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.
Contact Adam: Email
Nicole Briscoe to Remain With ESPN, Anchor SportsCenter
Nicole Briscoe has agreed to a new contract with ESPN and will become a SportsCenter anchor as well as taking on additional new assignments after her current role as host of ESPN NASCAR Countdown concludes. Briscoe, who joined ESPN in 2008 and has served in various positions on ESPN’s NASCAR coverage, will assume her new duties in January. In addition to SportsCenter, she also will be part of a variety of other ESPN studio shows.
“I’m very happy with the opportunities that have been presented to me,” said Briscoe, who will be relocating to the company’s Bristol, Ct., headquarters. “ESPN is where I want to be, and I’m excited about starting the next chapter of my career as well as a new adventure for my family. But first, we still have 15 weeks of NASCAR to go and champions to crown.”
NASCAR Countdown, which Briscoe has hosted since 2011, airs prior to all NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series telecasts on ESPN. The program originates from the ESPN Pit Studio at the racetrack with Briscoe and analysts Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Briscoe was a host and reporter for ESPN’s former NASCAR Now program and has reported on NASCAR for SportsCenter and other ESPN news platforms. ESPN is in its final season of televising live NASCAR racing.
She joined ESPN as Nicole Manske, prior to her 2009 marriage to IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe. She worked for two years as co-host of a motorsports news program on the former SPEED Channel and previously was a sports reporter in Indianapolis. She started her TV career in Rockford, Ill., near her hometown of Roscoe, Ill., while still in college in 1999 at Northern Illinois University, and later worked in Fort Wayne, Ind., before moving to Indianapolis in 2004.
General Racing Merges with Sportscar Vintage Racing Association
In a move to broaden the scope and quality of historic and vintage automobile racing across the United States, General Racing Ltd. will merge with Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), effective immediately.
Tony Parella, CEO of SVRA, the premier and only national vintage racing organization in the U.S., has put forth a major effort to re-organize SVRA after taking over the reins two years ago. In a relatively short time, Parella has taken SVRA events to some of the most important race tracks in the country, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sebring (Fla.), Road America (Wis.), Watkins Glen (N.Y.), Pocono (Pa.), Raceway, Auto Club Speedway (Ca.), Virginia International Raceway, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, where the rapidly-growing organization hosted the first U.S. Vintage Racing National Championships in 2013.
“I am thrilled to have Steve Earle join our team,” said Parella, “Steve shares our vision and focus on developing national vintage racing. He has shown himself to be an extraordinary leader throughout his career, and has a proven track record in identifying, encouraging and celebrating authentically prepared cars. His view of vintage racing cars and events is a perfect match for the goals of SVRA.”
After Steve Earle founded General Racing Ltd. in 1970, his vision forever changed the vintage racing landscape. In 1974, with the support of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance organizers, he launched the inaugural Monterey (Calif.) Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca Raceway. It was a huge success and sparked the interest for what would become the world’s premier historic auto race. That spawned additional General Racing events, including the Portland (Ore.) Historic Automobile Races, the Coronado (Calif.) Speed Festival, special events at the Long Beach (Calif.) Grand Prix and the Kansas City Historic Grand Prix, as well as the Wine Country Classic at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, which celebrated its 28th season in 2014, the fifth under the banner of the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.
“I am excited to join the SVRA team," said Earle, "I have been involved in vintage racing at all levels for over 40 years. I look forward to lending my experience and knowledge to help and support the growth of SVRA through the Gold Medallion Program, which will benefit the individual vintage racer, and the community as a whole. There is a recognized need for car period-authenticity and preparation as well as events that embrace it," added Earle. "I've been impressed with Tony Parella's vision and determination to open the doors for those who share similar interests in the historic significance of the cars they and their competitors enjoy owning and racing."
With the merger, Earle will act as an advisor to the SVRA on the organization of its national historic and vintage events throughout the U.S., including the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, which will continue under the aegis of SVRA, on May 28-31, 2015. Initially, he will focus his attention on SVRA's Gold Medallion Program as a member of SVRA's executive team.
