Stretch run should favor Jeg Coughlin Jr.

September 21, 2010 by  
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DALLAS (Sept. 21) — Jeg Coughlin Jr. came out on the winning side of the biggest single drag race of the year Sunday in Charlotte when he beat class leader Mike Edwards in the first round of the national event in Charlotte. But as good as that win was for the four-time Pro Stock champion, he couldn’t fully capitalize on the fortunate turn of events, dropping a quarterfinal tilt against Greg Stanfield an hour and a half later.

“We missed out on a huge opportunity right there,” Coughlin admitted. “That race against Mike, if he had won, it would have made it awfully tough for us to stay in the fight. To win it, on a holeshot at that, was such a big deal I felt like I should have pulled off at the top end and been handed the trophy. It was that crucial.

“Of course the best-case scenario would have been to roll on from there and gain as many points as we could on him, but it wasn’t meant to be. The car got a little loose at the launch in Round 2 and it was enough to cost us the race. At least we gained a little ground and are still right there in the lead pack. It’s sure getting exciting now.”

An optimist by nature, Coughlin already has his sights set on the future, beginning with this weekend’s 25th annual Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Coughlin won this race in 2002 and was runner-up three times, in 2000, 2003, and 2008. He also was the low qualifier at the all-concrete strip in 2000, 2004, and 2008.

“The last four races of the year are at racetracks I consider to be favorites of mine so we’re very, very pumped up,” Coughlin said. “I’ve won at all four places, and Vegas and Pomona are probably the two tracks where I’ve had the most success so there’s every reason to be excited about the stretch run.

“The JEGS.com Chevrolet Cobalt is running exactly the way we want it to. Dallas is a tricky track, but it can be a drivers’ track too, which I think favors this team. I hope we’re up for the call.”

Qualifying begins with two sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. Friday. Highlights of the time trials will be shown Saturday evening on ESPN2.

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Texas Brandon Bernstein ready for O’Reilly Super Start NHRA Fall Nationals

September 21, 2010 by  
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After a red hot 30 years, Kenny Bernstein Racing is turning blue.  2010 signifies a new chapter  for Kenny Bernstein Racing with Copart, Inc., an online vehicle auction company. It marks the first year since Kenny Bernstein formed a full-time professional drag racing team in 1980 that he has rolled out anything other than a red dragster, except for a handful of specialty paint schemes, but this season the dragster driven by Brandon Bernstein sports the logo and blue livery of Copart.

Joining Copart is long-time sponsor Lucas Oil as well as Mac Tools.

Though the DNA has changed from red to blue, the goal remains the same:  win races and run for the coveted NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel championship.

Team owner and six-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein is a gifted driver and businessman. He began his professional driving career in the late 1960s driving Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in and around Texas.  He was in and out of racing in the ‘70s spending the majority of his time founding and managing a chain of Chelsea Street Pubs restaurants. In 1980 he became a full-time campaigner on the NHRA circuit, having sold his interest in the restaurants.  He dominated Funny Car competition in the 1980s, switching to Top Fuel in 1990, continuing to make history.

Bernstein earned the title “King of Speed” when he became the first NHRA driver to break the 300 miles-per-hour barrier March 20, 1992, during qualifying for the NHRA Gatornationals in
Gainesville, Fla.  He was also the first to win championships in both nitro categories, Funny Car and Top Fuel.

He holds the unique distinction of being the first and only race team owner to have collected wins in each of America’s three major motorsports series:  NHRA drag racing, NASCAR, and CART.

Bernstein began an association with Budweiser which lasted for 30 years, setting the watermark as the longest-running sponsorship in the history of auto sports. During his driving career he won 69 NHRA national events, four consecutive Funny Car championships (1985-1988) along with two Top Fuel championships (1996 and 2001).  There’s hardly a major NHRA award he hasn’t won and most he’s won in multiples.

The Texan was nominated for the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association Newsmaker of the Half-Century award in 2005.  Other nominees included in the list of motor sports royalty in alphabetical order were:  Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt, John Force, A.J. Foyt, the France family, Jeff Gordon, Dan Gurney, the Hulman-George family, Wally Parks, Roger Penske and Richard Petty.

