November 6, 2007
NHRA Awards banquet
LOS ANGELES --
The evening featured two very moving tributes. The first to NHRA founder Wally Parks, who died Sept. 28 at age 94, after a lifetime dedicated to growing and nurturing NHRA to position it as a worldwide leader in motorsports; and the other to Funny Car driver Eric Medlen, who died March 23 from injuries received in a testing crash at Gainesville Raceway four days earlier. Medlen, 33, a team driver for John Force Racing, was one of the bright young stars in the NHRA POWERade Series.
Schumacher received a check for $500,000 from NHRA and POWERade, which also included a $100,000 Countdown bonus. It was Schumacher's fourth consecutive crown and his fifth overall, tying him with Joe Amato for most in the category. Schumacher drove his Alan Johnson-tuned U.S. Army dragster to six victories during the season, including a dramatic must-win performance at the Auto Club NHRA Finals, to steal the title away from "Hot Rod" Fuller at the last moment.
Pedregon earned his second series crown and first as a team owner by outlasting Robert Hight, Gary Scelzi and Ron Capps in the Countdown to 1. Pedregon raced to a victory in Las Vegas and then held on to win the championship despite losing in the first round at Pomona. Pedregon, who drove his Q Horsepower Chevy Impala SS to four victories in five final rounds during the season and set the national elapsed time record at Phoenix, earned $500,000 from NHRA and POWERade for the title, which included a $100,000 Countdown bonus.
Coughlin took his third Pro Stock world championship with a come-from-behind effort, driving his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt to the win at the season finale and posting a runner-up effort at Las Vegas for a 7-1 eliminations record during the two-race Countdown to 1. The Delaware, Ohio driver was presented a $250,000 check from NHRA and POWERade, which included a $50,000 Countdown bonus. Coughlin won four times in eight final round appearances during the season.
Funny Car driver Ashley Force won the $20,000 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, which recognizes NHRA's rookie of the year. A distinguished panel of auto racing journalists selected Force, who two weeks ago in Las Vegas became the first female driver in NHRA history to advance to a final round in Funny Car. The 24-year-old second generation racer is only the 10th woman to compete in the 7,000 horsepower category. Other nominees included Justin Humphreys, Craig Hankinson and Matt Scranton in Pro Stock and Barry Henson in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
NHRA Full Throttle Pit Crew Challenge season awards, recognizing the most consistently quick teams during qualifying throughout the year, were presented to Schumacher's U.S. Army Top Fuel team ($25,000) led by crew chief Johnson; Jack Beckman's Mail Terminal Services Funny Car team ($25,000) led by Phil Shuler; Greg Anderson's Summit Racing Pro Stock team ($15,000) led by Rob Downing; and Ellis' Drag Specialties S&S Buell Pro Stock Motorcycle team ($5,000) led by Ken Johnson and George Bryce.
The future stars of the sport, drivers in seven categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, also were recognized as 2007 world champions: Bill Reichert (Top Alcohol Dragster); Frank Manzo (Top Alcohol Funny Car); Frank Aragona Jr. (Competition Eliminator); Darren Smith (Super Stock); Michael Iacono (Stock Eliminator); Shawn Langdon (Super Comp) and Sherman Adcock Jr. (Super Gas).
Speedzone coverage below
-Countdown to Eight -
- Countdown to Four -
2006 National events
Winterational's coverage is
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)
Final standings 2006
1. Tony Schumacher 1,681
1. John Force 1,636
1. Jason Line 1,787
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Andrew Hines 1,099
Sept. 2, 2006
NHRA's new point system for 2007 press release posted during the US nationals ...............
.....and it seems to have taken away from the biggest drag racing event of the season.
The release below has certainly garnered opinions from almost every source, media and racer like and not too many have been positive. Jon Asher (competitionplus), Jeff Wolf (Las Vegas Journal) and Shirley Muldowny (competition plus, scroll down the page), all have the same negative outlook, but all three are quite different in their reasoning. Rod Fuller and Gary Scelzi are possibly being PC in their comments, but both say they are excited about the big change. With the biggest race of the year anticipated for many since the Western swing, to have this announcement prior to the race has taken much of the hoopla out of the "Big Go".