The Gold Medallion Program is intended to identify and reward owners who prepare their vintage race cars “as originally raced,” reflecting the configuration the car would have raced when new. This program reflects SVRA’s commitment to quality and historical accuracy, principles the organization considers essential to the vintage racing experience and growing the sport of vintage racing.
Multiple race-team owner Chip Ganassi on Thursday will receive the inaugural Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for his outstanding contributions to motorsports. The award will be given by the International Motor Racing Research Center at the 2014 IMRRC Award Dinner honoring Chip Ganassi presented by NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation and Watkins Glen International.
Some of racing’s top figures, including NASCAR President Mike Helton, will be honoring Ganassi, who fields teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Verizon INDYCAR and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series.
The event will be held on Aug. 7 at the Corning Museum of Glass, One Museum Way, Corning, N.Y. 14830.
Ganassi Racing driver Jamie McMurray, who will be competing in the weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International, also will take a turn at the podium, as will Brian Barnhart, INDYCAR senior vice president, competition, and SCCA president and CEO, Lisa Noble.
ESPN commentator Dr. Jerry Punch will be the master of ceremonies, and 1986 Indy 500 champion Bobby Rahal will speak as chairman of the IMRRC Governing Council.
The proceeds of the dinner will benefit the IMRRC, an archival library dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of motorsports, covering all series and all venues, through its collections of books, periodicals, films, photographs, fine art and other materials. The IMRRC is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
The Cameron R. Argetsinger Award is named for the man who is often referred to as the father of American road racing. Argetsinger was a visionary who, in 1948, conceived, organized, and drove in the first post-war road race in America through the roads of Watkins Glen. He brought Formula One to Watkins Glen International in 1961, and the circuit hosted the United States Grand Prix for 20 years.
“It is significant that Chip Ganassi, as the first recipient of this award, has demonstrated the same type of determination and commitment to excellence,” IMRRC President J.C. Argetsinger said.
Cameron Argetsinger was president of the IMRRC for five years, until his death in 2008.
The Paul Revere-style, glass-bowl trophy created for the Cameron Argetsinger Award is reminiscent of the sterling silver bowls Argetsinger would present to winners decades ago. The trophy was designed and created by Daniel Sherlock of Hawke + Axel in Corning, N.Y. The permanent trophy will be displayed at the IMRRC.
Motorsports artist Bob Gillespie was commissioned by the IMRCC for a painting depicting Ganassi’s career. The piece, named “Crimson Cloud,” will be auctioned at the dinner.
To date, Ganassi's teams have won 17 championships in his 24 years of ownership, including four Indy 500 titles. In 2012, the Duquesne University graduate and former part owner of his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates, was named one of the “50 most influential people in the Auto Industry” by Complex Magazine.
For information about availability of tickets for the IMMRC Award Dinner and the Racing Research Center’s work and its programs, visit www.racingarchives.org or call (607) 535-9044. The Center also is on Facebook at International Motor Racing Research Center.
Much of the support for the 2014 IMRRC Award Dinner comes from NASCAR, International Speedway Corp., Watkins Glen International, Sahlen Packing Co. Inc., Corning Incorporated, Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., Chevrolet, SCCA, Welliver, Elmira Savings Bank, Glenora Wine Cellars, and others.
When the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge field gets the green flag at Road America on Saturday, August 9, it will be the debut professional race for 16-year-old Britt Casey, Jr. Casey will be co-driving the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 with Mark White. Most recently, Casey finished second in the Spec Miata Cup Championship with an impressive 11 podiums, seven wins and two poles. His competitors voted him “Most Improved Driver” for two consecutive seasons.
With such an auspicious start in a Mazda, choosing to join forces with Freedom Autosport was natural. The Inverness, Illinois, resident tested with the team at both Road Atlanta and Virginia International Raceway, clicking right away with the crew and drivers.
In addition to Casey and White in the No. 27 Mazda, Freedom Autosport’s Road America entries include Mark and Mat Pombo in the No. 25 and Randy Pobst and Andrew Carbonell in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5. The Pombo brothers finished fourth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway two weeks ago, and they are hoping to carry that forward momentum into Road America.
Fans can see Casey’s IMSA debut and the rest of the Freedom Autosport lineup on Saturday, August 9, at 12:15 p.m. ET. The race will also be broadcast on Fox Sports 1, with coverage beginning at noon on August 17.
