BROWN, NEFF, ANDERSON IN POINTS LEADS AFTER NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS: Top Fuel pilot Antron Brown is right where he wants to be heading into the third event of the season. After racing to back-to-back final-round appearances at the first two races and the win at the recent NHRA Arizona Nationals, Brown is at the top of the Top Fuel standings with a 32-point lead over second-place driver and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher.
“Making it to the final round for the second race in a row is a real huge statement,” said Brown following his victory at Firebird International Raceway. “But it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, especially when the Countdown gets tight. The competition in Top Fuel now, pound for pound, is like a 324-mph Pro Stock class.”
Brown isn’t the only NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series driver to start the season with back-to-back finals; Mike Neff (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) have both posted consecutive title-round berths to start the season and lead the points.
“We want to win,” said Neff, who recorded runner-up finishes at the first two races. “We work hard, but on the positive side, we’ve had two races with two [John Force Racing] cars in each of the finals. We’re definitely satisfied with that. All in all, anytime you go to the final, it’s a good day, especially to be leaving here with the points lead.”
Brown, Neff and Anderson will look to keep their streak of consecutive final-round appearances alive when the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville March 8–11 for the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.
UNI-SELECT AND ITS AUTO-PLUS BRAND ACQUIRE NAMING RIGHTS TO GAINESVILLE RACEWAY: Uni-Select USA and its Auto-Plus network of automotive retail stores have acquired the naming rights to the NHRA-owned and -operated facility in Gainesville, Florida. Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville will host the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com March 8–11, the third stop in the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. One of NHRA’s major events, the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, serves as the East Coast opener for the series, featuring Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and the season opener for Pro Stock Motorcycle. In 2012, the NHRA will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the sport’s first 300-mph pass, which took place at the historic track. Making a special appearance at the event to commemorate the feat considered by many as one of the greatest accomplishments in the sport will be the driver who recorded it—NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein.
Besides holding naming rights to Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, the company serves as title-rights sponsor of the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, and is the official auto-parts store of Atlanta Dragway, also an NHRA-owned and -operated facility, and Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The naming-rights sponsorship affords Auto-Plus significant signage at the historic facility, which has hosted an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event for 42 years, as well as hospitality privileges for business associates and customers.
TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS PRESENTED BY NAPAFILTERS.COM, AUTO-PLUS RACEWAY AT GAINESVILLE, March 8–11: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to historic Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville for the third stop of the series and season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Winners from 2011 are Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com. For media credentials, contact Senior Communications Manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, March 30–April 1: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Sin City for the fourth race of the season. Defending event winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-644-4444 or log on to LVMS.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at email@example.com.
NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, April 13–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the only four-wide national event. Winners from 2011 are Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or log on to charlottemotorspeedway.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
LOOKING OPTIMISTIC: Top Fuel pilot Tony Schumacher after falling to Antron Brown in the final round at the NHRA Arizona Nationals and extending his winless streak to eight final-round appearances: “We’re definitely not going to hang our heads in the U.S. Army team camp. We know we have a great race car, and we are going to win races this season. Our Army Strong soldiers continually stay focused on the mission, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do moving forward.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
| Top Fuel pilot Kenny Bernstein was the first driver in NHRA history to break the 300-mph barrier.
301.70: That’s the speed that former Top Fuel world champion Kenny Bernstein posted in 1992 when he became the first Top Fuel driver to break the 300-mph barrier at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Bernstein’s historical moment.
DID YOU KNOW
…that the Pro Stock Motorcycle class will kick off its season at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com, March 8–11, at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. Rider Eddie Krawiec is looking to defend his world championship as well as his 2011 event victory as the two-wheel class hits the track at more than 190 mph.