April 12--April 15, 2007

Las Vegas Nevada

Summit Racing Equipment Nationals

(#'s courtesy NHRA.com and DRC)

photos courtesy Rich Carlson

Thursday and Friday gallery is here

Sunday eliminations

LAS VEGAS --

Saturday Sunday gallery is here


Less than a month after losing Eric Medlen in a tragic testing accident, John Force Racing celebrated a Funny Car victory Sunday as Robert Hight raced to the victory over POWERade Series points leader Ron Capps at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.
Hight was joined in an emotional winner's circle at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by Medlen's good friend Brandon Bernstein, who earned his 13th Top Fuel title, and Greg Anderson, who claimed a track-record fifth Las Vegas trophy in Pro Stock.

"It's amazing how many lives Eric has touched and it's not as fun coming to the races without your best friend and teammate with you," Hight said. "But we needed to come back out here and be with our family, our drag racing family, and realize how many people Eric made happy in his life.

"I never have had much luck at Vegas but I felt like I had some extra help today. Maybe Eric was watching over me. I know having his dad [John Medlen] helping us with the car was special for all of us."


Both Hight and Bernstein, who beat Bob Vandergriff in the Top Fuel final, immediately dedicated their wins to the Medlens. Hight presented his trophy to Eric's father John, while Brandon sought out Eric's mother Mimi and gave her his Wally. Anderson, meanwhile, was able to give Las Vegas-based team owners Ken and Judy Black their fifth hometown win, making the team the most prolific in the track's brief history. This time he beat Jeg Coughlin to get the hardware.

Hight found a way to keep his emotions in check until the race was over, surviving a quirky Funny Car finale against red-hot Capps to win with a 5.126 at 282.90 mph to Capps' 5.592 at 178.57 mph. Both cars went quiet well before the finish line. Capps' Brut Revolution Dodge Charger was out of power first, denying him a chance at three wins in a row. Hight's Auto Club Ford Mustang expired soon thereafter but he had enough momentum to take the stripe first and earn his sixth career win.

"I'm always kind of intense and serious but after seeing Eric and knowing him I want to start smiling more and start letting everyone know how much I enjoy this," Hight said. "I love what I do and it's very special to drive these cars for a living."

The final represented a 40-point swing at the top of the Funny Car standings as Hight moved to within 88 points of leader Capps. Hight is now 6-7 in final rounds, while Capps slipped back to .500 at 24-24 lifetime.


After giving up a sizable starting line advantage, Bernstein quickly tracked down Bob Vandergriff and was side-by-side with him at the 330-foot marker. He simply drove away from there as Vandergriff's UPS dragster struggled to maintain traction. Bernstein zoomed past the scoreboards in 4.521 seconds at 330.07 mph in his Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster to give his team its first win of the season.

"Every time I was in a final Eric was always there at the top end for me," Bernstein said. "He was there today in spirit and it was awesome to have J.R. [Todd] down there. I can honestly say I loved that guy and I miss him so much. It's definitely great to win this so soon and be able to dedicate it to Eric. I can't wait to see Mimi and give her the trophy.

"This was a great turn of events for us. After not qualifying in Gainesville we got behind and knew coming in here we were eighth in the points, which is right on that bump of being in the Countdown to the Championship or not. It's nice to have moved all the way up to third. Now we need to stay up here."

Vandergriff remains winless in NHRA competition but his eighth career runner-up finish lifted him from 13th to ninth place in the standings. Bernstein moved from eighth place to third overall.


Anderson has now won three of the first five races of the year and is already 129 points ahead in the series standings. Coughlin did what he could in the final, leaving the line in .018 seconds to Anderson's .030-second start, but Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GTO had caught and passed Coughlin's Slammers/Jegs.com Chevrolet Cobalt by half track, winning with a 6.724 at 205.29 mph to Coughlin's 6.758 at 204.45 mph.

It was Anderson's 46th career victory and his final run was the quickest and fastest of the weekend in his category.

"I sure didn't think I'd be here at the start of the day," Anderson said. "We struggled a bit in qualifying and then lost lane choice after Round 1 and we thought we were in big trouble. It took just about a miracle and somehow we got one with a .003 [second] light. Then we had to race the right lane again against Dave Connolly and we managed to win again. I don't know if that's ever happened to me before."

The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series continues with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, April 26-29 at Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, Ga.

Sunday's final results from the Eighth annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race is the fifth of 23 in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series -

Top Fuel -- Brandon Bernstein, 4.521 seconds, 330.07 mph def. Bob Vandergriff, 4.828 seconds, 298.87 mph.

Funny Car -- Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 5.126, 282.90 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 5.592, 178.57.

Pro Stock -- Greg Anderson, Pontiac GTO, 6.724, 205.29 def. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.758, 204.45.

Top Alcohol Dragster -- Joey Severance, 5.359, 267.11 def. Morgan Lucas, 13.877, 75.88.

Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Jay Payne, Chevy Camaro, 5.716, 255.05 def. Sean Bellemeur, Camaro, 5.815, 252.85.

Competition Eliminator -- Frank Aragona, Bantam Roadster, 8.593, 151.14 def. David Rampy, Bantam Roadster, 7.382, 177.93.

Stock Eliminator -- Jody Lang, Chevy Malibu, 12.892, 97.99 def. David Rampy, Chevy Camaro, 11.456, 111.09.

Super Comp -- Matt Constant, Dragster, 9.092, 155.79 def. Bill Koski, Dragster, 9.014, 158.48.

Super Gas -- Rodney Lee, Chevy Corvette, 10.007, 158.26 def. Robert Naber, Chevy S-10, 9.999, 155.90.

 

Saturday final qualifying

LAS VEGAS --


One of the most impressive streaks in motorsports came to an end Saturday in Las Vegas when 14-time Funny Car champion John Force failed to qualify for eliminations for the first time in 395 races

Time finally ran out Saturday on John Force, the 14-time and reigning NHRA Funny Car champion. Drag racing's biggest winner will watch Sunday's eighth annual SummitRacing.com Nationals from the sidelines at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after failing to make the 16-car starting lineup for the first time since Oct. 31, 1987.
Driving a heavier version of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang in which he qualified for the first three races of the season, Force bumped into the field on his final attempt Saturday - but couldn't stay there. He wound up 17th with a time of 4.852 seconds, just shy of the 4.837 rung up by No. 16 qualifier Jack Beckman.

"I was given the same opportunities as everyone else," Force said after seeing his streak of 395 consecutive starts come to an unexpected end. "We just didn't get the job done. It's that simple. I've still got two cars in and there's a Force still out there still (daughter Ashley was the No. 3 qualifier at 4.748 seconds in the Castrol GTX Ford and son-in-law Robert Hight No. 2 at 4.740 in the Auto Club of Southern California Ford).

"There's bigger things in life that I've faced," said the 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection. "Trust me. So, this is only a little stone. We've been climbing mountains lately.


"I love what the fans did (in giving him a standing ovation)," Force continued. "I don't let myself get down in no kind of situation. I'm just going to come out here tomorrow and root the kids on - Robert (son-in-law Robert Hight, who qualified second in the Auto Club Mustang) and Ashley. Hope we get a win. We'll take a look at our ol' hot rod and then test here on Monday. Most of all, we want to get out of here with a safe race.

"It's easy to be good when you're on top," said the 57-year-old icon, "when you win 14 championships, but if you can put up with it when you get beat in the dirt, it shows what you're made of. My whole team has been beat up (but) we're gonna go back tonight and rally 'em, not just in this situation, but with what's been going on the last three weeks (with the death of Eric Medlen).

