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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.

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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