He was also voted in the top 10 on NHRA’s 50 Greatest Drivers list.  He has been inducted into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame, the Don Garlits Internationals Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

Known as a savvy businessman, Bernstein is a merchandiser, salesman and avid ambassador for products he represents.  It’s his combination of professionalism, commitment and competitiveness that have made him a motor sports icon.  Bernstein has always credited his father, Bert, with teaching him the principals of business that have contributed to his success.  In his adult years, Kenny owned a variety of successful businesses and is widely credited with turning the hobby of racing into the business of racing.

An avid fitness and exercise buff, Kenny rises early nearly every day to speed walk five miles before the tackles the day’s business

A soccer star at Jesuit High School in Dallas, Brandon proclaimed his desire to follow in his father’s racing footsteps during his high school years. During summer breaks from school, Kenny began grooming his son, letting him get the feel of his surroundings at first by sweeping floors and running errands.  Before he was invited to become a bona fide member of the race team, Kenny insisted his son get a college degree. In 1996, Brandon graduated from Texas A & M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in kinesiology.  Shortly after graduation, he joined his father’s legendary team as a crew member learning from the ground up, gradually assuming more responsibility, eventually winning the opportunity to drive.

Brandon stepped into his first car in 2001 and burst into the headlines when, driving an alcohol dragster in the sportsman category, he got his first win in Las Vegas on the same day his dad won the Top Fuel division.  They became the first father/son duo in NHRA history to win at the same national event.  They repeated the feat in Chicago in June of that year.

“Brandon seems to have a bit of natural talent, and he proved that in the alcohol car,” Kenny said.  “With this team, he’ll be able to win.”

In 2003 Kenny turned the driving chores of his 8,000-horsepower dragster over to his son Brandon, and true to his father’s predicition, Brandon scored his first victory in only his second national event outing in Phoenix, Az.  That win launched the most successful career start of any Top Fuel or Funny Car driver in NHRA history, as Brandon notched victories in five of his first 13 starts. His celebratory start came crashing down, literally, when he suffered season-ending back injuries in a first round accident in Englishtown, N.J.

During Brandon’s recuperative period in 2003, Kenny jumped back into the familiar confines of the cockpit, chalking up four victories in the final five events of the season.

Despite being sidelined by an accident in his inaugural season, the second generation driver accumulated an overwhelming number of votes from a blue ribbon motor sports panel to win NHRA Southern California Auto Club “Rookie of the Year” honors.

Brandon stepped back into the cockpit to launch the 2004 season and has accrued an impressive 18 career victories through the 2009 season.

In addition to driving, he is actively involved in the day-to-day management of his father’s Copart/Lucas Oil team.

“My father is my hero,” said Brandon, “and he continues to inspire and challenge me on the business side, as well as the racing side.”

When their schedules allow, father and son enjoy golfing and motorcycle riding.

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ANOTHER YEAR OF QUICKEST AND FASTEST RACING ON TAP AS 25TH ANNIVERSARY O’REILLY NHRA FALL NATIONALS HEADS TO TEXAS MOTORPLEX

September 21, 2010 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 21) – What makes Texas Motorplex special? Is it the fact that it was the first all-concrete quarter-mile facility built to host NHRA national events? Is it the fact that it was the first super stadium built specifically for drag racing?

Is if the record-breaking performances logged by some of the biggest and most successful names in the sport of racing?

What makes Texas Motorplex special is all of those things, and more.

Fans can choose their own reason as to why Texas Motorplex will always hold a special place in racing’s heart when the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals kicks off Sept. 23-26 for the annual North Texas stop.

It’s the third of six NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to 1 championship playoff events. Everything is on the line when the quickest and fastest racers compete at Texas Motorplex.

“Texas Motorplex fans have been treated to some awesome events throughout the years and to be able to celebrate the 25th running of an NHRA national event is just incredible,” Texas Motorplex General Manager Gabrielle Stevenson said. “We have the best race fans and they know and respect the sport of drag racing. Every year we wonder what will happen next – whether we will see records, a legend-in-the-making or some other special performance. It’s always exciting at Texas Motorplex.”

Texas Motorplex Milestones
Nov. 1985: Billy Meyer signs an agreement to host an NHRA event the following September, before ground was broken on the facility.

Jan. 1986: Ground breaks for the Texas Motorplex – designed to be the first post tension, all-concrete, quarter-mile facility specifically created for drag racing.

Sept. 25, 1986: Darrell Gwynn runs 5.280 to set Top Fuel E.T. record with the first national event pass on the track.

April 1997: The Texas Motorplex becomes the first non-NHRA-owned track to host two national events.

1997: The Texas Motorplex opens the Divisional 4 Hall of Fame, becoming the only track to host a hall of fame.

