NHRA TESTING THIS WEEK AT THE STRIP: The competition for the 16 drivers who have advanced to the championship round of the NHRA Playoffs, the Countdown to 1 (October 26–28 at Las Vegas and November 1–4 in Pomona, California), essentially gets underway this week with a three-day test session (October 16–18) at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Not all of the finalists will be there, but some high-profile Countdown to 1 drivers such as Tony Schumacher, Greg Anderson, Robert Hight and Tony Pedregon will be there searching for that elusive hundredth of a second that could be the difference. Check your e-mail and www.nhra.com for news from testing.
TELECONFERENCE OCTOBER 17 AT 2:00 P.M. EST/11:00 A.M. PST: The 16 finalists who have advanced into the Countdown to 1 will be available to the national media this Wednesday, October 17 via teleconference. The finalists from each of the categories will be on simultaneously for 15-minute blocks beginning with Top Fuel at 2:00 p.m., then Funny Car at 2:15 p.m., Pro Stock at 2:30 p.m. and Pro Stock Motorcycle at 2:45 p.m. To participate, dial 800/793-6775 and enter the code 8964-7712.
TOP FUEL, 2:00 P.M. (EST)
|1. Larry Dixon||SkyTel dragster||3,030|
|2. Rod Fuller||Caterpillar dragster||3,020|
|3. Tony Schumacher||U.S. Army dragster||3,010|
|4. Brandon Bernstein||Budweiser/Lucas Oil dragster||3,000|
FUNNY CAR 2:15 P.M. (EST)
|1. Tony Pedregon||Q Horsepower Chevy Impala SS||3,030|
|2. Gary Scelzi||Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger R/T||3,020|
|3. Robert Hight||Auto Club Ford Mustang||3,010|
|4. Ron Capps||Brut Dodge Charger R/T||3,000|
PRO STOCK, 2:30 P.M. (EST)
|1. Dave Connolly||Torco Fuels Chevy Cobalt||3,030|
|2. Greg Anderson||Summit Racing Pontiac GTO||3,020|
|3. Jeg Coughlin||Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt||3,010|
|4. Allen Johnson||J&J Racing Dodge Stratus||3,000|
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE, 2:45 P.M. (EST)
|1. Andrew Hines||Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson||3,030|
|2. Matt Smith||Torco Race Fuels Buell||3,020|
|3. Chip Ellis||Drag Specialties S&S Buell||3,010|
|4. Peggy Llewellyn||Rush Racing Products Buell||3,000|
NHRA RACE NOTES UPDATED ONLINE: The NHRA Countdown to the Championship Race Notes Pak has been updated—with reset points for the finalists, ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals items, driver history among finalists at the last two races (see Tony Schumacher and Greg Anderson) and much, much more—and is available online by clicking here.
LLEWELLYN, SCELZI ROLL LUCKY 7’S IN COUNTDOWN TO 4: Only three drivers among the 16 who finished the regular season in fifth through eighth place advanced to the Countdown to 1 and two of those three came from the No. 7 slot—Gary Scelzi in Funny Car and Peggy Llewellyn in Pro Stock Motorcycle. The only other outsider to crash the party was Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Chip Ellis, who finished the regular season in fifth place. Outside of those three—who displaced John Force, Angelle Sampey and Karen Stoffer—the Countdown to 1 field was chalk with 13 of the 16 top four drivers in the regular season advancing to the Countdown to 1.
TOP FUEL RACERS READY FOR $100,000 BONUS IN TECHNICOAT SHOOTOUT: Tony Schumacher will start from the No. 1 position in the Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout on October 27, during the seventh annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The all-star race-within-a-race bonus event, which awards $100,000 to the winner, showcases the eight Top Fuel drivers who accumulated the most qualifying points during the 2007 Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout series. The series began with the 2006 ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas and ended at the 2007 Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Virginia. Other racers who have earned a position in the Technicoat Shootout include three time winner Larry Dixon, 2004 winner Dave Grunbic, three-time runner-up Cory McClenathan, 2002 runner-up Brandon Bernstein, 2006 runner-up Rod Fuller, Melanie Troxel, and J.R. Todd.
HD PARTNERS, NHRA ENTER INTO AGREEMENT: On May 30, 2007, NHRA entered into an agreement with HD Partners Acquisition Corporation (AMEX: HDP) for the acquisition by HDP of the NHRA’s professional drag racing assets, including the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, together with a broad set of commercialization rights. The transaction is subject to HDP shareholder approval. Interested persons are advised to read HDP’s preliminary proxy statement on file at the SEC and the definitive proxy statement, when available. More information about HDP and the agreement with the NHRA is also available at www.hdpartnersacquisition.com.
NHRA SPORT COMPACT WORLD FINALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, OCTOBER 20–21: The best drivers in the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series will gather at the famous Auto Club Raceway in Pomona for the final event of the 2007 Sport Compact Season.
ACDELCO LAS VEGAS NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, OCTOBER 25–28: The Countdown to One begins with the Top 4 in each professional category battling it out for POWERade World Championships. The 2007 Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout also will take place at the event, pitting the top drivers in Top Fuel battling against each other for $100,000 and bragging rights.
AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, NOVEMBER 1–4: In the final race of the season, the top four drivers in each professional category will all be fighting for the POWERade World Championship. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher, John Force, Greg Anderson and Craig Treble.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
9: The number of drivers in the Countdown to 1 who have never won a POWERade Series world championship. The remaining seven drivers among the 16 finalists—Larry Dixon (2), Tony Schumacher (4), Tony Pedregon (1), Gary Scelzi (4), Greg Anderson (3), Jeg Coughlin (2) and Andrew Hines (3)—have combined to win 19 POWERade Series world championships.
DRIVERS TELL ALL
FUNNY CAR DRIVER RON CAPPS ON HIS OWN PERSONAL GROUNDHOG DAY: Ron Capps entered the final qualifying session at the final race of the Countdown to 4 unqualified and a DNQ meant he would not advance into the Countdown to 1, the two-race championship that culminates the NHRA Playoffs. It began a series of four straight must passes that Capps nailed one after the other to get into the Countdown to 1: “I felt like I was stuttering because I kept telling ESPN this is the most important round of our life … and that was the last qualifying run. Then we get in and we have Robert Hight first round and I said it again. Our season is over if we lose this. And we had to keep (winning) every time (teammate) Gary (Scelzi) would win so I felt like I was stuttering. I kept saying this is the most important round of my life.”
For more information, visit www.nhra.com.