Gunslingers introduced at Division 7 meeting in Tucson
Inaugural IHRA D7 Summit Team Finals set to take place in September
NORWALK, Ohio (January 31, 2012) – During a recent meeting held at Southwestern International Raceway in January the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and several track representatives from the newly formed Division 7 unveiled the new Gunslingers name and announced the very first D7 Summit Team Finals presented by Moser Engineering to be held September 13-16 at Caprock Motorplex in Odessa, Texas.
Tracks representatives from across the southwest were on hand for the inaugural meeting of Division 7 tracks under the direction of acclaimed Division Director Frank Kohutek. The tracks set to take part in the inaugural season of Summit SuperSeries action in Division 7 include El Paso Motorplex, Caprock Motorplex, Desert Thunder Raceway and Amarillo Dragway in Texas, Southwestern International Raceway in Arizona and Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah.
Representatives from IHRA and several tracks were on hand for the Division 7 meeting in Tucson
“It was great to sit in a room full of track operators who are open minded and focused on the success of the division. There is a lot of pent up demand for a different direction in the western regions where IHRA was never really an option up until now,” said Skooter Peaco, IHRA Vice President. “The IHRA philosophy and brand of sportsman racing is a perfect fit for these tracks and the Summit SuperSeries and Summit Team Finals will be huge programs that these tracks will finally be able to offer their weekly racers.
“We look forward to building new relationships and making new friends in the southwest as this division grows.”
Adding to the excitement of the new division are the number of former IHRA champions and veteran racers making up the new division. Among those champions are the last two Summit SuperSeries No Box champions as back-to-back “wild card” participants Matt Hawk from Southwestern International Raceway and Chris Hall from Rocky Mountain Raceways claimed the richest prize in grassroots racing. Now those racers will have their own division to call home.
2011 No Box World Champion Matt Hawk, from Arizona, is one of two back-to-back
Summit SuperSeries World Champions to come from the Division 7 region
Each track within Division 7 will begin immediate competition with the Summit SuperSeries including hosting the very-first D7 Team Finals in September that will send two representatives from the Top and Modified classes and, new this year, a representative in the new Junior Dragster Summit SuperSeries World Championship.
Additional sportsman programs are already in discussion as interest in the new division continues to grow with several more tracks set to join the division in the coming months.
MEDLEN RETURNS TO JFR AS DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY AND SAFETY
YORBA LINDA, Calif. (January 31, 2012) – John Medlen, who won an NHRA Funny Car championship as crew chief to Tony Pedregon, helped design and develop the BOSS 500 Ford nitro motor and served as the “safety conscience” for drag racing after the tragic death of his son, Eric, confirmed Tuesday that he will return to JFR in the new capacity of Director of Technology and Safety.
“I found out John Medlen became available over the weekend and I offered him a job to come back to work with us on safety. He is a leader in safety. I always wanted John Medlen back because he is like family. I am excited to have him back in our brain-trust. He will start immediately and he will get to work with the other crew chiefs building on a lot of the safety ideas we have worked on over the winter. We had a strong test session but we need to keep working on ideas and projects throughout the season. That is what Medlen will do for us,” said John Force, JFR CEO.
Medlen, who left JFR in 2010 when the economic downturn forced team owner John Force to park the Ford Mustang in which Mike Neff earned 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year recognition, will oversee an expanding research-and-development program designed to insure the team’s overall success and safety for years to come. He will also work with Ford Racing engineers to continue to develop the BOSS 500 engine.
“I’m thrilled to be back here at John Force Racing. This is truly a family environment and I have missed it. From the time I walked in the door, everything has been the same,” said John Medlen. “The people, the hospitality; nothing has changed. We’re all looking forward to a great year racing four Funny Cars and going for that championship. I’m excited to be here and have the opportunity to be back in the family.”
