Coughlin putting JEGS.com Avenger in position for a playoff run
SEATTLE (Aug. 1) – Now that Jeg Coughlin Jr. has worked the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger back into the Pro Stock top 10, he plans on keeping that reserved spot for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
But the veteran racer knows it’s not going to be an easy chore.
“It’s looking like it’s going to be a dogfight before it’s all said and done,” the five-time world champion said. “I feel like we’ve been moving in the right direction recently and we’ve got a great chance of holding on to our Countdown spot or even creeping up a place to two.”
Coughlin was 13th after a DNQ in Englishtown, prompting the addition of crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia. Since then he’s worked his way to 10th and is part of a pitched battle with a handful of cars for the last few Countdown spots heading into this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways.
Currently, Coughlin is nine points behind ninth-place runner Ron Krisher, but only one point ahead of Vieri Gaines and Larry Morgan for 11th place.
“We’ve made a lot of the right kind of improvements in the last couple of races,” Coughlin said. “Man, I couldn’t feel better behind the wheel right now. I feel like we’re knocking on the door for some round wins and maybe a race win by the time we get the Countdown started in a few weeks.”
The JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger has sprung to life during the Western Swing, especially in the cooler climes of Sonoma last week. Pacific Raceways can be a mixed bag sometimes, but Coughlin likes his chances for continued success.
“They’ve done a lot work on the track to make it more consistent lane to lane,” Coughlin said. “If Mother Nature shows up in Seattle the way she can with nice cool overcast conditions, NHRA can make a parking lot hook-up. We could see some 6.40s and low 6.50s.
“We could also see temperatures close to 90 and it might slow us down some. Either way, we’ll be ready.”
Qualifying for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals get under way at 2 p.m. PDT Friday from Pacific Raceways. Qualifying continues at noon Saturday with eliminations starting at 11 a.m. Sunday. ESPN2 will air the qualifying show at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday and the eliminations show at 6 p.m. Sunday.
HIGHT WANTS TO CLOSE SWING WITH WIN, PTS LEAD
SEATTLE, WA (July 31, 2012) — In 2005 Robert Hight rolled into Pacific Raceway in the middle of his rookie season and raced to the final round in his first appearance at the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals. He lost that race to teammate and friend Eric Medlen. To date that has been his highlight performance in the great Northwest. Three times he has lost in the quarterfinals, twice he has been eliminated in the first round and last year he raced to the semi-finals before losing to eventual winner Tim Wilkerson.
“I got off to a great start in Seattle my rookie season, getting to that final against Eric. Since then I haven’t had much luck at Pacific Raceway. I am looking forward to changing that luck this weekend. We switched up the clutch on my Auto Club Ford Mustang in Sonoma and it started responding on Sunday. I can’t wait to get to that first qualifying session on Friday,” said Hight, one of two Funny Car drivers who has clinched a spot in the 2012 Countdown.
By qualifying for the MOPAR Mile-High Nationals in Denver Hight was the first Funny Car driver to secure a spot in the Countdown to the Championship. Last weekend Ron Capps locked up a spot as well. Capps has been hot on Hight’s tail-lights heading into the Western Swing. However over the last two races both drivers have cooled racking up only one round win each at the last two races. Hight has a substantial point lead over the veteran Capps and he does not want to see that lead shrink in the cool air of Washington State.
“Last race I picked up the round I lost to Capps in Denver. I want to be the No. 1 qualifier for the Countdown. I have won a championship from the No. 10 spot and now I’d like to win a championship from the No. 1 spot. Jimmy Prock and Eric Lane have really been getting a good tune-up together for the rest of the regular season races and especially the Countdown. There is also the Traxxas Shootout to consider,” said Hight.
Hight was the second driver to lock up a spot in the inaugural Traxxas Shootout. Teammate John Force grabbed the first spot with his win at the season opening NHRA Winternationals and Robert Hight followed suit the next weekend with a win at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. Since then five other drivers have won races and will square off with Hight including teammate Mike Neff, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Johnny Gray and Jeff Arend. The final spot in the eight car field will hopefully go to Hight’s teammate rookie sensation Courtney Force but a fan vote and lottery selection stand in her way.
