FORCE HAS SOLID FRIDAY PERFORMANCE AT READING
READING, PA — There are four races left in the Countdown to the Championship and everyone knows that moves need to be made this weekend at the 27th annual Auto Plus NHRA Nationals. John Force let the other Funny Car teams know that the 15-time Funny Car champion was not going to go quietly into the night as he recorded two of his best times in recent memory at Maple Grove Raceway. In the first session Force posted a 4.096 second run and capped it off with a 4.061 second run at 314.31 mph, good enough for the No. 4 provisional position.
“It appears my race car is getting back on track. We have struggled with testing and trying new things. We are just back in the game today,” said Force, a six-time winner at Maple Grove Raceway. ”There are only four races to go in this Countdown and if we are going to make a move we have to make it here at Reading. Mike Neff is tied with the lead and Robert Hight is right behind him. There are a bunch of good Dodges out there but at the end of the day these Fords will come out on top.”
“It has been pretty exciting today with all that is going on. At the end of the day we put three cars in the top twelve. We are in the show and we are worried about rain for tomorrow. I am confident with the way my hot rod ran today,” added the driver of the Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Mustang. “I am glad to be back in Reading and I am glad to be battling in this Countdown. I’ve got Ford, Castrol, Mac Tools, Auto Club and BrandSource all supporting me. Mike Neff is killing them tuning and driving and my son-in-law Robert Hight is getting his car together to run for the championship. Life couldn’t get better.”
In the opening session all three John Force Racing Mustangs recorded runs in the 4.0 range led by points leader Mike Neff’s 4.085 second pass which was good enough for two qualifying bonus points. In the second session Neff smoked the tires running beside Matt Hagan.
“We were trying to make it run quicker and it was on a better run and when the clutch went to lock up it kicked the tires loose,” said Mike Neff, driver and tuner of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang.
Finally Robert Hight is also looking for a get well weekend behind the wheel of his Auto Club Ford Mustang. In the first session he posted a 4.090 second run, picked up a qualifying bonus point and was poised to make more strides with the great conditions in the Friday night session.
Hight was paired with veteran Ron Capps as the third to last pair of Funny Cars and his Mustang launched hard and made a clean but slow pass down the race track.
“We set it up like the 4.03 run we made in Charlotte on Monday testing. It is just unpredictable. We are wearing a lot of clutch. That run was slow all the way down the track. I could not have been staged more shallow,” said Hight. “The bottom bulb was flickering. (Crew chief) Jimmy (Prock) is going to look at a couple of things for tomorrow. That first run was pretty good and we are going to make a few changes. The key is not to make big changes. We are going to creep up on a good tune up for Sunday.”
Hight will go into Saturday’s final day of qualifying as the provisional No. 7 qualifier two spots behind Neff the provisional No. 5 driver.
* * * *
JOHN FORCE, 62, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 4th at 4.061 seconds, 314.31 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
MIKE NEFF, 44, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 5th at 4.085 seconds, 308.50 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +2 (2nd quickest of Q1)
ROBERT HIGHT, 42, Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang
Friday Qualifying: 7th at 4.090 seconds, 312.21 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +1 (3rd quickest of Q1)
* * * *
Saturday, October 1
Nitro qualifying noon and 2:45 p.m.
Sunday, October 2
Final Eliminations 11 a.m.
NITRO REWIND COVERS FIRST TIME WINNERS AND CONTENDERS
YORBA LINDA, CA (September 30, 2011) — Dallas’ AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex produced two first time winners in the Nitro ranks as Bob Vandergriff won his first career Top Fuel title and Cruz Pedregon won for the first time in 2011 and made a major move up the Full Throttle point standings. A number of drivers also talk about heading to a swing race in Reading, Pennsylvania for championship aspirations The show, an internet based broadcast, is hosted by Bill Stephens and features interviews from Top Fuel and Funny Car NHRA competitors, is available on the NHRA’s YouTube channel after every NHRA national event.
“Being about to talk with Bob Vandergriff Jr. after his first Top Fuel win was great for Nitro Rewind plus as the Countdown heats up getting feedback and insight from the drivers on the inside battling for Full Throttle championships is really interesting,” said Ashley Force Hood, John Force Entertainment president.
Nitro Rewind talked with John Force about his induction into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega Super Speedway in 2012 as well as his goals for getting his Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Mustang turned around. Two of the drivers for Kalitta Motorsports, Jeff Arend and Doug Kalitta also give their thoughts on being in the heat of battle for the championship. For Arend this year is especially sweet since it is his first time in the Countdown.