Appropriately, the 61-year-old veteran will work from within The Eric Medlen Project, a research and safety initiative founded and funded by John Force following the 2007 testing accident that claimed the life of one of the sport’s rising young stars. The Eric Medlen Project is housed in JFR’s massive midwest shop facility in Brownsburg, Ind.
A talented designer and machinist, Medlen not only spearheaded the BOSS 500 engine program but also was instrumental in helping to develop the three-rail chassis to which the team converted its Ford Mustangs in 2008.
“Few people will ever know of the many engineering contributions that John Medlen has made to drag racing,” said JFR senior crew chief Bernie Fedderly. “He was the real ‘mad scientist’ in our group. I don’t think there’s anything he can’t build.”
A self-taught engineer, Medlen plied his trade as crew chief for Don “the Snake” Prudhomme and Chuck Etchells, among others, before briefly working as General Manager of Callies Crankshafts, Inc., in Fostoria Ohio. He was lured back to drag racing when Force offered him the chance to run a R&D team in 1996.
The result of that collaboration with driver Pedregon was a second place finish behind Force. The team finished second two other times before winning the 2003 championship. When Pedregon left the team, Eric Medlen, an aspiring rodeo cowboy and mechanic on Force’s Castrol GTX Ford, was given an opportunity to race with his dad.
Medlen’s mechanical aptitude first was recognized by Bill Dyer, a high school shop teacher in Lodi, Calif. At Dyer’s suggestion, Medlen read everything he could about motors, engineering and machinery and, by the time he graduated from high school, he could disassemble and reassemble virtually anything with moving parts.
By the time he was 20, he owned his own machine shop and, by the time he turned 26, he had transformed a thriving automobile repair business into a custom parts fabrication facility that served his racing interests and those of his closest friends.
Kinser: Ive Had Enough Time Off. Im Ready to Go Race.
Tony Stewart Racing star geared up for UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit
CONCORD, N.C. – Jan. 31, 2012 – It’s that point of the year when the offseason is winding down; just not quickly enough.Cars are being assembled and plans made. And the itch to get back in the seat is more vibrant than ever. For a guy like Steve Kinser, the King of the Outlaws and the winningest driver in sprint car history, it isn’t any different”Right now all of the guys are trying to get these cars finished up and head to Volusia,” he said. “I’ve had enough time off. I’m ready to go race.”
The World of Outlaws opens the season on Feb. 17-18-19 at the 41st annual UNOH DIRTcar Nationals Presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. It’s an event that includes all three major World of Outlaws series competing Feb. 14-25.
Kinser won the first two races at the fast, half-mile oval last year, which started a season when he finished with nine victories. He also place third in the standings – his 28th season with a top-three result in the 34 years of the World of Outlaws.”That’s a bonus,” Kinser said of starting the season with a win. “It’s not that critical. There have been a lot of times when I’ve sort of struggled for three or four weeks and got going on later in the year.”
The Bloomington, Ind., native, who holds the all-time record of World of Outlaws victories with 570 and championships with 20, has claimed a series-best four wins at Volusia Speedway Park along with Tony Stewart Racing teammate Donny Schatz.
Last year, Kinser qualified in the top 10 each night, finished second in his heat race each night, won the dash twice and finished no worse than second in a feature.”I like running Volusia,” he said. “It’s a good, fast race track, even if it’s slick. It’s the kind of track we really like to run on.”
While Kinser said he doesn’t know whether three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart will race any sprint car events – he will be in nearby Daytona in preparation for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 – that adds to the great environment at Tony Stewart Racing.”He’s not afraid to jump in there,” Kinser said. “Nobody really gives anyone advice. We just try to feed each other information.”
Tickets can be ordered online by clicking WorldofOutlaws.com/tickets or by calling 877-395-8606.
Accolades continue for JEGS.com racer Makenna Brown
HEBRON, Ohio (Jan. 26) – Team JEGS driver Makenna Brown already knows she will leave this Saturday’s National Trail Raceway Awards Banquet with one trophy, but it was recently revealed that the Junior Dragster phenom has been nominated for a second.
