Bode scores first to highlight dramatic regular-season finale in Brainerd

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by Phil Burgess, National DRAGSTER Editor
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Bob Bode scored his first career win in Funny Car, Larry Dixon remained perfect in Top Fuel, Andrew Hines stole the spotlight in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Jeg Coughlin Jr. won his fifth Brainerd Wally in Pro Stock at the 29th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals.

As the final event of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series’ regular season, the event also was packed with Countdown drama all the way to the final rounds. A number of drivers clinched spots in qualifying, and although the last spots were claimed in Sunday’s first round — with Dave Grubnic outlasting Terry McMillen in Top Fuel, Tony Pedregon holding off Jeff Arend in Funny Car, Rodger Brogdon denying Kurt Johnson in Pro Stock, and Karen Stoffer and Craig Treble beating out Shawn Gann in Pro Stock Motorcycle – the battle for top seeds and positions raged on all the way to the final bike final where Andrew Hines took away the top seed from Hector Arana with his victory. Earlier, John Force held on by one point for the top seed in Funny Car. [Full Countdown field recap]

Bode, a former national champion boat racer, enjoyed his finest day on dry land when he powered his AR-BEE.com/Alard Machine Products Impala to the winner’s circle, upsetting heavily-favored Jack Beckman in the final round when Beckman’s machine lost traction just off the starting line.

“All of this is kind of like a dream I’m afraid I’m gonna wake up from,” said Bode. “I didn’t know if it would ever happen, but now that it did, I can’t believe it happened. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me in my entire life in the racing world. I have a wife and kid, wonderful things there, but the racing world, this is it.

“[Against Beckman] I went up to the line going, well, we’re in the final. If [Beckman] runs another .00 we’re going to be in trouble. We were trying to run a .14 or maybe something a little bit better. There were no teeth left on the belt, I get up to the finish line and there were little flames going out, and I’m going, I ain’t liftin’, and I never saw him. But we would have tried for a .12 and we knew that maybe if I had a decent light I coulda outrun him if he floundered and ran a .10. But we were just going to lay down our number and hopefully he made a mistake, and someone did.”

Bode reached the final, the first of his career, on a trio of victories over past national event winners, defeating  former world champ Cruz Pedregon, Englishtown winner Bob Tasca III, and three-time season winner Tim Wilkerson with a series of mid-4-teen passes.

Beckman, runner-up here in 2008, didn’t win the event but he did climb past teammate Matt Hagan and into third place in the standings. Although he only qualified sixth at 4.141, Beckman’s special-edition Freightliner Dodge came on like a semi truck on Sunday, rattling off passes of 4.057 (low e.t.), 4.080, and 4.089 to reach the final, the 21st of his career and his fourth this season. In his wake he left Del Worsham, Robert Hight, and 1985 Brainerd winner Jim Head.

Dixon remained perfect in 2010 final rounds, winning his ninth straight in a titanic battle between the top two drivers in the standings. Dixon scored the win in dramatic fashion, running 3.78 to beat McClenathan’s 3.81 in one of the quickest side-by-side races in NHRA history. Dixon, who won this race in 1999 and 2001 but since has suffered through four final-round defeats here (2002, 2005, 2007, and last year) collected career win No. 56.

“I feel fortunate,” said Dixon, whose engine suffered damage right as he hit the finish line. “When I lifted it popped, but I saw the win light and the 78 on the board and so I knew they weren’t taking Cory and the Schumacher team lightly. I got heat-treated a little bit.

“We’ve won finals so many different ways this year and there are so many variables that if you have just one hiccup someone else wins. I’ve had seasons where I haven’t won one race so to win nine is overwhelming, These races are so hard to win; to win nine period let alone to win nine straight in finals is something.”

Dixon, who reached his 100th career final in winning the Sonoma event, didn’t take long to start working on his second hundred as he raced the Al-Anabi machine to a steadily-improving trio of passes, going from a cylinder-dropping 3.91 against Steve Torrence in round one to a 3.82 to defeat Shawn Langdon and then a dazzling 3.794 in the semifinals to beat low qualifier Doug Kalitta’s 3.830.

Like Beckman, although McClenathan didn’t win the race, he did improve his Coutndown position, eking past Tony Schumacher for the No. 2 seed. McClenathan, a three-time winner already this season, reached his sixth final of the year and the 63rd of his Top Fuel career with the Fram dragster by racing past Chris Karamesines, then Schumacher, and finally Dave Grubnic with passes of 3.84, 3.83, and 3.802.

