Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
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Second straight win in sights for NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series driver Troy Coughlin at 60th Annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
After a start to the season that might have had NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series standout Troy Coughlin ready to push the reset button, the 2012 world champion got the turnaround he was hoping for with a victory at the tour’s most recent event in Norwalk.
Now after more than a month off, Coughlin and his JEGS.com Chevy Corvette want a second straight NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series win, this time at the world’s most prestigious drag race, the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
It is the seventh of 10 races during the 2014 NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series and Mike Janis, who is currently second in points, serves as the defending event winner. Coughlin’s mindset at the race in Indy, which is also presented by JEGS, will likely be similar to his winning effort in Norwalk, where his season finally got on track.
“The win was huge,” Coughlin said. “It lifted everyone's spirits and definitely gives us a ton of momentum going into Indy. We really just calmed everything down and stopped trying to rotate the earth every run. We just got the car down the track and then started fine-tuning from there. We weren't the fastest car by any means but we were super consistent and that worked.”
After just two round wins in the first five races of the season, Coughlin made major steps in Norwalk, qualifying a season-best sixth and beating 2010 world champion Von Smith in the final round for his first win of the year. That puts Coughlin in strong position for his first NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series win at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
As far as his favorite memories of Indy, Coughlin could have picked from a variety of special moments his family has compiled at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, including his first national event win (in Super Gas) in 1991. Instead, he focused on the atmosphere the race has provided over the years.
“As a kid growing up in the sport, Indy was always the last hurrah before school started,” Coughlin said. “It was the last time you had to cut loose before getting back to work at your studies. We'd go over there and watch Dad race, try to help him out as much as we could. We'd ride our bikes all over the pits with our friends and we'd go race each other around the circle track. Even to this day, as much as the race means, the time in the pits with all your friends is what makes it special.”
Coughlin won’t have much time to reminisce this weekend at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, in part because of the competition level that continues to grow at seemingly every event in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.
A remarkable 34 cars are entered for the biggest event of the year, which means qualifying, yet alone winning the race will make for a tremendous challenge. Coughlin will have to get by a loaded class that also includes the likes of Mike Castellana, Pete Farber, Steve Matusek, Danny Rowe and current points leader and reigning world champion Rickie Smith.
But even with a month off Coughlin stayed busy, fine-tuning his turbo-charged Corvette to have it ready for Indy, where Coughlin knows he must be totally focused through all four qualifying sessions and eliminations.
“The Pro Mod class gets more competitive every day,” Coughlin said. “Having that many cars in Indy just means it will be that much harder just to get into the field. They're all quality cars running all three different power combinations and it should be a great show for the fans. Every round will mean so much, from the moment we roll up to the starting line for the first round of qualifying. You will absolutely have to be on your toes every session to even have a chance.”
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including ’68 Camaros, ’67 Mustangs and ’68 Firebirds as well as a wide variety of late-model cars, the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast.
NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Aug. 29 with a session at 5:30 p.m., continuing with two qualifying session on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and a final session on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 10:30 a.m. Round one of eliminations is later on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals also will showcase thrilling action in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
To purchase tickets for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, fans can contact NHRA’s Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or get their tickets online at www.NHRATIX.com.
Bryan Sellers and Team Falken Tire earned their highest finish of the season in Sunday's Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The second-place overall finish bettered the season best of fourth at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier in the season by the Braselton, Georgia-resident and teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) in the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR.
"This was a great team effort. For all of us at Team Falken Tire, this podium was like a victory," stated Sellers. "We worked very hard to have a good result here at VIR. We tested for two days previous to the race weekend and did a lot of groundwork to try and get the Porsche as good of a car as possible. We rolled off the truck strong from the very beginning of the weekend and knew we would be strong in the race. It was a great moment for us this weekend, and it has really lifted team morale."
While much of the race was focused on fuel conservation, the final minutes of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race were an all-out fight that rivaled the great finishes of sports car racing.
From the start of the weekend, the No. 17 was quick in practice but anticipating the intense competition of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the decision was made to focus on a fuel strategy from the onset of the two-hour and 45-minute race. Therefore, Sellers, who had qualified as the fastest Porsche 911 RSR in seventh and started the race, ran conservatively throughout his stint to maximize fuel mileage. Despite the conservation mode, Sellers was able to run as high as sixth before turning the Porsche over to his longtime co-driver, one-hour and 30-minutes into the race.
From there, Henzler made the Porsche flat-six engine as fuel-efficient as possible. As others pitted for fuel, the familiar Falken Tire livery moved up the charts until Henzler found himself in the lead. While Henzler diligently tried to save fuel it appeared a late-race "splash" for E85 fuel to feed the Porsche would be needed to guarantee the car would finish the race. However, with 19 minutes remaining, the caution flew. All concern for making the finish was gone but it was quickly replaced by the threat of the lurking Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia - winner of the previous race at Road America - just behind the No. 17. The green flag waved with six minutes remaining. The Ferrari, quicker than the Porsche on the straights, closed several times, even coming equal to the lone Falken tire-shod entry multiple times. Henzler repeatedly repelled the attacks until the final lap. The Ferrari again feigned a move around the 911 RSR and unlike all the other attempts, Henzler was not able to keep it behind. The red mid-engine machine snuck by to take the win. The No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche crossed the line in second. The best-ever overall finish for the team.
"Wolf had an amazing last stint," added Sellers. "He was in a position where multiple things were being requested of him. He was asked to save a ton of fuel early in the stint, and then asked to run at qualifying pace at the end to try and keep the other cars behind. As usual he delivered. I was worried about a lot of things during the race, but one thing I never have to worry about is my co-driver delivering a result. I feel very lucky to have Wolf as a teammate."