Brown won the National Trail Jr. Dragster 2 class track championship by one point in 2011, which is the primary reason she will attend the banquet. As a bonus, Brown is one of three nominees for “Most Improved Jr. Dragster Driver” award, which is determined by a vote of the racers themselves.
If Brown wins the special award it would be the second straight year she has won a special end-of-year track award. Brown was selected as the 2010 Jr. Dragster Rookie of the Year at National Trail.
PORT-A-COOL® TEXAS WORLD DIRT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP
SET FOR MARCH 2-3, FEATURES MODIFIED, LIMITED MODIFIED AND O’REILLY AUTO PARTS SUPR LATE MODEL RACING
- Champions To Receive Up To $3,500 Purse, Port-A-Cool® Cyclone 3000 Cooling Unit
- Special Ticket Offer Available At O’Reilly Auto Parts Stores For $5 Discount On Adult Tickets, $5 Child’s Admission
FORT WORTH, Texas (January 26, 2012) – Dirt racing competitors nationwide will be traveling to Fort Worth on March 2-3 for the esteemed Port-A-Cool® Texas World Dirt Track Championship, featuring some of the elite in O’Reilly Auto Parts SUPR Late Model, Modified and Limited Modified racing.
The Port-A-Cool® Texas World Dirt Track Championship is the first of two dirt racing events held annually at the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track, a .4-mile, clay-surfaced track known to produce some of the most competitive dirt track racing in the nation.
“With six inches of fresh dirt applied to the racing surface, we’re expecting to see some exciting action on the track,” Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track General Manager Cameron Branch said. “Our competitors never cease to put on a great show and bring fans to their feet.”
Not only will drivers be contending for purses up to $3,500, but also a Cyclone 3000 centrifugal air delivery system courtesy of Port-A-Cool®, the title sponsor for each of the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track’s 2012 events. Port-A-Cool®, an international portable cooling unit company based in Center, Texas, also sponsored the U.S. National Dirt Track Championship in the fall of 2011.
Drivers can visit http://www.texasmotorspeedway.com to find competitor information including online registration, purchasing advance two-day pit passes, reserving paved pit spaces (limited quantities) and signing up for practice on Thursday, March 1. Modified and Limited Modified drivers who pre-register and don’t qualify for the championship features will have a chance to earn one of two provisional starting spots in the rear of the field. Early registration ends Feb. 17.
Grandstand tickets for the event will be $10 on Friday and $15 on Saturday, but fans can take advantage of a special offer at more than 200 O’Reilly Auto Parts stores regionally. Fans purchasing tickets at O’Reilly Auto Parts will receive $5 off either night and also will have the opportunity to purchase $5 children’s tickets (12 and under). Event parking is free for both Friday and Saturday.
Heats for all three classes will run Friday, March 2, beginning at 5 p.m. and the championships will be decided Saturday, March 3, with racing beginning at 6 p.m. Fans and competitors can visit http://www.texasmotorspeedway.com or call (817) 215-8500 for additional information on the Port-A-Cool® Texas World Dirt Track Championship.
NHRA FUNNY CAR ROOKIES DEJORIA AND FORCE MEET NATIONAL MOTORSPORTS MEDIA DURING NASCAR SPRINT MEDIA TOUR IN CHARLOTTE
CONCORD, N.C. – NHRA introduced two of the most intriguing rookie drivers in the history of the sport to the national motorsports media today during a press conference conducted as part of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. The legendary multi-purpose motorsports facility annually hosts two NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events at its spectacular zMAX Dragway.
Rookie Funny Car drivers Alexis DeJoria and Courtney Force, both an important part of NHRA’s Nitro Generation theme for 2012, joined NHRA President Tom Compton during the season-preview press event, which was held in front of more than 100 of the nation’s top motorsports journalists.
DeJoria, daughter of famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria, will drive the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry and Force, youngest daughter of 15-time NHRA world champ John Force, will pilot the Traxxas Ford Mustang. The two drivers will be among the top contenders for the prestigious Auto Club Road to the Future Award, which annually recognizes NHRA’s top performing rookie driver.
