big change there. Ford is thinking, but beyond that, think about this, they have asked me to go to the Barrett-Jackson auction to sell this car for charity. I thought I was going as a celebrity - I liked that. Then they tell me that there's a few other cars there they want me to sell, so now I'm a car salesman, proud to be, so I've said it already: get into a Ford and Drive One."




13 posted on 03/14/2009 5:05:33 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Darrell Gwynn
NHRA 32nd Greatest | Inducted, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame | Tribute Video
Darrell Gwynn Foundation | Video: About the Darrell Gwynn Foundation
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
World’s Largest Spinal Cord Injury Research Center
located at the University of Miami School of Medicine


      Over the course of his 10-year career, from May 1980 to April 1990, only two racers won more NHRA national events than Darrell Gwynn: Bob Glidden and Kenny Bernstein. Gwynn was at the height of his career, just a month removed from his last win, when he crashed at England's Santa Pod Raceway on April 15, 1990, changing his life forever. He'd never touched a guardrail until his Top Fuel dragster chassis, apparently weakened on its trip across the Atlantic Ocean, snapped behind the roll cage, and the rear of the car drove his half of it into the guardrail. Gwynn was paralyzed for life and lost part of his left arm. At 28, he was already a 28-time national event champion.
      The Darrell Gwynn Foundation is dedicated to preventing, providing for, and ultimately curing spinal cord injuries and other debilitating illnesses. To expedite specific cures, the Foundation assists in the funding of targeted research. The Foundation also donates a significant number of custom electric wheel chairs to those who need them but can’t afford them. In 2008, thirty-seven(37) customized power wheelchairs, worth almost $250,000, were donated at racing, fishing, car auction and other events, as well as when needs arose. Since the Foundation began in 2002, over one-hundred(100) customized power wheelchairs have been donated. The Foundation's goal for 2009 is to donated sixty(60) wheelchairs.
      Miami born, and still lives in southeast Florida, Darrell is an outstanding individual and was a NHRA superstar before his tragic accident. I watched him race at both the Spring Nationals, Houston and Fall Nationals, Dallas. Amazing individual…. and he still is. What I like about the Foundation is that Darrell helps families with children who have very serious neuromuscular birth defects. Many husbands, wives, and single parents must work two or three jobs just to pay(attempt to pay) their child's staggering medical bills during the early and growth years. Many physicians will not render services to their children because they are medically time consuming and insurance payment(if even available) is usually problematic.
      On Sunday, March 15th, Darrell will attend the NHRA Gatornationals Finals. He will also attend the 7th Annual Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction, Palm Beach, FL, April 9-11, 2009. I have not received information yet on which day Darrell will be at the auction or what Chevy Racing/NASCAR donated car(s) will be auctioned in behalf of his Foundation. He usually attends the event's final day. I understand Darrell will donate custom wheelchairs at both events. I/we are attending all three days at the Gatornationals, which will be my 10th consecutive year, and the final day of the auction on Saturday, April 11. In reviewing the listed details of cars to be auctioned on the final day, there are a number of race cars/pace cars to be sold including NASCAR driven/winning cars by Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Gordon's "Butthead" car should bring top dollar in its category. - fla


Darrell Gwynn Foundation - Official Charity of Barrett Jackson

01.21.09: BARRETT-JACKSON'S SCOTTSDALE AUCTION RAISES $4.4 MILLION FOR CHARITIES
- - NASCAR and other entertainment stars raise record donations for Darrell Gwynn Foundation
(Compiled and edited from four sources – fla)
      BJ Press Release: The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company recently announced that it helped raise $4.4 million for local and national charities during the 38th annual Scottsdale auction Jan. 11-18, 2009. Funds at the automotive lifestyle event were gathered through the sale of 15 collector vehicles, crowd donations and fundraisers like the Childhelp Drive The Dream Gala. Barrett-Jackson does not collect commissions on vehicles sold entirely for charity. "Charity fundraising has always been a cornerstone of our Scottsdale event," said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of Barrett-Jackson. "We helped raise nearly $7 million at our three events in 2008, and started 2009 off with an amazing $4.4 million.
      One of the highlights of the auction was the sale of the 1970 Plymouth Superbird custom tribute to benefit The Darrell Gwynn Foundation. The crowd roared when NASCAR super-legend Richard Petty drove the car on-stage, climbed from the driver's seat, and joined the auctioneers at the podium. After intense bidding and generous crowd donations, the Superbird sold for $501,100. Former professional wrestler Bill Goldberg was part of a group, that included the Gillette Evernham NASCAR racing team, that created the Superbird. "The Barrett-Jackson experience is all about the people, it's all about the relationships, it's all about making a difference," Bill Goldberg told the Barrett-Jackson audience as he participated in the auction.
      In conjunction with the auction, Darrell Gwynn presented custom power wheelchairs to two children with debilitating disease. “The more we get for these auction cars, the more wheelchairs we’ll be able to donate and help those in desperate need,” Gwynn said. “Donating a wheelchair before a large crowd gives bidders a true sense of what our work is all about.” The sale of the Superbird and Tony Stewart’s car will contribute to the more than 60 custom wheelchairs worth approximately $500,000 that Gwynn plans to donate this year. # SNIP #

Top Vehicles Sold Over $100,000 For Charity included:
1970 Plymouth Superbird custom tribute, $501,100 (The Darrell Gwynn Foundation) (1)
2006 Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR "Jeff Gordon's", $500,000 (Hendrick Marrow Program)
2009 Ford Mustang FR500CJ Cobra Jet prototype, $375,000 (JDRF) (John Force auction promoted - fla)
2010 Chevrolet Camaro "First Retail Production", $350,000 (American Heart Association)
1967 Plymouth Barracuda custom, $200,000 (EAA Young Eagles)
2007 Chevy Monte Carlo NASCAR "Tony Stewart's", $165,000 (The Darrell Gwynn Foundation)
2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor "First Retail Production", $130,000 (JDRF)
2008 Chevy Tahoe custom with autographed MLB hood, $100,000 (MLB Charities)
2008 Ford Mustang GT ROUSH P-51A, $100,000 (Speedway Children's Charities)
(1) Full Video of Superbird Auction. On the auction stage is Richard Petty, Bill Goldberg, Darrell Gwynn, Craig Jackson and Steve Davis. Part 1 | Part 2, 14 minutes

01.22.09: FORMER PRO WRESTLER BILL GOLDBERG RAISES $681,000 FOR DARRELL GWYNN FOUNDATION
      Former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg has a big heart and a lot of friends with influence, two attributes he combined Saturday night, Jan. 17, at Scottsdale’s Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction to raise an astounding $681,000 for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. Goldberg’s record-setting contribution will go toward spinal injury research and allow the severely disabled International Drag Racing Hall of Fame member to make custom wheelchair donations to more than 60 children and young adults in need of assistance.
      Goldberg capitalized on the gift of a 1970 Plymouth Satellite by Ohio resident Rick Brannon to converge the talents of YearOne and Gillette Evernham Motorsports in the creation of a custom tribute replica of Richard Petty’s Championship Superbird. Adding in “King” Richard himself driving the “Petty Blue” Bird onto the auction platform, packing signed guitars from Alice Cooper and Kenny Wayne Shepherd for the lucky purchaser, in addition to a session at the Richard Petty Ride Experience – which will be put to good use as the lead car in season 3 of Goldberg’s “Bullrun” show on the Speed Channel – bidding rapidly rose to $501,000. Companion bequeathments of $180,000 closed the remarkable session and started the beginning of making a big difference in the lives of a lot of very appreciative people. NOTE: The last photo is of "King Richard's" 1970 NASCAR Plymouth Superbird which resides at the Richard Petty Museum, Randleman, North Carolina. - fla





01.21.09: NASCAR's TONY STEWART RAISES $181,500 FOR DARRELL GWYNN FOUNDATION
      At the Scottsdale’s Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, coming in at $181,500, which included $16,500 in companion bequeathments, was the 2007 Home Depot Monte Carlo that Tony Stewart won three races in including the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway on Oct 1, 2006, the Bass Pro Shop 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on October 29, 2006, and the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, 2006. All proceeds were donated to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. The foundation, named for the famed NHRA drag racer, is dedicated to helping people with spinal chord injuries. At the auction, Gwynn himself confined to a wheelchair after spinal injuries, introduced 14-year-old Randy Rimone, who the foundation helped after he was denied insurance coverage for a power wheelchair.
      NOTE: Joe Gibbs, Tony Stewart, and Jeff Gordon are honorary Board of Directors of Darrell’s Foundation. At the 2008 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Joe Gibbs Racing donated one of Tony's #20 Home Depot NASCARs to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation for auction. By the time the gavel was hammered the car sold for $380,000. It was the No. 1 selling race car at the auction. With ancillary donations, the final amount raised was over $500,000. Noted collector Ron Pratt purchased Stewart’s car and then donated it back to the Foundation to auction off again at the 2009 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. - fla


14 posted on 03/14/2009 5:06:16 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
You might find this interesting: Drag Cars In Motion thread from The H.A.M.B.
15 posted on 03/14/2009 5:06:33 PM PDT by lewislynn (What does the global warming movement and the Fairtax movement have in common? Disinformation)
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To: flattorney
NASCAR Anglers raise more than $100,000 for the Darrell Gwynn Foundation
      On Friday February 13, 2009, during NASCAR's Daytona Week, more than thirty NASCAR drivers, celebrities and fans attended the 3rd Annual Darrell Gwynn Foundation Charity Fishing Tournament on Daytona Speedway's 29-acre infield Lake Lloyd. The annual event raised more than $100,000 for the Davie, Florida based Darrell Gwynn Foundation that funds paralysis research, spinal cord injury education and awareness, and customized wheelchairs for children and young adults. NASCAR driver Carl Edwards won the individual fishing tournament with a 4.2 pound bass. Edwards' group also won the team competition by catching a total of 8.5 pounds of fish. Among the other participants were Tony Stewart, Martin Truex, Ryan Newman, Darrell Waltrip and Ken Schrader. Gwynn, former drag racing champion paralyzed in a racing accident, donated a portion of the tournament's proceeds to the Betty Jane France Pediatric Center "Speediatrics" unit at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. The special unit, which is brightly decked out in a racing theme, helps children and families feel more comfortable amid beeping medical equipment and the constant parade of doctors and nurses.
      FlA Says: My main man Darrell Waltrip does a great job of promoting and participating in this event. Other NASCAR super-legends like Richard Childress also heavily support the annual fundraiser. Over the years, Darrell Gwynn and his Foundation have been smart to work with NASCAR team owners and drivers for donations. The simple fact is the top NHRA drivers earn peanuts compared to the top NASCAR drivers. NASCAR team owners and drivers have the big money to significantly help Darrell's foundation, along with other worthy humanitarian organizations. ~ Video: Riki Rachtman covers Feb 2008 Darrell Gwynn Foundation Charity Daytona Fishing Tournament. Interviews Darrell Gwynn and NASCAR drivers at event. When Riki is on the scene there is always funny moments.



Photos: 1. Darrell Gwynn, Team Carl Edwards | 2. Carl Edwards with his winning catch |
3. Darrell and Ryan Newman | 4-5. Darrell "The Man" Waltrip and his Lake Lloyd "youngsters".

Disabled 5-year-old NASCAR fan gets her own wheels thanks to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation
Daytona Beach News Journal by Deborah Circelli
Feb. 16, 2009
      Daytona Beach -- Two-time NASCAR Cup champion Tony Stewart knelt down, smiling as he tried to charm Alyssa Hagstrom while photographers snapped away. The bubbly pre-kindergartner, who turned 5 on Saturday seemed to care less that she was the center of attention being introduced to drivers such as Stewart, Carl Edwards and last year's Daytona 500 winner, Ryan Newman. She was comfy in her new set of wheels. The minute the cameras stopped flashing, Alyssa, who was born with a rare muscle disorder that prevents her from walking and having full movement of her arms, pressed her head against the wheelchair headrest, which powers the chair, and pronounced -- "I'm out of here," as she wheeled back down the dock Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
      "Excuse me guys. Excuse me," she said to fans and drivers, who had just finished a charity fishing tournament to benefit people with spinal cord injuries and other debilitating illnesses. Just an hour earlier, she started driving in her $26,000 power chair donated by the Davie-based Darrell Gwynn Foundation, started by Gwynn, a National Hot Rod Association champion. He lost his left arm and was paralyzed from the waist down in 1990 when his dragster hit a wall during a London exhibition.
      Before the festivities with the drivers began, the Daytona Beach girl moved around the dock making new friends. "I know I'm a crazy driver," Alyssa said to a man on the dock. At one point, she went right up to Gwynn and Ricky James, 20, of California, who was injured in a 2005 motocross racing accident. "Hi! Hi!," she yelled to the two. "Daddy, all three of us are in wheelchairs." Before they could ask her a question, she zoomed away. "She sure is cute," Gwynn laughed. "Kids do amazing things the way they take to a machine like that." Alyssa, who attends Easter Seals Pre-Kindergarten Charter School in Daytona Beach and is an ambassador for Easter Seals "Walk With Me" fundraisers in April and May, also made an impression on the drivers. Stewart said it's exciting to see the children "get a new set of wheels." "She has no clue who any of us are, but 10 years down the road she'll be looking at pictures and it will be special to her," Stewart said.
      Edwards, who was on the winning team for the fishing tournament on the Speedway's Lake Lloyd, said he first met Alyssa right before the fishing began, and just after she got her new chair. "She's like, 'Nice to meet you. Excuse me. I got to go,' " he laughed. "What (Gwynn) does for people is really special. It's an honor to be a part of it." Gwynn's foundation, which raised more than $100,000 at the local tournament, donated 37 wheelchairs last year and has donated about 100 since the foundation started in 2002. Money raised also helps Halifax Health Medical Center's "Speediatrics" unit for children. "I can't win races anymore because of my injury, but (this) is just like winning a race," said Gwynn, 47. "It's like a victory when you get to change somebody's life." His goal is to give young people more independence after losing his own. "It's a club we didn't sign up for. We have to try to make the best of things," Gwynn said.
      Alyssa's father, Duane Hagstrom, 35, a Flagler Palm Coast High School teacher, said his daughter doesn't let her disability stand in her way. She was born with arthrogryposis, a muscular atrophy in her extremities. Before getting the powered Chair, she was pushed in a stroller, a manual wheelchair or she simply rolled on the floor. At home, she gets help from her 7-year-old sister, her father's girlfriend, Milisa Carter, and Carter's two children. Hagstrom, who is divorced from Alyssa's mother and has cared for her since she was young, said his insurance denied the specialized chair. "She's so independent now," he said regarding her new wheels. "She's a normal 5-year-old other than the fact that she can't walk. At school last week, she played with fellow students on the floor before making paper hearts with her teacher for Valentine's Day. She said she "wants to be a girl that cooks" when she grows up and that she loves "playing outside with my friends and pretend like we're catching butterflies." "She is totally charming," her teacher Kathleen Carroll said. "She knows she can't walk, but that doesn't damper her spirit." Alyssa said her fellow students help her if a toy is too high on a shelf or getting around on the playground. Now with her new chair, she said, "I can chase everybody around outside."


Darrell, NASCAR President Mike Helton, and DGF wheelchair recipient

16 posted on 03/14/2009 5:08:28 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

That Rat Rod in front of the Petersen museum looks like one from here in Eureka? Am I on your ping list? As you know Hillary Will does not have a ride this year due to a shortage sponsors...


17 posted on 03/14/2009 5:08:36 PM PDT by tubebender (99% of Lawyers give the rest a bad name...)
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To: flattorney

Please add me to your ping list.