"I've got sponsors out here - Castrol, Ford, Mac Tools, AAA of Southern California - plus some new sponsors in Mach 1 Air Services, Racebricks and Nordic Boats and that's probably my toughest call, but they understand the business and they know we'll be back.

"Bottom line, I've got no complaints. I thank the sport, I thank the fans, I thank the media and I thank God. There's not a better job in the world. So now it's done and I can move on," Force said. "I've got bigger fish to fry. We're working with the NHRA, the PRO and our vendors to make this a safer sport for everyone and that's my mission, me and John Medlen (Eric's crew chief and father, who is heading up Force's safety initiative)."

The second longest streak in history was 303 straight starts by Pro Stock veteran Warren Johnson. Ironically, the second longest active streak, the one that Top Fuel dragster driver Doug Kalitta had run to 164, also came to an end Saturday. That makes Angelle Sampey's 152 straight starts in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class the longest active streak.

Force, who has been decidedly unlucky at LVMS, a track on which he has won just one time in 14 career appearances, had been flirting with qualifying failure all year long, making the starting field on the last of his four qualifying attempts in two of the three races in which he previously had participated. This time, he couldn't come up with a miracle to extend the record.

Force and Top Fuel contender Doug Kalitta, whose class-leading streak of races also ended this weekend, will be observers when the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals begin Sunday morning at 11 a.m.

Friday leaders Tony Schumacher, Mike Ashley, and Jeg Coughlin remained on top of their respective fields at the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Force last failed to qualify in 1987 at the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif.

"Whatever ends here, ends," said an upbeat Force, who received a standing-ovation from an appreciative crowd. "There's still a Force (daughter Ashley, qualified third) out there so that's good. We've climbed mountains lately; this is nothing. We'll be fine. It was bound to happen, so now it has and we'll start over."


Schumacher's third No. 1 qualifying effort of the year and the 38th of his career, which he earned with a 4.479 at 329.83 mph in his U.S. Army dragster during Friday's racing, was overshadowed by the shocking DNQ by rival Kalitta.

"This class is tough top to bottom," Schumacher said. "We've got J.R. Todd in Round 1 and he's already won two races this year. Doug Kalitta didn't even make the show. It's brutal."

Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools/Foose Design dragster, posted a best run of 4.641, which was well off the pace needed to make the 16-car starting lineup. His class-leading streak of 164 consecutive races, dating back to the Phoenix race in 2000, was snapped.

"It's terribly disappointing, but no one here will hold their head down," Kalitta said. "We didn't make it, and that's that. We just had a bad weekend. It happens, and we'll move on. I really think this will just make us a lot stronger. We'll be okay."

Brady Kalivoda remained in second place with his 4.490 in the Marnell and Moorefield Construction dragster. David Powers Motorsports teammates "Hot Rod" Fuller and Whit Bazemore were third and fourth with identical 4.498s.


Ashley's first career No. 1 qualifying performance was impressive as his 4.725 second run at a category-best speed of 334.32 mph was well ahead of his peers' best efforts. The driver of the Torco Racing Fuels Dodge Charger, who moonlights as a New York mortgage broker, has raced in just 32 national events as a professional.

"I can't even comprehend John (Force's) streak," Ashley said. "It really just shows you how tough it is out here. That team has everything but even they can get tripped up. It happened to us in Gainesville. Man, I feel bad for him but they'll be fine."

Ashley will open against Vegas' most recent winner, Jack Beckman, who was the man responsible for bumping Force when he posted a 4.837 at 321.73 mph in his Mail Terminal Services Charger. The run placed him 16th overall. Force ended up 17th with a best of 4.852 at 311.41 mph in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang.


Coughlin earned his 10th career top qualifying award and his second in as many races. His 6.733 at 204.26 mph from Friday afternoon kept his Slammers/Jegs.com Chevrolet Cobalt on top as no one was able to challenge the pass in Saturday's sunshine.

"We're absolutely pumped about the performance of these Slammers racecars," Coughlin said. "Of course the win is the thing we're all after but it's always exciting to know you have a good, consistent, and very quick race car heading into eliminations. Now it's time to turn some of these great qualifying efforts into wins. Victor (Cagnazzi, team owner) needs a few trophies on his desk to remind him why we do this crazy stuff."

Coughlin's teammate at Cagnazzi Racing, Dave Connolly, is second in his Torco/Slammers Cobalt with the same E.T. but a slightly slower 203.49 mph top speed. Greg Anderson was the quickest of the day, moving up to third with a 6.737 at a track record speed of 205.26 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO.

Funny Car

1 180 Mike Ashley, Melville NY, '07 Charger 4.725 334.32 334.32
2 2 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, '05 Mustang 4.740 288.70 304.87
3 7321 Ashley Force, Anaheim Hills CA, '06 Mustang 4.748 321.27 321.81
4 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '07 Charger 4.762 322.11 323.04
5 5 Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills CA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.763 328.70 328.70
6 7 Gary Scelzi, Fresno CA, '06 Charger 4.772 325.61 325.61
7 782 Gary Densham, Bellflower CA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.787 322.04 322.04
8 427 Tony Bartone, Long Island City NY, '05 Monte C 4.799 314.75 314.75
9 319 Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, '07 Solara 4.799 313.15 323.50
10 750 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, '07 Impala 4.803 316.97 322.11
11 388 Jim Head, Columbus OH, '07 Solara 4.806 322.04 322.04
12 404 Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, '07 Charger 4.816 316.97 316.97
13 170 Jeff Arend, San Dimas CA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.818 318.69 318.69
14 10 Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo CA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.819 292.71 292.71
15 503 Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon IN, '07 Impala 4.822 323.97 323.97
16 711 Jack Beckman, Brownsburg IN, '07 Charger 4.837 321.73 321.73

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 1 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, '05 Mustang 4.852 311.41 318.47
18 767 Jerry Toliver, Temecula CA, '07 Solara 4.859 298.40 298.40
19 347 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '05 Monte Carlo 4.866 311.20 323.43
20 702 Jon Capps, Las Vegas NV, '05 Monte Carlo 4.957 297.09 297.09
21 121 Terry Haddock, Lynnwood WA, '05 Stratus 4.966 303.16 303.16
22 763 Steve Macklyn, Bountiful UT, '02 Firebird 5.079 301.20 301.20
23 340 Bob Bode, Barrington IL, '05 Monte Carlo 6.699 136.86 136.86

Top Fuel

1 1 Tony Schumacher, Long Grove IL, Hadman-TFX 4.479 329.83 329.83
2 53 Brady Kalivoda, Phoenix AZ, Hadman-BAE 4.490 329.42 329.42
3 5 Rod Fuller, Las Vegas NV, Hadman-TFX 4.498 328.94 328.94
4 73 Whit Bazemore, Eugene OR, Hadman-TFX 4.498 324.90 328.14
5 3 Brandon Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, McKinney-TFX 4.506 330.63 330.63
6 91 Larry Dixon, Indianapolis IN, McKinney-TFX 4.540 324.67 324.67
7 6 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.541 331.69 331.69
8 743 Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 4.556 324.59 324.59
9 4 Melanie Troxel, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.558 327.51 327.51
10 524 Joe Hartley, Portland OR, McKinney-BAE 4.559 328.78 328.78
11 10 Hillary Will, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.569 325.85 329.91
12 255 Clay Millican, Drummonds TN, Hadman-BAE 4.581 322.27 322.27
13 9 Cory McClenathan, Lake Havasu City AZ, Hadman- 4.590 322.42 324.67
14 72 Mike Strasburg, Lindon UT, Hadman-TFX 4.612 306.19 306.19
15 12 Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta GA, McKinney-BAE 4.614 279.21 311.49
16 8 J.R. Todd, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.618 309.06 312.86