The Alton, Virginia-stop was special in that the 3.27-mile, 17-turn facility was the first time that no prototypes were scheduled to run with the GTLM and GT Daytona (GTD) classes. Therefore, it was the first time in his sportscar career that Sellers has had the opportunity for an overall victory. While the Porsche 911 RSR is the most performance-oriented version of the iconic 911 platform ever derived, regulations preclude it from challenging the race-bred prototypes in most races.
"No matter which class you are racing in, your victory is the only thing that matters," Sellers continued. "All the classes have such a high level of competition that a win is so difficult to come by. You take every win you ever get and the thought of an overall victory never crosses your mind. I do think, however, that it was very cool to have GT cars be the feature of the race. I think we all delivered, GTLM and GTD cars alike. It was a great show, and I hope everyone enjoyed it."
The Tudor Championship travels to Austin, Texas next for September 20 Lone Star Le Mans. The two-hour, 45-minute race is the penultimate round of the championship and will pit all the classes on the same track together again.
NASCAR And ESPN Collaborate To Rally Fans Behind Their Favorite Driver For The Launch Of The 2014 Chase For The NASCAR Sprint Cup
NASCAR today will unveil the biggest, most engaging marketing campaign in the history of the sport to promote the all new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. At the heart of the effort is a collaboration with ESPN that features five original television spots, an educational video, and an extensive social media push that will rally fans, teams, tracks, and partners around The Chase® like never before.
The national marketing initiative will underscore the drama and excitement of NASCAR’s premier series’ new 10-race playoff format unveiled earlier this year.
“We made a bold decision at the beginning of the season to make our Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup all about winning,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. “Now that we’re just weeks away from the start of The Chase, NASCAR, working closely with ESPN, is going to market with a creative platform that is just as innovative and reflective of how important this moment is for our sport.”
The creative team tapped the star power of some of the sport’s most compelling drivers and was inspired by their respective legions of loyal fans. The most integrated marketing effort the sanctioning body has ever put forth highlights the passion, language and motifs of competition – establishing drivers, automotive manufacturers and their corresponding teams as unique “nations,” with the fans as their loyal followers.
The fully integrated collaboration between NASCAR and ESPN is the first of its kind with a broadcast partner for the sanctioning body. Working with one agency, Ogilvy & Mather New York, NASCAR and ESPN achieve a singular vision and narrative that will extend from the track to the race broadcast.
“The campaign celebrates this bold and transformational moment in NASCAR's history, taking fans along for the ride and accentuating the drama and intensity of the new elimination format as each round unfolds." said Scott Parker, vice president of marketing at ESPN.
The first creative element to be released was an online video titled “Spreading the Word,” which NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch shared across social media on Aug. 18. The two-minute video educates fans about the new Chase format, introduces The Chase Grid and begins to call together the drivers’ nations.
Today, the first of five spots will be released, which follows the teams, drivers and fans from every corner of NASCAR as they gear up for The Chase. Subsequent 30-second spots will be released for each round of The Chase. The spots, which will air throughout NASCAR’s postseason on ESPN and ABC, include the voices of Marty Smith, Allen Bestwick, Nicole Briscoe, Ryen Russillo, Jamie Little, Barney Hall, Scott Van Pelt, Mike Greenberg, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace. The Chase kicks off at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14 (2 p.m. ET on ESPN).
Fans, drivers, teams and sponsors are invited to pledge their allegiance to their favorite Chase drivers by sharing content on social media using the hashtag #MyChaseNation. Lucky fan winners will be picked to have their Twitter handle featured on their favorite driver’s car at select races during The Chase.
Additionally, The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup marketing will include at-track signage as well as print and digital promotional assets that will allow tracks, team sponsors and NASCAR Official Partners to extend the campaign theme. Tying the concept together are unique flags that represent each Chase driver and their nation. The flags will be woven into the various campaign elements, including digital banners and fan memorabilia, among others, and will serve to rally fans and inspire spirited rivalry.
In January, NASCAR announced that The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be expanded for 2014 and beyond to include 16 drivers, and divided into four rounds – the Challenger Round, Contender Round, Eliminator Round and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. A race win in the first three rounds automatically qualifies a driver for the next round.
NASCAR will crown its 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion at the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN). The top finisher among the four remaining Chase drivers will win the championship.
Ostella Takes Home Season-Best Second at VIR
David Ostella found his second podium and best finish of the season Sunday at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with Performance Tech Motorsports.
Ostella and teammate James French finished second in the Oak Tree Grand Prix behind the wheel of the No. 38 Dash Neighborhood/ Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge car. It was the team's first podium result in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship since placing third in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Toronto native Ostella drove the final segment of a two-segment race weekend. Co-driver French had qualified the car seventh and finished the first segment in third place, the position Ostella began Segment 2.
Ostella was extremely pleased and even surprised by the finish after struggling with the rear end of the car due to a last minute change to the setup.
"It's great to be back here on the podium," Ostella said. "I have to thank James (French) for taking the car from seventh to third yesterday. The car wasn't the greatest today. We struggled with the setup. We just tried to stay competitive and keep the car up there. It worked out. This is the best podium so far this year for the team. The guys did an awesome job this weekend."
Ostella next travels to Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, for Round 12 of the United SportsCar Championship Sept. 19-20. He also will continue supporting his campaign, Dash From Breast Cancer, by visiting hospitals and patients in the Austin area. The campaign helps to promote awareness and funding for breast cancer.
Mikhail Goikhberg and Brian Alder celebrated their freshly minted championships with victories in Round 12 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda on Sunday at Virginia International Raceway, pulling off a weekend sweep.
Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, earned his eighth victory of the season in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry a day after clinching his first Lites 1 championship with a victory in Round 11.
"I'm going to cherish these moments because winning feels good every time," Goikhberg said. "It doesn't get old. It's been a great season, and we just want to keep winning."
Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, won again after sealing his second consecutive Lites 2 season title Saturday with a victory in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports entry.