Here is the start of the silly season
Schumacher splits with Matco as primary....
INDIANAPOLIS -- Multi-team owner Don Schumacher today
announced that Matco Tools, which has been a major primary and associate
sponsor of Don Schumacher Racing in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing
Series since 2001, will not return to the team as a major sponsor
"It's possible that Matco Tools may return with DSR in 2007 as an associate sponsor, but that remains to be determined," said Schumacher.
Bazemore's status with DSR for 2007 is unclear at this stage, Schumacher added. "I will not run that car without a sponsor. So, the first thing I need to do is find a new sponsor.
"I respect the fact that Matco Tools conveyed this information to me today at the U.S. Nationals. This will give me an opportunity to work aggressively through the rest of this 2006 season to replace them as a primary sponsor.
"We've had a long, rewarding relationship with Matco Tools since 2001, and I wish them continued success with their future motorsports programs," added Schumacher. "Matco Tools will continue as the tool of choice in the DSR camp for the time being."
Schumacher adds Valvoline.....
INDIANAPOLIS -- Iconic racing brand Valvoline has been named the
"Official Oil" of Don Schumacher Racing, the 10-team operation
that competes in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
"The Valvoline arrangement with DSR will be much more than that of a supplier of lubrication products. Don Schumacher Racing looks forward to providing assistance to Valvoline in product development and product testing opportunities, as well as in their many marketing and promotional programs."
"Don Schumacher Racing is one of racing1s premier organizations," said Valvoline Director of Marketing and Motorsports, Bryan Emrich. "The addition of Don Schumacher Racing to Valvoline1s NHRA program means that we now sponsor top professional drivers in every pro class. And today1s announcement complements Valvoline1s already-strong support of NHRA Divisional racers."
As part of the overall program, Valvoline identification will appear on all Don Schumacher Racing race vehicles, transporters, hospitality and technology trailers, as well as on driver and crew uniforms. Valvoline will have primary sponsorship paint schemes with Don Schumacher Racing at several events during the 2007 NHRA season.
Matco leaves Shoe and heads to.....
STOW, Ohio -- Matco Tools will provide primary sponsorship to a 2007
Top Fuel dragster effort in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series,
it was announced today.
Matco Tools will provide primary sponsorship to a new David Powers Motorsports entry as well as major associate billing on Fuller's machine. The team is owned by Houston businessman and veteran drag racer David Powers. A former Top Fuel driver himself, he presides over David Powers Homes an award-winning homebuilding concern in the greater Houston area. The Powers race team was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in suburban Indianapolis.
Award-winning crew chief Lee Beard, who has amassed a stellar record of race wins in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories will oversee tuning of the new Matco Tools entry.
Though the driver for the Matco Tools Top Fuel Dragster has yet to be announced, expectation for the announcement of a high-profile, proven candidate is expected shortly.
"We are honored and delighted to announce Matco Tools as primary sponsor of the newest David Powers Motorsports Top Fuel team," said team owner, David Powers. "Matco Tools is a fantastic brand and one that has demonstrated enormous relevance and fan loyalty in drag racing. We've have always been impressed by the Matco Tools following, so it will be both exciting and an honor to have the opportunity to elevate that enthusiasm."
Global motorsports marketing leader Just Marketing International has been retained to assist Matco Tools in managing the sponsorship and its related activation.
"Our loyal distributors have wanted and deserved a full-blown presence in NHRA's most high-profile racing division," said John Torok, Manager, Motorsports Marketing, Matco Tools, Inc. "It's a great platform for them and their customers to see the Matco Tools Top Fuel car square-off against its tool-branded competitors. At-track hospitality will be a major component of this new program and we are very confident that David Powers Motorsports will provide our guests with a superior, up-close entertainment experience."
