He retakes the World of Outlaws points lead as the top five are separated by only 14 points
MERCED, Calif. – March 30, 2012 – There was a special person on the mind of Sammy Swindell as he climbed down from his wing dance on Friday.
Swindell’s granddaughter, Zoe, delivered a special message before the veteran picked up his first World of Outlaws feature victory of the season in front of a rowdy crowd at Merced Speedway.
“She called me, wished me good luck and hoped I won, so I might have to make sure she makes more of those calls,” Swindell said with a grin.
It was Swindell’s 277th career World of Outlaws feature win and one when he used every bit of his experience. A year after winning the first-ever World of Outlaws race at Merced Speedway, the track was different – reconfigured from a quarter-mile bullring to a one-third miler with wider turns and it was a lot more slick than last year’s heavy track.
“It was definitely a tough race track,” he said. “You had to be real patient and stay on line. I was watching some of the guys when we got to traffic and it still looked like the bottom was probably a little bit better lane. So it was just making sure I didn’t miss my marks and I just tried to stay down there.
“I was going to make them try to take it from me. I just didn’t want to give it up and slip off the bottom.”
Swindell, who started on the pole of the 40-lap feature after winning the dash from the pole, was challenged the entire race by Cody Darrah. He stayed within striking distance and even pulled within a car length on several occasions, but Darrah was unable to make a move for the lead.
“On my restarts I could never gain anything,” he said. “I’d always lose a little bit. We had a pretty good car. I’d get up to his left rear (tire) and never really be able to capitalize. I was just kind of waiting on him to make a mistake.
“When we got into traffic I thought something would happen.”
After four timely cautions within the first 16 laps of the race reset the field just as Swindell was entering lapped traffic each time, the final 35 laps were caution free. Swindell reached lapped traffic for the initial time just past the midpoint of the feature and Darrah gave chase the entire time.
On a couple of occasions, Darrah pulled to the bumper of Swindell, including on the second-to-last lap. However, Swindell was smooth and Darrah finished a couple of car lengths behind the veteran as Jason Sides tried to make it a three-way battle just as the checkered flag was waved.
“We were kinda catching those guys toward the end, but just ran out of laps,” Sides said. “(Swindell is) really good in traffic. On a small track like this, that’s what a lot of the key things are. I saw Cody right there with him and he was following his every move. It was going to be hard to get by them unless we had something happen, some kind of spin or something.”
Kraig Kinser, who posted the fastest lap in qualifying at 10.878 seconds, finished fourth and Jason Meyers rounded out the top five in the final race of his Allstar Appreciation Tour.
After flipping on the final lap of his heat race, Craig Dollansky claimed the Last Chance Showdown and earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from 14th to sixth. Steve Kinser was seventh, Joey Saldana eighth, Chad Kemenah ninth and Terry McCarl placed 10th.
Steve Kinser, Saldana and Kemenah each won heat races.
Swindell’s win also put him back atop the World of Outlaws points standings. He has a six-point lead over Donny Schatz with Sides in third – eight points back. Saldana is fourth and trails by 12 markers with Kraig Kinser climbing to fifth – 14 points behind Swindell.
Merced Speedway Notebook
NOTES – This race capped the Allstar Appreciation Tour for two-time defending World of Outlaws champion Jason Meyers, who likely won’t race with the Outlaws until the Knoxville Nationals in August. … Kraig Kinser has a streak of six consecutive races of qualifying in the top five, including two straight fast-time awards. … The World of Outlaws was able to complete five of the eight scheduled events during this spring swing through Nevada and California. Three races were rained out.
Turner dominates on ‘big pig’ Nitro Harley
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 28, 2012) – They said it was too heavy. They said it was too different.
But it is Jay Turner who is having the last laugh now.
Turner, who spent a majority of the offseason working on a brand new and very unique Nitro Harley, debuted what his team calls the “big pig” in front of a large Friday crowd at the San Antonio Nitro Jam at San Antonio Raceway and drove the bike to a victory over friend and rival Jake Stordeur on opening night.
Jay Turner had a big night atop his ‘big pig’ Nitro Harley in picking up the win
The new Nitro Harley, which is quite a bit longer than the other bikes with some added weight, blasted down the quarter-mile with dual flames kissing the ground as he drove to a 6.526, 208.53 to storm past Stordeur who ran a 7.605, 155.82 in his seventh career Nitro Jam win.