18 posted on 03/14/2009 5:11:34 PM PDT by luv2lurkhere
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To: WestCoastGal
PING - Posts #14 and 16

NASCAR related posts for your ping list consideration. Hope everything is fantastic with you. - TAB

19 posted on 03/14/2009 5:13:09 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Don Prudhomme Snake Racing
NHRA 3rd Greatest | Inducted: 1991, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2000, International Motorsports Hall of Fame | International Drag Racing Hall of Fame
1997, SEMA Hall of Fame | 1997, Hot Rod Magazine Hall of Fame
2007 Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award

2009 Top Fuel Driver: Spencer Massey | ESPN Video: Get to know Spencer Massey

01.29.09: Spencer Massey to Drive for Don Prudomme in NHRA's Top Fuel
      Spencer Massey(1) is on the verge of becoming the next big thing in drag racing, but we got a pretty good idea last summer that he already was well on his way. Massey, of Dallas, rolled into U.S. 131 Motorsports Park last August and won the Nitro Top Fuel division title at Martin Dragway's annual Northern Nationals. Massey, 26, went on to win the International Hot Rod Association Top Fuel championship in his rookie season. Even bigger things are in store for Massey this season. Massey has been hired to drive the Don Prudhomme Racing Top Fuel Dragster in the National Hot Rod Association. Massey has replaced Larry Dixon(2), who drove that dragster to a second-place finish in points a year ago.
      Life comes at you fast on the dragstrip. It also comes at you fast off the track, now that Massey has landed one of the most high profile rides in the business. Massey was on Wednesday's NHRA teleconference, helping give insight to the fast approaching season. The 2009 NHRA Full Throttle season opens with the Feb. 8 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. "It has been a dream come true," Massey said. "Last year, the deal with the IHRA wasn't supposed to happen. I got my license on a Monday and went to my first race five days later and ended up bringing home the trophy, and it kind of snowballed. This is how this deal (with Prudhomme) has been like. "It has been unbelievable that all this has happened. It is something I have dreamed about and wanted to do since I was four years old, to drive a Top Fuel dragster. I'm in awe, and very honored and blessed to be in the position I am, driving for Don The Snake."
      (1) When Spencer said in his video that legendary Texan nitro hydroplane drag boat and NHRA Top Fuel driver Eddie Hill was his hero, he made my "A List". See Eddie "The Thrill" Hill post following the next post.
      (2) Larry Dixon bought out his contract with “Snake” so he could driver the Top Fuel dragster for the new Al-Anabi Racing team. Driving for Snake Racing, Larry was NHRA Top Fuel World Champion 2002 and 2003. No hard feelings between the two and Top Fuel greatly needs Qatar based Anabi Racing’s sponsorship money. - fla

Outstanding new NHRA "Full Throttle" commercial featuring Don "The Snake" Prudhomme talking about his early days of drag racing. - 5 Stars, fla
Here’s another great Full Throttle commercial

Don Prudhomme: February 5, 2009 at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum and 1968



There’s about a 130 years of combined NHRA drag racing experience between these
three super-legends. And, they still attend almost every NHRA National Championship event.
They’re a major reason I still heavily attend NHRA events - fla

(Left to Right) Connie “The Bounty Hunter” Kalitta (Team Owner),
Don “The Snake” Prudhomme (Team Owner), and,
Ed “The Ace” McCulloch (Co-Team Owner, Crew Chief)

20 posted on 03/14/2009 5:17:11 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Those other two new high dollar limited edition Ford Mustangs….. they’re for wimps. You need the new Shelby GT500 Super Snake Prudhomme Edition to haul the groceries. - fla

02.06.09: Shelby unleashes 750-horsepower GT500 Super Snake Prudhomme Edition
Wally Parks Motorsports Museum Presentation Video

Below is a combination of three articles I cut and snipped together and photos we mastered. - fla

Tonight at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California, Carroll Shelby and Co. unveiled what is by far the most radical Mustang ever built for the street. Named after Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, who drove a top fuel car for Shelby in the 1968 season. The street-legal dragster features Ford's 5.4L V-8 wearing a Kenny Bell supercharger and custom ram air intake that pokes through the hood. For everyday shenanigans, this combination is good for 750 hp on 93 octane, but drop by the dragstrip, slap on the slicks and top off the tank with race gas and you'll run sub-10 second quarter-miles with over 800 hp on tap.

Putting that kind of power down and keeping the car straight are difficult tasks, but the team at Shelby was up to the challenge. They fitted the 2007-2009 style Mustang GT500 with a Ford Racing 3.73 rear end, a big rear wing, a short-throw shifter, a Borla side-exhaust kit, a strut tower brace, a caster/camber kit, adjustable front struts, a custom rear lower control arm with a solid third link, six-piston brake calipers up front, Bogart custom wheels and a set of boost, fuel pressure and oil pressure gauges to keep track of it all. Inside, Shelby ditched the rear seats, installed an eight-point roll cage and replaced the front seats with racing units. Of course, it wouldn't be a Shelby Mustang if it didn't have a little show with its go. The Super Snake gets a special tilt front end, a new rear fascia, new rockers, aluminum quarter window inserts and special paint and graphics. All said and done, a turn-key car will set you back $145,995, though if you already have a GT500 you'd like converted, you can have it made-over for just $99,995. You'd better hurry, though, because Shelby is only planning to make 100 of these cars.

"Working with Don on this project was a great experience for our design team," noted Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles. "Carroll and Don earned their stripes in competition over the years, so we had to build a car that would continue their racing domination. Our Prudhomme Edition GT500 Super Snake builds on that legacy and gives Shelby enthusiasts today a way to rule the quarter mile in their town." By the mid-1960s, Carroll Shelby and Don Prudhomme were both at the top of their respective games. Prudhomme was one of the winningest Top Fuel drag racers in the country. Shelby was a racer-turned-builder of Cobras, GT40s and Mustangs who won endurance and road racing championships worldwide. His company even offered drag racing packages for privateers to compete in their Cobra or Shelby Mustang on the strip. "The Snake" and the Cobra's creator teamed in 1968 for an NHRA ride. Prudhomme's Ford Cammer-powered rail made its debut as "Shelby's Super Snake at the 1968 Winternationals. He won the race and drove the rest of the season under the Shelby banner.

Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's successful racing career included winning the NHRA funny car championship four times. He was the first funny car driver to exceed 250 mph. In 1994, he began managing his own racing team, which won the Top Fuel championship in 2002 and 2003 (with driver Larry Dixon – fla). Prudhomme was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1991 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000.





21 posted on 03/14/2009 5:18:09 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Eddie "The Thrill" Hill a.k.a. Eddie "The Texan" Hill
NHRA 14th Greatest | 2002 Inducted, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2000 Inducted, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame | 2007 Induced, Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame

      On numerous Texas occasions, I watched Eddie race nitro hydroplane drag boats. I also watched him race at eleven NHRA Championship Drag Racing events. He was based out of Wichita Falls, where he and wife Ercie still resides. No one has every ruled the liquid quarter mile like Eddie. As I stated in my drag racing background, I hung round a Houston nitro drag boat owner from 16-22 years old. He was the one that taught me how to build big block supercharged drag racing engines. Eddie had some bad crashes due to his experimental hull designs. He finally got the hull right and the rest is history. As you can see in the below photos, the drivers were totally exposed, compared to today's nitro hydroplane drag boats where the driver sits in an enclosed cockpit/capsule and wears a fighter pilot style oxygen mask. Observe how small the seat is and there was no seat belt. The idea back then was, in the event of a bad crash, the driver wanted to be thrown from the boat so he would not be hit by the disintegrating boat and engine. As racing technology progressed, drivers wore special life vests/suits with wide straps around the arms and legs to help keep their body in a ball position when they hit the water. Drivers also wore a parachute on their back tethered to the front of the engine, along with a kill-switch tether. If the driver was thrown out of the boat the chute would automatically deploy and hopefully pull him away from the wreckage. Sometimes they worked, sometimes nitro hydro drivers ended up in the morgue.
      I remember that Eddie didn't like some of these protection innovations and would not use them because he felt they were too cumbersome/restrictive. One of the things that impressed me about Eddie's later generation custom hydroplane boats was the higher fiberglass deck in front of the driver, and he sat further down in the boat. Some of the other guys' nitro hydroplanes, particularly the 18 feet length boats, the drivers sat so far above the boat the steering wheel was at the level of their exposed knees and upper legs. I referred to these boats as a fiberglass shingle with a nitro mountain motor strapped on. I hated some of the 18 ft hydros as opposed to the 20 and 21 ft ones. About the only thing they were good for was seriously injuring/killing drivers and fishing $30,000 nitro motors off the bottom of the lake/river. Bottom-line, this was/is an extremely dangerous crazy person sport. However, speed on water is a whole different adrenaline rush than speed on land. Guess that's why this is my 3rd season to race an offshore superboat which cranks around 3,000 combined horsepower from a pair of engines, each with twin superchargers. - fla

On display at Eddie Hill's Fun Cycles (motorcycle/off-road) dealership in Wichita Falls, Texas. ~ "I built, owned, tuned, and drove this Kurtis 500 Top Fuel Hydro with a 500 cubic inch blown Hemi. It was in the Guinness Book of World Records for ten years as The World's Fastest Propeller-Driven Boat, with a quarter mile speed of 229 MPH." - Eddie Hill
Eddie "The Texan" Hill - Class: Blown Fuel Hydro



May 2008 Video from Eddie's 1st Show and Shine! (drag boats expo) in front of his motorcycle dealership.
Eddie firing up his new 540 CID blown gas hydroplane "playboat" - Here's photos provided by Eddie.
May 2008; Eddie 72 years young in his new hydro playboat

Eddie Hill & Proud Mary firing her vintage Blown Fuel Hydro
In the second video, the wing on the "shovelnose" hydro is interesting. You rarely saw these wings on hydros only on flat bottom nitro drag boats, because they messed up a nitro hydroplane boat's aerodynamics. During a quarter mile hydro run, only the tips of the sponsons and 1/2 the prop(s) (two are used today) should be in the water. Hydros get their speed from riding on air trapped underneath the boat. When the "pickle fork" hydroplane drag boat hulls became available all the top nitro owners/drivers I knew/watched used them, like Eddie. I still saw shovelnose hydros at the drag races, but the nitro drag boat owner I personally knew said they, and the winged flat bottom nitro drag boats, were more dangerous than the "pickle fork" hydroplanes that went substantially faster. It's because of the water friction on the hull. He said that before I met him, when I was 16, he ran a nitro flat bottom drag boat. But drivers keep quitting on him because the boat was too dangerous so he moved up to a Blown Fuel Hydro. - fla
      From NHRA's 14th Greatest Driver, Eddie Hill's Drag Boat Career - - While attending his first drag-boat race in Austin, Texas, in 1974, one of the first things Hill witnessed was a driver being catapulted from his boat in a crash. Hill thought the participants were crazy, but less than a month later, Hill was racing his own boat. "Once I hit the water with the boat, I never went back to motorcycles," Hill recalled. "The power, speed, and acceleration were all things that I had missed since I quit drag racing."
      Beginning with a non-blown gas hydroplane, Hill won on his first time out in Oklahoma City, and at his third race, he set the class speed record. In his second year, he set the Southern Drag Boat Association (SDBA) speed record at 137.46 mph. Using the same boat, Hill switched to nitromethane in 1976 and set the SDBA record at 171.81 mph, and in 1977, he set the National Drag Boat Association (NDBA) record at 170.45 mph. He also won the SDBA high-point championship and the NDBA World Fuel & Gas Championships both years.
      From 1978 to 1984, Hill raced blown-fuel hydroplanes. His all-white boats soon dominated the liquid quarter-mile. In seven years, he won 55 of 103 races and won every major race at least once. He won the biggest race, the NDBA Nationals, four times, including three straight from 1982 to 1984. In 1983 and 1984, he won the World Series of Drag Boat Racing championship, a yearlong series of races that included two races from each of the sport's four sanctioning bodies. In those two years, he raced in the final round of 29 of 34 races, winning 17 times. He was American Drag Boat Association (ADBA) world champion four times and the SDBA top points earner five consecutive years.
      When he returned to the solid quarter-mile in 1985 and ran the first four, Hill already had put his name in another prominent record book for an equally notorious record in boats. On Sept. 5, 1982, Hill became the fastest quarter-mile boat racer with an NDBA record of 229.00 mph in Chowchilla, Calif. The feat was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records and was not broken for 10 years. Hill also set speed records that year in the SDBA (220.76 mph), the ADBA (215.82), and the International Hot Boat Association (212.78 mph) to become the only racer to hold records in all four associations at the same time. Hill would race boats for another two years but not before becoming the first to cover the liquid quarter-mile in less than six seconds. Later, his e.t. record of 5.16 at Firebird Lake in Chandler, Ariz., was quicker than the NHRA Top Fuel record of 5.39 set by Gary Beck.
      In October 1984, Hill quit boat racing after a severe crash, not to mention the fact that the earnings from all his wins over the years had only been a break-even proposition. He was clocked at 217 mph that fateful day at Firebird Lake when he was pitched through the hull and into the lake. He suffered seven broken bones, a concussion, injuries to his eyes, and multiple cuts and contusions. He spent five days in the hospital and wasn't fully healed for a year, but he did ride a motorcycle in pain six weeks after the crash.
      "The blown-fuel hydro was a pretty thrilling ride," Hill said. "It would jump up on top of the water and dance around. You really never knew for sure if you were going to make it to the other end. Of course, a lot of guys didn't, myself included, but it was a heck of a ride."

# # # # #

Legend years, Eddie and Ercie Hill. She met him at a drag boat race and they have been together ever since. Ercie is walking around in the 2008 videos I posted above. Eddie will be 73 years young on March 6th and looks great. I'm not exactly sure of Ercie's age. She's a native Floridian and if I remember right she's 10-11 years younger than Eddie. Several of the drag boat owners and drivers had smoking hot goddess wives and girlfriends, along with other babes in attendance. One of the advantages of summer drag boat racing, over NHRA, is there was always hot women in skimpy bikinis in attendance. And sometimes they were drunk, *lol*. Did you know that males highest levels of testosterone, for their entire life, are in their late teen years? Here's some "The Texan" in action FlA & Co. mastered and edited photos. - fla





'08 Top Fuel Hydro Drag Boats. Quarter mile World Record 4.58 ET @ 270.2 MPH

Here's a current photo of a 18 ft. blown fuel hydro "death wish" drag boat.


22 posted on 03/14/2009 5:19:56 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney


Profiles: Co-Team Owner: Alan Johnson | Top Fuel: Larry Dixon | Funny Car: Del Worsham

02.04.09: Legendary Top Fuel Crew Chief Alan Johnson and Qatar Prince to Test NHRA
      For Alan Johnson, leaving Don Schumacher Racing to return to ownership with a start-up team was simply a matter of moving from one form of royalty to another — literally. After winning the last five Top Fuel championships as Tony Schumacher's crew chief, Johnson announced last summer that he was leaving the powerhouse outfit to return to ownership with a two-car operation. One twist: He now has a partnership with Sheik Khalid Bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar to form Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing, which will field a Top Fuel dragster with two-time champion and series runner-up Larry Dixon and a Funny Car with veteran Del Worsham in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
      Given Johnson's record, some around the circuit expect the team to become an immediate challenger in both classes, especially Top Fuel. The owner has high hopes as well, but right now he's eager to see what it's like being in charge again. "The challenge of owning my own team and trying to win under the banner of Al-Anabi is something I've looked forward to for a number of years," said Johnson, 50, who won Funny Car titles (1997, 1998, 2000) as an owner with driver Gary Scelzi. "We've put together a great team. We've got great personnel, (and) two wonderful drivers. We're going to go out and try to create a top-notch team and compete for a championship from the beginning of the year."
      In a statement, Al-Thani describes himself as a huge fan of drag racing and a longtime follower of Johnson's career as an owner, crew chief and builder of engine parts. Al-Thani's goal is raising awareness of motor sports in his homeland, which exports petroleum, fertilizer, cement and steel. "I am no different from any other team co-owner," Al-Thani said. "I want to see the Funny Car and Top Fuel teams as world champions. I trust Alan's vision of operating his own team will manifest more wins, more records and championships while also raising awareness of drag racing in Qatar."
      Already, the team has raised eyebrows by luring Dixon from Snake Racing after a 13-year association and particularly after his best season in years. Though he finished a distant second to Schumacher (who won 15 of 24 events), Dixon closed 2008 with a victory in Pomona, Calif., site of this weekend's season opener. Dixon, a 43-time winner, bought out the remainder of his contract with Snake Racing to join Al-Anabi. He has marveled at how quickly the team has come together — crew chief Jason McCulloch is one of several former DSR members who followed Johnson — and is confident of closing the gap on Schumacher. "You've got to surround yourself with talent, and Alan has certainly done that," Dixon said. "There are a lot of teams out there that you've got to look out for.
      For Worsham, timing was everything. Within days of losing his primary sponsor, Johnson called Worsham and pitched the start-up effort funded entirely by Al-Thani. Worsham needed little persuasion to come aboard. After missing the Countdown to 1 and finishing 13th in points, he is hungry to start anew in hopes of making the six-race playoff. "This door opened up, and it seemed meant to be," Worsham said. "From the time my other job ended, we've been working in the shop with Alan on the chassis. It's come together. We've run well at the test. I can't wait for Pomona."
      Al-Anabi(1) means "Go Team Maroon!" That is one of two colors in Qatar's flag (white is the other). Both cars will sport the letters KH, for Khalid Al-Thani and his father, Hamad, the emir. The hope is they'll eventually display No. 1, a number Johnson hopes to appropriate from his previous dynasty to his current one. "I'll never forget the opportunity I had there (at DSR) and the fun that we had racing together and winning all those races," Johnson said. "It certainly wasn't something I was looking forward to, making the announcement that it was going to break up that team. But this is drag racing and it's my life, something that I love to do." ~ Motorsports-NHRA
(1) FlA Says: Al is for Alan Johnson Racing. Anabi Racing is (Prince) Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Thani’s Qatar based racing operation which consists of sand hill racing and pro-modified drag racing. Al-Anabi Racing is a partnership between Alan and Sheikh Khalid. This is the Prince’s first time to own a nitro racing team. He attended the entire Winternationals and was in the Al-Anabi Racing pits learning about the nitro dragster and funny car, along with the crews’ activity. He seems to be a hands-on individual. Hopefully not too hands-on where he gets in the team’s way.

