SCHUMACHER GETS FIFTH WIN OF SEASON; HAGAN GRABS THIRD WIN OF SEASON AT DALLAS: Defending Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher moved even closer to Top Fuel points leader Larry Dixon when he drove his U.S. Army dragster past Shawn Langdon in the final round of the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas Sunday to pick up his fifth win of the season and 66th of his career. Schumacher held off teammate and second-place driver Cory McClenathan in the semifinal round, then drove past Langdon in the final to give “The Sarge” his fifth victory at Texas Motorplex.
“I wish we could have done this a race or two earlier,” said Schumacher after the win. “But we didn’t, and Dallas is a great place to start. It’s the site of my first career Top Fuel win. We’re only down 80-some points with three races to go. I’ve been down a lot further than that.”
Top Fuel points leader Dixon kept his points lead, despite a second round loss to Langdon. Schumacher was joined in the Winner’s Circle by fellow Don Schumacher Racing teammate and Funny Car driver Matt Hagan. Hagan drove his DieHard Dodge Charger past points leader John Force in the final round to secure his third win of the season and move from the third to second spot in the point standings with just three races left in the 2010 season.
“Coming in here (qualified) 14th and having to do a pedal job just to get into the show, it’s great to get the win,” said Hagan. “We definitely stepped up and did what we had to do, because coming in 14th you have to wonder how long your day is going to be, but we had confidence in (crew chief) Tommy DeLago tuning the car. He watched video all last night so I knew he was going to figure it out.”
With the win, Hagan was able to move around teammate Jack Beckman to secure the second spot in the point standings. Beckman fell in the second round to Ashley Force Hood, while defending world champion Robert Hight was unable to get around teammate John Force in the first round of eliminations. For more results from the 25th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, visit NHRA.com.
ANDERSON GETS SECOND CONSECUTIVE WIN, TONGLET GETS THIRD CONSECUTIVE OF THE SEASON AT DALLAS: Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson held off defending world champion and current points leader Mike Edwards in the final round of eliminations at Texas Motorplex to pick up his second consecutive win and fourth of the season at the recently completed O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals. Though Edwards posted a near-perfect reaction time of .001, Anderson was able to power his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP around Edwards to pick up his second win of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs and 64th of his career.
“I had a big weekend last weekend (in Charlotte) and got myself back in the Countdown,” said Anderson. “Every race you go is sudden death out here. If you have a really bad race you can knock yourself completely out of it. You just can’t make a mistake, and my team has been flawless for two races now and I’m so proud of them. They’ve got a heck of job on their hands trying to keep me positive all the time because if my car’s not the fastest car out here, I’m not happy.”
With the win, Anderson closed the gap to first-place Edwards by just 16 points. Anderson was joined in the Winner’s Circle by Pro Stock Motorcycle rider LE Tonglet, who held off current points leader Andrew Hines for the third consecutive time in the final round to pick up his fourth win of the season on his NitroFish Gear Suzuki. Tonglet picked up his third consecutive win of the Countdown to the Championship playoffs when Hines red-light in the final round of eliminations.
“It’s just unreal,” said Tonglet. “When I saw the red-light and knew I was the winner even before I reached the finish line was really great. I try not to think too much about the pressure, but it’s there. I’m just glad that my dad and GT are there to keep me calm. I think that we’d be happy with a top-three finish, but my dad reminds me that he needs the money.”
The win moved Tonglet even closer to Hines in the point standings and now the second-place driver is within 44 points of the three-time world champion. For more results from the 25th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, visit NHRA.com.
WORSHAM WILL DRIVE SECOND AL-ANABI TOP FUELER IN 2011: The Al-Anabi Racing Team will terminate its Funny Car program and add a second Top Fuel dragster for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season. Veteran driver Del Worsham will pilot the new Al-Anabi Top Fuel car. Larry Dixon’s existing Al-Anabi Top Fuel team will continue. Funny Car crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Funny Car crew chief Kurt Elliott were released after Sunday’s O’Reilly Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. Current second assistant crew chief Rod Centorbi has been named the team’s interim crew chief for the remaining three races of the 2010 season.
“We have been talking about going to two Top Fuel cars for some time,” Al-Anabi Racing team manager Alan Johnson said. “With all that has happened this season, we decided to move forward with the change. We are announcing this change now to give Dickie and Kurt time to find a new opportunity for next year. We appreciate all of their efforts and wish them the best of luck in the future.”
“I’m excited about driving a Top Fuel car again,” Worsham said. “If you think about it, I’ve been racing the same people for 20 years. I’m looking forward to racing some different people and starting a new chapter in my career; there’s a lot of potential with this move, and I’ll be ready to get started.” For more information on this story, visit NHRA.com.
TOYO TIRES NHRA NATIONALS, MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY, October 7–10: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to the East Coast and Pennsylvania for its fourth stop in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 610/856-7200 or online at maplegroveraceway.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHRA LAS VEGAS NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, October 28–31: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads back to Sin City for its fifth stop in the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Defending event winners include Spencer Massey (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Larry Morgan (Pro Stock); and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/644-4444 or online at lvms.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NHRA FINALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, November 11–14: The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series comes to an end where it all began: in sunny Southern California for the final event of the season and the crowning of the NHRA Full Throttle world champions. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Mike Neff (Funny Car); Greg Anderson (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
ANYBODY’S GAME: 14-time world champion and current Funny Car points leader John Force on the battle for the world championship with just three races remaining in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship: “That Full Throttle championship is just out there. It is out there for Robert Hight, Ashley (Force Hood) and myself. Plus there are a whole bunch of other kids out there gunning for it. There are three races left. Yeah, we moved out another round but that ain’t enough. [Two finals to start the Countdown] ain’t enough momentum if you are going to win a championship.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
2: Of the current point leaders in the four Full Throttle Series categories, only two, Top Fuel’s Larry Dixon and Funny Car’s John Force, have won at Maple Grove Raceway, the next stop on the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Of those two, Dixon has only won once (2009), while Force has the most wins of any driver at the track with six, though his last came nine years ago (2001). Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards and Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Andrew Hines have yet to win at Maple Grove Raceway.
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Copart, Inc., an online vehicle auction, has announced that the company will be the primary sponsor for Kenny Bernstein’s Top Fuel team for three more years? Copart CEO Jay Adair and Kenny Bernstein signed a contract extension last Sunday at the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex. For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.