“I want to win the Traxxas Shootout for a number of reasons. Number one is the $100,000 for winning the race, secondly Traxxas is a new sponsor for JFR and finally I want a shot at another run down Lucas Oil Raceway Park before we go into eliminations at the Mac Tools US Nationals. You want as many runs down the track as you can get and being in the final will give not just us but our whole team more data for race day,” added Hight.
First Hight wants to focus on going rounds at the O’Reilly Northwest NHRA Nationals. Since his last final round in Atlanta, which was his fifth final in six races, he has two semi-final appearances but only eight round wins to his credit. At one point this season Hight won seventeen rounds in a row. Hight knows that Seattle will be a great starting point to build up momentum for the Countdown.
“We are excited about this weekend. We don’t want to go too many more races without another win. After Seattle we’ll have some time off and I want to be thinking about race wins,” said Hight.
Outlaws Heat Up as the Goodyear Knoxville Nationals Gear Up
Top five drivers enter $150,000-to-win event in midst of historic points battle
KNOXVILLE, Iowa – July 30, 2012 – During one of the hottest summers in recent memory, the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series championship battle has sizzled.
The top five drivers – made up of Steve Kinser, Donny Schatz and Sammy Swindell, who have combined for 27 championships, and first-time hopefuls Craig Dollansky and Joey Saldana – are separated by only49 points as the premier weekend of the season approaches.
Those drivers have also united to claim 18 titles at the Goodyear Knoxville Nationals, which begins its 52nd edition on Thursday, Aug. 8. The four-day event wraps up with the $150,000-to-win feature on Saturday, Aug. 11.
Steve Kinser has claimed a Nationals-best 12, including eight out of 10 between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s.
“Everybody puts a lot of time into that Nationals,” he said. “It’s a big race for everybody. You’ve got to get yourself in position to win that race. You’ve got to run good in the preliminary night to give yourself an opportunity to win it. You’ve got to put it all together all weekend, not just Saturday night.”
Schatz has been the driver to beat in recent years after garnering five wins in the last six events.
“We’ve just had a great group of guys that have put us in good position every time,” he said. “And even if we’ve got ourselves in a bad position, we’ve had a great race car and been able to overcome the hurdles.”
Sammy Swindell won his lone Goodyear Knoxville Nationals title in 1983, but after winning the Kings Royal a couple of weeks ago, is as determined as ever.
The preliminary nights of Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 8-9, for the 52nd annual Goodyear Knoxville Nationals have been released and feature nearly 100 competitors vying for the top 16 spots based on points, which are locked into Saturday’s feature.
All other drivers will compete on Friday, Aug. 10, in a new format that will advance the top four to Saturday’s main event. All remaining competitors will duke it out through consolation features on Saturday leading up to the biggest payday of the season and the prestigious title of Goodyear Knoxville Nationals champion.
Schatz Cruises to Victory in Outlaws Debut at Cornwall Motor Speedway
He snaps a 33-race winless streak after leading all 40 feature laps at the quarter mile
CORNWALL, Ontario – July 29, 2012 – A quarter-mile track couldn’t have come at a better time for Donny Schatz.
A night after a violent flip destroyed his sprint car and left him beaten and bruised, Schatz rebounded in a backup car to lead all 40 laps on Sunday in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series debut at Cornwall Motor Speedway.
It was his third victory in six races at a quarter-mile track this season and it snapped a 33-race winless streak.
“Last night I was just glad to walk away from it,” Schatz said. “To come back with a victory, it’s the best thing you can ask for. We haven’t won a race in a while. We did everything we could tonight right and got a win, so it feels really good.
“It’s the way our program is built. Any time we get in that gear range we seem to have a little better handle on things – the way the car works, the way the motors run and all that. We really want to work on our big track stuff.”
After winning three of the first 12 World of Outlaws events of the season, Schatz hadn’t found the winner’s circle since April 25. Not only did he end Sunday night in Victory Lane, Schatz did so in style.
He qualified eighth quickest, led all 10 laps to win his heat race and then paced all eight laps of the dash to earn the pole for the feature.
Schatz shot out to the feature lead at the drop of the green flag with Kraig Kinser maintaining a close second. The duo entered traffic on lap eight and Kinser nearly caught a break when Schatz jumped the cushion in turns three and four while trying to lap Jessica Zemken on lap 17.
Schatz held on to the position amid tight traffic, which allowed Craig Dollansky – who drove from sixth to third in the first 15 laps – to join the battle for the lead.