"We made some changes to the car from yesterday for warm-up, which was an improvement," added Alder. "We were really consistent, getting faster on every lap. Todd (Slusher) had us on overall lap time, but unfortunately he had a mechanical issue and to finish first you must first finish. This one's for the crew. They put a reliable car together, and I was able to bring it home on top."
The 45-minute race ended under caution when Prototype Challenge driver Bruno Junqueira spun and crashed into the barrier with six minutes remaining. This was the second event of the season in which the PC cars of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and the Prototype Lites - an IMSA Development Series - raced simultaneously.
2013 Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda champion Sean Rayhall teamed with Luis Diaz to win overall honors in the PC class in an 8Star Motorsports entry. Rayhall won the first segment Saturday.
JDC Motorsports earned the first two spots on the Prototype Lites podium Sunday. Matt McMurry, from Phoenix, finished second in the team's No. 20 car to equal his season-best finish. McMurry, 16, finished third in Round 11 Saturday.
"We had an awesome start, and we just kept pulling away," McMurray stated. "The first half of the race we just kept increasing the lead. And then I saw Mikhail (Goikhberg) in my mirrors, and I was thinking, 'Who the heck caught up to me?' I made a mistake in (Turn) 2, and he was able to catch up to me and then he took me in Turn 3. And then there was the yellow right after that to the checkers, so I didn't have a chance to get him back. I had a great car, so if we would have gone green, I would have definitely had a chance."
Andrew Novich, from Novato, California, earned his second podium finish of the weekend by placing third in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine. Novich finished second to Goikhberg in Round 11 Saturday.
"I've never worked so hard to finish third before," added Novich. "Matt (McMurry) got an awesome start, and I was able to hang out behind him for a while. But I think I ended up driving my tires off because midway through the race I just wasn't able to keep pace. Then all of a sudden Mikhail (Goikhberg) was in my mirrors, and it was all downhill from there. We had a good car all weekend, but we made a gamble on setup to try and move one position forward, and I think we went one back instead. But I can't thank the guys at Comprent enough and my sponsors Adidas and Bananaman's Water Trucks. They're the reason I'm here, and I'm just so happy to be here and finish on the podium."
Christian Potolicchio, from Hallandale Beach, Florida, rebounded from a ninth-place finish Saturday to earn fourth in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports car. John Falb, from Las Vegas, rounded out the top five in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports entry and was the first finisher in Masters (drivers 40 and older) competition.
Goikhberg showed his diverse skills in both victories this weekend. He climbed from the third starting spot, passing McMurry for the lead with nine minutes remaining on an outside inside move in Turn 3.
|Cooper Tires Pole Winner Matt McMurry|
McMurry led Novich by 5.553 seconds with 20 minutes remaining as he sought his first victory in the series. But Goikhberg's car came alive in the closing laps, including a Lites 1 race lap record of 1 minute, 45.235 seconds. He passed Novich for second with 15 minutes left and then pulled to within 1.113 seconds of McMurry with 10 minutes left before making his winning pass one lap later.
Then Goikhberg's victory was secured when Junqueira crashed, forcing the race to end under caution.
"Today was just a good, solid race," Goikhberg said. "I didn't have the pressure to win, but there are still my own expectations. I slowly felt the car pick up pace toward the middle of the race, and then it was attack mode from then on."
The route to victory for Goikhberg was a contrast from Saturday, when Goikhberg passed pole sitter Novich early in the race and led the rest of the way despite intense final-lap pressure from Novich on the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit.
|Lites 1 Masters podium finishers (from left): Michal Chlumecky, John Falb, Don Yount|
Falb rebounded from an early exit in Round 11 Saturday to earn his fourth Lites 1 Masters victory in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports entry.
The victory helped Falb open a 19-point lead in the Masters championship over Don Yount with two rounds remaining Oct. 2-3 at Road Atlanta.
"I'm definitely focused on it," Falb said of the championship. "I've been to Road Atlanta quite a few times, so I'm really excited about spending some time in the race car in October at Petit Le Mans and all of the excitement that goes on around that event. I certainly will be looking to bring home the championship."
Michal Chlumecky, from Windsor, Ontario, earned his second runner-up Masters finish of the weekend in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry. He trailed closely behind Junqueira when the Brazilian crashed to trigger the race-ending caution, and Chlumecky deftly drove through the grass to avoid the mishap.
"It worked out well for me. This is a great track, wonderful facility. The team was fantastic. I'm happy with the results I was able to pull off this weekend. It was my first time here," Chlumecky added.
Yount, from Dallas, earned his second third-place finish of the weekend to climb to second in the Masters standings. It was his sixth Masters podium finish of the season.
"Fun race," stated Yount. "I had a spin in Turn 2, so I was at the back of the pack and I had to put down some laps. I ended up with a podium, so I'm happy with this any day." (About two Masters podiums this weekend): "It was a productive weekend. I think after a couple of podiums in Wisconsin and a couple here, we've got a pretty good run. I wish we had started the run a little better in the beginning of the year. I think we're second in Masters. That's where we wanted to be at the end of this weekend"
Round 11 Masters winner Enzo Potolicchio led the first half of the race in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports entry, with Falb constantly stalking within a second. But Potolicchio suffered a mechanical problem on the back straight about halfway through the race that eliminated him from the event, and Falb sped past for the lead that he never relinquished.
Falb was quick to pay tribute to his ONE Motorsports crew, which worked deep into the darkness Saturday to repair Falb's car after he went off track in Round 11.