02.04.09: Pomona: Al-Anabi Racing NHRA Winternationals Preview
      Larry Dixon, Top Fuel Dragster - - Dixon begins his Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing tenure this week after 20 years with Don Prudhomme Racing. He finished second in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Top Fuel point standings recording his 14th consecutive top-10 points finish. He won two races in six final-round appearances last season. Dixon was the No. 2 qualifier at last year's Winternationals. He advanced to the semifinals where he lost to event winner Tony Schumacher. Dixon won this event in 1998, 2002 and '03. He has never been the No. 1 qualifier at the Winternationals. Dixon won the NHRA POWERade Top Fuel championship in 2002 and '03. He is currently third on the NHRA's all-time Top Fuel winner's list with 43 victories. Joe Amato is in second place with 52 wins; Tony Schumacher tops the list with 56 wins. Dixon is 10th on the NHRA's all-time professional victories list. He trails ninth-place Dave Schultz by two wins. Dixon was the 1995 NHRA Rookie of the Year.
      Dixon on the Winternationals: - - "I had a great time at Don Prudhomme Racing for the number of years that I was there, but it was time for a change. Between crewing and driving, I was there for 20 years, so that's half my life. I have a great opportunity driving for Alan Johnson and his Al-Anabi Racing team, and I'm really looking forward to the challenge. "With what Alan Johnson has accomplished in the last five years -- heck, the last 15 years - any driver would love to work with someone with his credentials. From the first time I talked to AJ about this team, what excited me is that he has a two-year, a five-year and even a 10-year plan. I'm flattered and honored that he wants me to be a part of it. Alan won 15 races at Don Schumacher Racing last year -- that's incredible, but what hooked me is his long-term planning as far as what he wants to do and where he wants to go. I want to ride his coat tails.
      "At the Phoenix test, we made nine runs, running as quick as 3.81 seconds and as fast as 316 mph, my fastest speed at 1000 feet. This team has high standards; we ran quicker and faster than what I had previously, and they still want more. They want to step up their numbers so when we get to Pomona, we can be competitive. "Now, Pomona is here, and it's time to go racing for real. It's game day. It's like Summer vacation is over, and it's time to go back to school. Most of the Top Fuel teams have had a change with the sponsor, owner, driver or crew chief so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out at the end of the weekend; I just hope we're a part of it."
      Del Worsham, Funny Car: - - Worsham begins his Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing tenure this week after spending the previous 19 seasons driving his family-owned Funny Car. Worsham doubled as a Top Fuel driver running a limited schedule in 1993, '94 and '95. Worsham finished 13th in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Funny Car standings. He won a race and earned his 11th career berth in the US Smokeless Showdown. He has won 22 races in 35 final-round appearances in his career. Worsham has never won the Winternationals, but he was runner up to John Force in 1993. He won the season's final race at Pomona in 2001 and '03. One year ago, Worsham did not qualify for the Winternationals.
      Worsham on the Winternationals: - - "The team has already come along faster than I thought, but with Alan Johnson and Aaron Brooks involved, I should have expected it. The car is running unreal; I can't wait to get to Pomona to get started. Our two tests at West Palm Beach and Phoenix were better than I ever dreamed they could be, but when you have Alan and Aaron in your corner, with all the preparation they do, I shouldn't have been surprised with our early success. I know testing is different from real competition, but I enter Pomona with my confidence at a very high level.
      "It been different not working with my family's team Aaron and Alan have made the transition as painless as possible and treated me like I've been a part of this team forever. It's really been great so far. "They've designed stunning race car. When you see it on the track it's really stunning. From the paint scheme all the way to the assembly of the car, chassis and other components, it's been a pleasure to drive so far, and I'm looking forward to actually racing it this week." - PR from Al-Anabi Racing








FlA Says: I can’t say enough good things about both Larry Dixon and Del Worsham. There are outstanding individuals and drivers who I always enjoy watching and talking with. Jason McCulloch is crew chief for Larry. He's the son of my No. 1 favorite active NHRA legend, Ed "The Ace" McColloch. It should be a very interesting season. I don’t know Alan that well, only his NHRA superstar crew chief reputation. His brother Blaine’s 1996 Top Fuel crash and death was horrendous, like Scott Kalitta’s FC crash last year. ~ Blaine Johnson: NHRA 36th Greatest Driver
23 posted on 03/14/2009 5:23:31 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Kenny Bernstein Racing
NHRA No. 6 Greatest | 2009 Inductee, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2007 Inducted, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame | 2006 Induced, Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame
NHRA: Top Fuel World Champion 1996, 2001 ~ Funny Car World Champion 1985, '86, '87, '88
KBR Top Fuel Driver: Brandon Bernstein

      FlA Says: Over the decades, Kenny has always been one of my favorites. Not only is he a great driver and team owner, he has a great attitude, style, and level of professionalism. He also surrounds himself with excellent talent. Crew chiefs Dale Armstrong, Lee Beard, and Tim Richards are some of the best in NHRA history. Another big plus was during his early NHRA years and world championships, Kenny and his racing operations were based out of Dallas, Texas. His mentor, good friend, and 3-time NHRA World Funny Car Champion, 1979-81, Raymond Beadle was also based out of North Dallas, and still lives there. Texas became a major market for NHRA drag racing, second only to California. Kenny became involved in NASCAR Winston Cup team ownership several years after Raymond Beadle did where Raymond and driver Rusty Wallace won the 1989 Winston Cup. For a period of time, Kenny also owned a CART (open wheel Indy cars) racing team.
      For the 2009 season, Kenny had to disband his NHRA Funny Car program due to sponsorship loss. He’s still running his legendary Budweiser sponsored Top Fuel dragster with son Brandon driving (since 2003). Despite not having the best 2008 season, finished 7th, Brandon is an impressive driver and individual. I definitely would like to see KBR make a solid run for the 2009 NHRA Top Fuel championship.
10.13.08: Legend crew chief Tim Richards and wife Kim retire from NHRA and Kenny Bernstein Racing
- - Tim Richards, 65 years old, has a career total of 81 race wins and six NHRA Top Fuel championships. Kim has partnered with Tim for 50 of those victories. She began her racing career working with her father Dick LaHaie(“The Man” - fla) on his Top Fuel car, helping tune him to his 1987 NHRA Top Fuel championship.




Kenny: 1981 T/F Funny Car, Gatornationals, Gainesville; 1996 Top Fuel, Mile-High Nationals, Denver; 2001 NHRA Finals, Pomona. The late ‘70’s – early 80’s Funny Cars are my all-time favorites. - fla

02.04.09: NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein Celebrates 30 years of Sponorship by Anheuser-Busch
      In an era where racing teams struggle to either retain existing sponsors or create ways to land new ones, six-time NHRA World Champion Kenny Bernstein remains the model in the industry. This year will mark the 30th anniversary of Kenny Bernstein Racing’s(“KBR”) alliance with St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch(“AB”). It's the longest standing relationship between a racer and sponsor - two years longer than Richard Petty enjoyed with STP. Bernstein’s success also extends into NASCAR and CART, making him the only owner to win in all three U.S. racing series.
      Kenny has never sold himself short, but he never expected his initial meeting with AB officials to turn into a 30-year relationship. Then again, brewery officials couldn't help acknowledging Bernstein's moxie and determination. In 1979, Bernstein packed his funny car trailer and made the trip to St. Louis to promote himself and his race team. The idea was hatched by Austin, Texas AB wholesaler Don Brown, who encouraged his fellow Texan to make the sales pitch. In a parking lot early in the morning, Bernstein greeted AB employees with a display that created interest in not just his team, but in the sport. It was basic business advice that Bernstein learned from his father and honed through his own business career. Says Bernstein, "In the beginning, they (AB officials) were just interested in seeing what NHRA was about. They warmed up as time progressed and it took more meetings to make it happen. They finally realized what a great marketplace drag racing was for their product." "Looking back thirty years, my racing success would not have been possible with any other sponsor. Even with the exact same people and equipment in our racing organization”.
      There is no great secret to Bernstein's success. In fact, the approach is very simplistic. "Our position from day one has been to help Budweiser wholesalers sell beer," said Bernstein. For 30 years, Bernstein has developed a relationship with wholesalers on the NHRA tour. Currently, he and his son Brandon - who since 2003 drives KBR’s Top Fuel dragster - promotes AB’s product and, in turn, the wholesalers tell St. Louis how effective they are and how much they appreciate it. There are numerous activities before each of the NHRA national events, whether it's playing golf with customers of the wholesalers, doing personal appearances, or mingling with race fans. "It means the world to me," said Brandon, who has 17 Top Fuel wins in the red Budweiser dragster. "Looking back at the history of my father and the Busch family, I'm proud to be a part of the family. It's an honor. It's nice to know there's a 30-year legacy." Kenny Bernstein was also one of the first to create a hospitality area, at his NHRA pit, that has become so commonplace for big sponsors of the sport. Under Bernstein's original plan, it was an area where wholesalers could entertain their customers and be close to the racing team.
      While Budweiser remains one of the world's top-selling beers and AB is tops in U.S. sports marketing and sponsorships, the company's acquisition last summer by Belguim based InBev (Name is now ABInBev - fla) has posed questions about its future presence. The company has a reputation for cost and price-cutting, and motor sports marketing is among the platforms being examined. Bernstein's deal with Budweiser ends after the 2009 season (2006-9 four year sponsorship contract -fla). "They're going through cuts and changes," said Bernstein. "We'll sit down with them and see where we're at." For now, the focus is solely on Brandon's Top Fuel prospects. The dragster team will break in crew chief Rob Flynn and assistant Mike Guger, who succeed the retired Tim and Kim Richards. Brandon, who finished seventh in points after the first winless season of his career, comes in with a new perspective after getting married in the off-season.
-- Compilation from two articles with edits and additions. Images courtesy KBR ~ fla



2009 Winternationals, Pomona. KBR celebrates 30 years sponsored by Budweiser

24 posted on 03/14/2009 5:25:41 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
2009 American Motorsports Awards News - NHRA

02.14.09:NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein to be inducted into Motorsports Hall Of Fame of America
      Kenny Bernstein was named as one of seven who will be inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in its annual ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 12 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit. “We are very honored to have been chosen to join the elite members of the motorsports fraternity known as the Heroes of Horsepower,” said Bernstein. “We have been fortunate through the years to have some success on the racetrack and to be inducted into this prestigious Hall of Fame is icing on the cake.”
      Bernstein, a six-time NHRA World champion, was the first to break drag racing’s 300 mph barrier, and the first to win championships in Funny Car and Top Fuel. He holds the unique distinction of being the first and only race team owner to have collected wins in each of America’s three major motorsports series: NHRA drag racing, NASCAR, and CART (now IndyCar Series).
      In addition to Bernstein, this year’s inductees include David Hobbs, Scott Parker, Les Richter, Al Unser, Jr., H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler and the late Joe Weatherly.
      Eligibility for induction into the Motorsports Hall of Fame is extended to any person who has driven, piloted, owned, designed, built, supported, maintained, prepared or promoted motorized vehicles in pursuit of speed, distance or other records. An inductee must have been retired for at least three years or must have been engaged at the top level of his or her area of motorsports for at least 20 years. Inductees are characterized by their desire to win, mastery of their field and the courage to innovate. A panel of historians, retired competitors, journalists, and prior living inductees vote for the final selections. Each inductee receives the Hall of Fame’s prestigious “Horsepower” award – an original bronze statuette created by Ann Arbor, Michigan sculptor Michael Curtis.

The Justice Brothers Shav Glick Award
      01.28.09: Walker Evans, Frank Kurtis, NHRA’s Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen, and Malcolm Smith have been nominated for the 10th Annual Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award which recognizes those who have made distinguished contributions to motorsports in California. Named in honor of Shav Glick, who passed away in 2007. Glick was a long-time motorsports writer for the Los Angeles Times and a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
      During Walker Evans career he has accumulated 142 total victories and 21 championship titles in off-road desert and short course racing. In 2004, he was inducted into the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame. For a period of time he was also a driver and owner of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck. Frank Kurtis designed and built midgets, quarter-midgets, sports cars, sprint cars and Indy cars. In his career he created 120 Indianapolis 500 cars, including five winners. He has been inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. He was the originator of the Indy Roadster.
      Rated #16 on NHRA’s Top 50 drivers list, Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen, is one of thirteen drivers to win a national event in both Funny Car and Top Fuel. In his thirty-five plus year career he not only generated a lot publicity but also won five NHRA Nationals. He and Don “the Snake” Prudhomme were the famous Hot Wheels team of “the Snake and Mongoose”.
      A pioneer in off-road motorcycling, Malcolm Smith, gained fame for his accomplishments in the International Six Day Enduro competitions and the Baja 1000. Smith was also known for his role in the 1970’s motorcycle movie “On Any Sunday”, which launched the popularity of off-road motorcycling in America. Smith was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
      The motor racing legend winner will be picked by a judging panel that includes National and California motorsports writers. Previous winners of the prestigious Shav Glick Award are Rick Mears, Carroll Shelby, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Wally Parks, Parnelli Jones, and last year’s winner John Force among others. The award will be given out during the pre-race ceremonies at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 500, February 22nd, at the Auto Club Speedway.
02.26.09: Frank Kurtis Wins 2009 Justice Brothers Shav Glick Award -- Famous innovator and race car designer Frank Kurtis has won the prestigious Justice Brothers - Shav Glick Award for 2009, which was accepted by his son Arlen. The 9th Annual Justice Brothers sponsored award was presented during the pre-race ceremonies at the NASCAR Auto Club 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. This coveted award is named in honor of Shav Glick, a long-time motorsports writer for the Los Angeles Times and a member of the Motorsports Hall Of Fame. Frank Kurtis, who passed away in 1987, was born in 1908 and fell in love with racing and the Indianapolis 500 as a young man. He devoted his life to innovative racecar theory and design, resulting in the supercharged V8 powered, front-wheel-drive Novi Governor Special, which set a new track record of 133.944-mph at Indy in 1946. Another racecar designed by his company Kurtis Kraft, broke that record in 1950. Also in 1950, a Kurtis-built rear-drive racer with independent front suspension and driven by Johnnie Parsons, won the Indy 500. Many design innovations were to follow, including his ‘52 Indy roadster, in which the driver sat beside the drive shaft instead of over it. Kurtis cars won five Indianapolis victories in six years. The ’52 Indy pole position was won by the Kurtis designed Cummins Diesel powered racecar. For 1953, 24 of the 33 Indy starters were Kurtis designed/built cars. Frank Kurtis retired in 1968 and Arlen took over the business, which developed parts for the SR-71, manufactured parts for drag racing and performance boating as well as “start carts” for the SR-71.


International Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Plans Finalized
      Talladega Ala. January 27, 2009: Tickets are now available for the 2009 International Motorsports Hall of Fame (IMHOF) Induction Ceremony, scheduled for April 23, 2009 at the SPEED Channel Dome in Talladega, Ala. This year’s black-tie optional ceremony begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. and the banquet and awards ceremony immediately following. The five inductees being honored are: J.C. Agajanian, Donnie Allison, Jerry Cook, Bud Moore and Raymond Parks.
      In addition to the five inductees, NHRA Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher will be on hand to accept his award as the 2008 Driver of the Year and 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series Champion Justin Allgaier will also be recognized during the ceremony.
      “This is a very special group of inductees and honorees,” said Talladega Superspeedway President and IMHOF Executive Director Rick Humphrey. “Each of the inductees are legends in the motorsports world. Though their careers ended years ago, their legacies continue on to this day. Our special honorees, Tony Schumacher and Justin Allgaier, were both champions in 2008 and are creating their own legacies. The Induction Ceremony is the opportunity to see a blend of racing generations.” About the Inductees
25 posted on 03/14/2009 5:27:16 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Since I rarely drink alcohol I don't care what ABInBev does. Well . . .
as long as they don't get rid of the Bud Girls at NHRA events. - fla




26 posted on 03/14/2009 5:28:43 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

Post #26—proof that God does exist.


27 posted on 03/14/2009 5:34:27 PM PDT by exit82 (The Obama Cabinet: There was more brainpower on Gilligan's Island.)
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To: flattorney
Top NHRA Women Drivers
As of end of 2008 Season

NHRA WORLD CHAMPIONS:
1. Shirley Muldowney, Top Fuel 1977, 1980, 1982
1. Angelle Sampey, Pro Stock Motorcycle 2000, 2001, 2002

NHRA VICTORIES:
1. Angelle Sampey, Pro Stock Motorcycle: 41 - 1st Reading 1996, last Houston 2007
2. Shirley Muldowney, Top Fuel: 18 - 1st Columbus 1976, last Phoenix 1989
3. Karen Stoffer, Pro Stock Motorcycle: 5 - 1st Houston 2004, last Atlanta 2007
4. Shelly Anderson, Top Fuel: 4 - 1st Reading 1993, last Seattle 1996
4. Lori Johns, Top Fuel: 4 - 1st Pomona 1990, last Memphis 1991
4. Melanie Troxel, Top Fuel: 3, Funny Car: 1 - TF 1st Pomona ‘06, last St. Louis ’07; FC Bristol, ‘08
7. Lucille Lee, Top Fuel: 1 - Atlanta 1982
7. Cristen Powell, Top Fuel: 1 - Englishtown 1997
7. Peggy Llewellyn, Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1 - Dallas 2007
7. Ashley Force Hood, Funny Car: 1 - Atlanta, 2008
7. Hillary Will, Top Fuel: 1 - Topeka, 2008 (A)
- - (A) Became fastest female in NHRA history, 334.65 mph at ‘08 Winternational, Pomona

NHRA EVENT NUMBER 1 QUALIFIER:
1. Angelle Sampey, PSM: 45 - 1st Reading 1996, last Las Vegas 2008
2. Shirley Muldowney, TF: 13 - 1st Columbus 1976, last Phoenix 1989
3. Melanie Troxel, TF\FC: 4 - TF 1st Bristol ‘06, last Denver ‘07; FC Chicago ‘08
4. Ashley Force Hood, FC: 3 - 1st Sonoma 2008, last Memphis 2008
5. Lucille Lee, TF: 1 - Denver 1982
5. Lori Johns, TF: 1 - Denver 1991
5. Shelly Anderson, TF: 1 - Pomona 1994
5. Cristen Powell, TF: 1 - Seattle 1998
5. Erica Enders, PS: 1 - Topeka 2006
5. Karen Stoffer, PSM: 1 - Sonoma 2008
-- 2008 Season Update by FlA & Co. --

The unfortunate fact of this list is, to-date, funny car driver Ashley Force Hood, pro stock car Erica Enders and pro stock motorcycle Karen Stoffer are the only top NHRA women drivers racing this season. Due to lack of sponsorship, Erica didn’t race in the 2008 season and only raced a limited 2007 season. Angelle ”The Winningness Women Driver in NHRA History” Sampey, Melanie Troxel, and Hillary Will lost their 2009 sponsors. All are outstanding drivers and individuals off the track. For example, everything I know about pro stock motorcycles comes from talking to Angelle and her crew members over the years. Pro stock motorcycle Peggy Llewellyn raced for the 2007 season but lost her ride to Angelle for the 2008 season. See finally found another 2008 sponsor that allowed her to race in six events, which she qualified for five, and made it to the semifinals at one. Currently there is no news if Peggy will be able to race this season. She was unbelievable in 2007, after a five year absence from NHRA racing. Incredible individual and driver who we greatly need back. The pro stock motorcycle 2009 NHRA season doesn't start until March 12-15 at the NHRA Gatornationals. Hopefully there will be some positive developments. Also, hopefully Melanie and Hillary will get a ride line-up, even if only for part of the season. One of the things I like about NHRA is we have women racers, unlike NASCAR, and they are very impressive. - fla

Videos: Honoring NHRA Women Drivers: (1) (2) (3) (4)

28 posted on 03/14/2009 5:34:49 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Honoring The Godmother of NHRA Drag Racing

NHRA Top Fuel World Champion, 1977, 1980, 1982
AHRA World Championship 1981

NHRA 5th Greatest | 1990, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
2004, International Motorsports Hall of Fame | 2006, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame
Vintage “Cha Cha” Racing Photos | 100’s more photos

Shirley Muldowney, First Woman To:
(1) Obtain her NHRA Top Fuel license;
(2) Advance to a final round in Top Fuel, 1975 NHRA Spring Nationals, Columbus, Ohio;
(3) Win in Top Fuel, 1976 NHRA Spring Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, and
(4) Qualify No. 1 in a pro category, 1976 NHRA Spring Nationals - 6.031 seconds, 229 mph;
(5) Repeat (male or female) as NHRA Top Fuel World champion after her 1st 1977 title (1980,’82);
(6) Clock a four-second run, 1989 NHRA Keystone Nationals, Reading, PA, 4.974 seconds, 284 mph;
(7) Be included (only female) in NHRA's list of Top 50 greatest drivers, at No. 5. Nitro drivers Don Garlits,
      John Force, Don Prudhomme, and pro stock driver Bob Glidden are 1-4;
(8) Be inducted (only female) in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
-----
(A) Shirley was the second women, behind NASCAR's Louise Smith, inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
(B) In 1982, Shirley and Top Fuel driver Lucille Lee met in the first all-female final round in NHRA history. Shirley won at 5.711 seconds, 233.16 mph to Lee's 6.052 seconds, 207.85 mph.
(C) In 1971, Shirley won her first Funny Car national event at the International Hot Rod Association's Southern Nationals, Rockingham, NC. Because the IHRA was in their first season, and racing outside of the NHRA, her win was largely unrecognized.

5 Stars Vintage Shirley Videos:
1972: Great behind the scenes video when Shirley was driving a Funny Car for Connie Kalitta. After she was injured in a bad fire at the 1973 NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis (worst of four fires Shirley had during her funny car career), she switched to Top Fuel dragsters.
06.13.76 Spring Nationals, Columbus Ohio: Great video of Shirley’s first NHRA Top Fuel event win driving for Connie Kalitta. In addition to her first win, it was also her first time to qualify No.1 at 6.031 seconds, 229 mph. She also posted low elapsed time of the event at 5.96, 244 mph. 1977: Video shows Shirley's major wins on the way to her first of three NHRA Top Fuel World Championships. Don Prudhomme does the color commentary with additional comments and interview by Shirley.
Movie: Heart Like a Wheel (1983) - The Drag Racing Story of Shirley Muldowney. First feature movie of any NHRA drag racer. It's a surprisingly good movie for drag racing buffs. - Video: Honoring Shirley




Shirley: ‘69, ‘79, and ’73, “Cha Cha”(right) with legendary nitro racer and wildman
“Jungle Jim” Liberman(RIP) and his also legendary sidekick “Jungle Pam” Hardy - fla

29 posted on 03/14/2009 5:36:25 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Angelle Sampey
The Winningness Women in NHRA History
and the Queen of Cool

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle World Champion 2000, 2001, 2002
41 NHRA Wins ~ 45 No. 1 Qualifier ~ 68 Finals Appearances
Most Career Wins and Final Round Appearances of any active PSM Driver
Currently holds the NHRA Record for the Quickest PSM Elapsed Time at 6.871 seconds






Photos 1-4: 07.27.08 Infineon Raceway; 5: 09.14.08: Angelle puts Karen Stoffer on the trailer at the
new zMAX Dragway(1), Lowe's Motor Speedway; 6: Thirteen(13) years of sponsorship “leathers”
Videos: (1) zMAZ Runs/Interview | 07.14.08 Angelle talks about her NHRA career | Tribute


'Nough said. . . . fla

30 posted on 03/14/2009 5:38:10 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
This is very good news. Pro Stocks needs a good women driver. Plus Erica is a Texas cutie and that sells tickets. - fla

Houston native Erica Enders returns to full-time NHRA Pro Stock racing


Erica Enders NHRA Profile | Video: Erica Enders at the ’07 Gatornationals discussing what it's like to be a NHRA drag racer.

01.29.09: As if Ford fans didn't have enough to cheer about with the highly anticipated debut of the second-generation Cobra Jet Mustangs in Stock competition at the 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals, they'll have additional excitement with the comeback of Erica Enders, who is slated to run all 24 NHRA national events this year in Jim Cunningham's Pro Stock Mustang.

For Enders, the only female driver to have reached a final round and qualified No. 1 in Pro Stock, her return will unfold in multiple stages. She said, "We'll be at Pomona with Jim's current Mustang that I drove at last year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Jim has commissioned Don Ness and Jerry Haas to each build a 2010 Mustang with the new body style, which we hope to take delivery on in April. And Jim has also worked out an agreement with Ford to have some research-and-development work done with both the 500-cid Ford wedge engine and the aerodynamic enhancement of the Mustang bodies." Said Cunningham, "We are really excited about having Erica join our team as well as the working relationship that we've established with Ford. Over the winter, Ford has done some work with our existing parts, such as relocating the lifter bores so that we can obtain a higher rpm level to raise the power band. But the real gains will hopefully materialize later this year when we will have new blocks and cylinder heads from Ford that will incorporate many technological improvements developed by Ford's engineering department."

Said North America Motorsports Director of Ford Motor Co. Brian Wolfe, "We are excited about working with Erica and Jim on their efforts in Pro Stock. We are working on a new cylinder block and cylinder head that we hope to get approved by NHRA for competition later this year." The engine research-and-development program is being financed by Cunningham, but Ford will be providing the very valuable engine engineering support along with wind-tunnel time while working in conjunction with Don Ness on the development of the '10 Mustang Pro Stock body.

"Last year was very tough for me not being able to compete, but I am very glad that I attended as many races as I did last year in order to maintain my contacts with NHRA racing, and it was my trip to Indianapolis that made all this happen," said Enders. Cunningham had entered the 2008 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals to compete in Pro Stock but had to withdraw at the beginning of the event because of a family emergency and picked Enders to be his last-minute replacement. Although Enders did not qualify, the effort marked the beginning of what would evolve into their current business relationship and Enders' return to racing. "I am obviously very excited about the potential of this new team," she said. "We are thrilled with every aspect of the operation, ranging from the cooperation that we are getting from Ford to the new paint scheme on the car, which is very different from anything I've driven in the past. And it's going to be great to be back in contact with all of our fans, whom I have missed so much."

Cunningham, who has owned Capitol Raceway in Maryland since 1974 and owns a construction business, said, "I have been a Ford fan for virtually all my life. My father bought me a Chevy when I was 16 in 1954, and I didn't like it. My next car was a Ford, and I've stuck with them ever since. Watching such Ford heroes as Bill Lawton, Gas Ronda, Dick Brannan, Don Nicholson, and others not only inspired me to race Fords, but I've also used Ford vehicles for my business operations. I've had as many as 80 Ford pickups at one time for my construction operation.

"We expect to show some moderate improvement at Pomona with the reworked engine, but what we are really looking forward to are the performance gains we hope to obtain from the new engine program and the new Mustang body later on this season. It will take some time to refine these new components where they will be at maximum potential. But it will be worth the wait if we can once again establish Ford as a major contender in Pro Stock." Enders' primary sponsor is Dragstar, a company owned by Mark and Gina Whisnant that markets a line of girls' clothing; other backers are major associate sponsor Mastercam, Ford, Sparco Safety Equipment, Momentum Bio Fuels (owned by Enders' father, Gregg), Royal Purple, Master Formula, and Lupe Tortilla.




31 posted on 03/14/2009 5:39:27 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
New Drag Racing Reality Show in the works entitled “Girls In Drag”
Competition Plus by Kathy Fisher
Saturday, 31 January 2009

Watch Demo Video (8:54 mins) - - A new TV show about girls learning how to drag race at Frank Hawley's Drag Racing school in Gainesville, Florida. It's Survivor and American Idol meet drag racing. And did we mention that the contestants are all girls?

Two-time NHRA World Champion and world renowned drag racing school owner/instructor, Frank Hawley along with Kevin Deane and Oakville Lane Productions, Inc have teamed up to bring to the world one of the hottest new reality TV shows – “Girls in Drag”. “Kevin and I have been discussing this project for about a year now. Kevin’s background speaks for itself with the various shows he works on including “PINKS”, “PINKS All Out” and “Pass Time”. He has great creative capabilities and we work really well together. We’re looking forward to getting a network to take this show so we can produce, what we think will be, one of the more entertaining reality shows on television today,” explained Hawley. Each episode of “Girls in Drag” will not only prove to be entertaining, but will offer some pretty high stakes for the twelve ladies who will eventually be selected in an upcoming nationwide casting search for the series. “In addition to becoming a national celebrity, the over-all winner of the show will receive a sponsored ride in a NHRA Super Comp Dragster,” said Hawley.

Kevin Deane, of Oakville Lane Productions, found over the last five years in his work on several other popular drag racing reality shows, that there is a true need for something for the ever-growing amount of females interested in drag racing to become competitors. “Having traveled throughout the country over the years, I have learned that the sport of drag racing is very accessible to many different people, unlike any other form of motorsports. I thought what if we took a dozen girls, sent them to the world’s best drag racing instructor,” Deane pauses. “And even though they had never done it before, could we turn one into a pro?” “This show will give drag racing more exposure. When you see a dozen girls from all walks of life, who have never raced, succeed with Frank’s great instruction, people are going to stop and think…’well wow if she can do it, I can do it,” Deane added.

A demo of the series, (a demo is a short sample of what the show may look like), was shot recently at Frank Hawley’s Drag Racing School’s Gainesville Raceway location. This demo can be viewed not only on the Oakville Lane Productions’ website but also on YouTube. “We learned a lot just shooting the demo and a lot about how fiercely girls will compete,” smiled Deane as he reflected on the shoot. “What was cool was these girls knew…it was just a demo and no one was going to win anything, yet they went for it. It was just amazing that they went at it like they did.” “We really appreciate the ladies who took part and helped us put this demo together. Although it was done like a show, they won’t be in the show,” Hawley elaborated on the online demo. “When we get ready to shoot the actual TV show, which we are hoping that will take place this spring, we are going to be doing a nationwide search for the twelve girls who will compete on this show.” The contestants are going to have to show that they can excel in this sport both on and off the track.

“When we cast the actual show, we’re going to be looking for gals who have personalities. We’re looking for a group of real characters,” Deane explained, emphasizing on the character part. Girls that have an interest in drag racing but have never had a chance to take part. Maybe their dad, husband, boyfriend, has given them exposure to the track but they’ve never had an opportunity to go give it a try. With the nationwide search, we want to find ladies who will really get out there and duke it out, because one person is going to win a chance of a lifetime.”

To become the last woman standing and overall winner of “Girls in Drag”, Hawley points out that earning a NHRA license will only be one of the tests for the twelve contestants. “Unlike the demo, when we shoot the actual show, we’re going to be doing a lot of things with the girls. They’re not just going to be driving. They are going to have public relations instruction, learn how to work with the media and how to find and work with sponsors. They will take part in a lot of “off-track” activities, in other words the same types of things that professional drivers do. They are even going to do some work on the cars.” “Throughout this show, they are going to participate in a wide range of activities that a professional driver may be required to be a part of,” added Hawley.