Finally, Nitro Rewind regular Terry McMillen gives Nitro Rewind fans an update on his progress even though he is outside the top ten his Amale Oil Top Fuel team is racing like champions.
Every episode is posted on the NHRA YouTube channel the Thursday after each national event. This week’s episode can be found here: http://youtu.be/x8bFx3Z5ll0
Fans can check out all the episodes of Nitro Rewind by going to www.youtube.com and searching Nitro Rewind or they can go directly to the NHRA YouTube channel.
READING, Pa. – No one is more familiar with what is possible in the NHRA’s Countdown to 1 playoffs than Robert “Top Gun” Hight, the former world class marksman who, over the last seven seasons, has driven the Automobile Club of Southern California Ford Mustang to a category-best 22 tour victories.
“That’s what we need,” Hight said. “We need to get on a roll like the one we were on in ‘09 or like the one we were on in the spring. That’s what we’re going to try to do, starting this week.”
Hight, who celebrated seven championships as the clutch specialist on Force’s all-conquering Castrol GTX hybrids of the 1990s and early 2000s, is currently sixth in points, 107 behind teammate and points leader Mike Neff.
Fast Talkers: National Open at Williams Grove Speedway
CONCORD, N.C. September 29, 2011 With the 2011 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Season winding down, the stars and cars of the Greatest Show on Dirt head to hostile territory. Williams Grove Speedway near Mechanicsburg, Pa. is known as one of the home tracks for the Outlaws arch rivals, the Pennsylvania Posse. When these two groups go head to head, excitement erupts from every inch of the race track. $50,000 dollars is on the line along with a spot in next years Morgan Cup Challenge race as the Outlaws head into Williams Grove for the annual National Open on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1.
World of Outlaws competitors share their thoughts on the big event as The Greatest Show on Dirt continues the march to the World Finals at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Craig Dollansky, #7 Big Game Treestands Maxim: Its certainly a big event for everyone involved and when they bumped up the purse to $50,000, it added even more to it. Its very competitive there and its an event we look forward to each year so hopefully we can have a good run.
Chad Kemenah, #63 Golden Flavor Sesame Sticks Maxim: Williams Grove is animal all on its own. It seems like weve been doing better there as of late. The only problem is that I think I have some sort of a demon up there because every time we seem to be running good, something breaks. Hopefully, we can get over that and have a good qualifying run and a good finish.
Steve Kinser, #11 Bass Pro Shops/ J.D. Byrider/Chevrolet/ Maxim: Theres not another track out there thats like Williams Grove. Its got real long straightaways and tight corners plus they have a ton of local cars that run really well there. Its a fight every time you go there and well just have to do our best.
Kraig Kinser, #6 Caseys General Stores Maxim: Its a tough racetrack and tough competition. A lot of those local guys have a ton of experience when it comes to getting around it so you are fighting that. You just have to have everything rolling when you get there and hope you dont run into any problems.
Cody Darrah, #91 Great Clips Maxim: Its a race that I live for since its so close to where I grew up. Theres a lot of hometown fans that will get the chance to come out and watch us race. It energizes you a bit when you get to race near home and National Open means a ton to me. Weve worked on a pretty good notebook for the track all year so Im hopeful that we can translate that into some really good finishes while were there this time around.
Jason Meyers, #14 All Star Performance KPC: Its been one of the biggest races for quite some time and putting $50,000 on the line only helps that. The guys at Williams Grove do an awesome job of putting on the show up there. The fans are also great up there and Sprint Car racing has a huge following in that area. With our engine builder Charlie Garrett being nearby, its even more special. We won there for him in July and we were leading the National Open late last year and I lost it in the closing laps. Were going back up there to try to get one back that we lost. The neat thing about the track is that it stays relatively the same each time you go there and I think we have a pretty good setup for it.
Paul McMahan, #83 HR Cattle Maxim: Its a great event. Its the hardest place to go race anywhere in the country because of the track and the local guys. The layout is very unique. Its a love it or hate it kind of place and Ive experienced both sides of that in the past. My crew chief (Justin Adams) is from the area so a win would be great for me but huge for him.
Joey Saldana, #9 Red Bull Maxim: Its a really tough race at a really tough track. For me, Im just trying to have some fun and thats been the coolest thing for me coming back at Hartford. I dont have the pressure of a championship run on my shoulders so I can go out and focus just on winning races. Its going to be the first time in a long time that Im going into Williams Grove that I just want to learn and get better as opposed to having to worry about other things. We really want to be better for next year. Its a great race and I certainly want to win it. Its one of those events that ever Sprint Car driver wants on his resume when he retires. I have won a race at Williams Grove but its been a while. It really is a cool place to win and to put Kasey Kahne Racing into Victory Lane there would be huge.