John Force, Doug Kalitta, and Jason Line lead the pack at the O'Reily Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals
John Force earned his third win of the season by racing to the Funny Car victory Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Seattle.
Force defeated former teammate Gary Densham in the final round for his 141st career win. Force registered a run of 4.173 seconds at 302.48 mph in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang to defeat Densham’s trailing Chevy Impala, which lost traction early in the run and finished in 5.808 at 120.44. Force has raced to four consecutive finals and has won twice in that stretch.
“I want to win, that is what it is all about,” Force said. “But we were having so much down there in the staging lanes. I know you are supposed to be serious because it is race day but you are racing a friend. He comes up here on a budget. Look how good he does. Steps up and races with these guys after only being out a few times all year and gets in the finals. I always say ‘If I lose to my teammates I didn’t lose’ and if I had lost to Gary Densham I would not have lost.”
With Sunday’s win, John Force Racing swept the daunting Western Swing with its Funny Car teams winning all three events. Robert Hight took home the title in Denver while Courtney Force won in Sonoma.
Kalitta recorded his second win of the season in Top Fuel, defeating Antron Brown when he powered his Mac Tools dragster to a winning pass of 3.844 at 318.84 to the 3.887 at 311.70 for Brown’s . This is the 35th career win for Kalitta, which ties him with Don Garlits for fifth on the all-time Top Fuel wins list.
“I’m real proud of [crew chief] Jim [Oberhofer] and my crew; they’ve given me a consistent car and I just try to do the best I can do,” said Kalitta who also has six runner-up finishes this season. “The competition out here is tough; it’s really something to even make it to a final. We’ve been banging on the door trying to get another win. Beating Antron for this one was big for us. We’ve just been trying to win rounds but Antron’s been winning a lot, too. He’s got five wins this year, so I’m glad we were able to get another one here today. We’ve got some momentum going into the next few races.”
Tony Schumacher, who qualified No. 1 was defeated in the semifinals by teammate Brown, but was able to secure his berth in the Countdown to the Championship. He was the only Top Fuel driver to clinch a position in the playoffs at the event.
In Pro Stock, Line ousted teammate Greg Anderson in the finals to claim his third career win at Seattle. Line, in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, defeated Anderson on a holeshot with a run of 6.611 at 210.67 to Anderson’s losing effort of 6.608 at 210.54. Anderson, on the strength of his runner-up finish moved into the Top 10 in the Countdown to the Championship point standings for the first time this season. Anderson missed the first five events of 2014 recuperating from open heart surgery.
“It was a very good day for KB Racing,” Line said. “We got both cars to the final and Greg got in the top 10. He’s not going to look back from there. He’s got a great car. I was good when I needed to be today. The car wasn’t great, but it was good enough. I guess the racing gods owed me one today. It feels good to get another win. I’ve never won three races in a row though, so we’ll see what happens at Brainerd.”
Pro Stock drivers Shane Gray and Vincent Nobile also secured positions in the Countdown during the event.
Below is the final finish order (1-16) at the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways. The race is the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
1. Doug Kalitta; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Tony Schumacher; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. Steve Torrence; 6. Troy Buff; 7. Khalid alBalooshi; 8. Richie Crampton; 9. Brittany Force; 10. Clay Millican; 11. Spencer Massey; 12. Terry McMillen; 13. Mike Salinas; 14. J.R. Todd; 15. Bob Vandergriff; 16. Jenna Haddock.
1. John Force; 2. Gary Densham; 3. Alexis DeJoria; 4. Matt Hagan; 5. Cruz Pedregon; 6. Tim Wilkerson; 7. Robert Hight; 8. Jack Beckman; 9. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Jeff Diehl; 12. Del Worsham; 13. Terry Haddock; 14. Tony Pedregon; 15. Bob Tasca III; 16. Courtney Force.
1. Jason Line; 2. Greg Anderson; 3. Shane Gray; 4. Allen Johnson; 5. Dave Connolly; 6. Jonathan Gray; 7. V. Gaines; 8. Jeg Coughlin; 9. Chris McGaha; 10. Deric Kramer; 11. Matt Hartford; 12. Larry Morgan; 13. Vincent Nobile; 14. Mark Wolfe; 15. Travis Mazza.