The initial plans are to have twelve drivers and as the show goes along be eliminated to eight, then to four. Those four remaining drivers will then compete at a to-be-named, real drag race. From there the ultimate winner will be chosen and awarded the sponsored ride in a NHRA Super Comp Dragster. Before casting for the actual TV show can commence, the show’s producers want to hear from you. Visit www.oakvillelane.com and click on “Girls in Drag”. View the show demo, then email Kevin Deane your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions plus you can even let him know if you or someone you know might like to take part!


Frank Hawley, NHRA Funny Car World Champion 1982-83 | NHRA 43rd Greatest
Drag Racing School Locations: Gainesville(Home Office) & Pomona

32 posted on 03/14/2009 5:43:31 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
One Year Ago, The Start of a Bad 2008 NHRA Championship Drag Racing Season
2008 NHRA Winternationals, 1st Round Final Eliminations
Tony Pedregon and John Force

Above photo: In the first race of the NHRA 2008 season, in the first round of T/F Funny Car eliminations, defending Champion Tony Pedregon (2007 & 2003) was up against John Force. It was John's first race back since his horrific September 23, 2007 accident at Dallas, and he still has several more months required to fully heal. At the end of the run Tony sustained a massive, no warning, explosion and very serious fire. John was in the other lane towards the rear of Tony’s car. In the above left photo you can see the nose of John’s car in the right lane. To avoid flying debris from Tony’s car, John pulled his chutes late and ended up in the shutdown sandtrap. John was alright, and Tony sustained second degree burns to his hands, particularly his right hand. The damage to his firesuit indicated very intense fire and heat. During Top Fuel qualifying J.R. Todd also had a nasty top-end crash with the wall due to a front-end chassis failure. Hopefully this is not indicative of the season. – FlA (From FlAttorney’s FR “Straight Talk” 2008 NHRA section archive)
VIDEOS: Tony Pedregon-John Force Accident | J.R. Todd Crash
02.12.08 Video: MSNBC “Today Show”, 6:47 mins : Excellent interview with Tony two days, after the accident, with complete track footage, photos, and John Force comments . See full story attachment at end of post.

More photos of the race start and aftermath of Tony’s funny car explosion and fire


The explosion was so severe the entire rear of the car is not touching the track



They’re either radical nitro motors or monstrous gernades. Either way, sitting behind one of them takes more guts-craziness than I have. I’ll stick with motor behind the driver alcohol dragsters. - fla

More Serious Problems leading up to the Loss of a Two-Time NHRA World Champion Nitro Driver
03.16.08 39th Annual NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, FL: In the first round of eliminations, Tony Pedregon's brother, Cruz (2008 Funny Car World Champion), experienced a major explosion and fire after his Funny Car's throttle hung wide-open at the end of his 310+ mph run - Article, Photos, Video. Amazingly he won the race, his crew was able to rebuild the car, and Cruz ran a great second round of eliminations, but lost. Brother Tony (2007 & 2003 Funny Car World Champion), recovered from burn injuries resulting from a huge Winternationals NHRA season opening top-end explosion and serious fire, won Top Fuel Funny Car. - NHRA Results Article ~ fla

06.07.08 Route 66 Nationals, Joliet (Chicago), IL: Two-time NHRA world funny car champion Tony Pedregon experienced a second very serious top-end fire during qualifying at the NHRA Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 Nationals. He walked away from the accident and his crew was able to rebuild his car - Video. The next day, Tony won funny car eliminations and hosted the “Wally”– NHRA Results Article. Tony's motor explosion and accident created further controversy because, blinded by the fire and smoke, Tony’s car hit an opening in the track wall due to a gate being opened (or left open from the previous race) by NHRA safety officials. This is not the first time NHRA has left a track retaining wall gate open which compounded a nitro driver's accident. – fla
06.09.08: Tony Pedregon Hit Open Gate In Saturday Crash
07.20.08: More On Pedregon's Gate Incident - “The Dirt”: What really happened. Did NHRA officials lie and cover-up their negligence in leaving the gate open?

06.21.08: Two weeks later, two time NHRA World Top Fuel Champion Scott Kalitta is killed by a huge top-end funny car explosion and crash at the NHRA SuperNationals, Englishtown, NJ - NHRA Results Article. Scott's horrendous death rest squarely on NHRA's ineptness. – fla
06.26.08: Demanding Changes, Racers Speak Out On Shutdown Areas
- - Safety goes both ways as drivers say. ~ Good article - fla

ATTACHMENT:
02.12.08: NHRA’s defending World Funny Car champion, Tony Pedregon, recalls fiery explosion at 2008 Winternationals
      After being injured in a spectacular explosion of his funny car on a California drag strip, driver Tony Pedregon thought about his own mortality and pondered quitting the high-octane sport he loves. “For the first time in my career, I sat in the hospital wondering if I could have had a desk job,” the drag racer told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer during an exclusive interview Tuesday in New York.
      On Sunday, in the opening round of the 48th Winternationals drag races in Pomona, Calif., the engine of Pedregon’s 8,000-horsepower dragster exploded without warning as the land rocket reached speeds approaching 300 mph. In race videos that have since been replayed countless times, the body of the car literally disintegrates as Pedregon, engulfed in a ball of flame, slams into a concrete barrier, slides across the track into the opposite wall and finally comes to a smoldering halt. The 42-year-old Pedregon told Lauer that he had no warning that something terrible was about to happen.
      “It really caught me off guard,” he said. “The first thing I felt — I remember the concussion. I remember the very intense heat, and a couple things came to mind. I wanted to try to get the car stopped. I was trying to keep in mind there was another race car on the other side. I was really trying to steer it, but every time I reached for the steering wheel and the brake, it was burning my hand. High speed and oxygen feeding that kind of fire just made it really intense.” It was the worst explosion most people in the sport had ever seen. “From my vantage point, the car just disintegrated,” his brother and fellow racer, Cruz Pedregon (2008 NHRA Funny Car World Champion - fla) , told NBC News. “That was the most violent high-speed explosion I’ve ever seen.”
      “I knew it was an inferno,” said Tony Pedregon. “I knew I was hanging on for dear life.” The other car in the heat was driven by Pedregon’s former partner, John Force, who was competing in his first race since breaking a leg, ankle and both hands in a race five months ago. When both cars came to a stop, Force was among the first to come to his friend’s aid. Pedregon walked away from the wreck, his fire-resistant racing suit in shreds and suffering second-degree burns to his right hand. It was while being held for observation at a hospital after being treated for his injuries that he pondered what had happened.
      His wife, Andrea, who is pregnant, was at their home in Fort Gratiot, Mich., with their other two children at the time of the accident, and on Tuesday she still hadn’t seen her husband, who was due to return home after the TODAY appearance and a doctor’s appointment. But she did get to say hello to him during the interview via a satellite hookup. Lauer asked Andrea Pedregon if she wants her husband to continue racing after such a near brush with tragedy. “I have a lot of faith in our team, our crew and my husband,” she said. “The sport itself tends to get safer. I’m OK with it. It’s what he loves to do, so I’m all for it.”
      Racing In His Genes - - Pedregon comes from racing blood. His father, Frank, raced top fuel dragsters in the 1960s, and Tony Pedregon is a national champion in funny cars, which are front-engine dragsters with fiberglass bodies that look like production cars. Running up to 9,000 horsepower, they are capable of surpassing 320 mph in a quarter mile. Pedregon said he got over his questions about his career choice quickly. Vehicle safety has constantly improved in auto racing, and the fact that he walked away from his wreck with just second-degree burns on his right hand is a testament to the technology that goes into the race cars. He was as surprised as anyone at the relatively minor nature of his injuries. “Looking at it, I’d have thought I got hurt a lot worse than what I did,” he said. Once he saw that he wasn’t badly injured, he knew he’d be back on the track despite the gauze mitten that was wrapped around his injured hand. “A week and a half, I’ll be back in the seat,” he told Lauer. “I’ll be back at it.”

33 posted on 03/14/2009 5:46:24 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney



1st of 24 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Events
Schedule | Entries List | Team Reports | NHRA Results: Detailed Article | Competition Plus Coverage
2008 Winners: TF Tony Schumacher ~ FC Robert Hight ~ PS Greg Anderson
The 2009 season for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series blasts off with the 49th Annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California Every February since 1961, fans have flocked to Southern California not just for the un-winterlike weather, but also for one of drag racing’s grandest traditions: the unveiling of new cars, drivers, teams, and sponsorships at the season opener. The Big Go West plays out at the fabled facility known for its outstanding traction, smooth surface, and potential for record performances. Teams hope to use the opener as a springboard in their pursuit of a spot in the Countdown to 10 championship program.
Doug Kalitta, Ron Capps and Jason Line Earn Wins at Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals
02.10.09 Pomona, Calif. --

Doug Kalitta
Doug Kalitta raced to his first Top Fuel victory in more than a year Tuesday at the significantly rain-delayed Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Ron Capps and Jason Line also were winners in their respective categories at the first of 24 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events in 2009. The season-opening event, which had been plagued by five straight days of rain delays, was finally completed under clear blue skies.

Kalitta powered his Kalitta Motorsports dragster to a winning performance of 3.822 seconds at 308.57 mph to take an emotional win over top qualifier Antron Brown, whose Matco Tools dragster trailed with a 3.847 at 307.16.

Kalitta said he was thrilled to win at the same track where his uncle Connie Kalitta, the legendary drag racer who is celebrating his 50th anniversary in the sport this year, and his late cousin Scott, who was killed last year in a crash at Englishtown, N.J., had both previously won (Scott in 2005, Connie in 1967).


Doug Kalitta
"The Kalitta name has a long history at this track as both Connie and Scott have won here, so I am glad to be able to join them on the list," said Kalitta of his 31st career victory. "We're back. It was kind of a dry spell for us last year. The new team I have this year is really great and they are hungry to win, so I am glad we were able to get it done today."

Doug said the roll cage on his dragster today was the same one used by Scott in his win at this event in 2005. He said Scott was in his thoughts throughout the day.

"I think of Scott when I am up on the line all of the time and still use some of the techniques he taught me to get motivated before a race, so he's always riding with me," Kalitta said. "I am sure he was watching over us and he's really proud that all three Kalittas have now won here at Pomona."


Ron Capps
Capps also ended a year-long winless drought in Funny Car, posting a performance of 4.154 at 296.96 in his NAPA Dodge Charger to hold off surprise finalist Jim Head, whose Head Racing Toyota Solara lost traction at the start of the race. It was Capps' 26th career victory and second at this event (also 1998).

"It's cool to be the first Full Throttle winner," Capps said. "And it's great for NAPA. We really wanted to get them a win this year because they really like our program and love what NHRA does for them because the customers can get so close. They were blown away when they came aboard last year and are doing so much with us with the TV commercials and everything. This is a big win for us."


Jason Line
Line claimed his 16th victory in Pro Stock and first ever at this track by outrunning Mike Edwards in the final round. Line drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to a 6.567 at a track record speed of 211.63 to hold off Edwards' Young Life/Penhall GXP, which trailed at 6.575 at 210.01.

"I drove pretty good out there which feels pretty good because I've been criticized for that in the past," said Line, who had a reaction time advantage on all four of his opponents. "I drove decent and had a pretty good hot rod - probably the second best one here - and I would have loved to have raced Greg (Anderson, teammate who set the national E.T. record at 6.528 seconds in the second round) in the final, but we had a good race and it feels good to win. I botched the shift in the final or I probably would have gotten the (national) speed record because I hit the chip in third gear and again in fifth gear because I was so excited to be getting down the track in the final."

Tuesday's Final Results, 49th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals:
Top Fuel -- Doug Kalitta, 3.822 seconds, 308.57 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.847 seconds, 307.16 mph.
Funny Car -- Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.154, 296.96 def. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, no time.
Pro Stock -- Jason Line, Pontiac GXP, 6.567, 211.63 def. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.575, 210.01.
- Credit DRC


Home: The FR 2009 NHRA Championship Drag Racing Thread
FlAttorney's FR Racing

34 posted on 03/14/2009 5:56:39 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

Bump and wow - great thread!!

Love the Shelby 750-horsepower GT500 Super Snake Prudhomme Edition!! Used to know him many moons ago.

Congrats to Carroll and Don on a great looking car. Only a 100 to go around.


35 posted on 03/14/2009 5:58:15 PM PDT by WestCoastGal (If he wants to come by the bus after the race and get his a$$ whooped, I'll do it. - Dale Jr)
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To: flattorney


      While the NHRA 2009 season got off to a very rough start (see next post), I could not have picked two better nitro drivers to win the season opener than Top Fuel Doug Kalitta and Funny Car Ron Capps. As show below, Doug earned a tough and well deserved win. Also, congrats to Pro Stock Jason Line(1). I would have liked to see his Summit Racing teammate Greg Anderson(2) win the Winternationals “Wally”, as he did last year, but Jason is a great guy and great driver. Greg “The Man” Anderson and Summit Racing is the only reason I have any interest in Pro Stock.
(1) 2006 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion
(2) 2003, 04, 05 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion

      Due to the economy, Kalitta Motorsports experienced a significant loss of sponsors. Presently, Doug is not funded to run the full season. Hopefully, his win will help in locating additional sponsors. I hated that Conrad "Connie" Kalitta had to “mothball” his other two 2008 Top Fuel teams of Hillary Will and Dave Grubnic. Aussie “Grubby” is a great guy and NHRA needs a good female Top Fuel driver like Hillary for 2009. However of the three drivers, Doug is the best and Connie made the right decision.
      Currently, there are no women racing in Top Fuel. Melanie Troxel is the other very good Top Fuel female driver. She raced in Top Fuel until the end of the 2007 season, then switched over to a Funny Car for the 2008 season. Unfortunately, Melanie is without sponsorship for the 2009 season, as is her Funny Car driving husband Tommy Johnson Jr., who drove for Kenny Bernstein Racing. I thought it was a mistake when Melanie moved to Funny Car because Ashley Force Hood gets all the female media exposure and there were more cars competing in the FC division than the Top Fuel division. Hopefully, Melanie will find adequate sponsorship and come back to Top Fuel. ~ fla
A cold and "green" track makes for wild and unhappy nitro dragsters. In the first round of Top Fuel eliminations, held on Sunday before rain ended racing, Doug Kalitta experiences a major engine fire but still won the race. 1:17 of video: Doug's huge fireball, but he keeps his foot in it. Many pro cars experienced severe starting-line tire shake and wheel hop. - fla
Good Video: 02.2-3.09: Doug Kalitta testing at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Nitro Racing Teams' Press Releases
Kalitta Motorsports: Doug Kalitta wins 2009 NHRA Top Fuel opener in Pomona


Don Schumacher Racing: Ron Capps wins Pomona!



MotorSports NHRA 2009 Winternationals:
Winternationals End On High Note | Final Eliminatons Report
Finals Round-by-Round Results | Final Top 16 Finish Order

Great photo of Connie and Doug. And great photos of my main man Ron Capps, and my No. 1 favorite active NHRA legend Ed McCulloch(Crew Chief), that we combined, edited, and digitized. It would be fantastic to see Ron win a Funny Car World Championship this year. With he and Ed's substantial talent, strong team sponsorship, and racing for/backed by the highly successful Don Schumacher Racing, there is no excuse for not winning it all this season. NAPA recently updated their NAPA-NHRA website and corrected/eliminated all the corrupted NHRA related links caused by NHRA's new website. It looks great. Click the above banner if you wish to check it out. ~ fla <> Original photos credit: Kalitta Motorsports, CP, DRO, NAPA
36 posted on 03/14/2009 5:59:41 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

Great looking thread!

GO ANGELLE!!!!


37 posted on 03/14/2009 6:03:30 PM PDT by SouthTexas (Pending....)
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To: flattorney

Great drag racing post.Some great stories and pics

Had`nt seen Darryl Gwyn in several years,he looks
better than the last time I saw him.

What a great charity,I`m gonna send a few bucks tonight


38 posted on 03/14/2009 6:41:21 PM PDT by Harold Shea (RVN `70 - `71)
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To: flattorney

FlA Says: The 2009 NHRA season didn’t get off to a very good start. Hope it's not a bad omen like 2008. From Thursday to Monday, it was rain, rain, and more rain. There was only one round of pro championship qualifying on Saturday, and weather only allowed one round of eliminations on Sunday. Monday was another washout, and then the rain left to allow pro eliminations on Tuesday. But, if you were like 2009 sidelined Top Fuel drivers Rod Fuller and Hillary Will, the Winternationals gave you plenty of time to work on your romance back at the hotel. I got a kick out of them on NHRA Race Day. Talk about major JBF looks *lol*.




