August 20-22 Memphis Mid South Nationals is here
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July 30 - Aug 1 Autolite Nationals coverage is here
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July15-18 Mile High Nationals coverage is here
June 25-27 Sears Craftsman Nationals coverage is here
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May 27-30 O'Reilly Nationals coverage is here
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April 30 - May 2 Thunder Valley Nationals is here
April 16, 2004 O'Reilly Spring Nationals is here
April 5, 2004 Summit Nationals, coverage is here
March 19, 2004 Gatornationals coverage is here
March 10, 2004 CSK Nationals coverage is here
February 29, 2004 Winternationals coverage is here
Point standings to July 28, 2004
01 Tony Schumacher 1383
01 John Force 1321
01 Greg Anderson 1797
Point Standings to May 16, 2004 (After the Southern Nationals)
1. Tony Schumacher 613
1. Del Worsham 513
1. Greg Anderson 784
Pro Stock Bike
1. Andrew Hines 250
2004 Season Preview............ the winners (and losers) are.........(story by Jamie Clerf, Pat Harden, Larry Pfister, Guy Van Syckle Dean Murdoch and Bob Wilson's. Photos courtesy of Mark King, Guy Van Syckle, Dean Murdoch and Brian Losness)
I hope you are sitting down. This is both a lighter side to the 2004 season and the serious picks for who we perceive to have the edge. Hey, Guys just wanna have fun. Note, No Drivers, crew members nor owners were hurt in the making of this "2004 Season Preview"
The 2004 season promises to be on of the most competitive in memory. I know, I know, you hear that all the time, but we firmly believe, this year's version of the NHRA POWERade tour will be one of the most exciting for all three Pro classes in history. In Funny Car, the rivalry between Eric Medlen and Tony Pedregon will be talked about all year; which one will finish higher in the standings. Will Force regain his domination, the surging Schumacher Funny Car drivers Whit Bazemore and Gary Scelzi and let's not forget the other flopper combatants, team "CSK" and team "Skoal", the other Pedregon and everyone else. In Top Fuel, this looks to be wide open and the possibility of having more than five different winners is not only probable, I am going on as saying, it is guaranteed. The different winners this year should include Dixon, Schumacher, two Kalittas, Bernstein, Baca, Darrell Russell and Cory Mac. Pro Stock will not be a dominating year like last year. The new beadlocks and new found power from a few other teams will see a return of parity to the go fast (super class like) door car class. Pro Stock Bike will be a good battle as well. Rookie lady Angie McBride could take some of the limelight away from the golden girl Angelle Savioe (which won't make her too happy), and the other players, Antron, Craig, Shawn, Andrew and oh ya the champ Geno will all get wins in 2004.
Here are the speedzonemagazine.com resident experts picks for the 2004 season:
We have the lighter side (which include the pronostigators serious picks, and a little fun put in as well as the serious side which also includes that writers legitimate picks:
And the trusty scribes are:
Jamie "the king of the 'plex"
All picks are the opinion's of each individual and not the opinion of speedzonemagazine.com. We hold no responsibility for the opinions of the various contributors.
Here are Jamie's picks:
Fuel: 2004 Champion: Larry Dixon
- yeah Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta can run 4.4's (seemingly at
will) and are the sexy picks in '04, but can they get down
Low ET for the year: 4.38...when the cool weather finds
one of the following
Top Speed for the year: 336...and the NHRA will moan about the cars going too fast while at the same time praising the achievement. Make up your minds, fellas.
Car: Whit Bazemore...again going
against the grain a little with this
(Clerf extras) Low ET for the year: 4.67...A number of cars were knocking on the 4.6 second zone barrier late last season...Hard to pick who's gonna doing it (Scelzi? Force?) I just know somebody is... Top Speed for the year: 331...Yet another barrier just barely hanging on (329.18 Scelzi) ...may happen the same time the first 4.6 second pass does...
