HOMETOWN FAVORITE MASSEY HUNGRY FOR FIRST TOP FUEL VICTORY AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX

September 19, 2011 by  
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ENNIS, Texas — Spencer Massey, who grew up in nearby Fort Worth, Texas, and continues to call the famed steer city home today, is feeling no pressure as he heads to the Texas Motorplex as a top contender in round two of the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s postseason playoffs.

With lots of family and friends watching and an overwhelming desire to do well at his home track, one would think that Massey might be feeling a little stressed to try to get the job done and claim the Top Fuel win so he could celebrate Texas style in what many say is by far the rowdiest winner’s circle on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit.

As far as Massey is concerned, there is no extra pressure because he’s already claimed a few trophies at the famed all-concrete Motorplex, drag racing’s first supertrack. When he started his driving career — in 1998 — he raced to victory in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League at the track and claimed the Jr. championship there.

So when Massey hits the Texas Motorplex for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 22-25, he’ll have plenty of confidence that he knows how to perform on the ultrafast drag strip. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners of the event, which will be televised on ESPN2HD.

However, that’s not to say that Massey will be so relaxed that he won’t be giving it his all. He doesn’t know how to race any other way. His patented aggressive “stab and steer” style is what led him to three victories in six final rounds and at one point during the season an amazing stretch when he reeled off more than 40 consecutive error-free runs down the track in his FRAM/Prestone dragster.

Massey hopes he can use his years of experience racing at the Motorplex in the Jr. category and then as a top NHRA sportsman competitor to his advantage. He is one of a few drivers on the circuit who will have a home-track advantage during the playoffs. In his two Top Fuel starts at the Motorplex, Massey has posted a first-round loss (2008) and a semifinal finish (2009). He hopes to take it one round further this time around.

“I saw my first national event at this track, the first track at which I saw a Top Fuel dragster,” Massey said. “It was THE Motorplex from when I was a kid, and I’ve been going there since it opened in 1986. Winning there would be huge. Of course, my family and friends will be there, so winning in front of them would be awesome, and we have this thing called the Countdown, so winning in Dallas would be a huge boost to our championship effort.”

After starting his Top Fuel driving career late in 2008 with Don Prudhomme, Massey went on to score two victories in five final rounds and earn top rookie honors in the series in 2009 and finish sixth in the point standings. However, after that season, Prudhomme parked his racing operation due to lack of sponsorship, and Massey found himself on the sidelines. After sitting out the 2010 season, Massey was hired by Don Schumacher to drive the FRAM/Prestone dragster this season, and the results have been impressive.

“If you work at something hard enough, you have a chance to achieve your dreams,” Massey said. “I still find it hard to believe I’m in this position, driving this car for Don (Schumacher, team owner) and the folks at FRAM/Prestone. It’s also unbelievable I’m sitting ahead of the likes of Tony Schumacher and Larry Dixon, the guys who have won every Top Fuel championship for the last 10 years. I don’t want to be pinched and wake up from this dream.”

After finishing third in the regular season, then posting a runner-up finish at the opening race of the Countdown to the Championship, the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Charlotte, N.C., Massey is in prime position to continue living the dream.

“This is what it’s all about — going for the championship,” Massey said. “Sure you want to win races, and we’ve won three, but the title as champion is the ultimate prize.”
Massey has a strategy for the Countdown and for racing at the Texas Motorplex, which will be a very busy race for the Texas native.

“We have to approach this as just another race,” Massey said. “We need to qualify well for the points, for lane choice on Sunday and to get data for race day. And I have to go to the starting line concentrating on my job and not worrying about who’s in the other lane or what the outcome means. I have to get a good light and then stab (the throttle) and steer because I’m confident Todd (Okuhara) and Phil (Shuler, co-crew chiefs) will give me a great car. Yes, the pressure is on because this is the Countdown. I just have to go up there and run my race, go rounds and do well. I really think we have a good shot at that championship.”

Massey’s competition includes Schumacher, who has dominated at this event recently behind the wheel of his U.S. Army dragster, winning the race five times since 1999, including the last two seasons. Red-hot Antron Brown, the point leader and winner of the last three races, also is among the favorites, as well as two-time event winner and defending world champ Dixon. Dixon’s teammate, Del Worsham, will be trying to join featured NHRA Legend Kenny Bernstein, Mike Dunn, Prudhomme and Ed McCulloch as the only drivers to win in both nitro categories at the Motorplex. Dallas native Brandon Bernstein, who won here in 2006, ’02 winner Doug Kalitta, Morgan Lucas and Shawn Langdon will also be looking for playoff victories.

