NHRA CHAMPION DRIVER AND CREW CHIEF DALE ARMSTRONG: 1941-2014
Legendary NHRA crew chief and mechanical wizard Dale Armstrong died Nov. 28 from complications of sarcoidosis at his home in Temecula, Calif. He was 73.
As a driver, Armstrong won 12 NHRA national events – including three victories at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals – with a series of alcohol-burning dragsters, funny cars and altereds during the 1970s, but the 1975 Pro Comp national champion and former nitro Funny Car national record holder is perhaps best known for his many mechanical and technological breakthroughs while serving as crew chief for Kenny Bernstein.
Armstrong has been widely credited as the first Funny Car crew chief to use wind-tunnel testing and data recorders. He also pioneered the development of the lockup-style clutch, dual-source fuel-delivery system and dynamometer testing for nitromethane-burning racing engines.
As crew chief for Bernstein, Armstrong was the architect behind four NHRA Funny Car world championships (1985-’88) and provided the tune-up for drag racing’s first 300-mph run in 1992. Four years later Armstrong made history again by leading Bernstein to the 1996 Top Fuel world championship, giving Bernstein the distinction of being the first driver to win NHRA series crowns in Top Fuel and Funny Car.
Of his many accomplishments in NHRA drag racing, Armstrong once said that the speed-barrier-breaking effort in Top Fuel would always be his most cherished.
“Being the crew chief on the first car to run 300 means more to me than any national event win or any championship,” Armstrong said at the time. “There isn’t any question at all. People will forget what years we won the championship, but they’ll never forget when the first 300 was run and who did it.”
Following his record-breaking run with Bernstein, Armstrong continued his successful career, tuning Don “The Snake” Prudhomme’s Top Fuel dragster, and later serving as chief tuner for Jerry Toliver’s Funny Car. He recently worked as a tuning consultant, most notably for John Force Racing.
Armstrong, a native of Alberta, Canada, was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1995, the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2010. In 2001, he was named No. 10 on the list of NHRA’s top 50 drivers during the sanctioning body’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Armstrong is survived by his wife, Susan Arnold; daughter, Tracy Walsh; son, Brad Armstrong; sister, Phyllis Fabian; and five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
TEXAS MOTORPLEX RELEASES 2015 SCHEDULE
30TH Anniversary AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Moves to October
ENNIS, Texas (Nov. 12, 2014) – Texas Motorplex has released its 2015 schedule, with several changes for the upcoming 2015 season.
The biggest change is one fans have been asking for – the 30th Anniversary AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals will be held Oct. 15-18, 2015. The weather will certainly be cooler than the traditional September date, opening the chance for records to be set in the fourth of six NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing playoff events.
“The 30th Anniversary event is going to be one for the record books,” Texas Motorplex owner Billy Meyer said. “We have been planning this event for a few years and will unveil surprises for the best fans in drag racing in the months leading up to this monumental event.
“The date change is something we all wanted – especially our fans – and I’m happy we can finally deliver the later date to ensure cooler weather and even more vitally important playoff racing.”
The Motorplex made a big change to the street racing program, adding more Fast Friday street legal events and launching a new INSTANT GREEN STREET event to be held on Saturdays. Both street legal events will be open to anyone with a street legal vehicle and a valid driver’s license, allowing people to unleash their need for speed in a safer environment.
“Our street legal programs are so important because it allows people to get off the highways and other public areas where they can harm themselves and others and come out to a facility that is safer and more controlled,” Texas Motorplex General Manager, Gabrielle Stevenson, said. “We have the best track crew in Texas and they are willing to help first-time racers as well as seasoned veterans who are out to set personal records.
“The street legal programs at Texas Motorplex are a true benefit to our community as they keep would-be illegal street racers off public roads.”
The schedule also features fan favorite events including two NHRDA diesel racing events (Texas Diesel Nationals in April, World Finals in October), two Import Face Off events (spring in March, fall in November), car club events and of course, car shows: Mega Mopar Action series in March, Super Chevy Show in May and Fun Ford Series in November. Check www.texasmotorplex.com for updated schedule information, tickets and more.
Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champion’s Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.