Coughlin, who had won here three times previously in Pro Stock and, prior to that, in Supoer Stock, reached the Brainerd winner’s circle again, sealing the victory on rookie Shane Gray’s close -.001 red-light. It was Coughlin’s 65th career win and 52nd in Pro Stock.

“I do have to say, the Gray family has done an unbelievable job and they’re getting a program from nothing to several final-round runnings between the two of them,” said Coughlin “Shane did a heck of a job and had he turned that thing green by a couple of hundredths, he would have smoked the yellow and black car. We got away with one there because I was late on the Tree in the final.

“This is as close as we’ve been to the points leader all year. That’s the way the playoff and the Countdown to 1 works. We’ve had that work to our advantage for a couple of years and had that work against us last year. This year, we were probably no way shape or form going to contend for our sixth world title, but we are.”

Coughlin reached his third straight final, his sixth this season, and the 103rd of his combined Pro and Sportsman career by powering the yellow and black JEGS.com Cobalt with a steady trio of passes – 6.612, 6.617, and 6.609, all better than the incoming 6.630 track record – to defeat Ron Krisher and last year’s finalists Jason Line and defending event champ Greg Anderson.

Gray leaped two spots in the final standings by reaching his second final of the season and no doubt boosted his chances of winning the Automobile Club of Southern California Raod to the Future award for the season’s top rookie. The Englishtown runner-up drove his Tire Kingdom Pontiac past Rickie Jones and Allen Johnson with runs of 6.63 and 6.62, then defeated his father, Johnny, whom he also beat in the Englishtown semifinals, to reach the final, and did it on a holeshot, 6.66 to 6.63.

Hines clearly was on a mission in Brainerd, leading qualifying from the first session on as he worked diligently to chase down reigning season and event champ Arana’s lead, which was 60 points entering the event. He chopped off a small chunk with his outstanding qualifying effort then finished it off with his win – his second straight on the schedule and fourth of year — against first-time finalist Jim Underdahl, scoring on a 6.94 to 7.01 count for his 22nd career win. It’s Hines’ second win here, having scored previously in 2007. Older brother Matt won the race three times.

“Big win,” agreed Hines. “I’ve never been No. 1 going into the playoffs so it’s nice to be in this position. Three or four races ago we were looking at the point and Hector had something like a 160-point lead and we just wrote it off that we wouldn’t make it there. Luck turned to our side, the motorcycle started performing better and Hector faltered a little bit and we capitalized on it.

“Hungry guys like Jim Underdahl, you can’t take them for granted because you never know what’s going to happen. He improved a bit in the final and we slowed down, so I wasn’t about to go out there and miss the Tree. They’ve got Vance & Hines power in that bike and we’re proud of it. They’re doing a lot with what they have.”

Hines had the bike to beat all weekend in Brainerd, putting the Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley Davidson on the pole with a track-record 6.915 and running a flurry of low 6.90s to reach the final, the 36th of his career and his third straight. He opened with low e.t. of the meet, a 6.904, to beat local Buddy Robinson, then took a crucial victory when Arana fouled in the second round. Hines advanced to the final with a 6.92 by defeating Angie Smith in the semifinals.

Underdahl may not have made the Countdown to 1 playoffs, but the Forest Lake, Minn., hero showed the partial homestate crowd what his Suzuki Extended Care machine was capable of, racing past Craig Treble, Joe DeSantis, and Mike Berry with a pair of six-second runs and a 7.03 in the semi’s. The fact that DeSantis and Berry were among Underdahl’s late-round conquests bore out the upset-laden nature of the eliminator as three of the four semifinalists had not won a Wally in their careers.

In Lucas Oil action, Frank Manzo and Rick Johnson, who scored respective wins in Alcohol Funny Car and Super Stock at the inaugural Brainerd event back in 1982, reached the winner’s circle again. Manzo, the defending world and event champ beat Tom Carter this year for his 90th career victory, while Rick Johnson beat reigning world champ Jimmy DeFrank Jr.

Alcohol Dragster honors went to Chris Demke, who defeated Duane Shields, while Dan Fletcher collected career win No. 68 in Stock, defeating Ben Line, brother of Pro Stock ace Jason Line. Comp gold went home with points leader Al Ackerman, who defeated Lou Ficco Jr. for his second win this season.