“The track held up pretty well,” Dollansky said. “It definitely got slick as the night wore on. You could race the top. You could race the bottom, especially in (turns) three and four.”
The trio navigated its way through the cluster of cars as Steve Kinser began to edge closer to the front. After starting 12th, Kinser cracked the top five on lap 22 and was up to fourth on lap 25.
“We just got moving pretty good on the bottom and the middle,” he said. “The track was actually pretty good for the feature. You could move around. You could run the bottom, middle and the top. Once the cushion left it made it to where you could pass. It made a good race out of it then. Everybody could move around on it.”
As Kinser closed in on the front three, Dollansky made contact with the back of Kraig Kinser as they entered turn one with eight laps remaining. Kinser spun around, but kept his car going as Kerry Madsen slid off the track in turn four to force the only caution of the race.
Kinser, who fell to fourth, let Dollansky know his frustration during the caution. Schatz then had a clean restart and Steve Kinser got by Dollansky for the runner-up position on lap 35. Traffic appeared with three laps remaining, but Schatz negotiated the slower cars with ease to record his fourth win of the season.
“I didn’t overdrive anything,” he said. “I’ve got a little pain and thinking about that probably more than anything. Probably not overanalyzing things and trying to stay cool, calm and collected and not spin the tires, so that probably helped us get the win tonight.”
Sammy Swindell finished fourth and fast qualifier Lucas Wolfe ended fifth. Chad Kemenah was sixth, Kraig Kinser seventh, Joey Saldana eighth, Michael Parent ninth and Cody Darrah earned the KSE Hard Charger Award after driving from last – 21st – to round out the top 10.
Saldana, Schatz and Kraig Kinser each claimed a heat race.
Cornwall Motor Speedway Notebook
HIGHT MAINTAINS POINT LEAD LEAVING SONOMA
SONOMA, CA — Robert Hight raced to the quarter-finals before losing a close race to Cruz Pedregon at the 25th annual Sonoma NHRA Nationals today. Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang will leave Sonoma with a slightly larger points lead over No. 2 Ron Capps after Capps lost in a first round upset to Gary Densham. Hight defeated fellow Ford driver Bob Tasca III in the opening session.
In HIght’s quarter-final race he left on Cruz Pedregon but at the 1/8 mile mark Pedregon’s Snap-On Toyota had pulled around the Auto Club Mustang. At the finish line it was Cruz with a blistering 4.110 to Hight’s impressive 4.150 in the left lane.
“We didn’t give it away in the second round. We came in here trying a new clutch disc. We have enough clutch discs of the set-up we won races with earlier this season. Jimmy wasn’t happy with that. The new set-up is a little friendlier. Neff, Courtney and John are all using this set up. We made a swap so we had a learning curve this weekend. That is why we didn’t qualify better,” said Hight.
“It did respond and come to life to the changes they made on race day. We got the round back we lost in Denver to Capps. My goal for this Western Swing was to not lose any points. We wanted to get three more races out of the way and have the same lead. I feel good about going to Seattle. The car made two good runs today. It wasn’t quite enough against Cruz. If we start out in Seattle like we finished here we will be ahead of the game.”
All the John Force Racing Ford Mustangs held onto their top ten positions even though no one advanced beyond the second round. John Force, driver of the Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang, maintained his hold on the No. 10 position in Full Throttle points and luckily did not lose any ground to No. 11 driver Tim Wilkerson. Both Ford drivers dropped first round match ups. Force has a lead of 69 points over Wilkerson which is the equivalent to four rounds of racing with three races left before the cut-off for the Countdown.
“All three of our cars got behind the eight ball. Courtney stayed up in the top half. She ran 4.05 in qualifying and that only put her fifth. The competition is tough. (Matt) Hagan, a runner-up today, is still out there so we will see what happens. Some of the cars behind us went out early but we will get ready for Seattle,” said Force, the seven-time Sonoma Nationals winner.
Mike Neff and his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang ran into the same problem that hit them in the opening round of qualifying. His Funny Car launched hard but smoked the tires against rookie of the year contender Alexis DeJoria, losing 5.027 to 4.132. Neff will leave Sonoma with a firm grasp of the third position in points.