Sunday's final results from the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways. The race is the 16th of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Doug Kalitta, 3.844 seconds, 318.84 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.887 seconds, 311.70 mph.
Funny Car -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.173, 302.48 def. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 5.808, 120.44.
Pro Stock -- Jason Line, Chevy Camaro, 6.611, 210.67 def. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.608, 210.54.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Joey Severance, 5.238, 273.11 def. Chris Demke, 5.251, 273.00.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Doug Gordon, Ford Mustang, 5.609, 256.55 def. Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.650, 254.38.
Competition Eliminator -- Brandon Huhtala, Pontiac GXP, 7.600, 146.89 def. Ryan Warter, Chevy Camaro, foul.
Super Stock -- Terry Anderson, Chevy Nova, 10.076, 131.28 def. Alan Falcone, Chevy Cavalier, 9.380, 134.97.
Stock Eliminator -- Tim Fletcher, Chevy Camaro, 11.148, 110.09 def. Mick Alley, Camaro, 10.488, 126.27.
Super Comp -- Marc Heritage, Dragster, 8.899, 174.17 def. Rodger Comstock, Dragster, 8.884, 176.51.
Super Gas -- Mike Shannon, Chevy Corvette, 9.920, 145.66 def. Tanner Hiatt, Corvette, 9.914, 159.51.
Super Street -- Kyle Colletti, Chevy, 10.899, 147.52 def. John Ermish, Chevelle, broke.
These are the final round-by-round results from the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways, the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
ROUND ONE -- Khalid alBalooshi, 3.809, 319.22 def. Brittany Force, 3.841, 314.31; Richie Crampton, 3.843, 317.27 def. Terry McMillen, 3.898, 316.75; Shawn Langdon, 3.787, 317.12 def. Clay Millican, 3.870, 309.77; Tony Schumacher, 3.828, 319.37 def. Jenna Haddock, 13.039, 76.94; Doug Kalitta, 3.794, 320.36 def. Mike Salinas, 4.114, 293.41; Antron Brown, 3.828, 317.79 def. Bob Vandergriff, foul; Troy Buff, 3.816, 312.78 def. Spencer Massey, 3.880, 292.39; Steve Torrence, 3.932, 310.55 def. J.R. Todd, 4.140, 211.36;
QUARTERFINALS -- Brown, 3.866, 309.77 def. Crampton, 10.822, 70.61; Schumacher, 3.840, 313.88 def. Torrence, 3.909, 310.70; Kalitta, 3.864, 314.09 def. Buff, 3.996, 294.69; Langdon, 3.983, 240.89 def. alBalooshi, 3.997, 299.86;
SEMIFINALS -- Kalitta, 4.032, 268.17 def. Langdon, 4.112, 262.39; Brown, 3.883, 312.13 def. Schumacher, 3.944, 295.66;
FINAL -- Kalitta, 3.844, 318.84 def. Brown, 3.887, 311.70.
ROUND ONE -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.102, 307.58 def. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.354, 282.36; Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 4.314, 286.86 def. Courtney Force, Mustang, 6.564, 98.66; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.109, 306.26 def. Terry Haddock, Impala, 4.583, 209.88; Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.140, 300.40 def. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.663, 171.23; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.176, 295.59 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.164, 302.75; Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.112, 305.98 def. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.918, 161.23; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.134, 302.75 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.457, 219.44; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.109, 304.05 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.171, 297.02;
QUARTERFINALS -- DeJoria, 4.202, 293.22 def. Beckman, 4.385, 230.45; J. Force, 4.161, 302.48 def. C. Pedregon, 4.184, 296.37; Hagan, 4.241, 278.98 def. Hight, 4.287, 263.20; Densham, 4.184, 278.46 def. Wilkerson, 4.228, 294.69;
SEMIFINALS -- Densham, 4.236, 288.89 def. Hagan, 4.285, 283.67; J. Force, 4.301, 258.42 def. DeJoria, 4.252, 277.72;
FINAL -- J. Force, 4.173, 302.48 def. Densham, 5.808, 120.44.