Former world champ Gary Stinnett beat Topeka winner Dustin Long in a double breakout final in Super Comp; Lance Trujillo scored his first career win in Super Gas, turning back Stan Moulzolf in the final round; and Adam Fricke took Pro Stock Snowmobile honors over Louie Wirbel.
 
Related stories:
Saturday: Final fields set, Countdown berths earned in Brainerd
Friday: Bernstein, Force Hood, Johnson, Hines tops in Brainerd

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Race Results 8-14-2010

August 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Latest News, Race Results

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TEXAS MOTORPLEX
Ennis, Texas (Aug. 14)

Super Pro
W: Austin Williams (’08 TNT) – 8.892, 155.09 (8.90 dial).
R/U: Kyle Copeland (’96 Undercover) – 7.545, 177.69 (7.56 dial).
Semi’s: Jeff Lopez; Shane Cox.

Pro
W: David Jones (’72 Nova) – 6.109, 112.02 (6.10 dial).
R/U: Dylan Lee (’05 Racecraft) – 5.019, 137.44 (5.02 dial).
Semi’s: Joe Peters; Tim Lee.

Quick 16
W: Gerald Haning (’10 Dragster) – 4.454, 155.84 (4.45 dial).
R/U: Shane Cox (’67 Camaro) – 5.522, 125.26 (5.51 dial).
Semi’s: Dylan Lee; Chad Broom.

No Electronics 1/4
W: Jake Howard (’76 Trans Am) – 10.600, 114.73 (10.55 dial).
R/U: Jimmy Falkenbach (’89 S-10) – 10.109, 127.51 (10.13 dial).
Semi’s: Max McGlothin.

No Electronics 1/8
W: Jake Howard (’76 Trans Am) – 6.681, 100.10 (6.69 dial).
R/U: Tim Baker (’68 Dart) – 6.804, 101.04 (6.83 dial).
Semi’s: Tommy Jenkins; LA Kahanek.

Extreme Street
W: Holly Ward (’96 GMC truck) – 16.328, 82.44 (16.34 dial).
R/U: Mike Moore (’99 Mustang) – 14.138, 98.10 (14.15 dial).
Semi’s: Daniel Flores.

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ADRL INKS DEAL WITH MAVTV!!!

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The American Drag Racing League (ADRL) has an extensive new television agreement with MAVTV, a national television network that caters to a motorsports audience.

The agreement calls for 13 one-hour shows on the high-definition network, giving the ADRL a national television presence for all of its 2010 events. The television show will provide highlights, interviews and coverage of the 2010 ADRL Racing Series.

MAVTV is currently available in more than 35 million homes and is growing at a rapid rate. It features a lineup of thrill-seeking programming that targets a male audience, ages 18-to-54.

“We are thrilled to have a MAVTV as a media partner,” ADRL Executive Vice President Jeff Fortune said. “They expressed great interest in supporting the ADRL and our racers with a primetime slot, additional airings and promotional campaigns.

undefined“The agreement we have worked out is a tremendous package for us as well as MAVTV. They also appreciate the audience and exposure that we will provide for them with our fans.”

The 1-hour broadcasts will begin on Thursday, September 2 and continue for 13 weeks.  In addition, MAVTV will air multiple viewings of each broadcast and will heavily feature the ADRL in its on-air and online promotions. The series will focus on each race of the 2010 points season beginning with the ADRL LenMar Motorsports World Finals V from Ennis, TX.

“We are extremely impressed by the success of the ADRL and feel that MAVTV is an excellent outlet to showcase the excitement of the ADRL racers and events. Newave TV presented some exciting plans for the production of the ADRL and we can’t wait to introduce it to our audience,” MAVTV President and COO Steve Smith said.

The burgeoning network will also be at the final four ADRL events of the 2010 season, promoting its exciting programming and partnership with the ADRL.

This television partnership with MAVTV also supports the ADRL’s other media efforts.

“Television has a huge place in our growth, which makes MAVTV and Newave incredibly important to the future of the ADRL, and a great complement to everything we do in print, online and through our ticket distribution program,” Fortune said.