Pro Stock: Jeg
Coughlin Jr...The best pure drag racer in all of drag
Pro Stock Bike:
Fuel: Tony Schumacher, good financial backing, no one ran
better at the end of 2003. And Alan Johnson tuneup. Tough class, with
Dixon, Kalittas, and Bernstein all contenders for the top spot.
Funny Car: John Force--HUNGRY. Most $$$ and technology in the class. 2 teammates to get info from. And Austin Coil.
Pro Stock: Greg Anderson--If he figures out the beadlocks. No one ran stronger than G A in 2003. W J should contend as well. Lots of pre-season testing. Testing yielded strong e.t. and mph numbers for W J.
Pro Stock Bike: Angelle Savoie. Like Force, hungry. Won't forget how disappointing 2003 was. Well funded, and she know's how to win it all. Surprise contender--Angie MacBride. Some bike success already, and teaming up with a multi championship owner/tuner.
Top Fuel: Kalitta:
I like guys who either go fast or blow up...or both. After
Funny Car: Scelzi: 'Cause I knew everybody else would pick Force, this sport is getting way too predictable. I mighta picked Twit, but Scelzi's a lot more fun after the race. If he wins it'll be the drag racing party of all time.
Stock: KJ: I like WJ, but he's too freekin old, Jegs are
boring, Greg was just
What? it's not a real class? Oh rite carbs an cookie cutter cars
Pro Stock Truck: What? don't even mention them on this site? cause have caused enuf trouble already?
Stock Bike: You mean Pro Street: C'mon....I don't care
about that non nitro bike class...wut? Ya ok. Other than the "Angel",
I don't even know any of these people. Ok, I'll pick that other one,
Fuel: It pains me to say it, but I gotta go with Larry
Dixon. In my view, the only team that can consistently mount a serious
challenge to Dick LaHaie and the gang is that of Brandon Bernstein,
but I predict that Brandon will encounter a few hiccups in his "Rookie
Season Take 2" and will come up just a tad short come November.
Expect periodic, perhaps frequent, strong showings by Darryl Russell,
Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta, but flashes of
Funny Car: John
Force, again! Money talks, bull@#%$ walks, and Force still
Pro Stock: Greg Anderson. Unless he was up to something last season that increased scrutiny by tech will either detect or cause them to back away from using in fear of being caught, he'll probably continue to have a few hundredths on everyone else, and that, coupled with good lights, is what it takes to be a consistent winner in Pro Stock. 'Nuff said.
Fuel: Huh? It's 2004 already? What happened to the 1970's?
Are my flared jeans out of style already? Who won? OK, I'm awake....zzzzzz....
(1) Larry Dixon - unless Lahaie suddenly goes senile or the IRS shuts down Prudhomme and seizes all his assets for operating on the proceeds of tobacco and booze (remember this is supposed to be fun right?). This team has it all: good driver, very smart tuner - not earth-turning, but able to extract maximum performance consistently, all the funding required and winning experience.
(2) Doug Kalitta - Decent, but not the greatest, driver;
unlimited funding; good tuner(s); now part of a three-car team, but
handicapped by the original wild-child: Conrad Kalitta (a sometimes
brilliant guy who lets his desire and ego get in the way of victory
from time to time). Still, they have won the championship more than
once (Scott Kalitta and
(3) Tony Schumacher - Seemingly has all the ingredients
to make it happen: more sponsors than anyone in the class, an extremely
smart crewchief (Alan Johnson) and a very good driver. Again, the
weakness is at the top: Don Schumacher - a man who's composed of equal
parts ego, wallet and helium. When Johnson keeps his tuneup one notch
Dark-horse pick: Brandon Bernstein - if the old man was driving the car still, it would be in the top three, but junior hasn't shown the maturity to steer this rocket into the winner's circle on a consistent basis - yet. By the end of the season they should be in the top five.