Auto Club Road to the Future Rookie of the Year front-runner Courtney Force qualified No. 5 to lead the JFR contingent. On Sunday versus 2011 Funny Car world champion Courtney dropped her first round race but only slipped one spot in the points. Her Traxxas Ford Mustang was solid throughout qualifying and her opening round time of 4.160 was nothing to hang her head over.
“We really learned a lot about our Mustang and got a career-best elapsed time out of the race weekend with a 4.05 during Friday qualifying. It was great for us to run a 4.08 in the heat and then follow that up with a 4.05 at night so we’re really looking forward to Seattle. Conditions should be a lot cooler over there and we can have another shot at some good numbers,” said Force, a two-time 2012 finalist
“We didn’t have as good of a weekend we had hoped for, but it’s like my crew chief Ron Douglas told me, we can’t get down on ourselves, we just have to suck it up and move on to next weekend. You know take everything we have learned here and use it to make ourselves better. We learned so much, even just on that first round pass and we’re just going to fix some things and I think we’ll be ready to go in Seattle. I’m really looking forward to it. Not every weekend is going to be perfect.”
* * * *
FULL THROTTLE POINT STANDINGS
FUNNY CAR – 1. Robert Hight, Auto Club Ford Mustang, 1112; 2. Ron Capps, 1031; 3. Jack Beckman, 943; 4. Mike Neff, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, 899; 5. Johnny Gray, 881; 6. Cruz Pedregon, 761; 7. Courtney Force, Traxxas Ford Mustang, 740; 8. Jeff Arend, 717; 9. Bob Tasca III, 687; 10. John Force, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang, 674.
TOP FUEL – 1T. Spencer Massey, 1174; 1T. Antron Brown, 1174; 3. Tony Schumacher, 1048; 4. Steve Torrence, 984; 5. Doug Kalitta, 828; 6. Morgan Lucas, 796; 7. Shawn Langdon, 741; 8. Brandon Bernstein, 734; 9. David Grubnic, 684; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 601.
PRO STOCK – 1. Allen Johnson, 1234; 2. Greg Anderson, 1180; 3. Jason Line, 1149; 4. Mike Edwards, 974; 5. Vincent Nobile, 940; 6. Erica Enders, 823; 7. Shane Gray, 560; 8. Ronnie Humphrey, 550; 9. Ron Krisher, 527; 10. Jeg Coughlin, 518.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE – 1. Eddie Krawiec, 842; 2. Andrew Hines, 774; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 655; 4. Hector Arana, 587; 5. Karen Stoffer, 450; 6. Michael Ray, 387; 7. Scotty Pollacheck, 381; 8. LE Tonglet, 378; 9. Matt Smith, 342; 10. Shawn Gann, 336.
JOHN FORCE, 63, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 13th quickest at 4.168 seconds, 300.60 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race Results: Lost to Jeff Arend.
MIKE NEFF, 45, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 10th at 4.102 seconds, 305.77 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: +4 (3rd quickest of Q3 and quickest of Q4)
Race Results: Lost to Alexis DeJoria.
ROBERT HIGHT, 42, AAA Insurance Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 9th at 4.090 seconds, 309.27 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
Race Results: Beat Bob Tasca III. Lost to Cruz Pedregon.
COURTNEY FORCE, 24, Traxxas Ford Mustang
Final Qualifying: 5
at 4.059 seconds, 312.71 mph Bonus Qualifying Points: +5 (quickest of Q1 and 2nd quickest of Q3)
Race Results: Lost to Matt Hagan
Team JEGS driver Coughlin Jr. leaves Sonoma in Pro Stock’s top 10
SONOMA, Calif. (July 29) – Even though an engine part ended Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s day earlier than desired, the JEGS/Mopar Dodge Avenger team left the NHRA Sonoma Nationals with a round win and a coveted spot in Pro Stock’s Top 10.
“There’s no question the program is going in the right direction,” Coughlin said. “It hurts to go out the way we did. We’re running well. We’ve been in that seventh or eighth spot during qualifying, which has been putting us in a tough spot for first round and in an even tougher spot in second round.
“There is no ‘nice side’ of the ladder in Pro Stock anymore, and then to have a little issue, well, it’s hard to advance.”
Coughlin beat Warren Johnson on a holeshot by seven inches in the first round then lost to Allen Johnson in the second when a retainer in the JEGS/Mopar Avenger’s engine let go during the burnout.
“We had some misfortune against A.J.,” Coughlin said. “We had the retainer come apart sometime after the burnout while we were backing up. It’s not a dime part, but it’s not far off.