“It was a little overwhelming to meet with all the media. I was glad I was with Alexis. We were able to talk about our dreams and how we came up through the ranks as well as what it is like to be a female racing at over 300 mph. I am looking forward to getting on the track at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in a couple of weeks.,” said Courtney Force. “We just wrapped up testing yesterday in West Palm Beach. I am learning a lot about driving Funny Cars from my dad and I have also learned a lot about the media from watching all his interviews. I don’t think I can be as entertaining but I do enjoy talking about NHRA and getting behind the wheel of my Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car.”
The two drivers fielded questions from reporters about the challenges and expectations for their upcoming seasons and posed for photographs alongside a specially-wrapped Funny Car that featured the NHRA Nitro Generation design. NHRA also showed a high-energy video to the media that focused on the thrilling 300-mph performances, powerful side-by-side racing and close finishes that make NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing one of the most intense motorsports attractions on the planet.
Later in the afternoon many of the journalists attending the week-long media tour will participate in an NHRA Full Throttle Media Challenge Drag Race at zMAX Dragway. Media members will race in identically-prepared street-ready Ford Mustangs and DeJoria and Force will serve as driving coaches. DeJoria and Force also will race in the stock Mustangs in an exhibition prior to the media challenge race.
The highly-anticipated rookie battle begins Feb. 9-12 at the 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. The tradition-rich race is the first of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for 2012. Tickets are available at www.NHRATIX.com or by calling (800) 884-NHRA (6472).
JFR EXTENDS TESTING BY TWO DAYS
(Palm Beach, FL) January 24, 2012 — After the 2nd annual PRO Winter Warm-Ups testing session came to a close Saturday, team owner John Force planned on staying an additional day to test but on Monday he made the decision to stay at Palm Beach International Raceway and test for two additional days. Monday was spent making several laps down the track with Force, Robert Hight, Courtney Force and Brittany Force in the JFR BrandSource Top Fuel dragster all getting extended track time. Tuesday was tacked onto the schedule primarily to concentrate on the Traxxas Mustang Funny Car, rookie driver Courtney Force, her new team and the kinks that come with a brand new car.
“Testing is important, especially with all of the new people and teams we have coming into our operation this year with Courtney’s Traxxas Mustang Funny Car. We have a new driver and a new team and they just need more time to develop their routine. This is really a learning curve for all of us and we’re learning things everyday- that’s the important thing. We went through the same thing with Ashley in 2007. We just want to be as ready as possible for the Winternationals in Pomona.”
Force pulled in all JFR crew chiefs to help strengthen the Traxxas Mustang Funny Car. Together, all are working on the set-up of the car, team-building and driver instruction. The additional sets of eyes and hands are already paying off as turn-around time and pre-stage routines are becoming more fluid for the young team.
“Everyone is working really hard. This is like boot camp, especially for the new guys, but we’re going to stay here until we accomplish what we came here to do,” added Force.
IHRA announces Moser Engineering as presenting sponsor for Summit SuperSeries, Summit Team Finals
NORWALK, Ohio (January 24, 2012) – The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) is pleased to announce that Indiana-based Moser Engineering, the industry leader in performance axles and rear ends, will be the presenting sponsor for the Summit SuperSeries and Summit Team Finals sportsman programs beginning in 2012.
Designed as a championship program for bracket racers around the world, the Summit SuperSeries has crowned nearly two dozen champions and awarded over $1 million in cash and prizes since 2002 and now, with the added support of Moser Engineering, the program will only continue to grow and provide the biggest stage in grassroots sportsman racing today.
“Moser Engineering has always been known as one of the leading sponsors with our support of the sportsman ranks. This continued relationship with IHRA shows our commitment to that relationship,” said Jeff Anderson, Moser Engineering Marketing Director. “We enjoy going to the track and racing ourselves and getting to partner up and promote programs like this is just part of who we are as a company.”