In Funny Car, 15-time world champ John Force is the most prolific winner at the Texas Motorplex with seven victories, his last in 2005. Last season, Hagan powered his DieHard Dodge Charger to the win over Force in a dramatic final round and hopes to follow up his record-setting three-second pass in Charlotte and race win with a second Countdown victory in Dallas. The 2009 world champ, Robert Hight, is a two-time winner at the Motorplex in his Auto Club Ford Mustang, and several other Countdown favorites have also won at the sport’s first stadium supertrack, including Cruz Pedregon, Ron Capps and Tim Wilkerson. Regular-season point leader Mike Neff is looking for his first visit to one of the Full Throttle Series circuit’s wildest winner’s circles.

Defending Pro Stock world champ Anderson gained the momentum necessary to win his series crown with a victory here last year, his fourth at the Motorplex. Once again, he is in championship contention in the 200-mph category and will be working hard to hold off a strong group of Countdown challengers, including his teammate and point leader Jason Line, ’98 winner Mike Edwards, ’08 winner Greg Stanfield, rookie phenom Vincent Nobile, Houston native Erica Enders and the always-tough Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, defending winner and world champ Tonglet is back in the Countdown playoffs mix on his Nitro Fish Suzuki. He will be trying to hold off the strong Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team of point leader and Charlotte winner Eddie Krawiec and three-time world champ Andrew Hines, who posted a runner-up finish here last season. Others to watch in the two-wheel category are rookie Hector Arana Jr., who claimed his first victory at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, along with past world champs Hector Arana Sr., who won this race in 2009, and Matt Smith. Karen Stoffer, Indy runner-up Jerry Savoie, Michael Phillips and Jim Underdahl are also hungry for a win at the Texas Motorplex.

* SCHEDULE: Full Throttle Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23, and for 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25.

* TICKETS: Tickets are available for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. Please call the Texas Motorplex at (800) MOTORPLEX (668-6775) or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 45 minutes of qualifying coverage at 1:15 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 25. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise a one-hour re-air of qualifying coverage later that day at 2 p.m. (ET). A three-hour eliminations show will follow at 7 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 25 on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD.

* LUCAS OIL SERIES: The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals also will feature competition in seven categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 22. Lucas Oil Series eliminations begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 23 and continue through Sept. 25.

* ON THE WEB: Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com. Visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

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HUNT FOR HIGHT STARTS FRIDAY

September 19, 2011 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2011) – Starting Friday fans at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex will be invited to participate in a scavenger hunt. The Hunt for Hight starts Friday, with prizes and special meet-n-greets on the lines for the lucky winners.

Fans will be asked to seek out posters of Robert Hight, driver of the AAA Texas Ford Mustang Funny Car in the John Force Racing stable. The AAA Texas driver is seeking his third victory at Texas Motorplex when the entire NHRA Full Throttle drag racing series makes its only North Texas stop, Sept. 22-25.

Racing starts Thursday. Professional qualifying is Friday and Saturday and Championship Sunday starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25.

The scavenger hunt will be ongoing throughout the weekend.

There will be eight signs with a special code located throughout the Texas Motorplex property starting Friday. Once a fan locates one sign, they will be given clues to the next stop. The fans that locate each sign and scan the code or visit the website address listed will be rewarded with a letter. The eight letters spell out a special message.

Fans who submit the correct message will be eligible for special Robert Hight-autographed merchandise, John Force Racing merchandise, tickets to the 27th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, Sept. 20-23, 2012, a meet-n-greet with Robert Hight and photo opportunity with his AAA Texas Ford Mustang and more.

Gates open for the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 as sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 with sportsman qualifying starting at 8:30 a.m. and professional qualifying at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m..; Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 with sportsman eliminations starting at 8 a.m. and the final two professional qualifying sessions at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25 with pre-race ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. and final professional eliminations starting at 11 a.m.

Tickets and merchandise are available 24 hours a day at www.texasmotorplex.com . Adult tickets range from $10-$370. Youth tickets (12 years old and under) range from $5-$33. Call (800) MOTORPLEX for more information.

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.

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Wild Bill Hats Will Be Awarded to Winners at AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex

September 16, 2011 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 16, 2011) – You have to earn a real Texas cowboy hat to truly wear it with pride. And the most authentic of Texans wear a hat that has been sized, steamed and branded just for them.

As if NHRA Full Throttle series competitors needed one more reason to battle with everything they have to win the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, Stetson cowboy hats from Wild Bill’s Western Wear (http://www.wildbillswestern.com/) have just been added to the winner’s pot.

Wild Bill himself will be in Winner’s Circle on Sunday, Sept. 25 to size, steam and brand the hats for each of the professional and sportsman winners for next week’s playoff event at the Motorplex.