“Everyone had doubts about this bike, but we knew what it was capable of,” Turner said. “We heard it all, but mostly people thought it was just too heavy to go fast. But with the way this thing is made, it gives us a few advantages over others that I think we can turn into some consistently fast passes throughout the season.”
Other pro winners from Friday’s San Antonio Nitro Jam included Texas native and fan favorite John Hale in the “Nitro Boss” AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Bill Evans in the “Black Pearl” Pro Fuel Dragster and Ron Maroney in the “Blind Faith” Fuel Altered.
Turner showed just what his new bike could do right from the start on Friday with an opening round shot of 6.470/198.59 to drive around defending champion Steve Dorn to reach to final. In the main event Turner left first and never looked back, lighting up the night sky with a flame show not often seen on a motorcycle straight through the trap. In the consolation round Dorn defeated Mike Scott.
John Hale was another driver making a statement on Friday, winning in his very first passes in Nitro Jam competition. Hale, going against one of the toughest AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car fields of the season, bested last weekend’s winner Mike Savage in “Candies & Hughes” in round one before meeting defending series champion Peter Gallen in the “Poverty Stricken” machine in the final.
Texas native John Hale won in AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car
Despite such a thrilling final round pairing, the show turned anticlimactic when Gallen broke and Hale took an easy stroll down the quarter-mile in a makeshift victory lap. With the loss, Gallen fell short again in what is the worst stretch of his young nitro career.
In the consolation rounds Dale Pulde put a check in the win column in his big return behind the wheel of the “War Eagle” in a win over Savage, Mitch King drove the “Brand X” Mustang to a win over Brad Thompson and Tim Boychuk rounded out the list with a solo pass in the “Troy Lee Designs” Pontiac.
Of all the classes running at Nitro Jam, the driver making it look the easiest is defending Fuel Altered champion Ron Maroney who drove to his third consecutive win Friday night at SAR. Maroney, behind the wheel of the “Blind Faith” machine, took out Jason Richey in round one and then put down a solid 6.531/191.65 to defeat rookie Kyle Hough’s 6.816/206.42 in the final.
Rounding out the pro rounds on Friday was Bill Evans’ big win in Pro Fuel Dragster. Evans had two very consistent laps on Friday on his way to a victory, ending the night with a win over Kristen Dennis for his ninth career Ironman. Evans ran a 5.539/250.28 in the final to Denis’ 6.024/208.53. In the consolation pairing Cherissa Smallwood defeated Robin Samsel.
Even thought he didn’t get the win, Kyle Hough has been very exciting to watch as of late
One of the most anticipated matchups of the evening ended with a split between Grave Digger and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle as Randy Brown drove Digger to a victory in round one and drag racing newbie Joey Parnell claimed the second matchup.
The wild evening concluded with a few unexpected long runs into the nets when the Chattanooga Choo-Choo jet train went long, but the remaining jet dragster, jet funny cars and jet truck put on a tremendous show.
The San Antonio Nitro Jam will continue on Saturday with day two at San Antonio Raceway. Gates open at 11 a.m. with FanFest set to being at 6:30 p.m. and two rounds of Nitro Jam at 8 p.m.
LAS VEGAS, NV — Robert Hight and the Auto Club Ford Mustang team continued their hot streak at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway racing to the provisional No. 1 spot at the 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. Hight powered his Jimmy Prock tuned Ford Mustang Funny Car across the finish line in 4.13 2 seconds at an amazing 310.41 mph.
“Based on what everyone ran in the first run you had to be cautious. You had to be sure you got down there. Jimmy told me he thought it would run 4.12 or 4.13. It is really cool right now because he really has a handle on this Funny Car. It says a lot when you can go from a place like Gainesville and Phoenix and then here where we are half way in elevation to Denver here,” said Hight. “Good job to Jimmy Prock and my guys. You can see the confidence in him. As a driver you feel good because you are not sitting in the car watching someone make a lot of changes and being nervous. He goes in there and makes a change and boom it runs good. It is a lot of fun to run this thing right now.”
“All four of our Ford Mustangs are qualified. With the winds coming who know what tomorrow will bring. I really hope we get to run because we have (crew chief legends) Dale Armstrong and Ron Armstrong and we have some things we want to test. We are going to use the first run tomorrow to do some testing. We are definitely going to test on Monday. We have some things that maybe will catapult us out here a little bit,” added Hight.
For the back to back winner getting back to the track was key for the 2009 Funny Car champion.
