ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 24, 2009) — Some people call crisp, clear mornings and nights perfect football conditions. This weekend, however, those conditions will only help the quickest and fastest motorsport in the world produce an even more exciting show for fans.
Cool and crisp? Yeah, that’s racing weather.
The 24th annual Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals kicks off today with hundreds of competitors ready for hot side-by-side action at the cool track. Weather.com predicted 0% chance of precipitation for Saturday and Sunday in the weekend forecast and high temps are expected to be in the 80′s.
This is a recipe for records, and under the new NHRA points system, Top Fuel and Funny Car can now set records and receive valuable Full Throttle Countdown to One championships points for setting E.T. records for the 1000-ft. racing distance.
The Motorplex is one of the final six events of the 2009 season – which make up the Countdown to 1 playoff schedule. Only the top 10 racers in each of the four professional categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will earn the right to compete for the 2009 NHRA championships. All professional racers had 18 events to battle their way into the top 10.
J.R. Todd earned the 2008 Top Fuel victory at the Motorplex while Tim Wilkerson is defending the Funny Car title, Greg Stanfield will be defending Pro Stock and Chris Rivas will defend the Pro Stock Motorcycle title.
Sportsman qualifying begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 24. The first of four rounds of professional qualifying is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sept. 25, continuing at 4:45 p.m. that evening. Qualifying wraps up with sessions at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 26. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sept. 27.
Tickets for all four days of racing can be purchased by phone at 800-MOTORPLEX (800-668-6775), ticketmaster.com or at the track.
TOP FUEL COUNTDOWN RACERS:
1. Antron Brown 2110 Hadman
2. Larry Dixon 2080 Hadman
3. Tony Schumacher 2070 Hadman
4. Brandon Bernstein 2060 Hadman
5. Cory McClenathan 2050 Hadman
6. Spencer Massey 2040 Dragster
7. Morgan Lucas 2030 Hadman
8. Shawn Langdon 2020 Hadman
9. Doug Kalitta 2010 Attac
10. Clay Millican 2000 Hadman
FUNNY CAR COUNTDOWN RACERS:
1. Tony Pedregon 2110 Chevrolet
2. Ron Capps 2080 Dodge
3. Ashley Force 2070 Ford
4. Bob Tasca III 2060 Ford
5. Jack Beckman 2050 Dodge
6. Tim Wilkerson 2040 Ford
7. John Force 2030 Ford
8. Del Worsham 2020 Toyota
9. Mike Neff 2010 Ford
10. Robert Hight 2000 Ford
PRO STOCK COUNTDOWN RACERS:
1. Jeg Coughlin 2110 Chevrolet
2. Jason Line 2080 Pontiac
3. Mike Edwards 2070 Pontiac
4. Greg Anderson 2060 Pontiac
5. Allen Johnson 2050 Dodge
6. Greg Stanfield 2040 Pontiac
7. Ron Krisher 2030 Chevrolet
8. Kurt Johnson 2020 Chevrolet
9. Richard Jones 2010 Dodge
10. Johnny Gray 2000 Dodge
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE RACERS:
1. Ed Krawiec 2110 Harley-Davidson
2. Andrew Hines 2080 Harley-Davidson
3. Hector Arana 2070 Buell
4. Matt Smith 2060 Suzuki
5. Douglas Horne 2050 Buell
6. Craig Treble 2040 Suzuki
7. Michael Phillips 2030 Suzuki
8. Matt Guidera 2020 Buell
9. Shawn Gann 2010 Buell
10. Karen Stoffer 2000 Suzuki
DALLAS (Sept. 21) — Four-time world champion drag racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. took the NHRA’s regular season by storm. He won seven national events, maintained the top ranking in the Full Throttle championship points for 14 races, and advanced past the first round at every event on the schedule. No one in any of the four professional classes did better.
Then the six-race Countdown to 1 playoffs started and Coughlin hit his first real speed bump of the season, qualifying a distant 12th on the ladder and losing in the first round to Jason Line, one of the drivers who was nipping at his heels all year long.
“Timing is everything in this sport and that certainly wasn’t the way we wanted to start the playoffs,” said Coughlin, a 48-time winner in the Pro Stock category. “We got behind in qualifying (at Charlotte) and didn’t really get the car where we wanted it until Sunday. We actually ran a very good pass against Jason and I’m confident we would have run even quicker in Round 2 but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Coughlin gave up more than a three-round lead in the points when the 10 racers eligible for the ’09 title were reseeded for the Countdown to 1. His first-round exit combined with the efforts of his nearest competition in the rankings had him dropping to second place overall. He now trails Mike Edwards by 56 points heading into this weekend’s 24th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals.
“It’s time for a rebound,” Coughlin said. “We can’t do anything about Charlotte now so we just need to work on getting right back into the mix this weekend. Dallas was a great race for us last year so if we can repeat our good luck down there we should be fine.”
After setting the elapsed time record at the Texas Motorplex when he qualified No. 1 with 6.631-second pass, Coughlin raced through to the finals of last year’s event before a broken clutch system relegated him to runner-up status. In 2002, Coughlin won the race outright, adding his name to the track’s vaunted Walk of Fame.
“That runner-up finish and the overall performance we had at the Motorplex last season really propelled us to the ’08 championship,” Coughlin said. “We’ve come from behind before so we’re in familiar territory. We certainly prefer to be out front so we’ll be working overtime to get this JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt back on top, but we’re okay with where we’re at one race into this deal. There’s still plenty of time left.
“We really won’t be changing anything we do. We have a proven system that’s not only worked for us all year but has helped us win the last two world championships so one off race isn’t going to make us panic. The guys know what to do; now we need to go out there and execute.”