The King is back in the Saddle.... In a Flopper...
CLERMONT, Ind. --
"I thrive on competition and I still love the sport," said Bernstein. "I've been searching for the perfect opportunity and the perfect sponsor to field a competitive team to get back into the sport, and Monster Energy drinks provided the ideal scenario. I'm as excited as I was the first time I ever sat in a Funny Car."
"At Monster Energy we are all about going extreme in everything we do and NHRA Funny Car racing is about as extreme as it gets," said Monster Energy Drink president Mark Hall. "When we decided to get into the sport, we looked to partner with an athlete who fits our image and shares our competitive spirit. Kenny Bernstein is a fierce competitor with a proven track record of success. The fact that Kenny has a relationship with our new partner for distribution, Anheuser-Busch, was a bonus. We look forward to a long successful partnership with Kenny Bernstein Racing and are confident Kenny will be a great representative of the Monster Brand."
Bernstein, who is famous for building Budweiser brand identity in the motorsports community will now attack Monster Energy brand-building with the same zeal.
"NHRA drag racing will provide a tremendous amount of exposure for Monster," said Bernstein. "Monster does have a common ground and cross-over with Anheuser-Busch because Monster is distributed by many Anheuser-Busch wholesalers. It was a natural fit. We have a multi-year commitment and we will work in every market we visit along the way to try to increase Monster sales, using the same business philosophy my father taught me at a young age, the principles I've used through the years.
"Plus Monster aligns itself with extreme sports and there's nothing more extreme in motorsports than a 7,000 horsepower nitro car.
"It's been no secret that it's been difficult for me to sit on the sidelines. I've been in the cockpit for so many years that at first, I couldn't even find a comfortable spot to stand at the starting line. And I really missed the competitive side. I can't explain the rush and the kick you get from driving a 330 mile-per-hour nitro car down a quarter-mile, but that's a feeling you can't replace or find a substitute for. Thankfully, I've been blessed with good health and still feel that I can be very competitive."
Bernstein will run the Monster Energy Funny Car operation under Kenny Bernstein Racing, Inc.
"I will still be the owner and play a major active role in the Budweiser/Lucas Oil team as I always have," said Bernstein. "It will remain intact as you know it. We feel that adding a second car will strengthen our position."
Second generation driver Brandon Bernstein is pleased about his father's return to the cockpit.
"I know he still has the itch to drive," said Brandon, "and this is about the best scenario you could ever hope for because Monster is connected to Anheuser-Busch. He has coached me and helped me through the learning curve of driving the Top Fuel car and I talk to him after every run. I'm sure we'll have even more information to trade now that he'll be driving."
"Because we know how fast rumors spread," said Kenny, "we wanted to take a proactive approach to go on record to announce our partnership with Monster Energy drinks.
"We have a lot of work ahead of us to get ready for 2007, but we're energized and excited about getting back in the saddle. It will be fun mixing it up with John Force, Ron Capps, Gary Scelzi, and all the others in the Funny Car class."
Bernstein, known for his lightning-quick reaction times, dominated the Funny Car category for much of the 1980s, winning four consecutive championships from 1985 through 1988. His last year behind the wheel of the Funny Car was 1989 before he switched to Top Fuel in 1990.
Bernstein has amassed 69 career victories while driving for Budweiser, 30 in Funny Car and 39 in Top Fuel. Besides four Funny Car championships, he also accrued two Top Fuel championships, 1996 and 2001.
"We're happy for Kenny that he has an opportunity to climb back into the driver's seat. He's proven to be a great owner of the Budweiser team, but he's obviously a racer at heart and has a passion for driving," said Tony Ponturo, vice president, Global Media and Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "We're excited he's working with a mutual partner in Monster, and we agree with Brandon that sharing information between the two teams will only help the Budweiser team achieve its goal of winning a championship."
After retiring at the end of the 2002 season, he came back to finish the 2003 season after Brandon suffered season-ending injuries in a first round crash May 18 in Englishtown, N.J. Kenny competed in 15 races that season, winning four of the last five events, scoring six semifinal appearances, and accumulating enough points to finish an unbelievable sixth in the final point standings that year.