"The guys had a lot of work to do last night," Falb said. "I tore the whole front end off in the race yesterday, bouncing across the track and spreading parts everywhere. They quickly got the spares out, and they were working until the wee hours with the floodlights on it. They put it on the setup pad this morning, and I went out and practiced, and the car felt great. So it was like they didn't skip a beat."
|Lites 2 podium finishers (from left): John Salmon, Brian Alder, Todd Slusher|
Alder capitalized on troubles suffered by Lites 2 competitor Todd Slusher to earn his ninth Lites 2 victory of the season. He has finished first or second in Lites 2 in all 12 rounds this season.
Slusher, from Las Vegas, led by 13.680 seconds with 16 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race. He was cruising, including turning a L2 class race lap record of 1:48.160. But his No. 62 ONE Motorsports entry slowed quickly with 14 minutes left, forcing him into the pits and opening the lead for Alder.
"Todd (Slusher) had us on overall lap time, but unfortunately he had a mechanical issue and to finish first you must first finish. This one's for the crew. They put a reliable car together, and I was able to bring it home on top."
John Salmon, from nearby Lynchburg, Virginia, finished second in the No. 46 V.I.P.E.R. entry after placing third in Round 11 Saturday in his series season debut.
"Definitely felt really good," added Salmon. "We were faster today. I was still not quite fast enough to keep up with Todd (Slusher) and Brian (Alder), but unfortunately for Todd, I was able to capitalize on the little incident that happened to him. It was a really good race. We were really moving along. Beautiful day, perfect conditions. The best thing about racing here with these guys is that they're constantly pushing me to go faster. The team's helping me step up and get better every day. This is the fastest I've ever been. You can't ask for anything more than that." (Are you racing in season finale at Road Atlanta?): "Oh, yeah. Absolutely."
Slusher ended up third to pull to within 10 points of Jerome Mee - who didn't race this weekend - in the L2 Masters championship.
Rounds 13 and 14 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda championship are scheduled for Oct. 2-3 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia. They are the final two rounds of the 2014 season.
For live updates on all the on-track action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.
Round 11 saw some serious shakeups, in terms of results, within the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, and tonight, fans were treated to an even better night under the lights. The high-speed track here at Wild West Motorsports Park, just outside Reno, NV, was the perfect venue for some races that seemed to be changing almost by the second. Fans packed the stands near to bursting tonight, and everyone who came was rewarded with beautiful weather that was markedly warmer and calmer than last night's. The drivers put on a fantastic show, as each of the five class winners put in a drive that was more than worthy of victory here tonight.
Tonight's Modified Kart race was a tumultuous one to say the least, as no fewer than 22 trips around the track were needed for the young drivers to get in the full, 12 racing lap distance. Last night's winner Cole Mamer got out to the lead early in his #535 Simpson/Team Associated kart, with Chris Nunes second in the #502 Steele Racing/Security Race Products machine, points leader Brock Heger third in the #511 Spy/UNI Filters truck, Isabella Naughton fourth in the #554 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Trophy Kart entry, and Hailie Deegan fifth in the #538 Dirt Princess/4 Wheel Parts kart. A pile-up that slowed many of the frontrunners at the end of lap one meant that Mamer pulled out a good lead early on, but behind him, the race was on as the rest of the field was dicing it out. Heger got by Nunes to take over second at turn seven on lap two, while just behind, Deegan dropped several spots in the same corner, allowing Brooke Kawell to take over fifth in the #508 Off-Road Vixens Racing/Pro Comp truck. The next lap saw a full course caution come out after Conner McMullen got rolled while exiting turn two, and as the field raced back to the yellow flag, Broc Dickerson passed Kawell to move into fifth. On the restart lap, Dickerson then got by Naughton on the inside at turn six, and that put he and his #523 Walker Evans Racing/DASA machine up to fourth spot. Naughton was passed again on the next lap, this time by Kawell, who got by at turn three to get back inside the top five after running alongside of Naughton for several corners. A big pile-up in turn six then brought out another full course caution, but fortunately, all five drivers remained on their wheels, and were really only hooked together. Once cleared, all five were able to continue, and on the ensuing restart, Heger got by Mamer right away to take over the lead.
The Competition Yellow then flew at the end of the next lap, and as the field re-grouped, it was now Heger, Mamer, Nunes, Dickerson, and Kawell in the top five. These five held their positions on the restart lap, but on lap 13, Nunes was spun by Dickerson at turn six, ending what was easily the strongest run Nunes has had so far. Dickerson moved up to third, Kawell to fourth, and Ronnie Anderson to fifth, with Anderson then getting by Kawell for fourth early on lap 15. On the same lap, Dickerson was then black flagged for his contact with Nunes, and as he also lost control a bit and dropped to seventh spot at turn six on the next lap, he was already out of the top five before he even served his penalty. Anderson now ran in third, with Kawell fourth and Naughton fifth, before yet another full course caution came out following Taylor Wood's rollover just out of turn four. As the field re-grouped once again, there would be two laps left to run once the track went green again. On the restart, Christopher Polvoorde passed Naughton coming out of turn one, and up front, Mamer had passed Heger back to re-take the lead. Unfortunately for both Mamer and Polvoorde, an issue for Travis PeCoy meant that he was stopped back in turn seven, and the race again went full course yellow. That meant that, under the "last completed lap" rule, both Mamer and Polvoorde had to give their positions back to Heger and Naughton, respectively, and when racing resumed again, neither Mamer nor Polvoorde could duplicate their previous passes. Once underway again, Naughton also managed to get back by Kawell for fourth, while out front, Heger held off a hard-charging Mamer to take his fifth win of the season. Mamer was just behind in second, with Anderson scoring his first national series podium in third in the #520 Walker Evans Racing/South Point kart, Naughton in fourth, and Kawell in fifth.