Kaley Caperton may only be 16 but has had quite an action packed career already! A Texas native, Kaley sings, plays the guitar and the keyboard, lives on a ranch and has rodeoed most of her life. Kaley also comes from a racing family. Her dad raced supercomp and supergas in Divisions 4 and 5, causing her to be an avid Drag Racing Fan. She has never missed a National event at the Texas Motorplex!
With too numerous events to mention each one, some special engagements have been: Kaley opening for Rick Trevino, Michael Peterson, Asleep at the Wheel, and sharing the stage with artists such as Ted Nugent, Lynn Anderson and Johnny Gimble. She has performed in Las Vegas for the Wrangler’s 60th birthday party, sang at the homecoming of the President of the US and she is scheduled to open for The Village People in February and Patti LaBelle in May.
Kaley recently opened for Asleep at the Wheel in Wyoming at the BearTrap Festival in July 2009. She also had the opportunity to sing for the Roundup Riders of the Rockies, which is exclusively male, but gained special permission to sing for them on the mountain top in Steamboat Springs, CO. She will also be singing the National Anthem for the Texas Stampede this November.
This will be Kaley’s third appearance singing the National Anthem at the Texas Motorplex. She began singing here at 14 and has dubbed herself to be one of the mascots for this race and hopes the O’Reilly Fall National Fans do as well!
Kaley will not only be singing the National Anthem on Sunday, but she is excited to host a free concert after the race on Saturday before the DRAW Auction, outside of the Champions Club.
Kaley will be signing autographs and selling merchandise at the Texas Motorplex Souvenir Stand on the Pit Side every day of the race.
The Motorplex is excited to announce that you can now purchase the Official Texas Motorplex Merchandise on the website. Simply go to the Texas Motorplex home page and select Shop Online. The Texas Motorplex has been hard at work creating new merchandise for everyone. Do not miss the opportunity to be the first to show off the new merchandise at the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals.
The “problem” at Indy, or more accurately, the “HIGHT-light” of an otherwise mundane season, was the direct result of a moronic and “un-en-FORCE-able” rule in place to begin with (puns intended).
If I were King, there would be NO RULE against “team orders” or “intentionally” manipulating the outcome of a race. There would be no such rule because to make one is nothing more than foolishly attempting to bend the following un-bendable, “natural laws”:
1. You can’t legislate morality.
Whether laying down for a teammate is “right” or “wrong” is, at best, arguable.
This King’s position is that it is not only “right” to do so, but to do anything else is stupid and self defeating. In baseball it’s called a “Sacrifice Play”; in billiards, it’s called a “Safety”, and its all part of the game. Is the ball player who bunts actually “cheating”, or doing what’s in the best interest of the team?
And, what would have been accomplished had he taken out his teammate? It would have accomplished nothing, except letting his sponsors and fans down by preventing his teammate from getting to “second base”, and having a shot at the championship.
How smart was it, in a previous season, when a racer who was not in contention at all, took out his own teammate; a teammate who could very possibly have won the championship? Did that racer get an ovation for “doing the right thing”? No, no one really cared and all that remained was the obvious question, “why’d he do that?”
When such a rule is in place, aren’t those who attempt to enforce it actually guilty of breaking their own rule; of “intentionally manipulating” the outcome of a race?
No matter your personal position, attempting to legislate morality is futile.
2. The first rule of racing is: “If it’s gray it’s legal; if it’s undetectable, it’s legal”.
Team orders fall into the “undetectable” category. No matter how you slice it, it’s impossible to actually PROVE that one “intentionally” lost a race. “Intention” is an intangible, and as such is very difficult if not impossible to prove.
One of my loyal subjects suggested that allowing multi-car teams is the real problem.
This King disagrees with that as well, as again, it would be impossible to prevent independent team owners from making “deals”, and even harder to prove it if they did.
3. “Inconsistent” (as in “we’re going to look for any inconsistencies”) is a relative term, and therefore impossible to define.
When facing a teammate, is there a rule that says your tune-up has to be “consistent”? No, there is not! And if there were, exactly where would the line between “consistent” and “inconsistent” be? And, more importantly, who is the person qualified to draw that line?
And, even if there are no “inconsistencies” in the tune-up, what’s to prevent a driver from (“intentionally”) red lighting, driving out of the groove or being late? And if they did or if they were, can it be proved it was “intentional”? The answers of course, are “Nothing” and “No”.
4. “Fairness is the enemy of justice”
One of the most attractive aspects of drag racing, is the fact that it’s almost completely free of judgment calls. Once those two cars stage, and short of crossing the centerline, what happens between the start and the finish line is entirely up to just three people; the two drivers and the Lord above. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it should be!
At Indy, the truth is there actually was no problem at all; there was just some darn good and very smart racing! The “perceived” problem was only in the minds of those who failed to take full advantage of the enforceable rules, and instead chose to give credence to one that is not; to hang their hopes on a “Pooka”!
The sanctioning body should know that including “Pookas” (un-enforceable rules defined in relative terms) in their rulebook, will only cause confusion, division and needless controversy.
If I were King, team orders would immediately be “de-criminalized”, and there would be no such prohibition in all of Nostalgia Land!
-Blood Did It
The Texas Motorplex has had the honor of having drag racing’s most prolific artist, Kenny Youngblood, create the first of a one of a kind racing t-shirt with the official “Blood Did It” signature. This shirt can be purchased online or at the Texas Motorplex Souvenir Stands at all drag racing events. Do not miss the opportunity to have this one of a kind “Blood Did It” shirt.
Reprinted courtesy of VintageFuel.com Magazine