On Thursday, during Stock Eliminator qualifying, John Irving hits and destroys the Christmas Tree after one of his rear wheels falls off immediately after he hit the throttle. Someone call the battered Christmas Tree hotline and report this guy.

On Saturday, the rain halted long enough to get in one round of pro championship qualifying before it started again. Qualifying was difficult with many cars having trouble getting down the track, along with several nitro engine explosions and fires. For the only qualifying round, there was a major problem with the timing clocks in the left lane. For a number of runs no final MPH was recorded. Also, several final E.T.'s were wrong based on incremental track ET's. NHRA set the final eliminations field with the questionable numbers but awarded no points. But hey, how about that Doug Kalitta in his nitro banana boat.


Southern California. . . the birthplace of NHRA. Many lost legendary drag strips on this map. Later this season, I/we will do a narrative and photos tribute post(s). The last twelve months there has been several great articles on these legendary SoCal drag strips.

I need to end the pre-season and '09 Winternationals posts on a high note *rummaging through my drag racing blown babes photos folder*. Here we go. . . . . .

39 posted on 03/14/2009 6:58:52 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

marking


40 posted on 03/14/2009 7:09:38 PM PDT by knews_hound (I for one welcome our new Insect overlords!)
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To: flattorney
American Drag Racing League

03.06.09: National Guard ADRL events to air on VERSUS The National Guard American Drag Racing League will air television coverage of its 2009 tour on VERSUS, a national cable sports network available in more than 75 million homes. VERSUS will televise 11 one-hour programs throughout 2009 that feature the National Guard ADRL tour’s unique brand of 21st century drag racing action. All 10 national events will be televised along with a special one-hour season finale that covers the Speedtech ADRL Battle for the Belts. - Schedule

The first event will air on March 29 and will feature coverage of the Safety-Kleen Dragpalooza V from Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas.

In each episode, viewers will be taken inside the National Guard ADRL family of racers with on-going storylines, features on the series’ many colorful personalities, easy-to-understand technical segments, as well as stories that spotlight the dedicated team members working behind the scenes. Following the season opener on March 29, additional airdates (all episodes will air Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern) are May 3; June 7 and 21; August 2, 16 and 23; September 6 and 27; November 8 and 22. Dates and times are subject to change.

"Airing our events on VERSUS is an important step in the evolution of the National Guard ADRL and we are enthusiastic about this opportunity to deliver our television product in a way that appeals to a national audience, attracts new fans to the National Guard ADRL, and is highly entertaining for all," said Jeff Fortune, Executive Vice President of the National Guard ADRL.

Each episode will be shot in high-definition (HD) with 5.1 sound and hosted by veteran drag racing commentator Brian Olson with ADRL President and CEO Kenny Nowling providing the color commentary. Drag racing historian and television personality Bret Kepner will handle both finish line and pit interviews.

FlA Says: The ADRL recently got my attention because of the below links on the NHRA vs. ADRL fiasco. I understand the ADRL's President reached a temporary agreement with NHRA so they could hold their March 6-7, 2009, ADRL Safety-Kleen Dragpalooza V at Houston Raceway Park and not put the track owner in a bad position regarding the upcoming NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. I have not reviewed this situation to understand who is right. However, NHRA thinks God gave them the right to control nitromethane use in all forms and organizations of drag strip racing. Matters became nasty last season with the wholesale nitro shortage and legendary mega-team owner Don Schumacher fined $100,000 by NHRA(largest fine in history) for having four barrels of unauthorized nitromethane fuel in his pit area - Articles: (1), (2)
      In my well supported opinion, NHRA is involved in nitromethane predatory price gouging. All NHRA nitro teams can only buy from NHRA's one authorized supplier, which there is an "interesting" relationship, and their prices are ridiculously unreasonable compared to other suppliers with the exact same nitro. Last season, nitro hit $29.75 per gallon. Nitro dragsters consume 8-10 gallons per full power run. Further, I have never liked Graham Light who is NHRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations. He's a bureaucrat and the key reason NHRA has serious drivers safety issues. Graham hit an all-time low with his conduct in this Schumacher fiasco. In the media, and without warning, the clown tried to chop Don off at the knees. What I like about Don Schumacher is that he doesn't kiss NHRA's royal rump, like some other NHRA legends and team owners who will remain nameless.

02.25.09: NHRA threatens ADRL, Houston Raceway Park with loss of sanction and '09 Spring Nationals
03.03.09: ADRL and NHRA in Turf War
-- I am glad the writer wrote this statement: "The last thing the NHRA needs is another… out-of-court settlement like they had with… Darrell Russell’s widow." <> The NHRA clearly had culpable liability in (Texan) Darrell Russell's horrific top-end Top Fuel dragster crash, June 27, 2004, at the NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Madison, IL. In my opinion, Graham Light personally tried to cover up NHRA's liability. One year after Darrell's death, his widow Julie sued NHRA et. al. in a Texas civil court alleging negligence, fraud, and civil conspiracy. And, Julie had plenty of legal muscle that assist her on a pro bono basis. NHRA eventually settled out-of-court to avoid a trial and public exposure. ~ fla

41 posted on 03/14/2009 7:13:08 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: lewislynn

Are you a H.A.M.B. member?


42 posted on 03/14/2009 7:22:13 PM PDT by kickonly88
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To: flattorney


February 20-22, 2009
2nd of 24 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Events
Schedule | Entry List | Team Reports | NHRA Results: Detailed Article | Competition Plus Coverage
2008 Winners: TF Larry Dixon ~ FC Jack Beckman ~ PS V. Gaines
NHRA’s annual duel in the desert has been a Southwest fixture since 1985, when it joined the tour in a late fall slot. Since 1990, it has been the second stop on the tour’s westward march and a place for teams to redeem mistakes made at the opener. Charlie Allen, a former Funny Car racer, constructed a track that makes people forget it sits at 1,100 feet above sea level. The facility is also known for its annual NHRA teams' preseason testing.
Antron Brown, Ron Capps and Jeg Coughlin Win Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals
02.22.09 Phoenix, Arizona --

Coughlin, Brown and Capps
Antron Brown in Top Fuel, Ron Capps in Funny Car and Jeg Coughlin in Pro Stock won the 25th annual Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals. Brown and Capps were making back-to-back final round appearances and each leaves with the points lead in their respective class. Coughlin, with his win, will leave Firebird International Raceway in second place, just two points behind Jason Line.

Brown, in the Matco Tools dragster, defeated Brandon Bernstein when Bernstein's car went up in smoke around 150 feet down the track. Brown collected his third "Wally" in Top Fuel with the win. Brown, who qualified third, defeated Del Cox Jr. in round one and Morgan Lucas in the quarterfinals. In the Semifinals, Brown defeated defending Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher, making the quickest pass of the round. After an off-season full of changes for Brown, he got his new team owner Mike Ashley and new crew chiefs Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald their first win as a Top Fuel dragster team.


Antron Brown
"This just shows how strong our team really is here at MAR (Mike Ashley Racing)," Brown said. "With all the adversity we dealt with this off season, this is just an awesome feeling. Lee Beard left us with a great race car and with Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald in here, there was no doubt in my mind that we'd do well.

"After testing, here in Phoenix last month, our team just really gelled. We didn't need any glue or adhesive we just stuck together. We just need to get more laps and to be more consistent. We've got an awesome race car. We were bummed to not win at Pomona last race because we really had the car to beat, but you can't count anyone out in this sport. To run that 3.81 in the semis today was awesome to show we can run with (Larry) Dixon and Tony (Schumacher) and all the top dogs. It's going to be a fun year in Top Fuel, but it'll be tough to win races with so many great teams."


Ron Capps
Capps, in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T, opens the 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing season with back-to-back wins in Funny Car, the first time this has happened since 1997, when John Force opened the season with consecutive wins. This is the 27th National event win for Capps and the first time he has won after qualifying number one. Capps won the final when Mike Neff broke on the burnout and Could not back up to the starting line. Capps defeated Jeff Arend, Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan and Del Worsham on his way to the final.

Capps credited his crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch for the NAPA team's newfound success this season. "He's the man," said Capps in the winner's circle. "He's done well in his career, driven Funny Cars, Top Fuel dragsters. He's my hero. I can't tell you how I feel right now. More than anything [this win is great] for the NAPA guys and for Ace. He really worked hard in the off season and kind of started from scratch with the tune-up.

"It's like a really good cook learning how to cook again completely differently. The car is just so different to run, to feel, and it puts me in the trunk at half-track. It's so much fun to drive and when the win light comes on, it's even better.

"To run the 4:04 in the final was awesome. Ace could've just tried to go down the track, but he wanted to give the fans the best run this weekend.


Jeg Coughlin
2007 and 2008 Pro Stock Champion Coughlin, in the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt, won in Phoenix for the second time in his career, defeating Kurt Johnson in the final round. This was the first time in eight final rounds against Johnson that Coughlin took the win light, even though he holds an overall head-to-head advantage against Johnson.

"That's a crazy stat," Coughlin admitted. "Any time you race Kurt you know you're in for a battle and it definitely means a little more to beat a driver of his caliber. I'll have to make sure and give him a hard time about this."

Coughlin put Steve Spiess, Jason Line and Ron Krisher in the trailer on his way to the final round.

"Sometimes you really have to fight your way through a race and that was certainly the case this weekend," said Coughlin, a 42-time winner in the Pro Stock class. "We're still trying to fine-tune this new Chevy and we're not at full speed just yet. My Dad and Roy (Simmons, crew chief) just kept at it every pass and the car was there for me. It's really cool to win for them and for my little man, Jeggie III, who came along this weekend. He's always good luck." # SNIP #
- - Courtesy Drag Race Central by Rick Green

Wed, 02.25.09: Now That Was Better
- - Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals Post-Event Review. Very good wrap-up article with numerous photos. I'm glad the author, Bob Frey, said something about the very large number of nitro engine explosions and out of control fires during qualifying (see my comments in next post) as follows: "The racing was good in every class at Phoenix, although I must admit there seemed to be more oil-downs than I can remember at recent events, especially the 1,000-foot races. I hope that's not a pattern that will repeat itself at future races." <> FlA Says: Bob has been around drag racing since the '60's and is highly regarded. Here's a good NHRA article about him, 04.29.07: For newest generation of fans, Frey is 'the voice' of drag racing.

Sat, 02.21.09: Father and Son Crew Chiefs Steals Firebird Spotlight - Ed and Jason McCulloch
      Jason McCulloch joined his legendary father Ed "the Ace" McCulloch in tuning his driver Larry Dixon to the No. 1 qualifying position at a National event Saturday, marking the first time in NHRA history such a feat has occurred. Just two races since being named crew chief of Larry Dixon's Al Anabi Racing Top Fuel dragster, Jason tuned Dixon to a class-leading 3.807 at 313.95 mph, while NHRA legend Ed (NHRA 19th Greatest Driver) guided Ron Capps to the top slot in Funny Car with a 4.023 at 305.63 mph in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T.
      "I'm so happy for Jason," Dixon said. "It's his first pole and he's part of something real special with the first father/son duo to get the pole at the same race. That's really cool. Normally the drivers get the credit, right or wrong, but today it needs to go to those two guys. It's well deserved." Dixon and crew held off a Saturday charge from six-time champion Tony Schumacher, who jumped up to second place with an improved 3.826 at 314.46 mph in the U.S. Army dragster.
      Like Dixon, Capps made his record run Friday, but that didn't diminish his enthusiasm for his longtime tuner's special moment. "Jason obviously soaked it all up from his old man," Capps said. "We all knew he'd be a great crew chief when he got the chance and I'm sure "Ace" is proud of him. "It's funny because those two are old school all the way, real gruff and all. Well a long time back I started making "Ace" give me a hug every day when I left the track. You know he didn't like it at first but it's kind of become our deal. Now I just say, "Okay, I'm outta here," and he'll automatically stand up to give me a hug. One day I said, "Do you hug Jason like this, and he was like, nah - Too funny." # SNIP # - Credit RDRN, Edited by FlA


Home: The FR 2009 NHRA Championship Drag Racing Thread
FlAttorney's FR Racing

43 posted on 03/14/2009 7:23:59 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney


Event Results, FlA Says: From the TV broadcast, other videos, and detailed track reports, Friday and Saturday nitro qualifying was very rough due to excessive engine explosions and fires. I can't remember the last time there has been this many. It was odd because many nitro teams tested at Firebird before the start of the 2009 season. However, the problems didn't surprise me because of NHRA's very bad decision to suspend track oildown monetary fines and points penalties for the 2009 season. The teams easily trashed $500,000 in parts during qualifying. Part of the problem was the left lane was bad for the entire event. Also, some inexperienced/less impressive drivers/teams were involved in engine explosions and fires. Maybe the Top Fuel crew chiefs and drivers just wanted to test the new NHRA mandated automatic safety shutoff controller *sarcasm*. The following nitro drivers experienced engine explosions and/or fires during qualifying, with none seriously injured - (R)ight Lane, (L)eft Lane:

== Top Fuel ==
Arley Langlo(L) - Major fire
Morgan Lucas(R)(L) - Two flash fires
Doug Kalitta(L) - Flash fireball. Had huge fire during Winternationals qualifying
Mike Strasburg(L) - Major explosion and fire
Troy Buff(L) - Flash Fire
Steve Faria(L) - Major fire
David Baca(L) - Major explosion and fire
== Funny Car ==
FC Tony Pedregon(R) - Explosion and very serious top-end fire that he had trouble getting under control.
Ashley Force(L) - Flash fire that came into the cockpit and around her helmet visor. She did a great job managing the incident.
-- List Compiled by FlA & Co.

Sunday's Final Eliminations went much better. Like Friday and Saturday, the weather was great but the left lane continued to be a major problem with about 95% of the wins coming in the right lane. Many nitro cars, and some pro stock cars, had trouble getting left lane traction with some experiencing major starting line tires shake/wheels hop. Great funny car event win by one of my favorite drivers Ron Capps. Two wins in a row for Ron with his NHRA legendary co-owner/crew-chief, and my No. 1 favorite active NHRA legend, Ed “The Ace” McCulloch. Unfortunately, the funny car finals was one of those situations where I wished both drivers could have won. Capps was up against Team Force's Mike Neff who had an outstanding weekend, despite his crew-chief John Medlen being in the hospital with heart problems. Below is the info on Eric’s(RIP) father’s situation. Latest report states John is doing alright but doesn't know when he will be released. Unfortunately, Mike's car broke(clutch linkage failure) during his burnout and his weekend was over. On his solo run, Capps didn't hold back and made a huge pass. Mike was the second Team Force funny car to experience mechanical problems in the Finals. After John Force's burnout, his engine was leaking fuel at the starting line. His crew finally got it stopped so he could stage. When the light went green, John lost traction and his weekend was over. John was very upset. I'm sure there was some butts kicked back at his pits. - fla


02.22.09: ESPN Video: Ron Capps Wins Two In A Row | Phoenix: Ron Capps Final Report

If you don't know about Top Fuel winner Antron Brown(website), he was Angelle Sampey's Pro Stock Motorcycle teammate until he moved to Top Fuel in 2008 because he and Angelle lost their U.S. Army sponsorship, as drivers for Don Schumacher Racing (largest NHRA racing team). As teammates, Antron and Angelle were very close. With his high pitched voice you wouldn't think he has the cojones to be a good drag racer, but he is. In PSM, Antron consistently had the lowest starting line reaction times I've ever seen. He had a great 2008 Top Fuel season finishing 5th in points, with two wins, and qualifed No. 1 three times. He's the only driver in NHRA history to win races in Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Pro Stock winner Jeg Coughlin, is another outstanding driver and individual with four NHRA Pro Stock World Championships, 2008, '07, '02, '00, 42 PS "Wallys"(event win trophies), and 69 Finals round appearances. This decade, Jeg, my main man Greg Anderson (2003, '04, '05 PS World Championship) and Greg's teammate 2009 Winternationals winner Jason Line (2006 PS World Championship) have dominated Pro Stock. There's no reason not to believe that one of these three will be the 2009 PS World Champion.