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 2 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.641 325.22 329.18
18 11 Doug Herbert, Lincolnton NC, Spitzer-BAE 4.641 307.65 312.86
19 530 Alan Bradshaw, Odessa TX, Don Long-BAE 4.641 293.15 317.42
20 700 Steven Chrisman, Anaheim CA, Hadman-TFX 4.959 287.23 287.23
21 723 Rob Passey, Salt Lake City UT, McKinney-TFX 6.159 156.90 156.90

Pro Stock

1 25 Jeg Coughlin, Delaware OH, '07 Cobalt 6.733 204.26 204.29
2 3 Dave Connolly, Elyria OH, '07 Cobalt 6.733 203.49 203.61
3 2 Greg Anderson, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.737 205.26 205.26
4 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '07 Stratus 6.740 204.17 204.17
5 10 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '07 Stratus 6.748 203.83 203.89
6 9 Richie Stevens, Metairie LA, '06 Stratus 6.749 203.68 204.08
7 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '06 GTO 6.756 203.28 203.58
8 7 Jim Yates, Occoquan VA, '06 GTO 6.762 203.49 203.95
9 430 Erica Enders, Houston TX, '07 Stratus 6.763 202.97 202.97
10 1 Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.767 204.63 204.82
11 8 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '06 GTO 6.768 203.74 203.74
12 5 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '07 Cobalt 6.771 203.43 203.43
13 4 Mike Edwards, Coweta OK, '06 GTO 6.779 203.37 203.37
14 107 Kenny Koretsky, Richboro PA, '07 Cobalt 6.780 203.46 203.86
15 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '07 Stratus 6.790 203.74 203.74
16 103 Max Naylor, New Buffalo PA, '07 Stratus 6.794 202.73 202.73

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 351 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '07 Cobalt 6.794 202.67 202.67
18 20 Tom Hammonds, Crestview FL, '07 Cobalt 6.797 202.97 202.97
19 1568 Justin Humphreys, Monrovia MD, '06 GTO 6.799 203.06 203.16
20 772 Tony Rizzo, Tucson AZ, '07 Cobalt 6.820 201.55 201.70
21 701 Ben Watson, Concord CA, '06 GTO 6.822 201.52 201.97
22 712 Bob Panella, Stockton CA, '07 Stratus 6.825 201.64 201.79
23 41 Roger Brogdon, Houston TX, '06 Stratus 6.840 202.24 202.33
24 752 Gordie Rivera, Yuma AZ, '06 GTO 6.869 200.26 200.83
25 18 Dwayne Rice, Grove City OH, '06 GTO 6.891 199.23 199.32
26 7111 Bill Windham, Eldorado Hills CA, '07 Cobalt 14.234 58.72 58.72

TAD

1 613 B/AD Joey Severance, Spanaway WA, Hadman-MBR 5.341 267.43 267.43
2 7438 A/FD Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Spitzer-BAE 5.394 261.37 262.79
3 54 B/AD Edwin Schmeeckle, Gothenburg NE, Hadman- 5.410 262.59 262.59
4 4 A/FD Duane Shields, Boulder City NV, Hadman-B 5.425 268.81 268.81
5 9 A/FD Aaron Olivarez, Sandy UT, Page-BAE 5.439 270.54 270.54
6 77 B/AD Cody Perkins, Bluffdale UT, Hadman-BAE 5.458 257.24 257.24
7 79 B/AD Jeff Isbell, Salt Lake City UT, CNE-BAE 5.479 259.21 259.21
8 777 A/FD Mark Niver, Phoenix AZ, Niver-BAE 5.483 254.81 254.81
9 63 A/FD Brandon Johnson, Shelton WA, Hadman-BAE 5.602 244.29 252.28
10 66 B/AD Greg Tacke, Great Falls MT, Hadman-Fonta 5.613 250.27 250.27
11 76 B/AD Mike Austin, Medford OR, Tuttle-BAE 5.619 258.67 259.31
12 71 B/AD Chris Demke, Sunland CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.628 259.86 259.86
13 7942 B/AD Tom Bayer, Fontana CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.636 217.21 217.21
14 7338 A/FD Brian Smith, Fullerton CA, Hadman-BAE 5.708 253.23 253.23
15 712 A/FD Larry Miersch, Huntington Beach CA, Spit 5.804 236.01 236.01
16 7402 A/FD Randy Eakins, Carson City NV, CNE-TFX 5.815 217.74 217.74

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 7222 A/FD Dennis Swearingen, Santa Clarita CA, Uye 5.821 230.76 230.76
18 7649 B/AD Frank Dischbein, Las Vegas NV, Framework 6.027 235.68 235.68
19 734 A/FD Johnny Ahten, Sagus CA, Uyehara-BAE 6.296 210.41 210.41
20 7988 A/FD Mark Foster, Santa Cruz CA, Sterling-TFX 7.338 177.28 177.28
21 7097 A/FD Ed Vickroy, Fontana CA, NSP-BAE 9.450 104.42 104.42


TAFC

1 3 Brian Hough, Junction City OR, '02 Firebird 5.630 254.47 255.92
2 2 Jay Payne, Claremont CA, '02 Camaro 5.640 258.76 258.76
3 237 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, '02 Camaro 5.645 253.66 253.66
4 799 Sean Bellemeur, Newport Beach CA, '02 Camaro 5.680 248.39 253.95
5 7306 Jeff Carroll, Santa Barbara CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.696 251.30 251.30
6 5 Cy Chesterman, Sioux City IA, '07 Mustang 5.717 252.99 252.99
7 9 Roger Bateman, Calgary AB, '02 Camaro 5.719 253.80 253.80
8 777 John Patton, Peoria AZ, '02 Firebird 5.719 250.88 250.88
9 8 Doug Gordon, Paso Robles CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.721 256.36 256.36
10 63 Hank Coolidge, Sunburst MT, '02 Firebird 5.727 252.10 252.10
11 727 Ron August Jr, Pleasanton CA, '02 Camaro 5.732 252.24 254.57
12 75 Dennis Taylor, Anaheim Hills CA, '02 Camaro 5.749 250.32 251.63
13 76 Mark Woznichak, Ontario CA, '02 Camaro 5.749 249.53 249.53
14 7507 Paul Crifasi, Henderson NV, '02 Firebird 5.758 249.12 249.12
15 62 Clint Thompson, Klamath Falls OR, '05 Monte Ca 5.776 251.39 251.39
16 65 Ken Kraus, Great Falls MT, '02 Camaro 5.792 249.95 249.95

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 765 Bernie Harrington, Apple Valley CA, '02 Camaro 5.806 244.74 247.02
18 756 Don Hudson, Stockton CA, '02 Camaro 5.865 247.47 247.47
19 73 Steve Gasparrelli, West Covina CA, '05 Monte C 5.916 245.00 245.00
20 596 Paul Anderson, Erie CO, '06 Stratus 5.929 248.16 248.16
21 766 Jason Rupert, Yorba Linda CA, '02 Camaro 5.940 240.08 240.08
22 710D Alexis De Joria, Venice CA, '07 Charger 5.949 243.37 243.37
23 757 Larry Miner, Lodi CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.973 245.99 245.99
24 7704 Dale Van Gundy, Anaheim CA, '97 Firebird 5.974 240.77 240.77
25 750 Kirk Kuhns, Huntington Park CA, '05 Monte Carlo 6.132 231.24 231.24
26 747 Pete Swayne, Santa Rosa CA, '05 Monte Carlo 7.219 133.37 133.37

 

Friday qualifying

Thursday and Friday gallery is here

LAS VEGAS --

Mike Ashley raced to the fastest Funny Car speed in drag racing history Friday night at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.
Tony Schumacher and Jeg Coughlin also were leaders in their respective categories at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ashley powered his Torco Racing Fuels Dodge Charger to a category-best speed of 334.32 mph during a 4.725-second run to claim the top spot in Funny Car. Ashley has been the provisional No. 1 qualifier twice before but he's never held on to the No. 1 spot through all four rounds.

