DÉJÀ VU? BROWN OFF TO SIMILAR START HEADING BACK TO ATLANTA: It was one year ago that Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown left the town of Commerce, Georgia, one Wally heavier—his second since the start of the 2008 season—and just 26 points behind leader Tony Schumacher. Pretty impressive considering that Brown was in his first season behind the wheel of a Top Fuel dragster.
Now, one year later, Brown returns to Commerce to defend his event title at the 29th annual Summit Racing NHRA Southern Nationals, April 16–19, at Atlanta Dragway.
Though Brown has 24 events and more than 100 passes down the track under his belt since his Atlanta win one year ago, many similar circumstances exist that led to his win just one year prior. In 2008, Brown entered the event third in the point standings with one win in two final-round appearances and 10 round wins for the season.
This year, Brown heads back to Georgia second in the points, just 18 points behind leader Schumacher, with one win in two final round appearances and 11 round wins for the season.
“Atlanta was an awesome race for us last year, being able to win the race over Tony [Schumacher],” said Brown. “Anytime you can beat that Army dragster, you’ve accomplished something. We hope to repeat what we did last year with this Matco team. We’re still running great, and we expect to have another strong showing.”
Though Brown’s circumstances heading into Atlanta are similar to last year, a second-consecutive win could produce the one difference Sunday night Brown is hoping for—that top spot in the point standings.
Joining Brown in defense of their Atlanta wins will be Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car), who is coming off her second career win two events ago in Houston; Mike Edwards (Pro Stock), who set the national record for speed in Houston (212.03 mph); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle), who hopes his second win at Atlanta Dragway will also be his first win of the 2008 season.
LIMITED NUMBER OF RACE FAN RELIEF TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR FRIDAY AND SUNDAY IN ATLANTA: A limited number of $20 Race Fan Relief tickets are available for this weekend’s Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals. A small portion of the $20 Race Fan Relief tickets remain for Friday and Sunday’s racing at Atlanta Dragway.
Saturday’s allotment of the reduced price general admission tickets are sold out. In addition, two other discount programs are still available for the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event. Those include a complimentary reserved ticket for any active-duty military member on Friday and free general admission tickets for children 12 and under when accompanied by a paid adult.
The military offer is only available Friday at the on-site box office. The children 12 and under promotion is available any day of the event.
BRISTOL DRAGWAY AND zMAX DRAGWAY TEAM UP TO OFFER FANS INCREDIBLE TICKET PACKAGE: NHRA fans in both Bristol and Charlotte now have the chance of a lifetime as Bristol Dragway and zMAX dragway have teamed up to offer an amazing ticket package for $199. With the package, fans will get three-day tickets to the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway, May 15–17, as well as four-day tickets to the NHRA Nationals, September 17–20 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte.
On top of the opportunity to attend two of the biggest races on the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit, fans purchasing four tickets will be able to take laps at both Bristol Motor Speedway and Lowe’s Motor Speedway during each NHRA event weekend. And the first 100 fans to purchase the package will receive a free die-cast Funny Car.
MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY ANNOUNCES FAN TICKET INSURANCE PLAN: Maple Grove Raceway announced a new program to help fans purchasing advance tickets for the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, August 20–23, in Reading, Pennsylvania. The new program titled "Fan Ticket Insurance" offers customers a full refund, including service charges, if they can’t attend the event. Customers purchasing tickets from now until July 15 will be eligible for the plan. The program expires July 17 when tickets are shipped out.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS, ATLANTA DRAGWAY, APRIL 16–19: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing heads south for its annual stop in Georgia. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
O’REILLY NHRA MIDWEST NATIONALS, GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, MAY 1–3: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing returns to the Gateway to the West in Madison, Illinois. Defending event winners include Rod Fuller (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Kurt Johnson (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
NHRA THUNDER VALLEY NATIONALS, BRISTOL DRAGWAY, MAY 15–17: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing heads back to Thunder Valley and the Mountains of Northern Tennessee for the eighth of 24 events on the 2009 schedule. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Melanie Troxel (Funny Car); and Dave Connolly (Pro Stock).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
TWO RACES IN AND…: Former Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith on his first two races as the rider of the NitroFish Suzuki for Don Schumacher Racing: “We showed everybody (in Houston) we had the power by setting the national record (6.865 seconds), so we’ll try to bring it home for Don Schumacher, Nitro Fish and Suzuki in Atlanta.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
6: That’s the number of women who have won an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Atlanta Dragway. Ashley Force Hood is currently the defending event winner in Funny Car.
Shirley Muldowney (TF, 1981)
Lucille Lee (TF, 1982)
Lori Johns (TF, 1990)
Ashley Force Hood (FC, 2008)
Angelle Sampey (PSM, 2004, 2002, 2000, 1999)
Karen Stoffer (PSM, 2007)
DID YOU KNOW…
…that of his 58 career wins, six-time Full Throttle Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher has never won an event at Atlanta Dragway. In fact, it is one of only two tracks (Heartland Park Topeka) where “The Sarge” has never won. Will this be the year?