After transmission issues helped end Kyle LeDuc's 8-race winning streak in Round 11, everyone was looking to see how he would bounce back here in Round 12. Doug Fortin shot out to the early lead in his #96 General Tire/Tilton Toyota, ahead of Ricky Johnson in the #48 Red Bull/Discount Tire Ford, LeDuc in the #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford, Greg Adler in the #10 Pro Comp/4 Wheel Parts Ford, and last night's winner, Rob MacCachren, in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford. On lap two, LeDuc out-pulled Johnson up the long hill to turn four, and moved himself up to second in the process. With Fortin now the only driver left in front of him, LeDuc seemed to pick up the pace, but despite making ground between turns one and two, Fortin seemed to be able to get away just a bit everywhere else, especially out of turn three. LeDuc closed in more on lap four, but again, Fortin held the lead, while further back, MacCachren was working hard on Adler for fourth spot. Debris brought out a full course yellow at the end of lap six, and as the field raced back to the yellow, MacCachren got alongside of Adler at the stripe, but was just enough behind to miss out on making the pass. On the restart lap, LeDuc was all over Fortin, and the two traded spots as they went into and out of turn three. Fortin emerged ahead once again, while behind them, MacCachren finally managed to get past Adler for fourth. On the next lap, LeDuc suddenly slowed coming down the hill out of turn one, and with his truck acting similar to the way it had last night, it seemed as though another transmission issue was the culprit. This time, LeDuc was forced to pull off, giving Fortin a bit of breathing room out front. Fortin then got even more of a lead, for as the field came through the next corner, MacCachren got into the back of Johnson and turned him into the right hand barrier coming out of turn two. This brought both drivers to a near-standstill for several seconds, and allowed several other drivers to come through. With Fortin now well out in front, it was now Carl Renezeder running second in the #1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan, with Adler third, Todd LeDuc fourth in the #7 Rockstar Energy Drink/Loan Mart Toyota, and Brandon Bailey fifth in the #72 MavTV/Solar World Ford.
On the next lap, MacCachren re-entered the top five after getting by Bailey, and on the lap after that, a spin at turn two dropped Adler well back. This put Todd LeDuc up to third, with MacCachren now fourth and Bailey fifth, and before long, MacCachren had gotten by LeDuc to move into third spot. On lap 12, Johnson also moved up, as he got by Bailey to take over fifth. Two laps later, Renezeder then started a weird incident, as he seemed to stall out as he started through turn one. With his truck right in the middle of the track, MacCachren slid right up and into him door-to-door, allowing LeDuc to go by them both and up to second spot. MacCachren quickly got moving again, and with a good pull up the hill to turn four, he got back by LeDuc and up to second. Fortin now had a huge lead, and with MacCachren solidly in second, the two best races now were between LeDuc and Johnson for third and between Bailey and for fifth. Johnson was right on LeDuc late on lap 15, and on the next lap, he made the pass to put himself onto the provisional podium. Behind these two, Adler got by Bailey as the two flew over the jump between turns one and two, and while Bailey briefly got back by, Adler had Bailey's measure tonight, as he got past once again and held Bailey off to the finish. At the head of the field, Fortin was now cruising, and he crossed the line just under ten seconds clear of the pack, taking his first career Pro 4 Unlimited win in dominating fashion- congratulations Doug! MacCachren picked up second and Johnson third, with Todd LeDuc finishing fourth and Adler fifth.
Following an action-packed Pro 4 Unlimited race, it was now time for the always-exciting Pro Lite Unlimiteds, and they certainly didn't disappoint. Myles Cheek got the lead straight away in his #57 ThyssenKrupp Motorsports/CMI Nissan, ahead of Kyle Hart, Rob Naughton (who is filling in for Gavin Harlien this weekend), Casey Currie, and Sheldon Creed. Mechanical issues brought Ray Griffith to a halt just out of turn two on the second lap, and that forced a full course caution. On the restart lap, Currie got by Naughton with a nice outside pass at turn one to jump up to third, and after coming oh-so-close to the win last night, it was already apparent that Currie was holding to last night's podium statement of "we'll do whatever it takes to get the win tomorrow night." On the same lap, an odd inside line at turn three cost Naughton a lot of speed, and that allowed Creed to get up and out-pull him up the hill to turn four. However, Naughton recovered with a beautiful outside run around turn two on the following lap, and he passed Creed back in the next corner to re-take fourth spot. Creed got by once again at turn four, and in turn one on the next lap, he got by Hart as well, as Hart slowed briefly coming out of the corner. As those behind scrambled by, Brian Deegan got around Naughton, who didn't manage to get by Hart, as Hart then got back on the pace once again. However, it was then starting to look like Hart had an issue, as Naughton got by him on the next lap to take over fifth. Up front, Cheek then bicycled up in turn one on lap eight, and that allowed Currie, now running second, to close right in on him and make it a real race for the lead. Seconds later, Deegan made a beautiful mid-air pass on Creed for third over the jump into turn two, a pass that was almost certainly made easier thanks to Creed's now-deflated right rear tire. Creed's issue then allowed both Naughton and RJ Anderson to get by on the next lap, and as these two battled hard, Naughton caught Anderson's rear, which briefly sent a puff of smoke from the back of Anderson's truck.