Ashley's interview after his record run was almost as blurred as his stunning top speed as the fast-talking New Yorker excitedly described his class-leading pass.

"It's really exciting," Ashley said. "This is something that's been in the works for us. We were the quickest and fastest car in Houston on race day and now that's carried over to here. I think we have a quality team and that's exciting because I haven't been able to win yet for our sponsor Evan Knoll. I really want to do it for him because he's been with me from the start."

Robert Hight shut his Auto Club Ford Mustang off early but still managed a 4.740 at 288.70 mph, the best of the three John Force Racing cars, which returned to action this weekend. Hight's teammate Ashley Force was fourth overall with a 4.793 in her Castrol GTX Mustang, while her father John, who was No. 1 after the opening round, slipped to 14th place with his 4.888 second run in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Mustang.


Schumacher's Friday night run of 4.479 at 329.83 in his U.S. Army dragster put the four-time champ at the front of the Top Fuel starting order.

"We've built a great sport here," Schumacher said. "There's going to be lots of side-by-side racing down this beautiful track Sunday. You can already tell because the field is tight. The bump's a 4.65 and let me tell you, if you're not in, that's an uncomfortable feeling when you know it's going to be 80 degrees tomorrow."

Brady Kalivoda is making the most of his debut with Coghlin Motorsports, driving their Marnell and Moorefield Construction dragster to a career-best run of 4.490 at 329.42 mph to hold the No. 2 position in the field.

Local favorite "Hot Rod" Fuller, the current NHRA POWERade Series points leader, is third in his all-white David Powers Homes dragster after a 4.498 at 328.94 mph, the final 4.4-second car in the field.


Coughlin had the quickest car in Pro Stock, powering his Slammers/Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt to a 6.733 at 204.26.

"That was one of those Pro Stock sessions where every car that went down the track was getting quicker and quicker," said Coughlin, a three-time winner at LVMS (2000, '01, and '02). "We were getting bumped down the ladder and that's always an uneasy feeling but the good news is as the session went along the sun kept going down. By the time we got up there the track was totally shaded."

Dave Connolly had the exact same elapsed time as teammate Coughlin but was slightly slower with a top speed of 203.49 mph, relegating his Torco/Slammers machine to second.

Qualifying continues Saturday with sessions at noon and 3 p.m.

Top Fuel

1 1 Tony Schumacher, Long Grove IL, Hadman-TFX 4.479 329.83 329.83
2 53 Brady Kalivoda, Seattle WA, Hadman-BAE 4.490 329.42 329.42
3 5 Rod Fuller, Las Vegas NV, Hadman-TFX 4.498 328.94 328.94
4 73 Whit Bazemore, Eugene OR, Hadman-TFX 4.501 328.14 328.14
5 6 David Grubnic, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.541 331.69 331.69
6 3 Brandon Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, McKinney-TFX 4.541 324.51 327.27
7 743 Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Hadman-TFX 4.556 324.59 324.59
8 524 Joe Hartley, Portland OR, McKinney-BAE 4.559 328.78 328.78
9 10 Hillary Will, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.569 325.85 325.85
10 255 Clay Millican, Drummonds TN, Hadman-BAE 4.581 322.27 322.27
11 9 Cory McClenathan, Lake Havasu City AZ, Hadman- 4.590 322.42 324.67
12 91 Larry Dixon, Indianapolis IN, McKinney-TFX 4.590 319.75 319.75
13 72 Mike Strasburg, Lindon UT, Hadman-TFX 4.612 306.19 306.19
14 12 Bob Vandergriff, Alpharetta GA, McKinney-BAE 4.623 308.50 308.50
15 530 Alan Bradshaw, Odessa TX, Don Long-BAE 4.641 293.15 300.93
16 2 Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, Attac-TFX 4.651 329.18 329.18

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 8 J.R. Todd, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 4.671 312.86 312.86
18 700 Steven Chrisman, Anaheim CA, Hadman-TFX 5.197 262.33 262.33
19 11 Doug Herbert, Lincolnton NC, Spitzer-BAE 5.501 214.59 214.59
20 4 Melanie Troxel, Avon IN, Hadman-TFX 5.604 162.51 162.51
21 723 Rob Passey, Salt Lake City UT, McKinney-TFX 8.369 95.65 95.65

Funny Car

1 180 Mike Ashley, Melville NY, '07 Charger 4.725 334.32& 334.32
2 2 Robert Hight, Yorba Linda CA, '05 Mustang 4.740 288.70 304.87
3 7 Gary Scelzi, Fresno CA, '06 Charger 4.772 325.61 325.61
4 7321 Ashley Force, Anaheim Hills CA, '06 Mustang 4.793 321.81 321.81
5 427 Tony Bartone, Long Island City NY, '05 Monte C 4.799 314.75 314.75
6 319 Scott Kalitta, Ypsilanti MI, '07 Solara 4.799 313.15 313.15
7 750 Del Worsham, Chino Hills CA, '07 Impala 4.803 316.97 316.97
8 28 Ron Capps, Carlsbad CA, '07 Charger 4.812 323.04 323.04
9 503 Tommy Johnson Jr., Avon IN, '07 Impala 4.822 323.97 323.97
10 10 Cruz Pedregon, Camarillo CA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.832 279.73 279.73
11 711 Jack Beckman, Brownsburg IN, '07 Charger 4.856 320.58 320.58
12 347 Tim Wilkerson, Springfield IL, '05 Monte Carlo 4.866 311.20 315.93
13 404 Kenny Bernstein, Lake Forest CA, '07 Charger 4.873 308.99 308.99
14 1 John Force, Yorba Linda CA, '05 Mustang 4.888 318.47 318.47
15 170 Jeff Arend, San Dimas CA, '05 Monte Carlo 4.915 312.57 312.57
16 702 Jon Capps, Las Vegas NV, '05 Monte Carlo 4.995 296.63 296.63

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 5 Tony Pedregon, Chino Hills CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.045 239.06 254.81
18 121 Terry Haddock, Lynnwood WA, '05 Stratus 5.046 243.72 243.72
19 388 Jim Head, Columbus OH, '07 Solara 5.142 219.65 219.65
20 782 Gary Densham, Bellflower CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.963 167.55 167.55
21 340 Bob Bode, Barrington IL, '05 Monte Carlo 7.745 107.18 109.55
22 763 Steve Macklyn, Bountiful UT, '02 Firebird 8.566 100.54 100.54
23 767 Jerry Toliver, Temecula CA, '07 Solara 10.154 82.76 82.76