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ALL ABOUT DRAW

August 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Latest News

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Aug. 6, 2010 – As the Texas Motorplex prepares for the 25th anniversary O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 23-26, excitement behind one of the most popular events at the race track is building. DRAW, a drag racing charity that provides financial and emotional support to qualified individuals involved in a drag racing accident at a track, will be hosting its annual auction on Saturday, Sept. 25. The auction benefits racers who are injured and has become a time-honored tradition at the Motorplex. The auction, open to the public, will be held in the Champion’s Club and is vitally important: From 1985 through December 2009, DRAW provided $3,534,317 in financial assistance to 695 racing families in all categories.  Since January 1, 2010, DRAW has provided $149,087 in aid and death benefits to drivers, crew members or their families. 

DRAW is a volunteer organization. Office work is done from the homes and businesses of the volunteers. Anyone, including racers, fans, sponsors, manufacturers, team owners, track owners and more, can become involved in DRAW. As with any organization, DRAW is only as strong as the people who support it.

DRAW was officially organized following a successful fundraiser in 1984 for Shirley Muldowney. Members of the drag racing community who handled the recovery fund were very encouraged by the support of racers and fans who generously donated. Then came the question, “If we can help one racer, why not organize our efforts to help all injured drag racers?” As a result, in 1985, DRAW, a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization was created to provide financial and/or emotional support to qualified individuals involved in a drag racing incident at a track. DRAW reaches out to every drag racing category and all drag racing sanctioning bodies.

The originators of DRAW were women, thus the name Drag Racing Association of Women. A few years after DRAW’s inception, membership was opened to men and children, as well. All members have equal privileges.  The governing body of DRAW is a 12-member Board of Trustees.  Half of the Board is appointed each winter to serve a two-year term.

Membership in DRAW is open to anyone – male or female – there is no age restriction. The dues are $30.00 per year for an individual membership.  A Family Membership for two or more family members is $50.00 per year.  A member receives a DRAW membership card, decal and the monthly newsletter, DRAWing Attention. 

As DRAW began to grow, the governing Board of Trustees became aware of the need for leadership at regional levels and responded by geographically dividing the United States and Canada. Today, there are seven different areas, each guided by a DRAW Area Coordinator. They are:
• AREA 1 – CT, DC, DE,MA,MD,ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VA, VT,  WV;  Canada – NFLD, PEI, NS, NB, E. ONT, QUE;
• AREA 2 – AL, FL, GA, PR, NC, SC, TN;
• AREA 3 – EAST – KY,MI, OH; Canada – SW,W. ONT;
• AREA 3 -WEST – IL, IN;WI;
• AREA 4 – AR, LA, Mexico, NM,MS, OK, TN, TX;
• AREA 5 – EAST – IA, KS,MN,MO,WI;
• AREA 5 -WEST – CO, NE, ND, SD,WY; Canada – MAN;
• AREA 6 – AK, ID,MT, OR,WA; Canada – SASK, ALTA, BC;
• AREA 7 – AZ, CA, HI, NV, UT, Mexico.

The appointment of Coordinators for DRAW’s seven areas was followed with the introduction of Track Representatives. Track Representatives work with their appointed track to promote DRAW on a local level and provide a convenient communication link between their track and DRAW.  Together, Track Reps and Coordinators also keep DRAW’s Board informed of happenings in their area.  Anyone interested in becoming a Track Rep. should contact their Area Coordinator.

At every NHRA national event, you can find DRAW’s National Event Booth on Manufacturers’ Midway at the K & N and Lincoln Welding Display.  From this booth, clothing, jewelry, decals, pins, qualifying and ladder sheets, memberships, divisional merchandise, etc. are sold.

Each of DRAW’s seven areas also maintains a DRAW booth for use at local and division races or special events.

Fundraising is a very important DRAW activity. Two major fundraisers on the NHRA circuit are the DRAW Live and Silent Auction which is held during the spring race at Route 66 in Joliet, IL and the DRAW Annual Auction Featuring Memorabilia in Ennis, TX. An annual golf tournament is held in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday of the Gatornationals. Area Coordinators and Track Representatives also work together on fundraisers at local and division events.

Visitors to DRAW’s web site, www.drawonline.org, will find information on upcoming DRAW activities, injured racer spotlights, the latest news on DRAW, photos and DRAW Merchandise Catalog.

One activity all DRAW members are encouraged to participate in is sending cards and letters to the racers listed in our monthly newsletter.