Anderson then slowed a bit early on lap 10, and Naughton got back by him to re-take fourth, while up front, the top three drivers were now running quite close together. Behind, Justin Smith now got by Anderson on the run up the hill to turn four to move his #19 Competitive Metals/Deegan 38 Ford up to fifth, just ahead of a full course caution for on-track debris. Under yellow, Anderson pulled off with a broken tie rod, while Creed re-emerged from the Hot Pits, one lap down after having changed his flat tire. The running order was now Cheek, Currie in the #2 Monster Energy/Oakley Jeep, Deegan in the #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, Naughton in the #55 A3/Ironclad Ford, and Smith in the top five, but on the restart, a great drive by Currie got him by Cheek and up to the lead going into turn one. Deegan then passed Cheek in turn two, but Cheek got right back past in turn three, and with Currie absolutely flying up front, the new leader was already starting to get a bit of a gap. On lap 15, Cheek bicycled at turn two, allowing Deegan to get by for second, while just behind, Naughton slowed a bit, dropping him out of the top five. Smith moved up to fourth as a result, and Jimmy Fishback was now in fifth in the #48 AVT Inc./General Tire Nissan. The next lap saw Cheek spin as he started down the hill out of turn four, and he found himself buried in the soft dirt off-track, unable to extricate himself. Things were looking great for the leader Currie, but a suddenly-shredded right rear tire dashed his hopes of a win as the flagman brought out the white flag. Deegan steamed past and into the lead, and Currie eventually dropped to tenth on the final lap, a cruel blow after such a brilliant run tonight. Deegan got the win, with Smith taking second, Fishback third, Jeff Hoffman fourth in the #47 Mickey Thompson/Xtreme Machine & Fabrication Ford, and D.J. Noerr fifth in the #40 K&N/Maxxis Ford. Fishback looked like he'd been in a down-to-the-wire battle with Creed, from which he emerged victorious by a nose, but Creed was actually a lap down after his earlier tire change. Kyle Lucas had been in fifth until the final corner, where a rollover ended his shot at a second consecutive top five finish.
In Pro Buggy Unlimited, a six-position inversion of the qualifying results put last night’s winner Eric Fitch on pole, and as he’d done in the last two rounds, he went straight to the front in his #97 Parts On A Shelf/BFGoodrich Tires Racer. Garrett George ran in second, with Sterling Cling third, Chad George fourth, and Randy Minnier fifth. On lap three, Garrett George slowed suddenly coming out of turn one and was forced to pull off and out of the race, and in the next pair of corners, his cousin Chad hit trouble with a sputtering car, and he dropped all the way back to tenth before the car appeared to return to normal operation. This moved Cling up to second in the #77 Cling’s Aerospace/Kyle Green Fabrication Alumi Craft, with Minnier now third in the #59 Bay City Electric Works/Ramtek Alumi Craft, Taylor Atchison fourth in the #30 Skull Canyon Zipline/AMA Plastics Alumi Craft, and Kevin McCullough fifth in the #62 ProAm/Racepak Foddrill. Up front, young Cling was starting to catch Fitch early on lap four, forcing Fitch to look for a bit more pace. Behind these two, Minnier, Atchison, and McCullough were running nose-to-tail by lap seven, and at the end of that lap, McCullough got alongside Atchison coming down the front straight, before getting inside and past going into turn one on the next lap. Atchison then passed McCullough back coming out of turn four on lap nine, but with an inside drive at turn three, McCullough got by Atchison once again on lap 10. Just behind, Steve Greinke had now moved up to get in on the action, and was now right behind Atchison, lurking dangerously. Up front, Fitch was starting to get away from Cling a little, but further back, Greinke was now hounding Atchison for fifth by lap 13. On the final lap, Minnier was balked a bit by a lapped Mike Valentine coming out of turn two, and that allowed McCullough to get up to and past Minnier in the next corner. At the line, Fitch got the win and the sweep of the weekend, and after taking his first career win back in Round 10, he now has three in a row. Second place went to Cling, who scored his first career podium tonight, and the final spot on the podium went to McCullough. Fourth went to Minnier, and rounding out the top five was Atchison.
It was now time for the final race of the weekend, Pro 2 Unlimited. Starting up front after the top six qualifiers had their positions inverted for the starting grid, Patrick Clark had the lead after lap one in his #25 Loan Mart/Maxxis Tires Chevrolet. Bryce Menzies ran second in the #7 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford, with Brian Deegan third in the #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, Marty Hart fourth in the #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Maxxis Ford, and RJ Anderson fifth in the #37 Polaris RZR/Monster Energy Ford. A crash up in turn four on the opening lap meant that lap two would see a full course caution, but that was cleared before the end of the lap, and racing resumed on lap three. On the restart lap, Rob MacCachren his #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford got by Anderson for fifth going into turn one. Up front, Menzies was giving Clark all the pressure he could handle, and as they passed the stripe to start lap four, Menzies was alongside Clark on the right, trying to go past up to turn one. Clark tried to pinch Menzies off, but he'd shut the door too late, and ended up hitting Menzies door-to-door. Clark spun out right in front of Menzies, and ran up against the right hand barrier, leaving him stranded momentarily as most of the field streamed by. All in all, the incident looked scarier than the resulting aftermath, but although Clark was able to get going again rather quickly, race officials had already thrown a full course caution. Menzies now led the way for the restart, ahead of Deegan, Hart, MacCachren, and Anderson. On the restart lap, Anderson got by MacCachren on the inside at turn two, and by the end of the lap, he had gotten up alongside Hart as the two crossed the start/finish line. Hart nosed back ahead into turn one, and in turn two, Anderson's strong run was then cut short. In that corner, MacCachren bicycled hard, and turned left, into the roll to set himself back down, and all by accident, plowed straight into Anderson. Anderson rolled hard, and while Anderson was able to continue after safety crews righted him, he'd fallen to the back of the pack.