2015 Texas Motorplex schedule of events
1: Import Face Off
6: Fast Friday
6-7: Knights of Columbus BBQ Cook-off
7: Bracket – points race 1
8: Bracket – points race 2
13: Fast Friday
14: Bracket – points race 3
19-21: PDRA Pro Mod National Season Kickoff
27: Fast Friday
28: Mega Mopar Action
29: Muscle Car Club Challenge
10: NHRDA Sled Pull
11: NHRDA Texas Diesel Nationals
16-19: NHRA Lucas Oíl Divisional
2: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs Domestic
8: Fast Friday
9: Bracket – points race 4
15: Fast Friday
16-17: Super Chevy Show
22: Fast Friday
23: Memorial Day Bracket Bash – points race 5
24: Memorial Day Bracket Bash – points race 6
5: Fast Friday
12: Fast Friday
13: Bracket – points race 7
20: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs Domestic
26: Fast Friday
27: Bracket – points race 8
10: Fast Friday
11: Bracket points race 9
18: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs Domestic
24: Fast Friday
25: Bracket – points race 10
31: Fast Friday
1: Bracket – points race 11
7: Fast Friday
8: Bracket points race 12
15: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs Domestic
21: Fast Friday
22: Bracket – points race 13
5: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs Domestic
11-13: Jr Dragster E.T. Bracket Finals
20: Muscle Car Club Challenge
24-27: Summit E.T. Bracket Finals
2-3: NHRDA World Finals
15-18: 30th Anniversary AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals
1: Muscle Car Club Challenge
6: Fast Friday
7: Fun Ford Series
8: Import Face
14: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs. Domestic
21: INSTANT GREEN STREET: Import vs. Domestic
The Super Chevy Show event series will join the Velocity Network as the newest TV program in the lineup of automotive-driven content with 13-episodes highlighting the 2015 season. Discovery Communications’ high-definition cable channel Velocity, will bring the same namesake Super Chevy Show into 62 million households across the U.S., and is scheduled to air on 13-consecutive weeks from October through December 2015.
With a focus on the car show, Velocity will follow the 2015 Super Chevy Show presented by Chevrolet Performance tour with stops at each event across the country for 12 high-octane 30 minute Chevrolet-packed episodes. The 13th episode and season finale will spotlight the best cars of the tour.
Lex Dudas, President of SCSW, LLC, parent company of Super Chevy Shows views the TV program in terms of growth for the series. “Velocity takes the Super Chevy Show program to the next level of exposure for our fans, participants, and sponsors. When the current track operators took over the series in 2010 they brought everything up a notch, and have continued to build the shows to the point that it will now reach millions of Chevrolet enthusiasts through a national TV audience.”
The exclusive Super Chevy Show programming will include exciting segments designed to give the audience a view of the best Bowtie show cars in the country in stunning HD and a chance to relive the thrills while looking to spot familiar cars or catch a glimpse of Chevy drag racing at its best.
As the newest show on Velocity’s schedule, the Super Chevy Show joins the lineup with popular shows such as, Overhaulin’, Chasing Classic Cars and Restoration Garage, that set the bar for diverse programming within the automotive genre.
The TV shows will be produced by Masters Entertainment, which provides a significant amount of content for Velocity and other networks reaching automotive enthusiasts. Executive Vice President of Masters Entertainment Group, Butch McCall, has worked with many of the Super Chevy Show promoters through other events previously, and is looking forward to working on the project since it has such a great following. “Masters Entertainment is excited to be working with the Super Chevy series in 2015. We look forward to bringing the best of the best Chevrolets to the Velocity Network.”
A member of the Manufacturers Series, the family-friendly Super Chevy Show tour showcases a car show, drag racing, manufacturer’s midway, swap meet and car corral, as well as autocross at select events. The events are hosted at top motorsports facilities throughout the U.S., along with the Fun Ford and Mega Mopar Action national series.
2015 SUPER CHEVY SHOW SCHEDULE
Palm Beach Int’l Raceway March 27 – 29
Memphis Int’l Raceway April 10 – 12
Southwestern Int’l Raceway May 1 – 3
Texas Motorplex May 16 – 17
Virginia Motorsports Park May 15 – 17
US 131 Motorsports Park May 29 – 31
Maple Grove Raceway July 17 – 19
Bandimere Speedway August 14 – 15
Bristol Dragway September 25 – 27
Rockingham Dragway October 9 – 11
Gateway Motorsports Park October 9 – 11
Auto Club Famoso Raceway November 7 – 8
About the Super Chevy Show
The Super Chevy Show tour is the premier national event for all Chevrolet enthusiasts offering something for everyone. From high-powered Chevy racing action to the spectacular show cars at the top NHRA and IHRA tracks across the country. The Series boasts one of the nation’s finest Performance & Restoration Midways for GM products, as well as a Swap Meet and Car Corral. Kids are always welcome to take part in the free Revell Make ‘N Take activity each day to build their own model car to keep. The Super Chevy Show is widely considered the best brand-specific event in the country. For more information, visit: www.superchevyshow.com
About Manufacturers Series
Designed to offer something for everyone in a family atmosphere for American “Big Three” automotive brand enthusiasts, the Super Chevy Show, Fun Ford Series and Mega Mopar Action Series are all members of the Manufacturers Series with 34 events in 2015. Each Manufacturers Series event is wholly owned by its respective host track and showcases a car show, drag racing, manufacturer’s midway, swap meet and car corral, as well as autocross at selected events. For more information or for event schedules, visit: www.mfgseries.com
Raymond Beadle, a three-time NHRA Funny Car world champion and driver of the famed Blue Max Funny Car, died Oct. 20 at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He was 70.