“It took a cylinder out of play. I was focused on getting a good start on A.J. because I knew he was going to be right there. I felt like we could run a 6.53 or 6.54 at worst. It was all for naught, because we couldn’t get it to go a foot before it put the cylinder out.”
The drivers were off the line at almost the same time despite Coughlin being down on power. But Johnson cruised to the finish with a time of 6.517 seconds at 212.46 mph, while Coughlin nursed his car across in 26.729 seconds at 81.78 mph.
“Roy Simmons (engine builder) and the rest of our group will put everything back together,” Coughlin said. “We’ll make sure it’s triple-checked and we’ll head to Seattle with a little more momentum.”
In the first round, Coughlin got a huge advantage (.033 seconds) off the starting line against WJ and need every bit of his advantage to win. Coughlin crossed the line first with a 6.585 at 211.46 mph. Warren crossed in 6.553 at 210.87 mph. The final margin of victory was .001 seconds.
“We’ve poked into the top 10 with that win,” Coughlin said. “That’s definitely been on our to-do list. We need to get more round wins in order to get more confidence coming down these final few races before the start of the Countdown.”
Coughlin leaves Sonoma in 10th, the first time since April he’s been in the Pro Stock top 10. The JEGS/Mopar Dodge Avenger team now packs up and heads north for the August 3-5 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle.
Lower altitude leads to high expectations for Coughlin
SONOMA, Calif. (July 28) – With a return to milder climes and sea-level elevations, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is optimistic about his chances of making some noise with the JEGS/Mopar Dodge Avenger in Pro Stock at the 25th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals.
“We’ve got a car that’s trying to respond to some of the changes we’re making,” Coughlin said. “We were seventh best in that last qualifying session today. Our speeds have been great. It’s telling us what it wants and we’re responding.”
Coughlin will start Sunday’s race in the No. 9 spot after a best qualifying pass of 6.650 seconds at 211.36 mph, which he registered Friday. All four of his qualifying passes were within a few hundredths of a second of one another, which Coughlin sees as a good sign.
“We’re real, real, close,” Coughlin said. “I’m happy with the consistency this weekend so far. I think we’ll be able to come out tomorrow and improve on the four runs we’ve made so far.
“Game day is when you want to perform at your peak and we want to have a strong game day.”
Coughlin added that the cool conditions in California’s wine country has been especially helpful in gathering data.
“It’s been a breath of fresh air,” Coughlin said. “The air is cooler, even though the sun is as intense as it always is. The breeze has helped the track stay cool, which has given the whole JEGS team a good foundation to work and improve from.
“It’s been a hot summer so this has been a nice break.”
Coughlin will face Warren Johnson in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations. The venerable veteran qualified No. 8 with a best pass of 6.554 seconds at 210.11 mph.
“We’ve crossed paths dozens of times in the past 15 years,” Coughlin said. “He’s been showing a nice resurgence in his performance lately but with the improvement we’re expecting and the fact I plan on letting out the clutch first, hopefully we can reach the finish line first.
“We’re going to take what we’ve learned in the past couple of runs and step up our game tomorrow.”
Eliminations for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals get under way at 11 a.m. PDT on Sunday.
He leads all 25 laps to pick up his eighth World of Outlaws feature victory of the season
GRANBY, Quebec – July 27, 2012 – Uh oh.
Sammy Swindell recently found the problem for his so-called slump and he answered it with an emphatic victory on Friday during the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series inaugural visit to Autodrome Granby.
“We’ve kinda been struggling a bit, but we found out we had a car from some of those little skirmishes that we had was a little twisted so our setup wasn’t where it was supposed to be,” he said. “It’s nice to be back in a car that you can just run hard.”
Swindell did just that to dominate for his series-leading eighth feature win of the season in the Outlaws first of six races in Canada this season. He set a blistering pace while claiming the dash and then led all 25 laps of the main event, although it wasn’t decided until the checkered flag.
The fifth-and-final caution of the race came while Swindell was exiting turn four on the final lap, signifying a green-white-checkered finish and erasing nearly a half-a-lap lead.
“I thought well maybe they’d thrown the checkered and I kept looking,” Swindell said. “When I got there it was another yellow, so you have to endure that again. I’ve been bit a few times on that.”