Pro Stock

1 25 Jeg Coughlin, Delaware OH, '07 Cobalt 6.733 204.26 204.26
2 3 Dave Connolly, Elyria OH, '07 Cobalt 6.733 203.49 203.49
3 6 Allen Johnson, Greeneville TN, '07 Stratus 6.740 204.17 204.17
4 10 V. Gaines, Lakewood CO, '07 Stratus 6.748 203.83 203.83
5 2 Greg Anderson, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.749 204.51 204.79
6 9 Richie Stevens, Metairie LA, '06 Stratus 6.749 203.68 203.68
7 208 Warren Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '06 GTO 6.756 203.28 203.28
8 7 Jim Yates, Occoquan VA, '06 GTO 6.762 203.49 203.49
9 430 Erica Enders, Houston TX, '07 Stratus 6.763 202.97 202.97
10 8 Greg Stanfield, Bossier City LA, '06 GTO 6.768 203.74 203.74
11 4 Mike Edwards, Coweta OK, '06 GTO 6.779 203.37 203.37
12 107 Kenny Koretsky, Richboro PA, '07 Cobalt 6.781 202.91 203.49
13 103 Max Naylor, New Buffalo PA, '07 Stratus 6.794 202.73 202.73
14 1 Jason Line, Mooresville NC, '06 GTO 6.796 204.35 204.35
15 20 Tom Hammonds, Crestview FL, '07 Cobalt 6.797 202.97 202.97
16 1568 Justin Humphreys, Monrovia MD, '06 GTO 6.803 203.16 203.16

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 357 Larry Morgan, Newark OH, '07 Stratus 6.804 202.61 202.61
18 351 Ron Krisher, Warren OH, '07 Cobalt 6.814 202.55 202.55
19 772 Tony Rizzo, Tucson AZ, '07 Cobalt 6.820 201.55 201.55
20 701 Ben Watson, Concord CA, '06 GTO 6.822 201.52 201.52
21 5 Kurt Johnson, Sugar Hill GA, '07 Cobalt 6.826 203.09 203.09
22 712 Bob Panella, Stockton CA, '06 Stratus 6.832 201.79 201.79
23 41 Roger Brogdon, Houston TX, '06 Stratus 6.840 202.24 202.24
24 18 Dwayne Rice, Grove City OH, '06 GTO 6.891 199.23 199.23
25 752 Gordie Rivera, Yuma AZ, '06 GTO 6.899 199.82 199.82
26 7111 Bill Windham, Eldorado Hills CA, '07 Cobalt 14.234 58.72 58.72

TAD

1 613 B/AD Joey Severance, Spanaway WA, Hadman-MBR 5.341 267.43 267.43
2 7438 A/FD Morgan Lucas, Brownsburg IN, Spitzer-BAE 5.394 261.37 261.37
3 54 B/AD Edwin Schmeeckle, Gothenburg NE, Hadman- 5.410 262.59 262.59
4 4 A/FD Duane Shields, Boulder City NV, Hadman-B 5.425 268.81 268.81
5 9 A/FD Aaron Olivarez, Sandy UT, Page-BAE 5.439 270.54 270.54
6 77 B/AD Cody Perkins, Bluffdale UT, Hadman-BAE 5.458 257.24 257.24
7 79 B/AD Jeff Isbell, Salt Lake City UT, CNE-BAE 5.479 259.21 259.21
8 777 A/FD Mark Niver, Phoenix AZ, Niver-BAE 5.483 254.81 254.81
9 63 A/FD Brandon Johnson, Shelton WA, Hadman-BAE 5.602 244.29 252.28
10 66 B/AD Greg Tacke, Great Falls MT, Hadman-Fonta 5.613 250.27 250.27
11 76 B/AD Mike Austin, Medford OR, Tuttle-BAE 5.619 258.67 258.67
12 7942 TA/D Tom Bayer, Fontana CA, Uyehara-BAE 5.636 217.21 217.21
13 7338 A/FD Brian Smith, Fullerton CA, Hadman-BAE 5.728 251.95 251.95
14 712 TA/D Larry Miersch, Huntington Beach CA, Spit 5.804 236.01 236.01
15 7222 A/FD Dennis Swearingen, Santa Clarita CA, Uye 5.821 230.76 230.76
16 7649 B/AD Frank Dischbein, Las Vegas NV, Framework 6.027 235.68 235.68

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 7402 A/FD Randy Eakins, Carson City NV, CNE-TFX 6.198 187.36 187.36
18 734 A/FD Johnny Ahten, Sagus CA, Uyehara-BAE 6.307 198.35 198.35
19 7988 A/FD Mark Foster, Santa Cruz CA, Sterling-TFX 8.526 155.69 155.69
20 71 B/AD Chris Demke, Sunland CA, Uyehara-BAE 9.723 80.89 110.50
21 7097 TA/D Ed Vickroy, Fontana CA, NSP-BAE DQ

TAFC

1 3 Brian Hough, Junction City OR, '02 Firebird 5.630 254.47 254.47
2 237 Von Smith, Oak Ridge TN, '02 Camaro 5.672 251.72 251.72
3 799 Sean Bellemeur, Newport Beach CA, '02 Camaro 5.680 248.39 248.39
4 2 Jay Payne, Claremont CA, '02 Camaro 5.681 256.89 256.89
5 5 Cy Chesterman, Sioux City IA, '07 Mustang 5.717 252.99 252.99
6 8 Doug Gordon, Paso Robles CA, '05 Monte Carlo 5.721 256.36 256.36
7 727 Ron August Jr, Pleasanton CA, '02 Camaro 5.732 252.24 252.24
8 75 Dennis Taylor, Anaheim Hills CA, '02 Camaro 5.749 250.32 250.32
9 76 Mark Woznichak, Ontario CA, '02 Camaro 5.749 249.53 249.53
10 9 Roger Bateman, Calgary AB, '02 Camaro 5.753 252.10 252.10
11 7507 Paul Crifasi, Henderson NV, '02 Firebird 5.758 249.12 249.12
12 63 Hank Coolidge, Sunburst MT, '02 Firebird 5.765 245.76 246.66
13 777 John Patton, Peoria AZ, '02 Firebird 5.776 246.30 246.30
14 65 Ken Kraus, Great Falls MT, '02 Camaro 5.795 249.86 249.86
15 765 Bernie Harrington, Apple Valley CA, '02 Camaro 5.806 244.74 247.02
16 62 Clint Thompson, Klamath Falls OR, '05 Monte Ca 5.842 237.71 248.75

------------ Not Qualified ------------

17 596 Paul Anderson, Erie CO, '06 Stratus 5.929 248.16 248.16
18 710D Alexis De Joria, Venice CA, '07 Charger 5.949 243.37 243.37
19 7704 Dale Van Gundy, Anaheim CA, '97 Firebird 5.974 240.77 240.77
20 73 Steve Gasparrelli, West Covina CA, '05 Monte C 6.070 244.87 244.87
21 757 Larry Miner, Lodi CA, '05 Monte Carlo 6.085 218.62 218.62
22 750 Kirk Kuhns, Huntington Park CA, '05 Monte Carlo 6.132 231.24 231.24
23 756 Don Hudson, Stockton CA, '02 Camaro 6.304 222.25 222.25
24 747 Pete Swayne, Santa Rosa CA, '05 Monte Carlo 7.219 133.37 133.37
25 766 Jason Rupert, Yorba Linda CA, '02 Camaro 10.157 85.31 85.31