1997: The Texas Motorplex becomes the first facility to build a permanent hospitality structure to host fans in a VIP atmosphere; originally known as The Top Eliminator Club and now known as the Champions Club.

April 9, 1988: Eddie Hill turns in the first four-second quarter mile pass – a 4.990 run.

Oct. 19, 1997: Cory McClenathan makes the first pass in the 320 mph-range – a 321.77 run.

Oct. 24, 1998: Gary Scelzi, John Force, Warren Johnson and Larry Kopp lead the quickest qualifying field in NHRA history.

Oct. 23, 1999: En route to his first, NHRA championship, Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher earns his first national event victory.

Oct. 23, 1999: John Force clinched his ninth NHRA Funny Car championship by defeating Tommy Johnson Jr. in the quickest side-by-side race in Funny Car history.

Sept. 23, 2004: The Texas Motorplex becomes the first NHRA track in the country to have starting line balcony seating in the tower suites.

Sept. 26, 2004: Greg Anderson clinches his second consecutive NHRA Pro Stock title at the Texas Motorplex. Anderson clinched the title faster than any other driver in NHRA history.

CURRENT TRACK RECORDS:
Top Fuel: 3.820 seconds by Larry Dixon (Sept. 2008); 316.60 mph by Tony Schumacher (Sept. 2009).
Funny Car: 4.063 seconds by Robert Hight (Sept. 2008); 305.56 mph by Hight (Sept. 2009).
Pro Stock: 6.597 seconds by Mike Edwards (Sept. 2009); 209.88 mph by Edwards (Sept. 2009).
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 6.908 seconds by Eddie Krawiec (Sept. 2009); 194.60 mph by Michael Phillips (Sept. 2009).

Gates open for the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23 as sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 24 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. 25 with sportsman eliminations starting at 8 a.m. and the final two professional qualifying sessions running at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.; Gates open at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26 with pre-race ceremonies starting at 10 a.m. and final professional eliminations starting at 11 a.m.

Call (800) MOTORPLEX for tickets or go online at www.texasmotorplex.com.

The Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, The 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 Champions Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.

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EVERSON WALLS AND MEL RENFRO WILL REPRESENT GIFT FOR LIFE FOUNDATION DURING 25TH ANNIVERSARY FALL NATIONALS AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX

September 20, 2010 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2010) – It may be football season, but these former Dallas Cowboys players will be at the race track this weekend as Texas Motorplex plays host to its 25th anniversary O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 23-26. Pro Bowl defensive back Everson Walls and Hall of Fame defensive back Mel Renfro will be on hand to sign autographs and sell items with all proceeds benefiting the Gift for Life Foundation.

The Gift for Life Foundation was created to promote the awareness, early detection and prevention of kidney disease and other illnesses and complications directly related to these life-threatening conditions.

The foundation began in 2007 when former Dallas Cowboys teammates, Walls and Ron Springs, shared an organ donation experience. Springs needed a kidney transplant because of diabetes. Walls donated a kidney and the two have been dedicated to educating the community about kidney failure and kidney disease ever since.

To find out more about the Foundation including their Camp Reynal for children who suffer from kidney failure and kidney disease, go to www.giftforlifefoundation.org.

The Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, The 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 Champions Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.

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Things to know before you come to the Texas Motorplex

September 20, 2010 by  
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Are you ready?  The 25th anniversary O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries NHRA FAll Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec is this weekend!.  Texas Motorplex wants to make sure all our guests are prepared to have a great time celebrating 25 years of drag racing at this historic event.   Here are some tips to make your race weekend even better:

  • Spectator parking is free in the main spectator parking lot located on the south side of Hwy 287. 
  •  We will be scanning tickets at the gates this year so please make sure that everyone holds their own ticket as you come up to the gates, also make sure everyone in your party has a ticket to get into the gate. 
  • If you are picking up tickets at Will Call please have your Picture ID, Confirmation Number and the credit card that you purchased the tickets with ready when you come to the box office. 
  • Follow us on Twitter! You never know when a special deal, free meal or signed merchandise will be announced!
  • No outside food or drinks are allowed into the facility.
  • ATMs are loacted in the Northside and Southside food courts.  
  •  Tickets are still available call 1-800-MOTORPLEX or order online at ticketmaster.com.
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For event information or tickets please call 972-878-2641
or 1-800-MOTORPLEX (1-800-668-6775)