Darker-horse: David Baca - if they can continue to invent enough funding (just how much dough can American Racing pump into them) and keep on the upward trajectory they've been on since coming into the class - they could challenge for top five status also.
(1) John Force - could anyone seriously expect him to go two years
Del Worsham - this is a team who's time is coming, and maybe it's
going to be this year. A very good driver, good tuner(s), serious
in no particular order: Tony Pedregon, Whit Bazemore. Both well-funded,
experienced but enough deficiencies in both their programs
Dark-horse pick: Gary Scelzi - check out Bazemore and Schumacher for reasons why he won't succeed. But he is an excellent driver - despite the intimations from AJ about his abilities at the end of their association - and the car has shown world-beating potential at times.
Pro Stock: (1-10) in no particular order - Johnson, Johnson, Johnson, Anderson (Anderson Jr... oh ya Line), Coughlin, Coughlin, Jenkins, Sox, Nicholson, Alderman.
If they don't find the nitrous bottle in Anderson's
car; if Warren doesn't spend more time litigating than innovating;
if Kurt doesn't put on any more personal ballast and upset the balance
of the car; if the Jeg's jeggernaut isn't busted for........being
way too wealthy; if Alan Johnson promises not to use "golly bum"
in conversation anymore; if, if, if....
Pro Stock Bike: If it doesn't use a blower or burn fuel, or better yet, both - what's the point? But Bob, isn't Angelle still riding? OK, she's a good choice. No Bob, we're talking about winning. Oh, then how about Ron Houniet; he runs pretty hard. No, his combo isn't legal for PROfessional bike racing. Oh, to heck with it. It will be someone on a two-wheeled thingie without a blower and burning gasoline winning. BORRRRRiiinnnnngggg...
As always, take these choices with a large grain of
low-sodium salt, and
Top Fuel: Tony Schumacher. It is a tough choice this year, as many teams look real strong. Bernstein car was the most consistent to end 2003, but they lacked the power, according to Kenny. The new blowers and other changes to the team plus a probable more cautious Brandon in the car, will keep them from sitting atop the totem pole. Dixon and LaHaie do not have the horses to win this year. Yes, they are the most consistent and will win in the middle part of the season, put track prep is getting better and high horsepower will prevail. Doug or cousin Scott Kalitta will runner-up in 2004
Low et for the year: 4.403 Top Speed: 335.21
Funny Car: John Force. How can you not pick the Force-Meister to not get revenge on the class. While he lost the championship to his team mate who was in John's mind return to the team, the #1 is not with "Team Force" and Johnny is not happy. He will get revenge on everyone in the class. (This commentary does not mean John does not understand or respect what Tony is trying to accomplish, but I'm sure his feelings are hurt, and in turn he will put the hurt on a bunch of flopper pilots)
Low ET of the year: 4.667 Top Speed: 331.65
Pro Stock: Team Johnson..... Okay I'll go with Kurt Johnson in 2004. 2003 was a title for him in previous years if it wasn't for Anderson's incredible season. Picking Anderson, either Johnson and/or Coughlin is not a long shot. I just happen to like Kurt's chances.
Low ET for the year: 6.640. Top MPH 206.87
PS Bike: Craig Treble: last season final couple racers Treble was shot out of a cannon, and with what he learned from riding Matt Hine's bike with serve him well for his own program in 2004.
Low ET for the year: 7.021, no six second time slip this year.
The Alcohol classes are in their Zone
Speedzone.com coverage for the Winternationals for the pro classes is here
TOP FUEL COMPETITION INTENSE
FOR POWERADE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2004
Feb. 8, 2004
Jan. 31, 2004
All Saturday Pro numbers and pictures are here.
All Saturday Sportsman numbers and pictures are here.
Jan 30, 2004
Vegas Testing is here
2003 NHRA Zone
Jan.04 NHRA Zone
Feb 04 NHRA zone
Mar 04 NHRA zone
Apr 04 NHRA zone