In addition to adding support to the Summit SuperSeries program, Moser Engineering will be the largest backer of the dragster build program which awards a brand new dragster to the Top class winner at the IHRA World Finals. Moser Engineering will also be returning as a major contingency sponsor for all levels of IHRA racing, including providing significant contingency at the Summit Team Finals and Summit SuperSeries championship races as well as rewarding the tracks that the racers represent.
The Summit SuperSeries presented by Moser Engineering is the World Championship program for IHRA member track sportsman racers. Providing the base for the Summit SuperSeries are the more than 90 member tracks and thousands of IHRA racers around the globe.
Each track determines its Summit SuperSeries champion through head-to-head competition throughout the year. At the conclusion of the season each track’s Summit SuperSeries champion then moves on to race other track champions at the divisional level at the Summit Team Finals presented by Moser Engineering. Those drivers that emerge victorious from the Summit Team Finals will meet at the IHRA World Finals for the Summit SuperSeries World Championship.
“Moser Engineering is proud to partner with companies like Summit and organizations like IHRA that go out of their way to show sportsman racers they are the reason for our companies’ success,” Anderson said. “The racers support of us allows us to be successful and we appreciate getting the chance to pay it back.”
A long time supporter of IHRA sportsman racing, Moser Engineering will play a key role in the continued growth of this revolutionary grassroots racing program. Founded in 1982, Moser Engineering manufactures aftermarket performance rear end components for various racing applications. Located in Portland, Indiana, Moser prides itself in its ability to supply quality American-made products at affordable prices.
HIGHT CONTINUES DOMINANCE AT PRO WINTER WARM-UP
PALM BEACH, FL (January 21, 2012) — Robert Hight ended the two day PRO Winter Warm-Up with a thundering, 4.034 seconds at 316.67 mph run, which was the quickest and fastest Funny Car run of testing. Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang were also the quickest Funny Car in the first session posting a 4.071 second run at 315.49 mph.
“I know we have at least one more day, but I’m hoping maybe two more days that we can play around. We’re really learning a lot. We’ve got Ron Armstrong here helping us; kind of a new addition to our brain trust and when you’re not tuning a car, you look at things a little differently. He really looked at some things and brought them to Jimmy’s (Prock, Crew Chief) attention and man, it’s fixed this thing, so along with some of the new things that we haven’t run yet, I’m excited,” said Robert Hight. “And no matter what anybody out here tells you, you know, this is still a race. Okay, yeah, there isn’t a trophy and there’s no money, but you still want to beat those guys. Right now pretty much everybody’s done testing and we’re leaving here with low ET (elapsed time, at 4.034) and top speed (316.67 mph) and that goes along way for our confidence moving into Pomona.”
The PRO Winter Warm-Up got off to an exciting start with John Force squaring off with his youngest daughter Courtney Force for the first time. The standing room only crowd at Palm Beach International Raceway was eager to see one of the future stars of the sports race the winningest driver in history. They were not disappointed as both Force’s launched hard but smoked the tires. In a dramatic pedalfest the elder Force got to the finish line first as both Ford Mustangs were on and off the throttle going down the track.
“That was pretty exciting, getting ready to race side by side with her and watching her learn. I was learning too. Her Traxxas Mustang Funny Car and my car, we’re both struggling. We have complete new combinations and some new crew players, but we’ll work it out,” said John Force. “She got some night racing in, more of it, more side by side and that’s experience that she needs. We’re going to keep testing here for the next couple of days. We may even go to Vegas with one or two cars if we don’t get these straightened out.
“Mike Neff and Robert Hight- they were flying. Robert won last night for Auto Club- with an .05 (4.056 ET) and an .03 (4.034 ET) tonight so can’t complain about that.”