“It is great to be back racing. Two weeks off is too long. We won Phoenix and we had two weeks off. We won Gainesville and we had two weeks off. I don’t want any more time off I want to keep racing,” said Hight. “Last weekend the Ford guys took me under their wing and I got to go to the NASCAR race. I was able to get in with the No. 16 car and watch them practice and qualify. I had the radio on and was able to watch and compare it to what we do. As a former crew man it was pretty cool and totally different.”
After two sessions of qualifying all four of the John Force Racing Mustang Funny Cars are qualified going into Saturday’s final day of qualifying. Teammates Mike Neff (4.186 seconds) and John Force (4.196 seconds) hold down the No. 5 and No. 6 provisional positions and Rookie of the Year candidate Courtney Force is No. 11 with a 4.274 second pass.
“It’s always a good day when you put your cars in the top 12. Robert is low (ET of the day) and Neff is right behind him there within a few. I got in with a 4.19 and Courtney ran a 4.27. That’s a new car she’s in this race,” said 15-time Funny Car champion John Force.
Mike Neff has the points lead coming into Las Vegas and the two-time finalist is please with where he ended the first day of racing. For the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang it is all about going rounds on Sunday something Neff has been so far very successful.
“To end up fifth at the end of the day today is great. We were definitely trying to run better the second run. The first run was really tricky. That was the hottest track we’ve seen this year, but we made it down the track. It put a cylinder out and didn’t run as good as I would have liked, but to be in the top 4 after Friday, I’m always good with that; not having to sweat it out on Saturday. I just look forward to getting two more shots tomorrow,” Neff said.
In the second session Courtney Force was paired with fellow Ford racer Tim Wilkerson and her run of 4.274 seconds was solid but put the rookie in a tough spot as she had to wait for a number of Funny Cars to run before she could relax.
“I raced here in Top Alcohol Dragster and I tested here last year in Funny Car so I’m a little familiar with the track. It’s a little different when there are a bunch of other cars running on it and obviously the heat and everything is changing it, but that’s just something I’m learning from. Each track you go to is going to be a little bit different, each lane is different and I’m working to figure out the differences and how to drive my car so I can get a better run out of it,” said Courtney Force. “It’s been good. The first run was a little tricky. It went out and smoked the tires. Last run was a little bit better in the left lane. It went down the track from A to B and that’s all I can really ask for as a driver. It got over towards the wall a little bit, but I drove it back in the groove and got it to the other end. It wasn’t the best run of the weekend, but it got us in, which is all that matters for our sponsors: Traxxas, BrandSource, Auto Club, Castrol, Ford, Mac Tools and Freightliner.”
The first qualifying session was filled with tire smoking passes as all the teams tried to get a handle on the race track. Hight was the quickest JFR Mustang of that session with a pedestrian 4.872 second pass.
“Everybody struggled a little with the first run. I think everyone was erring on the side of caution for the night run. I think we were just a couple of little adjustments on that first run from making a 4.15 run and if we could have done that we could have really gotten after it tonight.”
Rain Postpones World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Saturday Event at Calistoga Speedway
Tonights race in Merced on schedule; track and series officials working to find Calistoga makeup date for later this year
CALISTOGA, Calif. – March 30, 2012 – As the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series prepares to tackle Merced Speedway tonight, one of the wettest months in California history has forced the series to postpone Saturday’s event at Calistoga Speedway.
With more than seven inches of rain in the past three weeks and additional rain throughout the week, Calistoga Speedway was unable to be touched until Friday afternoon. And then it started raining again on the half-mile track and is not projected to stop until early Sunday morning.
“We have worked closely with track officials all week trying to get the surface ready for Saturday’s race, but Mother Nature didn’t want to cooperate,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said. “The entire Napa County Fairgounds is completely saturated and it hasn’t stopped raining long enough for any chance of racing on Saturday or Sunday this week. Unfortunately this forces us to postpone the event and we’re looking at potential dates that will work for the World of Outlaws and Calistoga Speedway. We will announce the plans as soon as they are finalized.”
The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is racing tonight at Merced (Calif.) Speedway and then returns to action on Friday, April 13, at Paducah (Ky.) International Raceway and Saturday, April 14, at Federated Auto Parts Raceway (formerly I-55 Raceway) in Pevely, Mo., just south of St. Louis.
Helio Castroneves won the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St.
Petersburg. It was the 26th win of his Indy car career, tying Rodger
Ward for 13th on the all-time win list.