The rest of the field had raced back to the yellow flag, and while it was still Menzies, Deegan, and Hart in the top three, MacCachren was back up to fourth, and Rodrigo Ampudia now sat fifth in the #36 Lucas Oil/Papas & Beer Ford. On the restart lap, Robby Woods got into the back of Ampudia and spun him as the field plowed into turn one, but it was ruled a racing incident, and so Woods was allowed to continue, with Clark now taking over fifth place. Woods then got by Clark on the inside at turn four to move his #99 General Tire/Carlyle by NAPA Chevrolet into fifth, but Clark got back by on the inside at turn one on the next lap. These two were battling fiercely now, and Woods forced Clark wide at turn three to get ahead once again. On lap 12, MacCachren was now really putting the pressure on Hart as he tried to get by and into third spot, while up front, Menzies was starting to pull out a little gap over Deegan. On lap 15, after several laps of trying, MacCachren finally got by Hart on the inside at turn two, and quite quickly, he had gapped Hart and was right up to Deegan's back bumper by lap's end. MacCachren was then all over Deegan, who was making his truck as wide as possible, leaving MacCachren now chance to make a totally clean pass. On lap 17, Deegan chopped MacCachren off badly after MacCachren had nearly executed a pass in turn two, and it was now apparent that MacCachren would have to force the issue, at least a little, if he wanted to get by. On lap 19, he finally did so, as he put slid hard up the inside at turn one, and put himself in Deegan's line. Deegan stuck alongside until turn two, but MacCachren pulled ahead out of the corner, to many cheers from the crowd, who obviously appreciated the difficulty of the move MacCachren had just pulled off. MacCachren had too few laps left, only one and a half to be precise, to try and catch Menzies, who himself was driving on rails, and it was Menzies who claimed victory tonight in a stellar drive. MacCachren finished in second, with Deegan third, Hart fourth, and Woods fifth. A post-race tech failure earned Woods a disqualification, and that put Clark up to fifth in the final standings.
That wraps up the weekend's action here at Wild West Motorsports Park. Up next, the series heads south to the bright lights of Las Vegas, for Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2014 championship. The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, will invade Las Vegas Motor Speedway in just four weeks' time, so mark down September 19-20 on your calendar, get your tickets, and come out and see some of the most exciting action you'll find anywhere in the motorsports world.
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course. For more information, please visitwww.LucasOilOffRoad.com.
(Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series)
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will showcase 300-MPH excitement at 24 events in 2015
The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule was announced today by NHRA officials. The 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Series will make its traditional stops across the country and remains the most geographically dispersed U.S. touring series in all of motorsports, reaching fans with its unique brand of high-horsepower entertainment from New England to California, Washington to Florida, and all points between.
Highlighting the schedule once again in 2015 will be the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race, at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-7.
The season again will open and close at famed Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. The season kicks off at Pomona with the NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 5-8, and closes at the historic dragstrip with the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Nov. 12-15.
Following the season opener, the series returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix for the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Feb. 20-22. NHRA teams will traverse the country to make it to the traditional East Coast opener at Florida’s Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville for the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 12-15.
Three traditional stops will follow: the popular NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. (March 27-29); the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (April 10-12); and the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston (April 24-26).
In May, the teams will travel to Atlanta for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 15-17, and then on to Topeka, Kan., for the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, May 22-24.
Teams will compete at three races in three weeks in June, starting with the Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. (June 4-7), followed by the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, June 12-14 at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H., and the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 19-21 at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway on Father’s Day weekend.
After a week off, the NHRA Mello Yello Series will make two more stops before the Western Swing. A massive Fourth of July celebration is guaranteed for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, July 2-5 at Norwalk, Ohio. The summer racing parade will continue with the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, which will move to July 9-12 at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.
The famed Western Swing will begin one week later in 2015 and kicks off with the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at scenic Bandimere Speedway in Denver, July 24-26. From there, the teams will trek farther west stopping in Northern California for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 31-Aug. 2) at Sonoma Raceway before finishing the Western Swing near Seattle at Pacific Raceways with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, Aug. 7-9. NHRA teams will then take another week off before heading to Brainerd, Minn., for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 20-23.
The last race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season at which the final positions for the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship can be secured will be the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-7.
NHRA’s playoffs, the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, kicks off two weeks later with three consecutive weeks of racing: the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 18-20); the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis (Sept. 25-27); and the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. (Oct. 1-4).
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas (Oct. 15-18) will set the stage for the final two Countdown playoff races. The season concludes out West with the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas (Oct. 29-Nov. 1) and the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, where world champions will be crowned in Southern California Nov. 12-15.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle class will compete in a 16-race schedule, with six of those races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. The location of the 16th bike race will be announced at a later date.
ESPN2, a part of the ESPN network, will again provide exclusive television coverage on a same-day basis of all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, featuring action from qualifying rounds Saturday and eliminations Sunday.
Top Fuel standout Tony Schumacher eyes record-breaking 10th victory at prestigious NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
Tony Schumacher might not pay close attention to all of the numbers that equate to his remarkable success in the sport, but even he is well aware of the incredible success he’s had at the world’s most prestigious drag race, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
Schumacher’s long list of accomplishments includes seven world championships on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit, but just as noteworthy is his nine Top Fuel victories at the biggest drag race in the world, which ties him with Pro Stock great Bob Glidden for the most ever at the event.
A 10th victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, which could come this weekend at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, would put him in uncharted territory in his 10,000-horsepower U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher is also not afraid to admit that achieving the mark is at the forefront of his focus.
“I think there's no doubt that we know coming into this race that we have a chance to do something that no one has ever done,” Schumacher said. “I think it adds to the pressure and I like that. I enjoy the pressure. I’m a better driver when the pressure is big. I always have been. A lot of people have been able to live some great moments here. Fortunately for me, we're one of the teams that have been blessed with some of the best moments.”
Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel). Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of an event that will once again be televised on ESPN2 in more than 10 hours of coverage. Nearly 1,000 competitors in 12 different categories will attempt to put their names in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals record book over Labor Day weekend. It also marks the 18th of 24 events during the 2014 season and is the final race of the regular season.
The magnitude of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has always brought out the best in Schumacher, who last won the event in 2012. His string of eight victories in a 10-year span from 2000-2009 ranks as one of the most impressive runs in NHRA history and that also means Schumacher is well aware of race’s importance on its own and as it relates to the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“It's such a massive race,” Schumacher said. “You need this momentum. You need to go to the first race (of the Countdown) knowing you won the last one, you've got six to go. I think showing that you can win these four rounds, get that win at Indianapolis and go on with six races to go with absolutely no mistakes to be made, not one, you can't even think about making a mistake to win the championship. You have to be a machine, the whole team has to be perfect and flawless and having that momentum coming out of Indy is possibly the most important thing you could see in the Countdown.”
