BROWN, FORCE BEST OF CLASSES IN PRESEASON TESTING IN PALM BEACH: Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown and Funny Car world champion John Force picked up where they left off at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona, California, vaulting to the top of their respective classes last weekend during preseason testing at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida. Brown powered his Matco Tools dragster to the top of the Top Fuel class, posting the quickest run of the two-day test session at 3.765 seconds at 322.80 mph. Brown’s teammate and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher posted the second-quickest run of the class, while also posting the fast time of the session with a run of 3.771 at 324.90. In Funny Car, the defending and 15-time world champion was clearly the front-runner of testing in his class, posting a best run of 4.037 at 313.80. It was also the first taste Force got of crew chief Dean “Guido” Antonelli’s tuning style, as the pair will be matched up for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season. Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry driver and two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon had the second best pass of the weekend, posting a 4.040 at 310.48, just behind Force. Funny Car world champion runner-up Matt Hagan had the third quickest time in Funny Car as he powered his DieHard Dodge Charger to a 4.051-second pass. To see a complete list of all the drivers that participated in this preseason test, along with their posted times and speeds, visit NHRA.com.
UNI-SELECT AUTO PLUS TO SPONSOR NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES EVENT AND BECOME OFFICIAL AUTO PARTS STORE OF ATLANTA DRAGWAY: NHRA announced that Uni-Select and its Auto Plus network of automotive retail stores has signed a multi-year agreement to become the title rights sponsor of the 27th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, and the Official Auto Parts Store of Atlanta Dragway, an NHRA-owned and operated facility in Commerce, Georgia. The Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals, September 29–October 2, is the third of six races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoff-style format to determine the world champions in each of its four Full Throttle Series classes. As the Official Auto Parts Store of Atlanta Dragway, Uni-Select Auto Plus will receive track signage and promotional rights along with hospitality during the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event held at the facility May 13–15. This is the first involvement in NHRA for Uni-Select Auto Plus. For more information, visit NHRA.com.
KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 24–27: The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and 60th anniversary season of NHRA kicks off at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at the 51st running of this event. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at email@example.com.
TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 10–13: The second stop in the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and first race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class, this showdown in the swamplands of Florida will bring added excitement as the NHRA celebrates its 60th anniversary. Defending event winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock); and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or go online at NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
WORKING AT IT AS WE GO: Funny Car driver Tim Wilkerson on his approach to pre-season preparation for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season: “When we race, it’s always a work in progress and we add things as we go, so we’re not standing still or standing pat. We’ll just get after it and adjust as we go. That’s nothing new. When we get to Pomona, every crew chief and driver out there will be adjusting on the fly, based on the track, the air and all the variables we face on that day. The playing field is pretty level.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1978, SNOW AT THE WINTERNATIONALS: After three days of near perfect weather, rain descended on the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona the Sunday of Eliminations, forcing the final day of the event to be rescheduled for the following weekend. That following Sunday, rain again hit the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, pushing eliminations to Monday, which saw temperatures plummet and rain turn into hail, followed by snow. The final eliminations were finished that Tuesday, which happened to fall on Valentine’s Day that year.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
8: That’s the number of drivers who have won the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals consecutive years. NHRA Legend Don Prudhomme is the only driver to have won the event four consecutive seasons. Below is a list of the drivers and the years they won:
|Bob Glidden||1975–1976, 1978–1979|
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Steve Chrisman has been added to the Nitro Fish Top Fuel team for the 2011 season? Or that Ronnie Humphrey will be competing in his first full season in 2011 with the Summit Racing/Ken Black-run team? Or that Brian Thiel, driver of the BTR N&S Tractor Case Dodge Charger Funny Car, plans to race at all 22 events this season? To follow your favorite teams and see how the silly season is shaping up, visit NHRA.com.