Will Power won his 25th career Indy car pole at St. Petersburg.
Three drivers (Rubens Barrichello, Katherine Legge and Josef
Newgarden) started their first career IZOD IndyCar Series race at St.
There were seven race leaders and 10 lead changes in the seasonopening
race at St. Petersburg.
Milestones & Records:
Should Dario Franchitti win the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship,
he will join Sebastien Bourdais as the only drivers to win four consecutive
Indy car titles. Bourdais won four-straight Champ Car titles from 2004-
Should Dario Franchitti win the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series championship,
he will join A.J. Foyt as the only drivers to win five Indy car titles in his
career. Franchitti, who won the title in 2007 and again from 2009-2011.
Foyt won seven championships in his career.
With a victory in 2012, Scott Dixon will extend his streak of consecutive
seasons with a win to eight.
With his next win, Scott Dixon will take sole possession of 11th place on
the all-time wins list. Dixon is currently tied with Johnny Rutherford with
With his next victory, Dario Franchitti will tie Paul Tracy and Sebastien
Bourdais for seventh (7th) on the all-time wins list with 31 wins if neither
Bourdais nor Tracy wins before he does.
Helio Castroneves needs four earned poles to reach 40 career poles in his
Indy car career.
Dario Franchitti needs four earned poles to reach 30 in his career.
Scott Dixon needs three earned poles to reach 20 in his Indy car career.
With one pole in 2012, Scott Dixon will extend his IZOD IndyCar Series
streak to six consecutive seasons.
Tony Kanaan will attempt to make his 183rd consecutive start. Jimmy
Vasser holds the all-time record of 211. Scott Dixon with 124 straight
starts is the only other active driver with a streak of more than 100
While the level of experience varies among drivers, everyone is on the same
footing when it comes to the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series car. The new IZOD
IndyCar Series car adds an element of competition that has not been seen since
the last time a new car was introduced in 2003. The new car plan began in
2010, overseen by a hand-picked committee of mechanical experts and
technical gurus who have guided the process to its fulfillment. Drivers have
spent almost the entire offseason in team tests shaking down the car as they
prepare for the season, and INDYCAR held its first official test on March 5-6
Engine manufacturer competition returns
For the first time since 2005, the IZOD IndyCar Series will have different
manufacturers producing the engines that power the car. Honda, Chevrolet and
Lotus continue their battle for the IZOD IndyCar Series Manufacturers’ Title.
Chevrolet took the opening round at St. Petersburg with Helio Castroneves,
but Honda and Lotus will be looking to get back on equal footing at Barber.
Teams powered by Honda engines include Target Chip Ganassi Racing,
Service Central Chip Ganassi, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi, Sarah Fisher
Hartman Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, Sam Schmidt Motorsports, A.J. Foyt
Enterprises and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing. Chevrolet will power Team
Penske, Andretti Autosport, Panther Racing, KV Racing Technology and Ed
Carpenter Racing. Lotus Dragon Racing, Lotus-HVM Racing, Lotus-DRR and
Team Barracuda-BHA will have Lotus engines.
Castroneves looks to continue hot start
Helio Castroneves started his quest to win his first IZOD IndyCar Series title
with a win in the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The
three-time Indianapolis 500 winner ended a winless drought of more than a
year by winning at St. Pete for the third time. Can Castroneves, who won the
inaugural IZOD IndyCar Series event at Barber, continue his strong start to the
2012 season at Barber Motorsports Park?
Indy car racing will return to Houston in October 2013.
The announcement March 28 confirmed an IZOD IndyCar Series race weekend that INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard and Mi-Jack Promotions principal Mike Lanigan had sought for more than a year. The Oct. 4-6 event will be known as the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston.
“We are thrilled to be returning to Houston,” said Lanigan, Chairman and CEO of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston. “The Grand Prix was very successful in 2006 and 2007 (Champ Car World Series events won by Sebastien Bourdais), with big crowds at Reliant Park witnessing an exciting three-day festival of speed. In 2013 it will be better than ever.”
:INDYCAR announced today that it will hold a test of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series car on April 4 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. Teams will be limited to one car each at the test.
“What was originally scheduled to be a manufacturers’ test has been expanded to provide each team the opportunity to send one car to the test,” said Will Phillips, vice president of technology for INDYCAR. “Dallara has worked hard to make sure all the required parts are available to allow teams to test the new package.”