Comp

1 10 C/SR Thomas Schmidt, Lindstrom MN, '34 Chevrolet 8.600 9.33 -0.730
2 72 D/EA Jim Cowan, Dewey AZ, '04 Cavalier 8.348 9.07 -0.722
3 76 A/A Vinnie Deceglie, Alta Loma CA, '63 Corvette 6.595 7.28 -0.685
4 500 B/AA Lou Ficco Jr., Wheat Ridge CO, '04 Cavalier 7.184 7.85 -0.666
5 4 A/EA David Rampy, Piedmont AL, '32 Bantam 7.384 8.05 -0.666
6 14 G/EA Frank Aragona, Old Bridge NJ, '32 Bantam 8.590 9.23 -0.640
7 73 PST Tom Mettler, Bakersfield CA, '01 Dakota 7.551 8.19 -0.639
8 77 A/AA David Beckley, Wildomar CA, '63 Corvette 6.773 7.41 -0.637
9 54 G/SM Bill Morse, McKinney TX, '07 Cobalt 9.018 9.65 -0.632
10 7771 C/SR Ed Sigmon, Chatsworth CA, '34 Chevy 8.698 9.33 -0.632
11 529Y A/AA Steve Holloway, Lakewood CO, '06 GTO 6.788 7.41 -0.622
12 751 B/A Tom Huggins, Santa Paula CA, '06 GTO 7.200 7.82 -0.620
13 51 B/D Clint Sallee, Glendive MT, Fritz-Mopar 6.783 7.40 -0.617
14 720 A/ND J.D. Zink, Chico CA, Uyehara-Chevy 7.022 7.63 -0.608
15 7298 A/SM Scott Hedlund, Anaheim Hills CA, '02 Caval 8.028 8.63 -0.602
16 600 B/SR Jeff Lane, North Bend WA, '34 Chevy 8.134 8.73 -0.596
17 75 A/AP Alan Ellis, Wheatridge CO, '23-T Ford 6.987 7.58 -0.593
18 5266 B/A Danny Gruninger, Littleton CO, '07 Cobalt 7.230 7.82 -0.590
19 710 D/SMA Doug Lambeck, Corona Del Mar CA, '05 Sunfi 8.615 9.20 -0.585
20 7230 G/SM Randy Jones, Monarch Beach CA, '04 Cavalier 9.070 9.65 -0.580
21 7244 G/A Fred Gross, La Crescenta CA, '04 Cavalier 8.632 9.21 -0.578
22 5413 H/SMA Cordis Johnson, Springdale AR, '07 Cobalt 9.216 9.79 -0.574
23 58 DD/AT Bruno Massel, Woodridge IL, '07 Cobalt 7.584 8.15 -0.566
24 717 E/A Mike DePalma, Glendale AZ, '04 Cavalier 7.945 8.50 -0.555
25 7 A/ND Dean Carter, Glendale AZ, Uyehara-Chev 7.076 7.63 -0.554
26 178 C/EA Dan Fletcher, Churchville NY, '01 Firebird 8.321 8.87 -0.549
27 718 C/AA Alan Freese, Salinas CA, '00 Firebird 7.647 8.19 -0.543
28 730 F/AA Bryan Fitzgerald, Newbury Park CA, '04 Cav 8.254 8.79 -0.536
29 2000 D/SMA Lee Sharp, Louisville TN, '03 Cavalier 8.671 9.20 -0.529
30 5037 D/AA Richard Freeman, Pauls Valley OK, '07 Coba 7.963 8.49 -0.527
31 610 C/AA John Edwards, Claremont CA, '99 Neon 7.677 8.19 -0.513
32 7700 B/AA Clarence Thomas, Las Vegas NV, '02 Cavalier 7.338 7.85 -0.512

 

April 12, 2007

Team previews

Force declares test session a success; JFR cars will compete in Las Vegas

After finally generating tire shake on the last of three test runs Wednesday in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang, 14-time NHRA Funny Car world champion John Force declared his race team ready to compete in this weekend's eighth annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.

Force made runs of 200, 300, and 400 feet primarily to check roll-cage clearances of newly installed padding and determine the drivability of the Mustang after changes made by chassis builder Murf McKinney.

The cockpits of the three John Force Racing Funny Cars and both of the team's Super Comp dragsters were reconfigured to address the team's safety concerns raised by the death of JFR driver Eric Medlen in a testing accident last month at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway. The team did not participate in the most recent event in the NHRA POWERade Series.

“The first run, I had a little blurred vision, so we went back and made some adjustments to the padding in the cockpit area,” Force said. ”On the second run, one of the very first times in my career, my vision wasn't blurred when I left the line. That was really impressive to me.

“On the last run, I made a little longer burnout, about three-quarter-track, and I whipped the wheel back and forth, not just once, but three or four times, to get some side-to-side motion, and, bottom line, I felt like a baby in a crib,” said the 122-time tour winner. ”It didn't even try to blur my vision, so I'm approving these changes for my drivers, my daughters Ashley, Brittany, and Courtney, and my son-in-law, Robert Hight. It felt really good out there.

“I want to say that what we did in the driver cockpit area might not be right for everyone, but I'm giving all the clearance data to the NHRA and to Kenny Bernstein to share with the PRO [Professional Racers Owners Organization] membership.”

Force, who was using a seven-point lap belt and a hybrid restraint system, was especially appreciative of the efforts of Trevor Ashline at Safety Solutions, Kris VanGilder of ISP, and of the staff at McKinney Corp., which went above and beyond to make cockpit changes to six race cars in just two and a half weeks.

The 14-time Auto Racing All-America selection was particularly impressed with the new R3 hybrid restraint system, which was designed to keep the head from moving side to side as well as front to back. It apparently was side-to-side oscillation that caused Medlen's fatal head injuries.

“I want to thank the NHRA, Graham Light and Dan Olson especially, for working with us through this tough time and understanding what we're trying to accomplish,” Force said. ”We're not through, but I feel that what we've done the last three weeks will at least allow us to get back in the game and attempt to race again. It's a good start.”

 

Force to test on Wednesday the new change to the team Force cars and decide wheaterthe team will compete this weekend.

April 10, 2007

John Force Racing set to return to action at the Strip at LVMS

LAS VEGAS - John Force and his race team are back.
Drag racing's most prolific Funny Car team will return to racing
this weekend at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NHRA
Summitracing.com Nationals. It will be the team's first race since the
tragic death of driver Eric Medlen three weeks ago following a crash
during a test session.
"I need to get to a race track and do what I do," Force said.
"That's the only way I'm going to get well."
Force said he will bring all four of his race teams to Las
Vegas, but no one will drive the car previously occupied by Medlen.
Force and teammates Robert Hight and Ashley Force are scheduled to
compete.
"We are taking all four cars to Vegas out of respect for Eric,
but we will only race three of them," John Force said.
Force also will take part in an unprecedented test session on
Wednesday at LVMS. The NHRA has made an exception to its testing policy,
which prohibits testing on a track within seven days of an event, to
allow Force to test some new safety features his team has worked on.
Force only plans to launch the car approximately 300 feet as part of the
test session.
Tickets remain for this weekend's event. Race fans can call
1-800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com for tickets. Tickets also will
be available at the gate.

Kalitta sponsored by DHL

YPSILANTI, Mich. --

Rendering of Kalitta's Funny Car.
Kalitta Motorsports, a professional drag racing team based in Ypsilanti, Mich., is pleased to announce that DHL will be a new sponsor of the Scott Kalitta-driven Nitro Funny Car currently competing in the 23-event, 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The yellow and red decorated 8,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Solara Funny Car will make its debut at the upcoming SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas on April 12th through the 15th, 2007.
Conrad "Connie" Kalitta, team owner, drag racing legend and Scott's father, is the owner and founder of Kalitta Air, a worldwide air freight company based in Ypsilanti.

Kalitta Air, a strategic partner with the United States Postal Service and the Department of Defense, provides end-to-end network solutions for all mail to the Middle East and Persian Gulf for civilian and military personnel.