He choose the outside lane and rocketed into a sizeable lead over Joey Saldana, who charged from sixth to second during the first nine laps.
“We chose a pair of 100 tires,” he said. “Sammy had a 200 on the right rear. I would say the longer the race went, the better he got. Early on to get from sixth to second, the 100s got me there and then they fell off at the end.”
There were four cautions, including two red flags, during the opening dozen laps to slow the pace of the main event. Donny Schatz stopped on the backstretch while running in the top 10 on the second lap. After a quick pit stop, he restarted last – 24th – and later finished 10th .
Rick Wilson brought out the second caution of the race on lap eight when he stopped in turn four. Three laps later Kerry Madsen spun in turn two while running 10th and fast qualifier Kraig Kinser tipped over in turn three as the caution started to be displayed, prompting the initial red flag of the event.
The second red flag happened after Alain Bergeron crashed into the frontstretch wall on the restart. Bergeron didn’t flip, but the fuel window was reached and all the teams were able to make changes during the red flag.
Swindell quickly sailed to a large lead on each restart while Saldana held off Cody Darrah for the runner-up position. Steve Kinser found grip on the bottom in the closing five laps and rallied to finish third.
“I was terrible at the beginning of the race,” he said. “I was just too tight. When you’re tight you can’t get no speed up going into (turn) one and lose a position every time. I made it all back up at the end, but not a good way to do it starting on the front row.”
Darrah was fourth and Dollansky placed fifth. Lucas Wolfe was sixth, James McFadden seventh, Chad Kemenah eighth, Jessica Zemken ninth and Schatz rounded out the top 10.
Autodrome Granby Notebook
NOTES – Kraig Kinser established quick time in qualifying for the fourth race this season. … Joey Saldana claimed his ninth heat race victory, Chad Kemenah his 10th and Donny Schatz his seventh of the season. … Sammy Swindell won his series-leading fourth dash of the year. … Swindell has led a series-best 213 feature laps this season.
WINNERS – Sammy Swindell – 8 (Autodrome Granby on July 27, Eldora Speedway on July 14, Lakeside Speedway on June 30, Red River Valley Speedway on June 16, Eldora Speedway on May 5, Knoxville Raceway on April 28, Missouri State Fair Speedway on April 20 and Merced Speedway on March 30); Craig Dollansky – 6 (Lebanon Valley Speedway on July 22, Lernerville Speedway on July 17, I-96 Speedway on June 2, Hagerstown Speedway on May 20, Tri-State Speedway on April 21 and Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 19); Kraig Kinser – 4 (Beaver Dam Raceway on July 7, Dodge City Raceway Park on June 23, River Cities Speedway on June 15 and Kokomo Speedway on June 5); Joey Saldana – 4 (Eldora Speedway on July 13, The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 25, Paducah International Raceway on April 13 and Perris Auto Speedway on March 10); Tim Kaeding – 3 (Cedar Lake Speedway on July 6, Thunderbowl Raceway on March 16 and The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8); Steve Kinser – 3 (Dodge City Raceway Park on June 22, Orange County Fair Speedway on May 19 and Williams Grove Speedway on May 12); Kerry Madsen – 3 (Limaland Motorsports Park on July 11, Belleville High Banks on June 29 and Knoxville Raceway on June 9); Donny Schatz – 3 (Farmer City Raceway on April 25, Silver Dollar Speedway on March 23 and Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 19); Chad Kemenah – 2 (Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 28 and Eldora Speedway on May 4); Cody Darrah – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 21); Danny Dietrich – 1 (Lincoln Speedway on May 10); Mark Dobmeier – 1 (Huset’s Speedway on July 3); Danny Lasoski – 1 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 18); Paul McMahan – 1 (Rolling Wheels Raceway Park on May 16); Fred Rahmer – 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on May 11); Tony Stewart – 1 (Lernerville Speedway on July 17) and Brad Sweet – 1 (Clay County Fairgrounds on June 8).
TIME TRIALS – Kraig Kinser was the fastest qualifier around the half-mile oval with a time of 16.040 seconds to earn five championship points. Also earning points were Steve Kinser (4 points), Lucas Wolfe (3), Sammy Swindell (2) and Cody Darrah (1).