“For our sponsors, Castrol, Ford Racing, Mac Tools, BrandSource, Auto Club, and Traxxas, the fans were loving the show tonight. This was quite a show that Pro put on at Palm Beach International Raceway. They (the track) packed them in here. I’m excited about it and I have no complaints. We’ll figure it out and we’ll get ready to take these guys on in Pomona.”
Courtney raced Jack Beckman in the second round of the Winter Warm-Ups without incident as Beckman cruised to the finish line with a 4.096 second run at 305.70 mph while Courtney once again got valuable experience handling some tire smoke early in her run.
Championship contender Mike Neff and the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang took advantage of the hot and cool temperatures today to test a number of different parts and combinations. The driver and tuner gained valuable information that he believes will give his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang the consistency it needs to contend for the championship.
All four JFR Ford Mustangs will continue to test tomorrow and Monday as they prepare for the 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, February 9-12, 2012 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
PRO WINTER WARM-UP RESULTS
Palm Beach International Raceway
Saturday Night’s Results
SATURDAY NIGHT’S FIRST SESSION
Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang 7.836 sec., 94.84 mph
W-John Force, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang 6.876 sec., 97.13 mph
Johnny Gray, Service Central Dodge Charger R/T 9.471 sec., 73.94 mph
W-Tim Wilkerson, Levi, Ray & Shoup Shelby Ford Mustang 4.174 sec., 271.46 mph
W-Jeff Arend, DHL Toyota 4.180 sec., 286.19 mph
Robert Tasca III, Quick Lane Shelby Ford Mustang 7.560 sec., 79.57 mph
W-Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T 4.092 sec., 308.92 mph
Mike Neff, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang 9.860 sec., 71.88 mph
W-Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang 4.071 sec., 315.49 mph
Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Toyota 4.096 sec., 310.05 mph
Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T 9.248 sec., 83.07 mph
W-Matt Hagan, Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger R/T 4.123 sec., 307.23 mph
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Hillary Will (solo), Dote Racing dragster 4.217 sec., 231.75 mph
Clay Millican (solo), Parts Plus dragster 4.538 sec., 174.93 mph
Terry McMillian, Amalie Oil/UNOH dragster 3.938 sec., 269.89 mph
Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy Services dragster 3.830 sec., 322.58 mph
Dave Grubnic, Optima Batteries dragster 3.824 sec., 320.20 mph
W-Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster 3.800 sec., 322.96 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools/Aaron’s dragster 3.821 sec., 317.72 mph
W-Spencer Massey, FRAM dragster 3.818 sec., 322.27 mph
SATURAY’S SECOND SESSION
W-Johnny Gray, Service Central Dodge Charger R/T 4.085 sec., 311.99 mph
Mike Neff, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang 9.601 sec., 75.21 mph
W-Jack Beckman, Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger R/T 4.096 sec., 305.70 mph
Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang 11.705 sec., 40.16 mph
John Force, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang 4.213 sec., 297.88 mph
W – Bob Tasca III, Quick Lane Shelby Ford Mustang 4.098 sec., 308.64 mph
W-Cruz Pedregon, Snap-On Toyota 8.126 sec., 83.75 mph
Jeff Arend, DHL Toyota 11.307 sec., 74.56 mph
W-Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang 4.034 sec., 316.67 mph
Ron Capps, NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T 4.242 sec., 308.92 mph
TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
Clay Millican, Parts Plus dragster 4.538 sec., 172.54 mph
Hillary Will, Dote Family dragster 4.063 sec., 275.11 mph
Terry McMillian, Amalie Oil/UNOH dragster 3.931 sec., 304.19 mph
W-Bob Vandergriff Jr., C&J Energy Services 3.871 sec., 311.41 mph
W-Dave Grubnic, Optima Batteries dragster 3.789 sec., 322.96 mph
Antron Brown, Matco Tools/Aaron’s dragster 9.273 sec., 7.78 mph
W-Spencer Massey, FRAM dragster 3.792 sec., 309.84 mph
Tony Schumacher, U.S. Army dragster 9.495 sec., 79.56 mph