Kalitta Air, in cooperation with DHL, provides mail transportation, security and all terminal handling services to DHL's Bahrain hub, as well as other Defense Department locations throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. According to Mr. Kalitta "it takes a great deal of team work and coordination between Kalitta Air and DHL to deliver the staggering volume of U.S. mail from around the world, into and out of these countries."

DHL, founded 38 years ago in San Francisco, Calif., has built the world's premier global delivery network by trailblazing express shipping in one country after another. Over 220 countries and territories later, DHL has grown to be the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry.

"We're thrilled to have DHL on board with us," Scott Kalitta said. "The relationship that my dad and Kalitta Air have built with DHL is tremendous, and we are looking forward to building upon that relationship with DHL in NHRA drag racing with our Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car team."

Kalitta returned to the Funny Car class last season after many successful years at the helm of a Top Fuel dragster. He won the NHRA Top Fuel World Championship in 1994 and 1995 as well as 17 NHRA national event trophies, but got his first professional NHRA national event win under the carbon fiber canopy of a Funny Car in Houston in 1989.

Jon Capps is back in a Flopper

LAS VEGAS -- Funny Car rookie Jon Capps says he's like a veritable "Rain Man" of automobiles, with a natural ability to read his ride. And it's no wonder he'd choose a movie metaphor to describe his talent - he works with the stars of Hollywood, after all.
Capps, a longtime resident of Las Vegas, makes his NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series debut at the eighth annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals April 12-15, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The $1.8 million race is the fifth of 23 in the NHRA POWERade Series, televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD.

During the day - there's no typical one for Jon - he is a precision stunt driver that's done everything from commercials to stunts for movies like "Talladega Nights," and teaching celebrities like Will Ferrell how to be comfortable with racing, from lingo to driving.

His older brother Ron, an annual title contender, comes to the event on a two-race winning streak that nudged him to the top of the POWERade Series point standings behind the wheel of his Brut Revolution Dodge Charger. When Jon stages his Vegas Fuel Energy Drink Funny Car in Las Vegas, he'll be ready to make a name for himself.

"(Ron and I) are pretty fierce competition-wise," said Jon, who will use the same Monte Carlo team owner and crew chief Paul Smith tuned to a runner-up finish in Gainesville. "We realize this is something we are lucky enough to do. If we had the opportunity to pay to do what we do, we would gladly do it . It's not the kind of competition that develops bitterness, it's healthy brotherly competition" that stretches far into their past, he said.

As kids, the two were "always drag racing," Ron said. Jon describes the way the two would wrap up in blankets, head and feet, until they felt like they were in the cockpit of a Funny Car. They were always focused on Funny Cars, Jon said. Then they would make burnout noises, "back up" and launch on a full pass, careful to mimic the noises they'd heard on the drag strip.

"We would drag race each other down the hallway, or on bicycles or Big Wheels," Ron said. "Whatever it was seemed like it came back down to drag racing."

It was a natural fixation for the brothers, who watched both of their parents, John and Betty, compete on the quarter-miles of California. John drove an altered Fiat Topolino called "Strip Teaser." Betty worked on the crew and sometimes drove as well.

Even then, Jon studied the sport. Soon, after a few years of service on the U.S.S. Midway as a Naval aviation fuel specialist, he got behind the wheel of a Top Alcohol Dragster and Alcohol Funny Car before earning his first seat in a POWERade Series Funny Car.

Jon hopes to compete in five or six races in 2007 and eventually launch his own full-time campaign toward an NHRA world championship title. Meanwhile, he's learned much from Ron.

"I've been such a student of the sport of driving," Jon said. "Every time Ron makes a run, I'm on the starting line, watching him and (crew chief Ed "Ace" McCulloch) . I've gone over the process so many times, I kind of got used to it. That helped me a lot when I got in the car."

Ron has given him plenty of advice, too - almost too much, Jon said. Like the big brother he's always been.

"I know he understands I have a natural ability to drive a car, but he said 'you don't know what this thing's going to do, it's a completely different animal,'" Jon said. "One thing he instilled in me before I got in the car is that 'no matter what you have to do to keep this thing in the groove, don't let it get away from you. You have to stay on top of it.'"

Ron is nervous about Jon's debut, but he'll have plenty on his own hands to deal with when the ultra-competitive 2007 Funny Car class comes to The Strip. Challenging the Brut Revolution team will be the brother combination of Tony and Cruz Pedregon and Ron's Schumacher Racing teammates Gary Scelzi, the 2005 world champion, and Jack Beckman. Cruz Pedregon is the defending event winner.

Alexis DeJoria debuts new car for Vegas

De Joria set to 'charge' the field in Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Rookie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Alexis De Joria will be set to 'charge' the field for this weekend's SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in her new 2007 Dodge Charger body. De Joria had her old Camaro body ripped off in a freak top-end accident during last month's Phoenix Division 7 event where a competitor's parachutes ripped the body off the frame as he made the top-end turnoff at a high rate of speed. With her new body and a successful test session under her belt, she and the Tequila Patrón/Jack O'Bannon Racing Team are excited about their chances to mix it up with the competition at the strip this weekend.

De Joria, 29, of Venice, Calif., is the daughter of Paul Mitchell Hair Care Products and Patrón Spirits Company founder John Paul De Joria. Rather than follow her father's footsteps into the world of fashion and fame, De Joria is pursuing her dream of becoming a funny car driver. De Joria will train for the next few years behind the wheel of the Jack O'Bannon Racing Top Alcohol Funny Car to make the jump to Nitro Funny Car in the future.

"I'm really excited to be getting back behind the wheel," said De Joria. "This new Charger body is awesome. I was a little nervous at first because you really sit way back in this car. The windows are further forward than the Camaro, and you have the scoop that comes into the cockpit. But it actually helped because it makes you more focused down track and less likely to be distracted by what's going on out the side windows. The guys just finished wrapping the car in the Tequila Patrón colors, so I can't wait to see what the car looks like. Hopefully we can make some strong runs and make a good showing for them this weekend."

De Joria and the team lead by former World Champion Randy Anderson have good reason to be excited after a test session in Fontana, Calif., produced strong numbers.

"We made some laps in Fontana to work on the way I was swapping feet," explained De Joria. "The team put some sensors on both pedals to see when I was getting on the throttle and letting off the clutch. It really helped me because it gave us some visual data to show what I was doing wrong, and what I needed to do to correct it. We didn't make full passes there, but one of the runs could have been a low 5.70, so we're very excited going into this weekend."

De Joria will be joined by her teammate Sean O'Bannon next weekend as he takes delivery of his new Brad Hadman chassis fitted with an identical 2007 Dodge Charger body. O'Bannon, who finished second in the world last season while competing in the Top Alcohol Dragster category, will crossgrade his license during testing next week and debut the car at the Division 7 Lucas Oil Series event to be held here the following weekend.

Qualifying begins on Friday for the alcohol cars with two sessions and one final session Saturday morning. Eliminations begin Saturday afternoon with round one and final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.