Schumacher seems to be building up to something big heading into the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. He has two victories in 2014 and currently sits in fourth, and has also strung together a number of consistent performances throughout the summer. Schumacher credits his elite U.S. Army team for getting him back in championship contention after finishing an uncharacteristic seventh a year ago.
“These are people that I'm surrounded with every day that can't lose,” Schumacher said. “That attitude rubs off on me, my crew chief, Mike Green, and Neal (Strausbaugh, assistant crew chief) and my guys. We all talk about how important it is to be surrounded by great people. When you're around that good of quality people, you learn a way to figure out how to win. Whether it's through the adversity of losing, which we have seen through the last year, you realize you don't like this. This is not how we are and you figure it out.”
To pick up an unprecedented 10th win at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Schumacher might need a historic performance to top a loaded Top Fuel field headed by points leader Doug Kalitta, who beat Schumacher at the last event in Brainerd. Other marquee challengers include Antron Brown, reigning world champion Langdon, who also won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout here last year, Spencer Massey, Khalid alBalooshi, J.R. Todd, Brittany Force, Steve Torrence and Richie Crampton.
“It's going to be difficult to win,” Schumacher said. “Knowing it's going to be difficult to win is what makes us good. We'll have to try that much harder. I don't know where I'm going to find more, because I feel like I give everything I’ve got every time, but we always seem to come up with it when we need it. We always seem to find, whether it's the pressure, the rise of the heartbeat, the energy that comes with it, I don't know what it is, but we get better in these big moments.”
In Funny Car, everybody is chasing Robert Hight, who has five victories this season and qualified for the Countdown a year ago in thrilling fashion by scoring his third Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win. New points leader John Force, who enters the race riding a five-race final round streak, will look to tie Ed McCulloch’s Funny Car record of five wins at the event, while other challengers include Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, Courtney Force, Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham, Alexis DeJoria, Tim Wilkerson and Tommy Johnson Jr.
Four-time world champion Greg Anderson is a six-time Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner in Pro Stock, trailing only Bob Glidden’s remarkable nine wins at the race. Anderson will face a talented field featuring top drivers Dave Connolly and Jeg Coughlin, who each have three Indy wins, Erica Enders-Stevens, Allen Johnson, Shane Gray, new points leader Jason Line, Vincent Nobile, V Gaines and Chris McGaha.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, points leader Andrew Hines has had a dominating season and will look to follow up his 2012 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory. Teammate Eddie Krawiec has yet to win in Indy, but sits second in points while other standout competitors in the two-wheeled category include reigning world champion Matt Smith, Angie Smith, Michael Ray, Scotty Pollacheck, Hector Arana Jr., Hector Arana, Steve Johnson and defending event winner Hall.
Bonus bucks and bragging rights will be on the line for qualified drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car as they battle in the lucrative Traxxas Nitro Shootout. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be held on Saturday evening, while the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car is contested Sunday afternoon. The winners in each Traxxas Nitro Shootout will earn $100,000.
Another Mello Yello Series event also will be completed during the Big Go: the rain-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals from Brainerd, Minn. John Force and Ron Capps will decide the Funny Car final round during the U.S. Nationals third qualifying session on Saturday evening at approximately 8:15 p.m. The Brainerd Pro Stock semifinals will be run during Saturday's third qualifying session at approximately 6:30 p.m. Line will take on Dave River and Vincent Nobile will face Jeg Coughlin. The two semi winners will decide the Brainerd Pro Stock final on Sunday during the event's fourth pro qualifying session at 11:30 a.m.
Drivers in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Series will look to become winners of the prestigious event during the weekend. The fastest Super Stock cars will challenge for the ultimate bragging rights and a bonus purse during the popular Mopar HEMI Challenge as well.
NHRA will also conduct official presentations to honor six of the most iconic moments in the history of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in the Hot Rod Junction Friday-Sunday of the weekend. On Sunday of race weekend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits will reenact his famous beard shaving scene that followed his triumphant 1967 victory and the “Indy’s Winningest Drivers” presentation, a ceremony honoring Schumacher, Bob Glidden and Garlits, also will take place; on Saturday Kenny Bernstein will be honored for becoming the first double-up winner at Indy, Shirley Muldowney will look back at her Indy memories including her 1982 victory, one she called the greatest victory of her outstanding Top Fuel career, and the 1978 Funny Car final where Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen defeated Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will be remembered; on Friday the harrowing 1970 Top Fuel final between Jim Nicoll and Prudhomme will be revisited.
A special Monday edition of the SealMaster NHRA Track Walk also will take place prior to final eliminations, where many of the sport’s most celebrated drivers will walk alongside fans down the historic dragstrip. Fan-favorite Cacklefests and vintage racecars on display in the Hot Rod Junction, along with several autograph sessions featuring the legends of the sport as well as today’s biggest stars will be featured throughout each day of the event. On Friday, a special fireworks show will close out the day’s racing.
The first of five Mello Yello Series qualifying sessions is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29. Two more sessions will take to the track on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 1.
The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be contested Saturday, Aug. 30 with rounds at 4 p.m., 5:25 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car takes place on Sunday, Aug. 31 for the eight qualified drivers, with rounds at 12:30 p.m., 1:55 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
ESPN2 will televise more than 11 hours of coverage of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Five hours of qualifying coverage and coverage of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout will air on ESPN2 at 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (ET) and 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31. Monday’s (Sept. 1) eliminations for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will be featured in six hours of coverage starting at noon (ET).
To purchase tickets for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, fans can contact NHRA’s Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or get their tickets online atwww.NHRATIX.com.