Donny Schatz, #15 STP/Armor All/Chevrolet J&J: Its a crown jewel event in our sport. Theres awesome fans up there, some of the best in the entire country. Theres also quite a rivalry between the local guys and the World of Outlaws so you have the perfect scenario for an event. Ive always loved that place and I know there a few things that I can do to make up some time here and there if I have to. Its very competitive and I cant wait to get there. Paying $50,000 certainly doesnt hurt it either. Its one that Ive won a few times so Im a little bit partial to it.
Jason Sides, #7s Wetherington Tractor Service Maxim: Its one of those places that we go to where you just hope for a strong qualifying effort to make it into their show. From that point on, its all a matter of just getting what you can get there because they have such a strong field of local guys.
Lucas Wolfe, #5w Allebach Racing Maxim: Its one of the biggest events of the year and I look forward to it because its right near where I am from. Its one of those events that helps close out the year as far as big events go. We really look forward and have run very well at the Grove in the past. We had a good weekend there in July so we have great expectations as we head in there.
The race for IZOD IndyCar Series championship visits the first of two 1.5-
mile ovals to end the 2011 season with the Kentucky Indy 300 at Kentucky
Speedway. Mario Andretti Road Champion Will Power took an 11-point
lead in the overall championship at Motegi, but Target Chip Ganassi
Racing’s Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti stand 1-2 in the A.J. Foyt oval
championship points. Can Power, who has never finished in the top-five at
Kentucky, maintain the lead or will one of the Ganassi drivers take control
of the title race with a win in the Bluegrass state?
Dixon hopes to ride oval prowess into third series title
Coming off his second win of 2011 at Japan, Scott Dixon looks to ride his
oval success back into the title picture. Can Dixon, who can wrap up the
A.J. Foyt Trophy title with a strong finish at Kentucky, get a secondstraight
win and keep his hopes for a third IZOD IndyCar Series
Is Castroneves the King of Kentucky?
Helio Castroneves has finished in the top 10 eight times in his nine
previous starts at Kentucky and visited Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile oval
for the first time last season. Can Castroneves score Team Penske’s fourth
win (and third-straight) at Kentucky?
Carpenter hopes to improve on back-to-back runner-up finishes
Ed Carpenter returns to Kentucky Speedway, hoping to improve upon his
back-to-back second-place finishes. Carpenter, running selected events
with Sarah Fisher Racing, won the pole with Panther/Vision Racing in
2010 and nearly came away with his first win in both 2009 and 2010. Can
Carpenter finally put together a full 200 laps at Kentucky and claim his
first IZOD IndyCar Series win? A win would also be the first as a team
owner for Sarah Fisher, who became the first female driver to win an Indy
car pole position at Kentucky in 2002.
Four females on grid at Kentucky
A Kentucky Speedway record four women will race during the Kentucky
Indy 300. Joining former Kentucky pole winner Danica Patrick will be
Simona De Silvestro, Ana Beatriz and 2010 Firestone Indy Lights
Kentucky race winner Pippa Mann, who returns with Rahal Letterman
Lanigan Racing after missing New Hampshire due to injury.
Championship on the line for Mike Coughlin at Ohio Valley
WEST POINT, Ky. (Sept. 28) – Mike Coughlin’s mission for this weekend’s Doorslammer Nationals at Ohio Valley Raceway is simple; win two elimination rounds and he’s once again the Top Sportsman champion in Division 3.
Coughlin, the driver of the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt, has been in contention for his third North Central Division Top Sportsman championship since winning back-to-back races in Indianapolis and Joliet earlier this year and he now finds himself in position to claim a third title this weekend.
Trailing reigning series champion John Scali by 22 points, Coughlin must reach the quarterfinal round in order to force a tie. Under the current NHRA tie-breaker rules, Coughlin would win the title base on his round-win record within the North Central Division. Should he should advance past the quarterfinal round, he would claim the title outright.
“I’ve been in this position before and it’s all very doable,” Coughlin said. “In 2009, I had to win the last race of the year in order to win the championship and I ended up racing Ricky Adkins, the guy we were battling for the championship, in the final round of the Division 2 race at Silver Dollar Dragway. We won that time and I know we can win it again. I don’t mind pressure and I think it’s even more meaningful when you have to fight to the very end to win a championship.”
Coughlin had a chance to clinch the title last weekend at his home track of National Trail Raceway during the JEGS NHRA Northern SPORTSnationals and the re-run of the track’s rain-delayed Lucas Oil Series event but, he suffered rare early-round losses in both races. Thankfully, he can still claim points at one additional event and that will take place this weekend at the only eighth-mile race in the series.