ROUND ONE -- Dave Connolly, Chevy Camaro, 6.560, 210.73 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.666, 209.26; Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.578, 210.83 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.605, 210.08; V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.581, 210.93 def. Matt Hartford, Dodge Avenger, 6.622, 209.65; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.556, 211.63 def. Deric Kramer, Avenger, foul; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.555, 211.16 def. Mark Wolfe, Ford Mustang, 6.810, 205.94; Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.546, 211.30 was unopposed; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.544, 211.43 def. Travis Mazza, Mustang, 7.543, 133.88; Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.565, 210.67 def. Larry Morgan, Mustang, 6.646, 208.17;
QUARTERFINALS -- Anderson, 6.571, 211.30 def. Coughlin, 12.185, 54.52; Line, 6.579, 210.73 def. Gaines, 6.593, 210.77; Johnson, 6.569, 210.87 def. Connolly, 6.589, 210.28; S. Gray, 6.574, 210.87 def. J. Gray, 6.591, 210.24;
SEMIFINALS -- Line, 6.606, 210.24 def. S. Gray, 6.625, 210.05; Anderson, 6.586, 210.90 def. Johnson, 16.159, 51.08;
FINAL -- Line, 6.611, 210.67 def. Anderson, 6.608, 210.54.
Here are the point standings (top 10) following the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways, the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series -
1. Doug Kalitta, 1,345*; 2. Antron Brown, 1,269*; 3. Shawn Langdon, 1,146*; 4. Tony Schumacher, 999*; 5. Steve Torrence, 920; 6. Spencer Massey, 895; 7. Brittany Force, 856; 8. Khalid alBalooshi, 855; 9. Richie Crampton, 808; 10. J.R. Todd, 774.
1. Robert Hight, 1,271*; 2. John Force, 1,224*; 3. Ron Capps, 989; 4. Courtney Force, 980; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., 975; 6. Alexis DeJoria, 961; 7. Matt Hagan, 949; 8. Cruz Pedregon, 894; 9. Del Worsham, 848; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 815.
1. Erica Enders-Stevens, 1,229*; 2. Allen Johnson, 1,197*; 3. Jason Line, 1,192*; 4. Jeg Coughlin, 1,128*; 5. Dave Connolly, 1,075*; 6. Shane Gray, 1,015*; 7. Vincent Nobile, 959*; 8. V. Gaines, 742; 9. Chris McGaha, 718; 10. Greg Anderson, 647.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has the weekend off but NHRA fans can still get their fill of their favorite sport with three programs airing on ESPN2 Aug. 9-10. Action from the recent NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in Seattle airs Sunday, Aug. 10, at noon ET. In addition, episodes of NHRA Thrills and Spills air on Saturday, Aug. 9, at 11 a.m. and on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Aug. 14-17 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minn.
How would you like to support green energy as well as charity? In our new environmentally conscience world, race fans now have a way to help protect the environment, and help out an up and coming racer in the process.
On August 3, North American Power agreed to base their partnership with Josh White Racing upon customer growth and production. The organization donates a $1 from every customer paying for its service each month.
“I would like for my fans to try this, its very inexpensive, its good for the environment, good for them because they save money, then give to charity and it helps put me in a race car,” added White. “If I get NAP 350 customers then it puts me in a race car at Daytona for Daytona Testing, and NAP is donating to charity every time a customer signs up or pays their bill.”
North American Power is cheap, affordable, and reduces your energy bill dramatically. If you join, and get 20 of your friends to join, you have free energy for life!
“They can try it for as low as $10 a month,” White continued. “It doesn't matter where you are, NAP could save on your energy bills and they will work with your current energy companies! You will still get the same bill you've always got. I can't wait to introduce NAP to my program, I can't wait for my fans to go green so I can go green at Daytona.”
2014 Eastern Conference Season is Complete at Summit Point
Sunday's 50-minute sprint race ran with two yellow flag interruptions but compared to Saturday's rain-shortened event in mixed conditions, it was a welcome change of pace with a clear, sunny afternoon.