Bernstein climbs back into the cockpit of the Top Fuel car annually to make enough runs to keep his NHRA nitro license current.
He has made his mark, but his expertise goes far beyond wins and losses. He is first and foremost a businessman and he is focused on helping to build awareness and sales for Monster Energy drinks and Budweiser.
Monster Energy was launched in 2002 and in just three short years has become the number two brand in the exploding energy drink category. Monster Energy provides consumers seeking a boost of energy to fuel their active lifestyle with a proprietary blend of vitamins, herbs and amino acids that packs a vicious punch with a smooth flavor that's easy to pound down.
Monster Energy supports the sport. Be it snow, surf, motocross, skate, BMX, name it, the athletes are rockin' Monster Energy more than anything these days. Check it out at http://www.monsterenergy.com.
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
"I've worked with a couple of his guys (Roy Simmons and Nick Ferri) in the past and I certainly know (chassis builder) Todd Bevis and (engine builders) Joe Hornick and Steve Johns. We've all seen what they've done with their cars and their current success with Evan Knoll's Torco Fuels/Skull Gear car driven by Dave Connolly. It's obvious they can put a competitive car on the racetrack."
"We couldn't be more excited to have a person like Jeg to represent Slammers Ultimate Milk," said Bravo! Foods Internationals CEO Roy Warren. "Slammers is 'Milk With An Attitude' and Jeg has a great winning attitude both on and off the track."
After running under the family's JEGS Mail Order umbrella for most of his career, Coughlin spent the 2005 season driving for Don Schumacher Racing, which was highlighted by a race win at the season finale in Pomona, Calif. Coughlin took this year off from Pro Stock but still managed to win several high-dollar bracket races around the country. He'll begin testing a custom-built Cagnazzi Cobalt next week at Virginia Motorsports Park.
"I got fitted for the car a few months ago and it's ready to run," Coughlin said. "We plan to test prior to running the last three national events this year in Richmond (Va.), Las Vegas, and Pomona.
"We've actually been talking about doing this for some time. I've been racer friends with Victor since the early '90s when he was the first guy I knew of to use his RacePak computer system with a laptop. I wanted to learn how to do that so I went to him then. We've been friends ever since.
"Victor knew I was taking a year off so it gave us time to put a deal together. Slammers and Bravo are having a record year and they attribute a significant portion of that to their racing program. The thought was that two cars will be better than one. I'm excited to enhance what they already have."
Coughlin said his family's company will be offering Slammers Ultimate Milk products through JEGS Mail Order's 1-800-345-4545 phone number and JEGS.com. The system Slammers has to sterilize and bottle their product allows this milk to be stored and shipped without refrigeration through the JEGS distribution network. Customers will now be able to order a twelve-pack and have it in their hands within two days.
"We're excited about the partnership and I know the associates at JEGS will be happy," Coughlin said. "They like to watch us run on ESPN2 and do well.
"I've met with Roy Warren, Mike Edwards, Ben Patipa, and many others and I really like the family feel in their organization. I think that's a crucial element when you're going to spend as much time together as it takes to run this tour. Both Victor and Roy are solid guys and we've all gotten along so well throughout this process. It's been very exciting.
"The next step is to get up and running and get these two Slammers Ultimate Milk Cobalts in the winner's circle as often as possible."
August 30, 2006
Big changes to the NHRA National event championship points chase
GLENDORA, Calif. --
"After the grueling 17-race schedule, the field will be reduced to the top eight in the points standings, for a four-race playoff series to determine the field of four who will ultimately vie for NHRA POWERade World Championships. This format makes every race in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule that much more important," said Compton. "There is nothing in motorsports that rivals the traditional Sunday elimination brackets that have been a part of NHRA POWERade Drag Racing for years. By applying that elimination concept to determine the series points standings, we have by far the most intriguing and suspenseful battle for any championship in all of motorsports."