“We simply had an off weekend in Columbus,” Coughlin said. “There’s no other way to put it. We could have made some progress but it didn’t work out for us so now we’ve got to make something happen at Ohio Valley. I do enjoy racing at this track and I enjoy the Doorslammer Nationals. It’s a good event and they have a good crowd and it’s an exciting atmosphere. It would be the perfect place to win another championship.”
Despite his struggles in Columbus, Coughlin believes that his Chevy Cobalt, which is capable of mid four-second runs on the Ohio Valley Raceway eighth-mile course, is as good as it’s ever been.
“The car is perfect,” Coughlin said. “We don’t need to touch a thing. I actually enjoy eight-mile racing and my dad [Jeg Sr.], and Greg Cody, Tony Collier and the rest of Team JEGS have worked hard to make this car as fast and as consistent as it can be. When it comes to my car and our team, I have all the confidence in the world. Now, we just need to go down there and make it happen. Like my brother John says, ‘You can’t win if you don’t go,’ and we’re going.”
Quaker City, Carolina win Summit Team Finals events
Quaker City advances pair of drivers to Summit SuperSeries championship
NORWALK, Ohio (September 27, 2011) – It is hard to believe, but as little as one year ago no one was quite sure if Quaker City Motorsports Park would even be open to enjoy the 2011 racing season.
Now the little track in Salem, Ohio is a track champion having won the Division 3 North Stars Summit Team Finals event at Pittsburgh Raceway Park over the weekend.
Quaker City Motorsports Park won the D3 Team Finals by 10 points over host Pittsburgh Raceway Park thanks to a strong showing by its racers. Skyview Drags was third, followed by Dragway 41 and Thompson Raceway Park rounding out the top five.
In addition to a team championship, Quaker City also sent a pair of drivers to the Summit SuperSeries World Championship next month in Virginia led by Box winner J.P. Schuster. Schuster defeated Mark Talmadge of Dunn Tire Raceway with a 7.953, 159.52 on a 7.92 dial while Talmadge took too much at the stripe. Quaker City’s other Summit SuperSeries qualifier is Chris Black who finished runner-up to Ted Miller of Thompson Raceway Park in No Box when Black broke out by nearly a tenth of a second.
All four finalists from PRP advanced to the Summit SuperSeries championship.
Also in action over the weekend was the Division 2 East Heat Wave Summit Team Finals as Carolina Dragway bested a field of a dozen tracks at its own facility to win the team event over Ware Shoals Dragway. Ware Shoals finished 14 points back of the host track. Pageland Dragway, Immokalee Regional Raceway and Union County Dragway rounded out the top five.
While most of the Summit Team Finals events advance four drivers to the Summit Team Finals, only the winners advance in the Heat Wave Division. And those drivers moving on from the D2 event are Box winner Sammy Hollingsworth of Union County Dragway and No Box winner Artie Vaughn of Ware Shoals Dragway.
Hollingsworth defeated Vick Helms of Pageland Dragway with a near-perfect 4.759 on a 4.75 dial at 144.15 mph, narrowly edging Helms who took too much at the stripe. Vaughn won No Box with a victory over A.J. Issman of Palm Beach Raceway when Issman lit the red light.
Two more Summit Team Finals events are on the slate for this weekend as Montgomery Motorsports Park in Alabama hosts the Division 2 West Heat Wave Summit Team Finals and Rockingham Dragway hosts the Division 9 Raiders Summit Team Finals.
World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at a Glance:
National Open at Williams Grove Speedway
CONCORD, N.C. September 26, 2011 With the final stretch of the 2011 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series season beginning, there is quite a level of buzz surrounding the Greatest Show on Dirt.
At Hartford (Mich.) Motor Speedway, Joey Saldana proved he was more than ready to come back as he dominated the 25 lap event for his first victory since early July. Saldana, who was sidelined with injuries sustained in a crash at the Kings Royal, used that momentum to pick up another victory two days later at Eldora Speedway during the Four Crown Nationals Weekend.
The following night at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pa., it was a battle of attrition as lap traffic tested the driving skills of Jason Meyers and Donny Schatz. When the checkers flew, it was Meyers who came out on top to score his fifth win of the season.
Meyers leads the Outlaws into hostile territory as they get set for the annual National Open at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
Friday, September 30, and Saturday, October 1 at Williams Grove Speedway in Mechanicsburg, Penn. Pit gates open at 3:00 p.m., Hot Laps begin at 6:00 p.m. and racing kicks off at 7:30 p.m.