Autodrome Granby Statistical Report; Granby, Quebec; July 27, 2012
A-Main – (25 Laps) – 1. 1-Sammy Swindell  [$10,000]; 2. 9-Joey Saldana  [$5,500]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser  [$3,200]; 4. 4-Cody Darrah  [$2,800]; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky  [$2,500]; 6. 5W-Lucas Wolfe  [$2,300]; 7. 55X-James McFadden  [$2,200]; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah  [$2,100]; 9. 1Z-Jessica Zemken  [$2,050]; 10. 15-Donny Schatz  [$2,000]; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser  [$1,500]; 12. 29-Kerry Madsen  [$1,200]; 13. 25-Michael Parent  [$1,100]; 14. 6-Bill Rose  [$1,050]; 15. 3-Dale Gosslin  [$1,000]; 16. 36-Mike Stelter  [$900]; 17. 24K-Devin Caron  [$800]; 18. 15AW-April Wilson  [$800]; 19. 84-Tyler Rand  [$800]; 20. 8B-Alain Bergeron  [$800]; 21. 46-Kayle Robidoux  [$800]; 22. 42W-Rick Wilson  [$800]; 23. X2-Curtis Bradshaw  [$800]; 24. 422-Etienne Girard  [$800]. Lap Leaders: Sammy Swindell 1-25. KSE Hard Charger Award: 3-Dale Gosslin [+8].
Qualifying – 1. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 16.040; 2. 11-Steve Kinser, 16.257; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe, 16.269; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell, 16.298; 5. 4-Cody Darrah, 16.317; 6. 7-Craig Dollansky, 16.330; 7. 9-Joey Saldana, 16.339; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah, 16.377; 9. 1Z-Jessica Zemken, 16.494; 10. 29-Kerry Madsen, 16.633; 11. 6-Bill Rose, 16.634; 12. 15-Donny Schatz, 16.634; 13. 55X-James McFadden, 16.740; 14. 25-Michael Parent, 17.049; 15. 8B-Alain Bergeron, 17.332; 16. 42W-Rick Wilson, 17.670; 17. 24K-Devin Caron, 17.738; 18. 84-Tyler Rand, 17.961; 19. X2-Curtis Bradshaw, 18.499; 20. 36-Mike Stelter, 18.501; 21. 46-Kayle Robidoux, 18.565; 22. 15AW-April Wilson, No Time; 23. 3-Dale Gosslin, 18.299; 24. 422-Etienne Girard, 18.074.
Heat 1 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 9-Joey Saldana ; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen ; 5. 55X-James McFadden ; 6. X2-Curtis Bradshaw ; 7. 15AW-April Wilson ; 8. 42W-Rick Wilson .
Heat 2 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 2. 4-Cody Darrah ; 3. 11-Steve Kinser ; 4. 6-Bill Rose ; 5. 25-Michael Parent ; 6. 36-Mike Stelter ; 7. 24K-Devin Caron ; 8. 3-Dale Gosslin .
Heat 3 – (8 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 15-Donny Schatz ; 2. 1Z-Jessica Zemken ; 3. 7-Craig Dollansky ; 4. 5W-Lucas Wolfe ; 5. 8B-Alain Bergeron ; 6. 422-Etienne Girard ; 7. 84-Tyler Rand ; 8. 46-Kayle Robidoux .
Dash – (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 1-Sammy Swindell ; 2. 11-Steve Kinser ; 3. 5W-Lucas Wolfe ; 4. 7-Craig Dollansky ; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser ; 6. 9-Joey Saldana ; 7. 4-Cody Darrah ; 8. 15-Donny Schatz ; 9. 63-Chad Kemenah ; 10. 1Z-Jessica Zemken .
25th annual Sonoma NHRA Nationals
July 27-29, 2012
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COURTNEY FORCE TOPS FOR JFR ON FRIDAY AT SONOMA
SONOMA, CA — On a record setting day at Sonoma Raceway Rookie of the Year front-runner Courtney Force and the Traxxas Ford Mustang were tops of the field for JFR racing to the provisional No. 5 spot with a career best 4.059 second pass. The Funny Car provisional No. 1 qualifier was Cruz Pedregon who covered the 1000 ft. track in 4.028 seconds. In four Full Throttle Drag Racing Series professional categories all eight track records, four elapsed time and four speed records, were reset today.