In the "Countdown to Eight," representing the first 17 races of the season, competitors in all four NHRA POWERade professional categories, Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, will battle each and every race to secure a position in the Top Eight in the points standings, with the final race to reach the "NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship" being the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., Aug. 16-19.
Once set, the "Countdown to Four" begins at the most prestigious drag racing event in the world, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at historic O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend. The Top Eight in each category will have their points adjusted. First place in the standings will begin the countdown with 2,070 points; second place with 2,060 points and so on to eighth place starting with 2,000 points.
The "Countdown to Four," will consist of four races with the last race being the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Va., Oct. 5-7. Following that race, the "Countdown to One" begins when the top four in each category have their points adjusted yet again. First place in the standings will begin the final two races with 3,030 points; second place with 3,020 points; third place with 3,010 points and fourth place with 3,000 points.
The final two races of the season, the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 18-24, followed by the season finale, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 1-4, will see the final four competitors battling it out for the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing World Championship.
No team has ever come back from outside the Top Eight with six races remaining to win the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series World Championship under the current point system.
"Traditionally, prior to the final six races of the season only a few teams still have had a shot at winning a POWERade World Championship. Under this new program, eight teams in each of the professional categories will have a legitimate chance to win," said Compton.
Beginning in 2007, the NHRA POWERade World Champion in Top Fuel and Funny Car will receive a $100,000 Countdown Bonus making the total payout to win the POWERade World Championship $500,000 in each category. In Pro Stock, the POWERade World Champion will receive a Countdown Bonus of $50,000, making the total payout $250,000 and, in Pro Stock Motorcycle, the Countdown Bonus will be $25,000, making the total payout $75,000 to win the POWERade World Championship. In addition to announcing the POWERade Countdown to the Championship, NHRA will increase the total year-end payouts for the Top Eight in the four professional categories to more than $2 million.
The format at all 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series national events will remain the same and feature competitors in the professional categories qualifying for spots in the 16-car fields for Sunday's elimination round.
The 2007 NHRA POWERade schudule is posted
47th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals Feb. 8-11 Pomona, Calif.
23rd annual Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals Feb. 23-25 Phoenix
38th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals March 15-18 Gainesville, Fla. (PSM)
20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals March 30- April 1 Houston (PSM)
Eighth annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals April 12-15 Las Vegas
27th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals April 26-29 Atlanta (PSM)
11th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals May 4-6 St. Louis (PSM)
Seventh annual O'Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals May 18-20 Bristol, Tenn.
19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals June 1-3 Topeka, Kan.
10th annual NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway June 7-10 Chicago (PSM)
38th annual NHRA SuperNationals June 21-24 Englishtown, N.J. (PSM)
Inaugural Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals June 28-July 1 Norwalk, Ohio (PSM)
28th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals July 13-15 Denver (PSM)
20th annual Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals presented by Lucas Oil July 20-22 Seattle
20th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals July 27-29 Sonoma, Calif. (PSM)
26th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Aug. 9-12 Brainerd, Minn. (PSM)
23rd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals Aug. 16-19 Reading, Pa. (PSM)
After Reading, the top eight teams in each pro category will battle for the season championship
- Start of the Countdown to Four -
53rd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Aug. 29- Sept. 3 Indianapolis (PSM)
20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals Sept. 14-16 Memphis, Tenn. (PSM)
22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals Sept. 20-23 Dallas (PSM)
Second annual Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals Oct. 5-7 Richmond, Va.
-Countdown to One-
Seventh annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals Oct. 18-21 Las Vegas (PSM)
43rd annual Automobile Club of Southern California
NHRA Finals Nov. 1-4 Pomona, Calif. (PSM)
Points after Topeka
1. Melanie Troxel 748
1. Ron Capps 781
1. Greg Anderson 632
NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series
Jan.04 NHRA Zone
Feb 04 NHRA zone
Mar 04 NHRA zone
Apr 04 NHRA zone
July 04 and earlier NHRA zone
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