Rookie drivers will not be part of the April 4 test as Rookie Orientation Program is slated for May 10 at the Speedway.
Kristen Dennis, John Hale ready for Nitro Jam spotlight
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 28, 2012) – You just don’t mess with Texas.
Or its drivers.
While this weekend’s San Antonio Nitro Jam will feature talented racers from across North America all vying for victory, for two drivers the race this Friday and Saturday at San Antonio Raceway means more. Much more.
John Hale will bring his Texas themed “Nitro Boss” Funny Car to Nitro Jam debut in San Antonio
“This is a hometown race for us,” said Kristen Dennis, driver of the “Ladies First” Pro Fuel Dragster. “I have family, friends and even high school classmates coming out who have never seen me race. They have seen videos, but never in person.
“I love interacting with the fans. It is an all day event since we race at night so this is a great way for everyone to see the car, meet the crew and learn about what I do. The women are really excited to hear all about it and the men are amazed as well. I don’t want to be called a woman driver, just a good driver. It doesn’t matter who is in the other lane.”
Dennis, from Magnolia, will join John Hale from Dallas who will be making his Nitro Jam debut behind the wheel of the “Nitro Boss” Camaro in the AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car class. Both drivers call the Lone Star State home and both will be looking to make a good impression at one of the biggest stops on the Nitro Jam tour.
Dennis is no stranger to the Nitro Jam stage. In her debut last year at the season finale in Martin, Mich. Dennis drove the “Ladies First” dragster to a huge victory over the 2011 series champion to pick up her first career Ironman. Now she returns to Nitro Jam looking to make it two in a row against the likes of fellow female competitor and last weeks winner Cherissa Smallwood in the “Nitro and Lace” dragster, Bill Evans in the “Black Pearl” and Robin Samsel in “Predator.”
Pro Fuel racer Kristen Dennis won in her first career Nitro Jam start last season
“I want to do this Texas style. We don’t want to go big, we want to go huge,” Dennis said. “I have high expectations. We are going to Nitro Jam to win both nights. I have overcome so many obstacles to get here and I am going to make sure the job gets done. I have new tires, a bunch of new parts, a seasoned crew and we worked our tails off to get here. Now it is time.”
Fellow Texas native John Hale will share the spotlight in San Antonio when he brings out his “Nitro Boss” Funny Car to compete in the biggest Prostalgia race of the season.
“We knew we wanted to do our own Texas theme and came up with the ‘Nitro Boss.’ The paint job was already spectacular and with the skulls, Texas Ranger badges, Texas flag and the special message on the back it has become a huge hit,” Hale said. “We won our first race with this car in Kansas City and we are looking forward to running it at Nitro Jam.”
As the 2011 DRO Funny Car champion, Hale is no stranger to tough fields. But even with one of the toughest fields he will see all season staring him in the face this weekend, as a defending champion, Hale is certainly not intimidated.
“We love racing against the best of the best and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Hale said. “All of the cars at Nitro Jam are top notch and capable of getting the job done so we will have to be on top of our game to be competitive.”
Dennis (left) will join fellow racer Cherissa Smallwood and more at the San Antonio Nitro Jam
But more than anything, Hale is thrilled to able to compete in his home state and bring his “don’t mess with Texas” attitude to the San Antonio strip.
“Everyone on the team is excited about having a Nitro Jam in our great state of Texas. I have raced with some of these cars before and I am looking forward to racing with the ones that I haven’t. They are all a great bunch of racers.
“Nitro Jam really puts on a good show for the fans and we look forward to being a part of it.”
Hale will be joined at the San Antonio Nitro Jam by the last two Nitro Jam World Champions Peter Gallen in “Poverty Stricken” and Steve Nichols in “Mill Road Boys” in addition to Dale Pulde in “War Eagle”, Tim Boychuk in “Troy Lee Designs”, Mike Savage in “Candies & Hughes”, the “Jungle Jim” Camaro and Brad Thompson.
In addition to the Pro Fuel and Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car classes, Nitro Jam will also feature professional competition in Fuel Altered and Nitro Harley in addition to exhibition acts including the Super Shockwave jet semi, jet dragsters, jet funny cars, wheelstanders, the monster truck drag race between Grave Digger and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and hundreds of local sportsman racers.
The San Antonio Nitro Jam is this Friday and Saturday at San Antonio Raceway. For ticket information visit www.nitrojam.com.