      02.19.09: John Medlen admitted to Indianapolis hospital - - Long-time John Force Racing crew chief John Medlen was admitted to an Indianapolis hospital for discomfort in his chest late Wednesday night. After an examination by doctors a routine medical procedure was performed and a stint was inserted into his heart. This is the second such procedure for the 59-year-old Medlen. In 2002, Medlen had a stint inserted as a precaution and, as a result, missed the NHRA national event at Seattle. He returned a week later to resume his responsibilities at Sonoma, Calif. A year later, he won the NHRA POWERade championship for JFR with driver Tony Pedregon.
      "John Medlen like everyone in my organization is an extremely hard worker," said team owner John Force. "We have been having meetings and working around the clock to start this season off as successfully as possible for all our sponsors. I know Medlen has already been talking with (driver) Mike Neff about how to run the Ford Drive One Ford Mustang this weekend. Incidents like this are why John Medlen wanted to bring Mike Neff on board.
      "Neff won the 2005 championship as a crew chief with Gary Scelzi so obviously he in a good position to step in to help out. Medlen wanted to have a back-up in the crew chief position on his team like I do with our other teams and now it is really paying off for us. We’ll have the whole crew chief brain trust working on that Mustang this weekend with input from Medlen in Indy."
44 posted on 03/14/2009 7:37:58 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

Great thread! and I wish they would return to 1/4 mile racing. How do I get on a ping list.


45 posted on 03/14/2009 7:38:34 PM PDT by kickonly88
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To: flattorney

March 12-15, 2009
3rd of 24 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Events
Event Schedule | Entry List | Team Reports | Live Audiocast (WMPlayer Direct) | Results
2008 Winners: TF Tony Schumacher ~ FC Tony Pedregon, ~ PS Jeg Coughlin ~ PSM Matt Guidera

Tickets | Fans Assistance KBase | Gainesville Chamber of Commerce
The Gatornationals attracts significant crowds. Many good local area hotels are booked months in advance.
Parking can be problematic so all fans must arrive several hours before championship racing starts.

Weather: Gainesville Race Track Maps: US Surface SEast: Surface IR Satellite Live Radar: 1 2 3
Forecasts may be inaccurate. Florida's Spring weather is unpredictable and can change on short notice.
      The Gatornationals is the NHRA East Coast opener and the season’s first of seventeen(17) events for Pro Stock Motorcycle riders. It's one of the sport’s most revered races with a rich tradition of history-making performances. It also typically hosts one of the largest event attendance of the NHRA championship drag racing season. And with good weather, the 40th Annual NHRA ACDelco Gatornationals should be no different with cash and contingency awards totaling more than $2 million. This hallowed race track has produced the first 260 mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984, and the first 270 mph and 300 mph Top Fuel passes in 1986 and 1992, respectively. During the 2000 NHRA Gatornationals, eight of ten National records were set in the professional classes. Gainesville Raceway's starting line 675 feet concrete launchpad, flat racing surface, and very long shutdown area, makes it one of the drivers' favorite on the tour.
      Gainesville Raceway opened in 1969 and held its first Gatornationals event in 1970. It’s the fourth oldest event on the NHRA Championship Drag Racing annual tour, behind the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, and the Winternationals and NHRA Finals at Pomona. Following the 2003 season, Gainesville Raceway has continued to undergo significant renovations. In 2008, a new $2.6 million three-story state-of-the-art control tower was completed, which is located directly behind the drag strip’s starting line. The track offices are on the first floor, race-control operations on the second floor, and a spacious media center on the top floor.
      Gainesville Raceway is the home of Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School, which for twenty-four years has been the leading school for drivers competing in the NHRA. Gainesville, and Gainesville Raceway, are also home to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. On Thursday, March 12, 2009, the 2009 inductees will be honored at the Annual International Hall Of Fame Banquet being held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center, Gainesville. The Gatornationals is noted for attracting a "who's who" of NHRA legends. Many attend unannounced and can be found in the pit areas. Don Garlits, NHRA No. 1 Greatest, will be attending the full Gatornationals event. Darrell Gwynn, NHRA No. 32nd Greatest, will be attending the Finals, on Sunday, March 15, 2009, in behalf of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, which is an official charity of the NHRA. ~ FlA
      The Four Championship Drag Racing Divisions Event Schedule
Fri. 03.13.09: Pro Stock Qualifying Session 1 (PS Motorcycle; PS Car): 11:30 am
Nitro Qualifying Session 1 (Funny Car; Top Fuel Dragster): 12:30 pm
Pro Stock Qualifying Session 2 - 2:30 pm
Nitro Qualifying Session 2 - 3:30 pm
Sat. 03.14.09: Pro Stock Qualifying Session 3 - 11:30 am
Nitro Qualifying Session 3 - 12:30 pm
Pro Stock Qualifying Session 4 - 2:30 pm
Nitro Qualifying Session 4 - 3:30 pm
Sun. 03.15.09: Pre-Race Ceremonies: 10:00 am
Final Eliminations: 11:00 am
   ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals Coverage (ET)
Sun, 03.15 Qualifying 2:00-4:00 am (ESPN2)
Sun, 03.15 Repeat Qualifying 10:00-11:30 am (ESPN2)
Sun, 03.15 NHRA Race Day 11:30 am-12:00 (ESPN2)
Sun, 03.15 Eliminations 3:00-6:00 pm (ESPN)(1)(2)
Wed, 03.18 Repeat Eliminations 2:30-4:30 am (ESPN2)
(1) Note channel change from ESPN2 to ESPN
(2) Watch Full Coverage On-Line at ESPN 360


Can’t get interviews from some of the NHRA drivers.
No problem, ESPN sends in a Brut Girl to get “the dirt”.


Photos, Greg & Kim Anderson: The media often calls John Force the Dale Earnhardt Sr. of drag racing. But the person that most reminds me of Dale is, without question, 3 time (2003-5) NHRA Pro Stock World Champion Greg Anderson. Greg has many of Dale’s mannerism, is a great guy, and a very tough competitor with 57 NHRA event wins. 2009 will be Greg’s 11th NHRA racing season. His wife Kim is on the starting line every time Greg makes a 1/4 mile pass. And, the male drag racing fans love her – more like lust for her. NHRA Profile | His Site Bio | Racing History ~ fla


Home: The FR 2009 NHRA Championship Drag Racing Thread
FlAttorney's FR Racing


46 posted on 03/14/2009 7:54:24 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney

      FlA Says: This will be my 10th consecutive year to attend the Gatornationals, and my 76th NHRA national drag racing event. Nine of us are making the trip and we are attending all three professional championship racing days from Friday to Sunday. Our attending group paid the highest prices ever for advanced 2009 Gatornationals tickets. So much for all of NHRA's marketing yap about lower ticket costs for this event. Basically, the good seats ticket holders are cross-subsidizing the "event filler" people in the general admission cheap seats. Nothing new, and hey socialism is now politically correct. However, I'm not complaining. Three days of Gatornational tickets were dramatically cheaper than the three NASCAR races we attended at Daytona International Speedway last month.
      Below are several recent track photos, except the last one. The aerial photo is over a decade old before major renovations started. It shows why Gainesville Raceway is one of my favorite tracks - flat and very long. In my book, this offsets the facility being dated, although it has come a long way the last six years. It's also the reason I waited until I moved to Florida to get back into a blown alcohol dragster after attending and receiving my certification from Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. Great track and great school (1.-Footnote). Check out the photo of the newly upgraded shutdown area sandtrap and catch-net. Construction was just completed. Now this is how they are suppose to look. Not like that joke at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, Englishtown that NHRA ignored until Scott Kalitta was killed.






      03.11.09 Weather: A major pressure front is moving towards north Florida, but is projected to stall out northern of Gainesville and not bring rain to the area until Mon-Wed of next week. However, some forecasts indicate a 20-30% rain chance on Sunday. Hopefully there will be no rain and thunderstorms like last year. Gainesville Raceway Fri-Sun Projection: Cloudy, fog during early mornings, low to mid-80's afternoon, low-moderate winds, mid-50's night, possibility of rain Sunday. It will be interesting to see what total attendance ends up being for the Gatornationals. Despite great weather, the attendance was down for the last NHRA race in Phoenix.
      Below is part of what I wrote about our attending the 2008 Gatornationals. All corrupted NHRA related links, which happened with the NHRA's new Feb. 2009 website, have been corrected by FlA & Co. and another new link added. Unfortunately, NHRA corrupted 98% of their archive webpages' links and they still have not fixed them.

Mon. 03.17.08, FlA Says: We had a good time at the 39th annual NHRA Gatornationals. Weather was much more problematic than the three NASCAR races we attended at Daytona International Speedway last month. The first day of qualifying was rained out, the second day was overcast, high humidity, and significant cross track winds. For Sunday’s eliminations the weather was great – sunny, low 80’s, low humidity, and low winds. The track was good but the nitro, and even some of the pro stock cars, had problems getting down the track due to the major changes in weather conditions between Saturday and Sunday. In the first round of eliminations, Tony Pedregon's brother, Cruz, experienced a major explosion and fire after his Funny Car's throttle hung wide-open at the end of his 310+ mph run - Article, Photos, Video. Amazingly he won the race, his crew was able to rebuild the car, and Cruz ran a great second round of eliminations, but lost. Brother Tony, recovered from burn injuries resulting from a huge season opener top-end explosion and serious fire at the Winternationals, won Top Fuel Funny Car. For the first time in 18 years, two time Funny Car champion Frank “The Teacher” Hawley returned to competition. Don "Big Daddy" Garlits was the Gatornationals Grand Marshal. He and Frank dedicated the track's new multi-million dollars three-story tower.

NHRA: Results Article | Detailed Results | Competition Plus Finals Coverage
Video: Honoring Eric Medlen, One Year Later - 5:36 minutes, plays direct in Windows Media Player
2008 Winners (L-R): PSM Matt Guidera ~ FC Tony Pedregon ~ TF Tony Schumacher ~ PS Jeg Coughlin


FOOTNOTE:
      (1) On the personal racing subject, all my racing friends are very surprised that I have not learned to drive a grand national stock car because NASCAR racing has been/is a very important part of my racing life, and I've always liked the pre-COT cars. It was my No. 1 "free time" priority when I moved to Florida. But with four NASCAR drivers killed at the track in nine months culminating with the February 18, 2001 loss of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., I walked away from the sport until 2003. I attended the 2001 Daytona 500 when Dale was killed. Without question, it was the toughest racing loss I’ve ever dealt with and for me, was the end of NASCAR's best racing years. However, the only Daytona 500 I’ve missed attending this decade is 2002. But, attending the Daytona NASCAR races is as much for business reasons as it is personal. My/our attendance at the Talladega NASCAR races is mostly personal. By the time I got interested again in learning to drive a grand national stock car I was too busy with work, politics, and later on a deal I couldn't refuse, I joined a team and begin offshore Grand Prix superboat racing. Further, the best school and track to learn to drive is at Talladega Superspeedway, which is not convenient. But, with the recession and the National GOP out of power, I now have more time available to go to Talladega and learning to drive one of those "beast".
      As to our annual February pilgrimage to attend all three 2009 races at Daytona International Speedway, I thought it was interesting that NASCAR's season started out as bad as NHRA's. I rated the Budweiser Shootout an F, Gatorade Duels: A-, and the rain ended Daytona 500: C. Will have to see how it goes when we attend the two April NASCAR races at Talladega, which is the weekend after the SBIP/APBA 19th Annual Miami Super Boat Grand Prix. - FlAttorney's FR Racing - NASCAR Section
47 posted on 03/14/2009 7:56:01 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Selected Racing News

A major upgrade was recently performed on Don Garlits website: Museum of Drag Racing and International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. It looks great. Check it out.

03.11.09: Speedway Motorsports Reports Results for Fourth Quarter and Year Ended December 31, 2008
- - Nice to see Bruton Smith doing well including zMAX Dragway at Lowe's Motor Speedway - "The Bellagio of Dragstrips". Hope the current NHRA owners go broke and Bruton takes an ownership run at it.

03.09.09: Doug Kalitta off and running in 2009
03.06.09: Connie Kalitta, 71, Masters The Controls
03.06.09: Drag-racing legend Connie Kalitta perseveres after son's death

03.12.09: Gatornationals: New Team Drags Away Top Talent
# # Prince from Qatar takes aim at NHRA dominance - For the first time in 18 years, Chuck Worsham won't be at the race track with his son during this weekend's AC Delco Gatornationals. He will be 2,200 miles away at a bowling tournament in Las Vegas(1). The family owned team on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series closed its doors at the end of last year when it lost its primary sponsorship, and Del Worsham decided to drive a Funny Car for Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing. <> (1) Love it *lol*. . . and Chuck deserves the break. He and Del are both outstanding individuals.

03.06.09 NHRA Drivers Seeing more Red: Top Fuel's Cory McClenathan, Troy Buff and Mike Strasburg all red lighted during the opening round of the National Hot Rod Association's event in Phoenix on Feb. 22. There appears to be an explanation for the rash of reds. The NHRA has implemented a new variable timing Christmas tree, and that has made starts a little more interesting. I like it because it takes some of the guesswork out of drag racing and rewards racers for their skills. Funny Car driver Ron Capps agreed when he participated in Tuesday's NHRA's teleconference. "I think if there's any drivers complaining, then they need to go back and practice some more," said Capps, driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger. "I'm saying that because I could very well red light the next race. But the fact is we did it as a group because we wanted to bring the driver back into it more." Capps said he almost red lighted in his semifinal win over Robert Hight in the opener at Pomona. "For people that don't know much about the tree, the amount of time when a flash of yellow would come down when both cars were staged, a guy could count one thousand one, one thousand two, and almost guess at the light," Capps said. "We wanted to put it back into the driver, make the driver a little more important I guess. "There were too many guys taking shots and guesses. That's not good when you come home to your kid and you explain a loss because a guy guessed at a tree." - Credit MLive

Selected 2009 Gatornationals Previews
Top Fuel: Doug Kalitta | Brandon Bernstein | Larry Dixon
Funny Car: Ron Capps | Robert Hight | Del Worsham | John Force | Mike Neff
ESPN Videos: Top Fuel Antron Brown Heads to Gainesville | Funny Car Ron Capps is Undefeated

Funny Car - 03.12.09: John Medlen to Miss Second Race: With crew chief John Medlen still recovering from the effects of two medical procedures, including the placement of an arterial heart stent, John Force Racing's Mike Neff again will pull double duty on the Ford Drive One Mustang at this week’s 40th annual ACDelco Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. Runner-up at the most recent event in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Series (Phoenix, Ariz.), Neff will try to take the blue-and-white Ford one step further this week. Not only will he drive, but as on-site crew chief, he also will implement the mechanical game plan he and Medlen devised in advance of the season’s third event. Medlen will keep up with the team through the event on-line simulcast. Eric Medlen's(RIP) father continues to improve and will meet with his doctors this week to get more information regarding his timetable for a return to the drag strip. FlA Says: All our prayers are with John. The second medical procedure is new news since the last update after the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals in Phoenix.

Pro Stock: - FlA Says: 2007 & '08 NHRA Pro Stock World Champion, and 2008 Gatornationals winner, Jeg Coughlin continues to be the guy to beat. He won in Phoenix, at the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals, and moved to second overall in the points standings, two points behind leader Jason Line(1)(2), who won at Gainesville in 2005. The other "top gun" to watch is three-time Pro Stock World Champion (2003,04,05), and two-time Gatornationals winner, Greg Anderson(1), who is third in points. Kurt Johnson is worth keeping an eye on. He is presently sixth and won at Gainesville in 2003. - (1) Summit Racing; (2) 2006 PS World Champion, Won '09 Winternationals.
      Houston native, Erica Enders was DNQ for both the Winternationals and the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals. In both events her car was not even close to making the 16 car field, with a 20th(of 22 cars) at the Winternationals(only 1 round of qualifying due to rain), and a 22nd(last place) at Phoenix which had four full rounds of qualifying. Needless to state, her crew chief needs to find more horsepower in Erica's Dragstar Racing Mustang.