“Because We Care” is DRAW’s motto. It is through the support of caring and concerned people involved in drag racing that DRAW is able to provide “Fast Help for Fast Friends.” If you have questions, need more information, would like to volunteer or need to report an injury or incident, please contact DRAW, 4 Hance Drive, Charleston, IL 61920 – Telephone 217.345.6537 – E-Mail rnoble@consolidated.net – Fax 281.242.2349.  Check out DRAW’s web site at www.drawonline.org.
FOUNDERS

Gere Amato                                       Etta Glidden
Penny Beck                                        Diane Hedrick
Holly Beadle                                      Linda McCulloch
Laura Earwood                                 Lynn Prudhomme
Pat Garlits                                           Janie Oswald
PAST PRESIDENTS

Holly Beadle                                     Susan Epler
Janie Oswald                                    Edie Mountjoy
Lynn Prudhome                             Susan Epler
Debbie King                                      Beth Hyatt
Sarah McLemore                            Carol Gibbs
Rosalee Noble                                  Beth Hyatt

CURRENT OFFICERS

President – Beth Hyatt
Vice President – Carol Gibbs
Secretary – Ashley Yost
Treasurer – Vicki Aswege
Fund Raising Chairman – Rosalee Noble

CURRENT AREA COODINATORS

Area 1 – Pat Shaeffer
Area 2 – Currently Seeking a Coordinator
Area 3 – East – Sandie Wojnowski
Area 3 – West – Theresa Tilford
Area 4 – Sara McLemore
Area 5 – Deb Pearson
Area – 6 – Darlene Evans
Area – 7 – Lori Link

AWARD RECEIVED BY DRAW

Car Draft’s Person of the Year
Blaine Johnson Award
NHRA in Community Charity

MAJOR FUND RAISING ACTIVITIES

DRAW Booth at all NHRA Events
Golf Tournament – Gainesville, FL
Return Mailing Label Program
Auction at Route 66, Joliet, IL
Auction at Texas Motorplex, Ennis, TX
Christmas Card Program
DRAW

DRAW’s mission is to provide “Fast Help for Fast Friends.”

DRAW is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization created to provide financial support to drivers and crew members injured in a drag racing accident at a track.

DRAW has continued to provide financial as well as emotional assistance since inception in 1985.  Through December 2009, DRAW has provided $3,534,317.00 in financial assistance to 695 families in every racing category and all drag racing sanctioning bodies.  Since January 1, 2010, DRAW has provided $149,087 in aid and death benefits to drivers, crew members or their families. 
DRAW reaches out to every drag racing category and all drag racing sanctioning bodies.

DRAW is a volunteer organization.  Office work is done from the homes and businesses of the volunteers.  Anyone, including racers, team owners, sponsors, track owners, manufacturers, fans, etc. can become involved in DRAW.

DRAW’s strong existence is due to the generous participation of volunteers and contributors who loyally support them.

DRAW’s executive leadership is comprised of a 12 member Board of Trustees appointed to serve for a 2-year term.  Board members make critical decisions throughout the year regarding policies, procedures, financial assistance, fund raising, volunteer assignments and more.

DRAW’s local leadership is represented by the appointment of Track Representatives by Area Coordinators.  Track Representatives work with their appointed track to recruit DRAW volunteers.  The most important job of a Track Rep. is to report injuries to their Area Coordinator.  Together Track Reps. and Coordinators keep DRAW informed of happenings in their area.

DRAW’s attracts thousands of drag racing fans to their booth where they can purchase DRAW clothing, jewelry, decals, pins, earplugs, event ladder sheets, special merchandise, divisional merchandise, memberships and more. 

DRAW’s fund raising is the essential activity that enables DRAW to continue to provide financial assistance to those involved in drag racing accidents.  DRAW’s biggest fundraisers are:

DRAW Booth at all NHRA Events
DRAW Golf Tournament – Gainesville, FL
DRAW Return Mailing Label Program
DRAW Auction at Route 66, Joliet, IL
DRAW Auction at Texas Motorplex, Ennis, TX
DRAW Christmas Card Program

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Super Chevy magazine on newsstands NOW!

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 Attention Chevy Fans! The Super Chevy Magazine with the coverage of Super Chevy Show held at the Texas Motorplex in May is on newsstands NOW!   The coverage includes the car show, drag race, autocross, the Saturday morning car show cruise and results from the car show and drag race.  You can check out more info at www.superchevy.com.

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