IHRA Pittsburgh Nationals Cancelled Due To Weather
Torrential rain and a less than favorable weekend forecast have forced the cancellation of the remainder of the IHRA Nitro Jam Pittsburgh Nationals presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports at Pittsburgh Raceway Park.The professional classes will complete the race at a Nitro Jam event to be determined later this year. Spectators can hold on to their tickets in a two-for-one deal in which every ticket will get in two people at an IHRA event at Pittsburgh Raceway Park in 2015.
"We really wanted to get this event in for the great fans here in Pittsburgh; unfortunately mother nature had other plans. With the storms we saw this evening, combined with an awful forecast for Sunday, we really had no choice but to call the race," said Skooter Peaco, IHRA Vice President. "We saw some tremendous racing during the afternoon and were set for a great evening of racing. To make it up to the fans, we are offering a special two-for-one deal in 2015 where fans can bring their ticket back to an IHRA event next year and get themselves and a friend into the event. It is our little way of saying thank you for supporting IHRA and Pittsburgh Raceway Park.
"All of us at IHRA and PRP want to thank the great fans for coming out this weekend."
IHRA's professional classes completed two rounds of competition on Saturday before the rains came. Those classes, plus all additional Nitro Jam categories, will finish their respective races at a Nitro Jam event later this year.
In Nitro Funny Car, the top four drivers in qualifying all advanced to the second round. Top qualifier Peter Gallen bested Gary Kraus with the best pass of the afternoon with a 4.923-second pass at 224.10 miles per hour to move on to the semifinals. In other Nitro Funny Car action Bruce Litton defeated Ronny Young, Mike McIntire Jr. defeated John Hale and Jake Crimmins defeated recently crowned IHRA World Champion Jason Rupert.
Rupert locked up the IHRA Nitro Funny Car World Championship Friday night when Mark Sanders, the closest driver to him in points, failed to qualify for the race. By qualifying in the top five, Rupert locked up his first IHRA championship and his fourth nostalgia Nitro Funny Car championship in a row, adding three titles in the Hot Rod Heritage Series.
"It feels great to win this championship. Everyone out here tries so hard and all of these guys are such great drivers, with such great cars and tuners, it is truly an honor to be the champion of this group," Rupert said. "I have a lot of heroes in drag racing, but the guy I really look at is Frank Manzo. He has won so many championships and he is so humble about it and I now understand why. Success is not going to last forever, and knowing that makes this mean so much more. When you are chasing others you have nothing to lose, but when you are being chased you have everything to lose. All of these guys are great drivers, it was just our year."
Nitro Harley was the other class to complete its runs on Saturday, with Bob Malloy, Rocky Jackson, Mike Scott and Larry Brancaccio advancing to the semifinals.
Sportsman competitors will complete their competition for an IHRA Ironman trophy at a PRP event later this year.
For more information, please visit the International Hot Rod Association at www.ihra.com or visit us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also visit Pittsburgh Raceway Park at www.pittsburghracewaypark.com and on social media for additional information.
J. FORCE, SCHUMACHER, AND A. JOHNSON RACE TO NO. 1 QUALIFYING POSITIONS AT O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS
On Saturday, August 2, John Force raced to his 150th No. 1 qualifying position in Funny Car at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also will lead their categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Seattle.
Force entered Saturday as the top qualifier but briefly lost the top spot to his daughter Courtney in the final qualifying round. John rallied with a track record run of 4.057 seconds at 307.86 mph in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang Funny Car on the final run of the day to take the top position from his daughter. This is Force’s fourth No. 1 of the season and sixth at Pacific Raceways.
"I was overloaded today, had too much on my plate," said Force. "And then she bumped me. I figured Robert (Hight) would do it, he didn't. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) turned around and said, 'What do you want to do?' I said, 'Turn 'er up.' We knew what it would do, but you really don't want to show the competition what you have. If you can hold your cards and get them in the evening, then you can step on it.”
Courtney, who won last weekend in Sonoma and moved to the number two position with her run of 4.082 at 306.33 in her Traxxas Ford Mustang, will face Gary Densham on Sunday. The 2011 Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan qualified third with a run of 4.100 at 302.69 in his Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger and will aim for his second win of the season when he faces Terry Haddock.