New faces on top entering San Antonio Nitro Jam
Smallwood, Savage head Nitro Jam’s top two classes
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 28, 2012) – Nitro Jam may be a sport that is all about flash, excitement and entertainment, but for the drivers it can get pretty intense on the track.
Sure putting on a good show is foremost in their minds, but beating the guy in the other lane is really the driving force for their being. Just ask the stars of Nitro Jam’s top two classes.
After struggling through much of 2011, Smallwood has won two races in a row
Winning races and ultimately a championship is what it is all about for the drivers in the Pro Fuel Dragster and AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car classes and for some that goal is not being met in the early part of the Nitro Jam season. Defending Prostalgia World Champion Peter Gallen is off to the worst start of his career, with three round losses already after losing just four in the entirety of 2011, and the man who was supposed to dominate in Pro Fuel – 2010 champ Bill Evans – left Tucson without a trophy as well.
In their place are a few new stars who have stepped up and are looking to keep the momentum going entering one of the biggest races of the entire 2012 season at San Antonio Raceway this Friday and Saturday.
“It has been an overwhelming start to the year. We ended last year on a high note after struggling most of the season and now to start 2012 with a win has given this team the confidence we need to go out there and do our thing,” said Cherissa Smallwood, Friday winner at last weekend’s Arizona Nitro Jam. “When you gain some momentum you start feeling like you can win against anyone and that is the attitude we are going to need if we are to contend for the championship this season.”
Smallwood will be looking to make it three straight in San Antonio
Smallwood, driver of the “Nitro and Lace” dragster, is currently enjoying one of the most incredible turnarounds in recent motorsports history. Sitting at 0-16 in round wins entering the final race of the 2011 season, Smallwood found her groove at the season finale in Michigan and drove to her first career victory at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
Seven months later at the Nitro Jam season opener in Tucson, Ariz. last weekend Smallwood repeated that feat with another victory and is currently on pace for her best season ever entering this weekend’s San Antonio Nitro Jam. The reason for the turnaround? Attitude.
“We have a new trailer and have totally stripped our dragster to the bare chassis. We did some major adjustments to the driver’s compartment and the overall appearance of the car including new parts from front to back, a new rear and we are also giving 100 percent nitro a shot this year,” Smallwood said. “But more than anything, it is all about the confidence we gained at the end of last year that took us into 2012 with our heads held high”
Savage won his first career Nitro Jam in Tucson last weekend
Smallwood won three of four rounds in Arizona and ran her career best elapsed time and speed under the hot desert sun and is gearing up for another tall task this weekend. Smallwood will once again go toe-to-toe with Bill Evans and the “Black Pearl” team and Robin Samsel in “Predator,” but this weekend she will also face off against another strong female competitor in Kristen Dennis from Magnolia, Texas.
Dennis, driver of “Ladies First,” has one career Nitro Jam start to her credit, a victory at the Northern Nitro Jam at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park the same weekend that Smallwood picked up her first career win. Will it be a ladies weekend once again in Texas?
“I think so,” Smallwood said. “There is just something to be said for a little girl power.”
Another driver enjoying a ton of early season success in 2012 is Mike Savage, driver of the “Candies & Hughes” AMSOIL Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car. Savage had three Nitro Jam starts in 2011 with one final round appearance, but had never won a race until this past weekend at his home track.
San Antonio will feature the biggest Prostalgia Nitro Funny Car race of the year
Savage broke through for his first career Nitro Jam victory last Saturday at the Arizona Nitro Jam over defending champion Peter Gallen. Gallen beat Savage off the line, but in one of the closest drag races of the early season Savage charged back on the top end and bested the driver of the purple and gold “Poverty Stricken” machine.
Now it is off to San Antonio for the Tucson native to face off in one of the biggest nostalgia Funny Car races of the entire year for bragging rights that will last an entire season.
“There is a very tough field waiting for us Texas and we are certainly looking forward to the challenge,” Savage said. “I treat each and every one of these guys I race against the same. They all have quality cars and great drivers and I am proud to get an opportunity to show what I can do.”
Savage will square off with Gallen, 2010 Nitro Jam champion Steve Nichols in the “Mill Road Boys” Camaro, James Day in “War Eagle,” Tim Boychuk in “Troy Lee Designs,” John Hale in “Nitro Boss,” “Jungle Jim” and more.
The San Antonio Nitro Jam is this Friday and Saturday at San Antonio Raceway. For ticket information visit www.nitrojam.com.