Pro Stock Motorcycles: - FlA Says: Latest Angelle Sampey and Peggy Llewellyn News: The two best women PSM drivers are still sidelined with no sponsors. This is the first time in thirteen years that Angelle, who is the winningness women in NHRA history, is not PSM racing. Angelle has not given up hope and says she has a deal working that she will know more about after the Gatornationals. I will be surprised if she doesn't return to racing this season. Angelle has been through off-season team/sponsorship problems before, which were after she won three PSM World Championships. Even after she became a NHRA superstar, Angelle had several off-season team problems where they would only pick her up for the new season if she drove for no monetary compensation. Angelle said no, stuck to her guns, and finally got a sponsorship/team deal worked out.
      As to Peggy, she is doing a great job of marketing herself, I think better then Angelle, and matters look good that she will race at least part of the season. Both Angelle and Peggy are attending the full 2009 Gatornationals to shake the sponsorship and network "trees". I'm sure Angelle will be in Antron Brown's pit. Since Peggy is a Texan, like Erica Enders, she will probably be in her pit. Hopefully, both Angelle and Peggy will tag team ESPN for some interview time. I greatly look forward to talking to both of them. If I had the time and money, I would sponsor both Angelle and Peggy as a PSM smackdown tag team, Nationally market them to the nth degree, and kick some butts at the track. A Texan(Peggy), a Cajun(Angelle), and a Texoridan(FlA, Texan, 1/2 Floridian). It would be the new "Mod Squad" of NHRA PRM racing *lol*. This is how strongly I feel about those two and I am not alone. Unfortunately, due to NHRA's incompetence, the Pro Stock Motorcycle division has serious marketing and exposure problems, which makes it difficult for many teams to attract primary sponsors on an on-going basis. And, sponsoring a PSM team is peanuts compared to a nitro team. The bottom-line, without Angelle racing many drag race fans will not have interest in PSM, including myself. However, I'll support Karen Stoffer and go to her PSM pit. I hope she really steps it up this season.

2008: Angelle and Peggy, Peggy and Karen

Here's the current Gatornationals PSM Entry List:

      As shown, the two women racing are Karen Stoffer and Angie McBride. I've been following Karen for most of her career. I like her but she's not in the same league as Angelle and frankly I think Peggy is a better total-package driver. Further, Angelle and Peggy are outstanding individuals off-the-track. In fact, Peggy has a better personality than my "track girlfriend" Angelle. Nothing against Karen, but Angelle and Peggy are better crowd magnets. Karen has solid sponsorship but her husband is crew chief and sometimes I wonder if he knows what he's doing, no disrespect intended. However, without question, Karen has my 100% respect. Years back, she had a bad PSM top-end crash, when her brakes 100% failed at 185 mph, and she ended up in the shutdown sand trap and catch-net. Karen did an outstanding job rebounding from that crash. Further, Karen is doing a number of things right. She and her team have a three years primary sponsorship from GEICO that runs through the end of the 2010 NHRA season. GEICO, owned by Berkshire Hathaway(Warren Buffett), is using the sponsorship to increase both their motorcycle and cars insurance sales. GEICO has been Karen's primary sponsor since 2004. The other PSM teams would kill to have her GEICO sponsorship. I hope Karen has a fantastic 2009 season.
      As to Angie McBride, the first few times I watched her race she had no business on the track. But Angie has improved dramatically and I think she could have a very good 2009 season. To be clear, I have total respect for all PSM drivers. I'll drive a dragster at 250-270 mph, but would never try to jockey a pro stock motorcycle. Those 195+ mph quarter-mile monsters are totally out of my league, along with many other hardcore drag racers I know. I've talked to some veteran nitro drivers who confidentially said they had no interest in ever trying a PSM quarter-mile pass.
      I hope a PSM breaks 200 mph, in the quarter-mile, this season. That would be a great day. And unlike the nitro divisions, NHRA national records count in the two pro stock divisions.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE RECORDS:
Gainesville Raceway: 6.911 ET by Angelle Sampey, March 2007, and
    197.45 MPH by Andrew Hines, March 2005 (also current NHRA National Record)(1)
NHRA National ET Record: 6.871 ET by Angelle Sampey, June 2007, Englishtown, NJ
- - (1) Andrew is another great individual that I really like. First class all the way.

03.04.09: NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle Drivers Prepare for 2009: It’s a tradition as old as the class itself. Since it became a professional category in 1987, the Pro Stock Motorcycle class has begun each season under the warm Florida sun at the historic Gainesville Raceway. The 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing season will be no exception as the 190+ mph class prepares to officially kick off the season at the 40th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals, March 12-15 in Gainesville, Florida. Typically the third stop for Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock drivers, Pro Stock Motorcycle riders spend the entire three month offseason tuning, testing, and prepping for the historic and revered stop on the Full Throttle circuit.
      “Right now, we’re at the shop, working every day,” said Snap-on tools Suzuki rider and 2005 Gatornationals winner, Steve Johnson. “We’ve got a new bike for 2009, and we’re trying to get it finished. It’s full speed ahead to get ready for Gainesville.” The scene in Johnson’s shop is similar to that in every Pro Stock Motorcycle shop around the country with teams making last minute changes before the event. For many drivers, the off-season saw new life with new teams. The 2007 Full Throttle world champion, Matt Smith, was one of those riders. Smith, who had spent most of his Pro Stock Motorcycle career tuning and working on his own bikes, made the move from his family-owned team to the famed and legendary Don Schumacher Racing stable. The move also put Smith on a Suzuki; a change from the Buell-powered bikes he has run the past two years. “I’m excited,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to working with Steve (Tartaglia, crew chief) and Don (Schumacher) this year and seeing what we can do on that Suzuki. And try to win some races and win a championship.”
      Defending Full Throttle world champion Eddie Krawiec is also hoping to get the boost he knows he’ll need to defend his title. “Going into Gainesville is a little bittersweet,” said Krawiec. “It’s the first race defending the championship, but I also know I have a target on my back and they’ll all be gunning for me. My main focus is to represent Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the best of my ability and to help the team maintain the consistency we’ve shown since the second part of last season. This is what it will take to defend the championship.” - Credit CP
48 posted on 03/14/2009 7:57:56 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
Chris "The Greek" Karamesines
NHRA 30th Greatest | 2006 Inducted, Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
Inducted, International Drag Racing Hall of Fame




I believe the ageless drag racing marvel is either 80 or 81 years young. "Greek" is entered to run Top Fuel at the 2009 NHRA Gatornationals: #: 323, Class: Top Fuel, Driver: Chris Karamesines, Hometown: Chicago IL, Car Make: '09 URC, Engine: BAE 500, Sponsor(s) Entry: Strange Engineering/Chizler. I know what pit Don Garlits and other attending NHRA legends will be hanging out. ~ fla

NHRA No. 30 Greatest: What Chris Karamesines lacks in NHRA national event wins (none) he's more than made up for in near-mythical tales generated during a six-decade career. Equipped with a fearless driving style that was largely influenced by his stint behind the wheel of stock cars on dirt tracks in the early 1950s, "the Greek" has probably saved more runs in his popular series of Chizler dragsters from full-throttle wheelstands or completely sideways launches than any other driver would dare claim.
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America: The vast majority of inductees in the Motorsports Hall of Fame have amassed astounding records on the track, but there’s more to a successful career than a checklist of wins and losses. Numerous individuals have had dramatic impacts on their chosen fields of competition without ever having challenged the statisticians, and such is the case with the man known from Coast to Coast as “The Greek,” Chris Karamesines. Just as Hall of Famers “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney and “TV Tom” Ivo played significant roles in helping make drag racing an accepted form of motorsports, so too has Chris Karamesines, but unlike those mentioned, “The Greek” is still driving his 7,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster in his seventh decade! To understand Karamesines’s impact on the sport one must look far beyond his unofficial breaking of the 200 MPH barrier back in the early 60s. Prior to the time of Karamesines’s remarkable run at Alton Dragway in Illinois the Windy City native had impressed West Coast fans with his showmanship, competitive performances and, most importantly, his unmatched personality. Soft-spoken to a fault and bearing an often uncanny resemblance to movie star Caesar Romero at the height of his box office appeal, when “The Greek” climbed out of his car and said things like, “I went so fast that time my mustache almost caught fire!” people listened –and didn’t forget.

Excellent "Greek" Top Fuel Racing Videos: 1990 NHRA Le Grandnationals Molson
Sanair International Raceway, Saint-Pie, Quebec (Outside of Montreal)
Eliminations, Chris Karamesines vs.: Lori Johns, Round 2(1) | Joe Amato, Semi-Finals
Second video includes interview with Chris after his huge win against Amato. Greek lost in the Finals to defending NHRA Top Fuel World Champion Gary Ormsby(2)
Bonus Videos: Great one of two Texans, in Round 1 of eliminations, Kenny Bernstein vs. Eddie Hill, then interviews with both.
On a serious note, video of Don Prudhomme's huge Top Fuel dragster blowover and over the guardrail crash, then interview with "Snake" afterwards.
Don Garlits does the color commentary. God bless Diamond P for all their great NHRA legends videos/DVDs.
(1) Here's a great drag racing career compilation video of Texan Lori Johns. - 6:38 mins
(2) Aw. . . , one more video of Top Fuel eliminations on the other side of the ladder. Gary Ormsby vs. Eddie Hill, Shirley Muldowney, and Frank Hawley who was driving for Darrell Gwynn after his career ending Top Fuel crash. Talk about super-legends racing action. Of note, Sanair International Raceway is where Shirley Muldowney suffered her horrendous over the guardrail and near-fatal crash on June 29, 1984 during qualifying. Her injuries resulting in many surgical procedures to allow her to walk again. The rehabilitation process took 18 months before Shirley returned to the drag strip in 1986. However, her one leg that was severely crushed never was the same.

"Greek's" Drag Racing History and Outstanding Collection of Vintage Photos: (1) | (2)

I like the Greek and Miss Hurst 1970 photo. Chris is probably
talking to her about the finer aspects of oversize cylinder boring.

49 posted on 03/14/2009 8:00:25 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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To: flattorney
The Eric Medlen Project


03.06.09: Eric Medlen Project Saving Lives
- - The memory of the loss still haunts the drag racing community. March 23 will mark the second year since the tragic accident that killed Funny Car driver Eric Medlen. As painful as the loss has been, many will gain solace in knowing that Medlen’s death has led to the creation of a safer and better engineered Funny Car. While there are no accomplishments that will ease the burden of the loss, knowing that the chances of a similar loss of life are greatly reduced, helps many to cope. The racing community can thank the Eric Medlen Project for that assurance. In the aftermath of that accident, John Force Racing and Ford Racing banded together to form The Eric Medlen Project, with an eye on finding and improving safety innovations for the sport. Along with the NHRA, John Force Racing and Ford Racing have instituted a series of safety measures ranging from significant Funny Car chassis modifications to the instillation of the Ford Blue Box (crash data recorder) on all nitro cars. The Eric Medlen Project is based in Indianapolis and housed within a special 50,000 square foot building. “You can see everything that we have developed working with NHRA, working with Ford Motor Company and their technicians,” explained team owner John Force. “You can go there because we built a virtual reality tour and you can walk through and see it, what we’ve done.” Force offers documentation from Ford as proof positive the Eric Medlen Project is making a difference.

03.05.09 John Force Interview, This Week in Ford Racing
- - Two years ago this month, the drag racing community lost John Force Racing Mustang driver Eric Medlen in a tragic Funny Car testing accident. In the aftermath of that accident, John Force Racing and Ford Racing banded together to form The Eric Medlen Project, with an eye on finding and improving safety innovations for the sport. Along with the NHRA, John Force Racing and Ford Racing have instituted a series of safety measures ranging from significant Funny Car chassis modifications to the instillation of the Ford Blue Box (crash data recorder) on all nitro cars. This important work continues and This Week In Ford Racing recently caught up with 14 time Funny Car World Champion John Force and with Pat DiMarco, Ford Racing Vehicle Dynamics and Electronics Supervisor, for an update on The Eric Medlen Project and ongoing safety developments.

The Eric Medlin Project to Address Safety Issues
08.31.07: Brownsburg, Ind. --

Drag racing champion John Force formally has announced the creation of The Eric Medlen Project at John Force Racing and revealed some of the specifics of the Funny Car safety initiative upon which he embarked soon after Medlen lost his life in a testing accident.

The 14-time NHRA Champion said plans to build the Funny Car of the Future (FCF) in a 50,000 square foot addition to his existing shop facility "is more important to me than all my championships."

In creating The Eric Medlen Project (TEMP), Force said his goal was to secure the legacy of its namesake, enhance race car safety in all forms of motor racing and sustain the JFR racing dynasty, which has claimed 15 NHRA Funny Car championships in the last 17 seasons.

"Our purpose is to show everyone that all of us at John Force Racing will never forget Eric Medlen and the impact he had on us," Force said of the young driver he has called "the son I never had."


John Force
To address safety and performance goals, Force ultimately wants to create every race car component and perform every step of the preparation process in-house. That would include everything from building the engines and the chassis for Funny Cars and dragsters to applying the paint.

"Don't get me wrong," Force said. "I am still working with (chassis builder) Murf McKinney, but one day we plan to evolve to doing everything in-house because that's the best way to maintain quality control."

In addition, TEMP will contain the high-tech data acquisition and testing equipment needed to support the JFR safety initiative. Force again emphasized that his team, led by Eric's father, John Medlen, will share all the safety-related data it develops with the NHRA and the PRO (Professional Racecar Owners).

The elder Medlen, who was crew chief on his son's Ford Mustang, is relocating from Russellville, Ark., with his wife, Martha. Hired in 1996 to oversee the build-up of a second JFR Funny Car team, Medlen also will resume his duties as crew chief on a Ford Mustang driven by rookie Mike Neff.


Mimi, Eric Medlen statue, John and Martha.
In addition to the program specifics, Force also announced that through Main Gate, Inc., the John Force RaceStation store and the http://www.johnforceracing.com website, the sale of Eric Medlen memorabilia already has generated more than $200,000 for division among four charities specified by the Medlen family including Racers for Christ International, Inc., and the Drag Racing Association of Women (DRAW).

"Seeing Eric's dad so strong is all that gets me through it," Force said of the loss of the leader of his Next Generation of drivers. He also credited Medlen for putting him back on track following the March accident.

"He told me that my job was to lead this team and that I wasn't doing that," Force said. "He said Eric would have been disappointed in the way I was acting. That got my mind right because I knew then that I had to give John Medlen the tools he needed to make sure that what happened to Eric didn't happen to someone else. The only way I knew to do that was to keep on racing."

The thrust of TEMP will be the creation of the FCF, a concept vehicle that Force insists must be both "affordable and competitive.

"John Medlen already has talked to engineers about what can and can't be done," Force said. "We've talked to people inside the sport, like Murf McKinney, and people in IndyCar and NASCAR and Formula One."


Lucas, Bernstein, Force, Todd with Eric's statue.
In the weeks after the accident, Force dictated immediate changes based on conversations with Dr. John Melvin, a biomechanical research scientist with extensive crash safety experience. The resulting improvements likely prevented injury to drivers Robert Hight and Ashley Force during subsequent accidents at Topeka, Kan., and Seattle, Wash., respectively.

John Medlen, who is working closely with the NHRA, SFI, Ford Motor Company and others on the safety initiatives, calls the spirit of cooperation he has seen thus far unprecedented.

"We've been given data that it would have taken years for us to develop on our own," Medlen said. "It's been a very humbling experience that shows the depth of the impact of Eric's accident."

"It's a joint effort," Force said, "and whatever (safety) data is developed and whatever the conclusions are, we'll share them with the entire racing community. It's not just for my own children (daughters Ashley, 24, Brittany, 20, and Courtney, 18, all are racers), it's for all the mothers and fathers and their children who are out here with us. To make the sport better for them, better for the future, that's why I'm investing my money and why the sponsors are investing their money."

While the creation of the FCF will be a priority, The Eric Medlen Project ultimately will be competition-driven. Using machine tools built by Giddings and Lewis and Fadal, TEMP this fall will deliver a Ford-branded fuel motor.

Eric Medlen never will be far away from the project that bears his name. A life size bronze statue of the once aspiring rodeo cowboy now occupies a prominent position beneath the flagpole outside the JFR complex and a room inside the shop is dedicated to the six-time tour winner, remembering his life in photos, displays and testimonials. The statue, unveiled in ceremonies on Thursday, Aug. 30, was cast by Storyland Studios in Lake Elsinore, Calif., the same company that created the statue of NHRA founder Wally Parks that stands in front of the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif. - - Credit DRO

50 posted on 03/14/2009 8:02:45 PM PDT by flattorney (See my comprehensive FR Profile "Straight Talk" Page)
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