Piloting his U.S. Army dragster, Schumacher retained his No. 1 qualifying position from Friday and will lead the Top Fuel category into eliminations. Schumacher will make his 400th NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series start against rookie Jenna Haddock in the opening round.
“We have a great car,” Schumacher said. “I wouldn’t want to race me tomorrow. The fact that we went down both lanes just shows what (crew chiefs) Mike [Green] and Neal [Strausburg] have been looking for for a long time. We just didn’t go down the track but we were first or second each session and had some .820 60-foot times. They’re making some great calls. Our initial launch is what we’ve been longing for. Everyone knows that if you get the car moving, you can apply clutch quicker.”
Top Fuel points leader Doug Kalitta qualified second in his Mac Tools dragster with a run of 3.805 at 320.28 and is paired against Mike Salinas in the opening round. Shawn Langdon will begin eliminations in the third position with his run of 3.807 at 317.05 and will face Clay Millican. Most recent event winner Khalid alBalooshi qualified sixth in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster with a run of 3.813 at 319.22 and faces Brittany Force.
Pro Stock’s Johnson retained his No. 1 qualifying position with his Friday effort in his Mopar / Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart, with his run of 6.535 at 211.86. It is the 35th No. 1 of his career and his third at this event. He has four No. 1 qualifying positions this season, but has yet to win when he starts from the top spot.
“The guys did an awesome job here,” Johnson said. “All four rounds low and building up them baby points. That last round the track was representative of what we will see tomorrow. We made a really good run and we just need to keep doing what we are doing and be very consistent. If the driver does his job, we can get this thing done.”
Teammate to Johnson, Jeg Coughlin qualified fourth with a run of 6.553 at 211.13 and he will face Larry Morgan in eliminations. Shane Gray, who was the No. 1 qualifier at the most recent event, qualified second at 6.538 at 211.96 in his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro and will race Travis Mazza in the opener.
Sunday's first-round elimination pairings for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Pacific Raceways, the 16th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.804 seconds, 320.20 mph vs. 16. Jenna Haddock, 4.176, 273.44; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.805, 320.28 vs. 15. Mike Salinas, 4.158, 283.79; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.807, 317.05 vs. 14. Clay Millican, 3.967, 305.77; 4. Richie Crampton, 3.809, 317.19 vs. 13. Terry McMillen, 3.931, 313.73; 5. Bob Vandergriff, 3.812, 318.77 vs. 12. Antron Brown, 3.884, 309.34; 6. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.813, 319.22 vs. 11. Brittany Force, 3.848, 310.84; 7. Spencer Massey, 3.815, 318.09 vs. 10. Troy Buff, 3.845, 311.41; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.827, 314.83 vs. 9. Steve Torrence, 3.834, 316.45. Did Not Qualify: 17. Ron Smith, 4.339, 269.83.
Funny Car -- 1. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.057, 308.07 vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.361, 283.49; 2. Courtney Force, Mustang, 4.082, 306.33 vs. 15. Gary Densham, Chevy Impala, 4.303, 292.46; 3. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.100, 302.69 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, Impala, 4.199, 292.46; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.101, 303.23 vs. 13. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.175, 294.18; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.102, 304.19 vs. 12. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.156, 297.29; 6. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.107, 303.91 vs. 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.150, 301.40; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.120, 306.40 vs. 10. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.136, 298.34; 8. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.126, 296.18 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.131, 300.53. Did Not Qualify: 17. Bucky Austin, 4.398, 276.63; 18. Paul Lee, 4.979, 204.20.
Pro Stock -- 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.535, 211.86 vs. Bye; 2. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.538, 211.96 vs. 15. Travis Mazza, Ford Mustang, 8.038, 129.28; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.549, 211.36 vs. 14. Mark Wolfe, Mustang, 7.060, 205.57; 4. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.553, 211.13 vs. 13. Larry Morgan, Mustang, 6.695, 207.82; 5. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.556, 211.56 vs. 12. Deric Kramer, Dodge Avenger, 6.615, 209.85; 6. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.561, 211.26 vs. 11. Matt Hartford, Avenger, 6.597, 210.67; 7. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.562, 211.46 vs. 10. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.588, 210.57; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.569, 210.73 vs. 9. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.587, 210.60