“Wild Bill is an incredibly talented hat and boot maker and it was all everyone could talk about following last year’s NHRA event here,” Texas Motorplex General Manager Gabrielle Stevenson said. “He has spent the year providing boots and hats to a who’s-who list of clients and events including the Super Bowl and we’re thrilled he will be back with us for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. He adds an even more special element to the best winner’s circle on the NHRA tour.”

The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals is the second stop in the NHRA Countdown playoff series. The top 10 drivers in each professional category – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be eligible to compete for the NHRA Full Throttle championships in each category.

Gates open for the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex
at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 as sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 with sportsman qualifying starting at 8:30 a.m. and professional qualifying at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m..; Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 with sportsman eliminations starting at 8 a.m. and the final two professional qualifying sessions at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25 with pre-race ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. and final professional eliminations starting at 11 a.m.

Tickets and merchandise are available 24 hours a day at www.texasmotorplex.com . Adult tickets range from $10-$370. Youth tickets (12 years old and under) range from $5-$33. Call (800) MOTORPLEX for more information.

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.

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MISS TEXAS TO HIGHLIGHT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS

September 15, 2011 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 15, 2011) – Miss Texas Kendall Morris will be the Grand Marshall at the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, Sept. 22-25, 2011.

The Ennis High School graduate is taking a year off from Texas Christian University – where she is a TCU Dean’s Honor List student in Broadcast Journalism – to travel the state as Miss Texas and help bring awareness to her platform issue: Leukemia.

Miss Texas will be at Texas Motorplex as the Grand Marshall on Championship Sunday, Sept. 25 and will help kick off another blazing quick day of 320-mph NHRA Full Throttle drag racing.

“We are honored to have Miss Texas help usher in another NHRA Championship Sunday especially since she is from this area and has made everyone so proud,” Texas Motorplex General Manager Gabrielle Stevenson said. “Once Miss Texas helps us get the event started, fans will have the opportunity to talk to her between pro rounds. It’s going to be a great Sunday.”

The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals is the second stop in the NHRA Countdown playoff series. The top 10 drivers in each professional category – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be eligible to compete for the NHRA Full Throttle championships in each category.

Gates open for the 26th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex
at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 as sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 23 with sportsman qualifying starting at 8:30 a.m. and professional qualifying at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m..; Gates open at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24 with sportsman eliminations starting at 8 a.m. and the final two professional qualifying sessions at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 25 with pre-race ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. and final professional eliminations starting at 11 a.m.

Tickets and merchandise are available 24 hours a day at www.texasmotorplex.com . Adult tickets range from $10-$370. Youth tickets (12 years old and under) range from $5-$33. Call (800) MOTORPLEX for more information.

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.

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ADRL To Implement Electrimotion RF Safety Device Starting At Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags V

September 14, 2011 by  
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O’FALLON, MO (September 14, 2011) – The American Drag Racing League (ADRL) announced on Wednesday that it has ordered the Electrimotion RF Safety Device and it will be in place and functional for the final two events of the 2011 season.

The safety feature, which is designed to automatically shut off the engine and fuel system, and deploy the parachutes, will be operational beginning with the Summit Racing Equipment Ohio Drags V, which takes place Sept. 23-24 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. A receiver must be installed in a vehicle for the RF device to function.

It was recently instituted in the NHRA, and ADRL officials have also chosen to implement the device.

“After looking into all of the available options and discussing with the NHRA their success with the Electrimotion RF Safety Devices, we have decided to implement this device,” ADRL Director of Technical Services Chris Bell said.

“The transmitters have been ordered and are scheduled to be delivered for our upcoming race in Norwalk. We strongly encourage all of our teams and drivers to contact Electrimotion at www.electrimotion.com to purchase the receiver that easily mounts inside the car.

“We are all deeply saddened by what happened Friday at Rockingham. Extreme Pro Stock driver Bert Jackson was a great driver and an incredible person, and we will continue looking into everything to ensure that our drivers are as safe as possible.”

Designed by Electrimotion, a Delaware, Ohio-based company owned by Dave Leahy, the RF Safety Device includes two transponders that will be located past the finish line.

When a car enters the RF field past the finish line, the safety box will be wirelessly activated.

Should a car have an aborted run, the driver can turn off the 12v power on their vehicle and disable the system, which will allow the car to coast down the track without deploying the parachutes.

The ADRL is recommending its adoption and use for the final two events of 2011, but an RF Safety Device will be required for all ADRL competitors during the 2012 season.

For more information on Electrimotion, visit www.electrimotion.com, e-mail Dave Leahy at dave@electrimotion.com or call (740) 362-0251.

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or 1-800-MOTORPLEX (1-800-668-6775)