About The Patrón Spirits Company:
Headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada, the company's eight distinctive products now share the Patrón label; Gran Patrón Platinum, Patrón Añejo, Patrón Reposado, Patrón Silver, Patrón XO Café, Patrón Citrónge, Pyrat Cask 23, Pyrat XO Reserve. Each brand is the finest in their category. The newest, Gran Patrón Platinum, is an extraordinary triple distilled pure tequila. Patrón Tequila is today, the world’s number one ultra premium tequila. In 2004 & 2005, Patrón Tequila was recognized with the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences Five Star Diamond Award. Patrón is the first spirits brand ever to receive this prestigious honor. Patrón Tequila continues to set new sales records every year. Find out more at www.PatronSpirits.com

Favorites and odds are announced for Vegas

Schumacher, Capps, Anderson favored to win NHRA SummitRacing.com
> Nationals
> this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
>
>
> LAS VEGAS - Station Casinos' oddsmaker Micah Roberts likes Tony
> Schumacher, Ron Capps and Greg Anderson in Sunday's final rounds of
> this weekend's NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals for the NHRA POWERade
> Drag Racing Series at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
> Perennial favorite Anderson (Pro Stock) is listed at 5-to-9, which
> drops him into the "surely-you're-not-going-to-bet-on-me" category.
> Most recent Top Fuel Dragster winner J.R. Todd is set at 7-to-1.
> Hometown heroes Rod Fuller (Top Fuel Dragster) and Jon Capps (Funny
> Car) have been set at 7-to-2 and 15-to-1 (field), respectively. The
> Las Vegas oddsmaker has placed out-of-retirement Funny Car driver
> Jerry Toliver at 30-to-1 and past Top Fuel Dragster Bud Shootout
> winner David Grubnic at 15-to-1.
> The NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals begins Thursday with Sportsman
> classes. Professional categories (Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car and
> Pro Stock) begin qualifying on Friday. The entire event, which brings
> the biggest names in professional drag racing to Las Vegas, kicks off
> Thursday evening at 7 p.m. with a free NHRA driver autograph session
> at the ESPN Zone at the New York New York Hotel & Casino. For tickets
> and information, please call the LVMS ticket office at (702) 644-4444
> or visit www.LVMS.com online.
>
> Top Fuel Dragster
> Tony Schumacher 5-to-2
> Rod Fuller 7-to-2
> Brandon Bernstein 6-to-1
> J.R. Todd 7-to-1
> Whit Bazemore 10-to-1
> Larry Dixon 10-to-1
> Doug Kalitta 10-to-1
> Melanie Troxel 12-to-1
> David Grubnic 15-to-1
> Hillary Will 15-to-1
> Morgan Lucas 20-to-1
> Field (all others) 15-to-1
>
> Funny Car
> Ron Capps 3-to-1
> Tony Pedregon 4-to-1
> Gary Scelzi 5-to-1
> John Force 6-to-1
> Cruz Pedregon 6-to-1
> Tommy Johnson Jr. 8-to-1
> Mike Ashley 10-to-1
> Kenny Bernstein 12-to-1
> Jim Head 15-to-1
> Del Worsham 15-to-1
> Scott Kalitta 18-to-1
> Tim Wilkerson 20-to-1
> Jeff Arend 20-to-1
> Ashley Force 25-to-1
> Jerry Toliver 30-to-1
> Field (all others) 15-to-1
>
> Pro Stock
> Greg Anderson 5-to-9
> Jason Line 5-to-2
> Jeg Coughlin Jr. 4-to-1
> Dave Connolly 7-to-1
> Mike Edwards 10-to-1
> Greg Stanfield 10-to-1
> Allen Johnson 12-to-1
> Kurt Johnson 12-to-1
> Richie Stevens Jr. 12-to-1
> Warren Johnson 18-to-1
> Erica Enders 18-to-1
> V. Gaines 20-to-1
> Tom Martino 20-to-1
> Kenny Koretsky 25-to-1
> Tom Hammonds 25-to-1
> Field (all others) 14-to-1

 


Event Preview

LAS VEGAS --

The Eighth annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, the fifth of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Professional competitors in three categories earn points leading to 2007 NHRA POWERade world championships.
Sportsman competitors in six categories earn points leading to 2007 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas. Track is located approximately 15 miles north of downtown Las Vegas off Interstate 15.

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, April 12-15.

PURSE: Cash and contingency awards of more than $1.8 million.

SCHEDULE:
THURSDAY, April 12 - Sportsman qualifying and time trials, 9 a.m.

FRIDAY, April 13 - Sportsman qualifying and eliminations begin at 8 a.m.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 3 and 6 p.m.

SATURDAY, April 14 - Sportsman eliminations begin at 8 a.m.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at noon and 3 p.m.

SUNDAY, April 15 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:
Saturday, April 14, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 6 p.m. (ET).

Sunday April 15, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air NHRA Race Day, at 11 a.m. (ET).

Sunday, April 15, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of final eliminations at 7 p.m. (ET).

2006 EVENT WINNERS: Melanie Troxel, Top Fuel; Cruz Pedregon, Funny Car; Kurt Johnson, Pro Stock.

TRACK RECORDS:
Top Fuel - 4.445 seconds by Tony Schumacher, Oct. '06; 335.57 mph by Doug Kalitta, April '04
Funny Car - 4.677 seconds by Robert Hight, Oct. '06; 333.08 mph by Hight, Oct. '06
Pro Stock - 6.705 seconds by Jason Line, Oct. '06; 204.94 mph by Line, Oct. '06


NATIONAL RECORDS:
Top Fuel - 4.428 sec. by Tony Schumacher, Nov. '06, Pomona, Calif.; 336.15 mph by Schumacher, May '05, Columbus, Ohio
Funny Car - 4.659 sec. by Tony Pedregon, Feb. '07, Chandler, Ariz.; 333.66 mph by Jack Beckman, Nov. '06, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock - 6.536 sec. by Greg Anderson, Feb. '07, Gainesville, Fla.; 211.69 mph by Jason Line, Feb. '07, Gainesville, Fla.


TICKETS:
For tickets call Las Vegas Motor Speedway at (702) 644-4444, or visit LVMS.com, or nhra.com

GENERAL ADMISSION (includes pit pass) - Thursday: Adult, $16; Junior (6-12 years), free. Friday: Adult, $32; Junior (6-12 years), $11. Saturday: Adult, $51; Junior (6-12 years), $11. Sunday: Adult, $55; Junior (6-12 years) $16. Children five years and under admitted free to general admission and pit areas each day.

RESERVED SEATS (includes pit pass) - Friday: Adult, $42; Junior (6-12 years), $21; Child (Five and under), $11. Saturday: Adult, $61; Junior (6-12 years), $21; Child (Five and under), $11. Sunday: Adult, $65; Junior (6-12 years) $27; Child (Five and under), $11.

Archives

2006 National events

Winterational's coverage is here (Pomona)
CSK National's coverage is here (Phoenix)
Gatornational's coverage is here (Gainesville)
O'Reilly National's coverage is here (Houston)
Summit National's coverage is here (Las Vegas)
Thunder Valley National's coverage is here (Bristol)
Southern National's coverage is here (Atlanta)
Pontiac Performance National's coverage is here (Columbus)
O'Reilly Summer National's coverage is here (Topeka)

CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Chicago)
K&N Filters SuperNationals coverage is here (Englishtown)
O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals coverage is here (St.Louis)
Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Denver)
Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Seattle)
Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Sonoma)
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Brainerd)
O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals coverage is here (Memphis)
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals coverage is here (Indy)
O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals coverage is here (Dallas)
Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Reading)
Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Virginia)
ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals coverage is here (Las Vegas)
Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals coverage is here (Pomona)

 

2005 Archives

2004
February 2003 NHRA Zone
March 2003 NHRA Zone
April 2003 NHRA Zone
May archives are here
June archives are here
July/Aug archives here
Sept Archives are here
Oct archives are here
Nov/Dec archives are here

 

 

2004 archives

Jan.04 NHRA Zone

Feb 04 NHRA zone

Mar 04 NHRA zone

Apr 04 NHRA zone

July 04 and earlier NHRA zone

Nov and earlier (including the entire season results page)

nhradiv6.com

nhra.com

Powerade TV Package


 

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