In the first session the youngest racing Force was the quickest Funny Car of the session with a then career best run of 4.083 seconds at 307.16 mph. Her previous quickest run was 4.099 seconds in Phoenix earlier this season. She picked up three qualifying bonus points and had bragging rights over the provisional No.2 driver at that time Alexis DeJoria.
“It was a good day for our team. First session out getting my career-best ET at 4.08 was definitely exciting and to get that no. 1 spot along with it was a really cool moment. I know we have a great car. Our Traxxas Ford Mustang has been running consistent and. To come out here to Sonoma, a track that means so much to all of us and it’s my first time here in a Funny Car, it’s even more awesome to get my career-best here and then to do it again in my second qualifying session,” said Force. “So you know starting out qualifying with two good runs like that under my best definitely gives us a little more confidence going into Saturday qualifying. We’re in the top half of the field and all our other cars are right there as well.”
As the last John Force Racing Funny Car to run in the second session Courtney had seen her time fall from No. 1 to No. 6. She was running beside veteran Johnny Gray and she crossed the finish line in front of Gray with a time of 4.059 seconds at 312.71 mph. The run moved her up to No. 5 and has her excited about going into the second day of qualifying.
“I knew the second session was going to be tough to hold onto the no. 1 spot. I knew everyone was going to fight to run in the .0’s since they saw our car could run it and I knew a lot of these guys could run it too. I was hoping we could get it back in that last qualifying session, but to go back out and run another personal career-best ET with a 4.05 all in the same day is definitely a good start to the weekend out here in Sonoma,” said Force.
Points leader Robert Hight smoked the tires in the first session but made a strong comeback in the second session. He posted a 4.102 second run and grabbed the No. 9 qualifying spot guaranteeing that the Auto Club team would carry a time over into Saturday.
“You get behind the eight ball when you don’t go down the track the first run. I do believe that we were actually ahead of Courtney, if you look at her drive shaft to ours, ours was going good, it was flipping, it wasn’t piling up, but something was wrong with our tires. I almost didn’t make the run,” said Hight, the 2008 Sonoma Nationals winner. “During the burnout it had a vibration that was unbelievable. Backing up, that thing was hoping off the ground. And anyway, it started shaking on the run, not tire shake but a vibration and it eventually just came loose, but you can see it on the drive shaft on the computer. It caused it to smoke the tires.”
“We came back here and a tire was just about to blow out. Anyway, you can look at it a lot of ways; lucky, you know, that it didn’t happen. I honestly thought it was coming off, it was vibrating so bad. But I believe that it caused us to smoke the tires and it put us behind. We went back up there thinking that we would be conservative in the second session and we’re number 9,” said Hight.
“It’s a better car than that, but I’m just glad to be in there. There are some good cars on the outside. It’s going to be hotter tomorrow and we’re stuck with where we are at. We just have to do better than everyone tomorrow and that will determine the winner on Sunday. If you can do good tomorrow and be on the top with each qualifying run and build points each session, you got a good shot.”
Mike Neff opened up the second session of Funny Car qualifying and quickly showed the rest of the field that the Sonoma Raceway track was ready for record times. Neff’s Castrol GTX Ford Mustang clicked the clocks on a single run with a time of 4.102 seconds. For Neff, the driver and crew chief, of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang getting a quick enough time get him near the top half was a good effort considering he was so early in the session.
The seven time Sonoma NHRA Nationals winner John Force struggled on Friday. In the first session Force made his best run of the day a 4.218 second pass. It was the second quickest run for JFR in the first session but in the final session his Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang slowed when it smoked the tires just past half track. He will have to grab one of the four available slots along with notable drivers Matt Hagan, Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham who are also on the outside of the top twelve qualifiers.
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JOHN FORCE, 63, Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 13th quickest at 4.218 seconds, 294.50 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
MIKE NEFF, 45, Castrol GTX Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 10th at 4.102 seconds, 305.77 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
ROBERT HIGHT, 42, AAA Insurance Ford Mustang
Qualifying: 9th at 4.090 seconds, 309.27 mph
Bonus Qualifying Points: 0
COURTNEY FORCE, 24, Traxxas Ford Mustang Qualifying: 5
at 4.059 seconds, 312.71 mph Bonus Qualifying Points: +3 (quickest of Q1)
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Saturday, July 28
3rd round qualifying 12:30 p.m.
4th round qualifying 3:00 p.m.
Sunday, July 29
Final Eliminations 11 a.m.