Beadle, who got his start in NHRA in the early 1970s driving for team owners Prentiss Cunningham, Mike Burkhart and Don Schumacher, started his own team with Harry Schmidt in 1974 and the duo raced to 13 NHRA national event victories in 28 final round appearances and won world championship titles in 1979, 1980 and 1981. He was a two-time winner of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, claiming victories at the world’s most prestigious drag race in 1975 and 1981.
The Spur, Texas, native’s first world championship title in ’79 ended Don “The Snake” Prudhomme’s four-year reign of Funny Car dominance. Beadle is one of only four Funny Car drivers in NHRA history who have won at least three consecutive championship titles. His Blue Max Funny Car was one of the most popular machines on the national drag racing match race circuit and he is widely credited with being the first in motorsports to sell team branded souvenirs such as T-shirts and hats.
Beadle also was successful in other forms of motorsports. In 1989 he and driver Rusty Wallace teamed to win the NASCAR Cup championship. Before that his NASCAR team featured Tim Richmond as driver. He also fielded a World of Outlaws sprint car for Sammy Swindell.
Beadle was named No. 20 on the list of NHRA’s greatest drivers through its first 50 years. In 1980 he was named to the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters All-America team. Already a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, Beadle earlier this year was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Novi, Mich.
Once he retired from motorsports in 1990, Beadle operated cattle ranches in Texas and Arkansas as well as a farm for quarter horses. Prior to his death he and wife Roz resided in Dallas.
FUN FORD WEEKEND– NOV. 8, 2014
WHAT: Fun Ford Weekend is back at Texas Motorplex, Nov. 8, Fun Ford Weekend is a celebration of one of America’s most popular brands and will be a massive celebration of all things Ford! The Motorplex will be filled with a family-friendly event featuring a car show, swap meet, car corral, drag racing with the region’s top racers!
This year is even more special as the Southwest Heritage Racing Association and Beat The Heat join Fun Ford Weekend. SHRA will be featuring six categories ranging from heads-up to dial-in with some of the fastest cars around. Beat the Heat will feature drag racing police departments from around the country for its World Finals!
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas. Track is located on Hwy. 287, two miles west of Ennis, between Interstates 35 and 45.
WHEN: FAST FRIDAY is open to all FFW participants and any street legal racer on Friday, Nov. 7 between 7 p.m. – Midnight. All makes and models are welcome.
SCHEDULE: FRIDAY, Nov. 7 – Fast Friday gates open 6 p.m.; Racing from 7 p.m. – midnight.
SATURDAY, Nov. 8 – Gates open 8 a.m.; Registration and Tech 8 a.m. – noon; Time trials start 9 a.m.; Beat the Heat start 10 a.m.; Nostalgia cars start 10:30 a.m.; Car Show judging starts at 11 a.m.; Final eliminations start at 2:30 p.m.; Car show special awards 3 p.m. followed by Beat the Heat Finals and Southwest Heritage Nostalgia Finals.
TICKETS: Fast Friday, Nov. 7: Free parking, $15 to race, $10 to watch.
SATURDAY, Nov. 8, 2014: Parking is $5 in spectator lot, $20 in VIP pit area
Adult: $10 ($5 off to anyone who brings pet food for ANIMEALS – helping Meals on Wheels program senior citizens feed their pets.)
Youth (13-17): $5, Children (12 and under): FREE
PARTICIPANT ENTRY FEES: All Fun Ford Weekend participants must enter Gate 10
Category Fee Payout
Fast Ford (Elec.) $70 80% payback
Quick Ford (No Elec.) $70 $1,000 to win
Mustangguys Fastest 5.0 Shootout $45 MustangGuys.com Trophy
Street Ford $35 Trophy
All judged car show $25 Plaques, goodie bags, prizes
Show-n-Shine, Swap Meet, Car Corral $25 Goodie bags
CONTACT: Texas Motorplex: (972) 878-2641, www.texasmotorplex.com