FORMER WORLD CHAMPS READY FOR BATTLE AS NHRA FULL THROTTLE SERIES MAKES SECOND STOP OF THE SEASON IN GAINESVILLE: As the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to its second stop of the season, the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, two drivers and former world champs look to not only grab their first win of the season, but make history in the process. Three-time and defending NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel world champion Larry Dixon and seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher are currently tied for the most wins in the Top Fuel category at Gainesville Raceway with legendary Top Fuel drivers Joe Amato and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, at four a piece. In fact, for the past four years, both Dixon and Schumacher have been the only Top Fuel drivers to grab a Gatornationals title.
“That’s some pretty good company,” said Schumacher, referring to being tied with Dixon, Amato and Garlits for the most wins in Gainesville. “Of course, our objective is to leave there on Sunday with a fifth event title and taking over the points lead once again.”
“To follow the Winternationals with the Gatornationals is a great way to start the season with two of our biggest events,” said Dixon. “So we obviously want to do well this weekend.”
But for Dixon, the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals could bring two historical moments to his already impressive career, as he currently sits just one round win away from 600 round wins for his career, a reality that only three other drivers (John Force, Warren Johnson and Kenny Bernstein) have ever accomplished.
“Six hundred round wins would be great if we get it this weekend,” said Dixon. “But if we get round win No. 603, that would be a lot more fun for the Al-Anabi team. I feel the same way about the round wins as I do about the race wins.”
Tickets are still available for the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, by visiting NHRATIX.com.
FAN VOTING BEGINS FOR NHRA’S 60 GREATEST MOMENTS: Fan voting to determine the greatest moment in NHRA history kicked off this week on the NHRA Facebook page, with fans having the opportunity to choose their favorite moments from the 60 Greatest Moments in NHRA history list. As the season continues, fans can vote on their favorite moments by visiting the NHRA Facebook page and clicking the “Like” button next to the moment. After the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, the top 20 moments will be identified, and just as the top 10 drivers for the Countdown to the Championship will be determined at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, so will the fans’ top 10 moments. The Greatest Moments voting will then have its own playoffs, as one moment will be eliminated at each playoff race, leaving five moments still in play entering the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals. Fan voting will close prior to the start of the race, and the fans’ top five will be unveiled during the Finals weekend. To view a snapshot of the list of the 60 Greatest Moments in NHRA history, visit NHRA.com.
NHRA KICKS OFF OFFICIAL 60TH CELEBRATION WITH TIRE KINGDOM GATORNATIONALS KICKOFF PARTY MARCH 10: In celebration of the 60th anniversary year of NHRA Drag Racing, the stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will help get the celebration started with the official Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals Kickoff Party Thursday, March 10, at the Ale House in Gainesville from 6:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Some of the biggest names in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing, including Tony Schumacher, Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan, Spencer Massey and Johnny Gray, just to name a few, will participate in a Q&A and autograph session, and fans will be treated to plenty of giveaways, music and fun. The Ale House is located at 3950 Archer Road. Tickets are still available for the 42nd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals and can be purchased by visiting NHRA.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.
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, April 1–3: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes the first of two stops in Sin City and its third stop of the 2011 season. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/644-4444 or go online at Ticketmaster.com. For media credentials, please contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at email@example.com.
VISITMYRTLEBEACH.COM NHRA 4-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, April 14–17: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the “Bellagio of dragstrips” for the only 4-wide national event on the calendar. Defending event winners include Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800/455-FANS (3267) or go online at Ticketmaster.com. For media credentials, please contact Public Relations Director Michael Padian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
MAN OR MACHINE?: Top Fuel pilot Spencer Massey on the importance of having a solid routine during every round of racing: “I always try to do the same thing each time in the race car. Tony (Schumacher, teammate) says he has to be a machine, which means doing the same thing every time and I agree. If I do this, if I race the track and not worry about the driver in the other lane, we will succeed.”
60 YEARS IN NHRA HISTORY
1951, THE BEGINNING OF THE NHRA: “Isn’t it about time that the thousands of hot-rod devotees around the United States band together in a national association?” That simple statement in a letter to the editors that was printed in the March 1951 edition of Hot Rod magazine, led by editor and eventual NHRA founder, Wally Parks, sparked an idea in Parks that helped lay the blueprint and eventual creation of the National Hot Rod Association.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: That’s how many different Pro Stock Motorcycle riders have won the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in as many years. The race is the traditional start to the Pro Stock Motorcycle series. Could a veteran win his or her second Gatornationals title, or will there be another first-time winner in the Swamp?
DID YOU KNOW…
…that former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch will be racing in the Pro Stock category at this weekend’s Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals? Busch will field the Shell Dodge Avenger and try to qualify for the field of 16 for Sunday’s eliminations. Busch has been working closely with fellow Dodge driver Allen Johnson in testing during the off-season. Johnson will also provide engines for the new team. For more information, visit NHRA.com.
For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.