April 19, 2009 -
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Between them, Morgan Lucas and Eddie Krawiec had suffered a combined 13 Professional final-round losses without earning an NHRA Full Throttle Wally, but both were able to erase those deficits within a few minutes of one another in a dramatic pair of clashes in the final rounds of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. Lucas won in his sixth final and Krawiec in his seventh to highlight a rain-delayed day of racing. Jack Beckman joined them in the winner’s circle by preventing Ashley Force Hood from repeating her 2008 Funny Ca triumph here.
The race also has been a testament to perseverance as rain halted action several times, most notably a three-hour delay one pair into the first round of Pro Stock – which put the factory hot rods off the normal round cycle and led to a later completion of their competition — and a two-hour delay prior to the final rounds. Further bad weather after the first three Pro finals cancelled the balance of the day, and the Pro Stock final will be contested Monday morning between Jeg Coughlin and Mike Edwards.
A first-time Top Fuel winner was assured when former Alcohol Dragster pilots Lucas and Massey both reached the final round. Both cars had been flawless in the early rounds but both broke traction in the money round, After multiple throttle pedals, Lucas finally collected his first Top Fuel trophy, 5.23 at 162 mph to Massey’s 5.41 at 145 mph.
“This is probably one of the most exciting moments of my life, if not the most exciting,” said Lucas. “I’ve had the same crew for the past couple of years and the guys have really paid a lot of dues to get to this point. It’s the first final we’ve been in since 2005. I don’t even know how to talk right now I’m so excited, to be honest with you. This whole thing was what it’s about, and it’s what I’ve dreamedabout for years. I was in the car seat-belted in thinking about this and dreaming about it. The fact that I got to race a good friend like Spencer really makes it better. If it was Shawn [Langdon], I probably would have liked it a little bit more because he’s my teammate, but that’s a selfish prerogative.
“It’s huge to race against these guys, and the class of the field is getting younger every year. It’s getting more fun and exciting. I can’t wait to go to the next race now, and there were a lot of times when I’d been dreading going to the next race because of the car I’ve had. I think we’ve made a lot of progress in the past year and I think Jimmy Walsh has been a good addition to the team. What I think is most important is that we have two cars and one big team and we’re all working toward the same goal. Because of what Geico Powersports and Lucas Oil are doing for us, we get to have two cars out here. This is just one of the best days of my life and tomorrow I’ll probably be in a lot of pain thinking about it.”
Lucas, who had earned 10 Alcohol Dragster victories in his career, reached his first Top Fuel final since the 2005 Denver event by working his Jimmy Walsh-wrenched GEICO Powersports rail past Joe Hartley, Bob Vandergriff Jr., and Cory McClenathan, the last two with back-to-back 3.87s; his 3.87 to 3.88 victory over former Atlanta winner McClenathan was by a scant .002-second.
Massey, a three-time TAD winner who had won this race the last two seasons in Alcohol Dragster while driving for veteran Gene Snow, had won just one round in his rookie season entering the event, but reached his third straight Atlanta final round with a trio of runs between 3.85 and 3.89, powering his Don Bender- and Todd Smith-tuned Don Prudhomme Racing/U.S. Smokeless dragster past bump qualifier Troy Buff, fellow rookie Shawn Langdon, and reigning season champ Tony Schumacher in the semifinals. Massey’s victory over Schumacher came on a 3.86 to 3.84 holeshot and kept Schumacher’s U.S. Army team winless at this event, one of the few at which the class’ winningest driver has not triumphed.
As was the case in Top Fuel, a first-time winner was assured in Pro Stock Motorcycle when Krawiec, who won the season championship last year without capturing a single event winner, and NHRA class rookie Doug Horne both reached the final round. Krawiec got his long awaited first win in his seventh final, defeating Horne, 6.90, 192.91 to 6.94, 191.13.
“This is something that I was waiting for,” said Krawiec, who moved to fourth place in the standings, five points ahead of Horne. “To finally get my first Wally and to put it on my mantel next to my big championship trophy is a pretty big deal,” said Krawiec. “This is an opportunity that I’m grateful to have, and I’m just glad to be out there racing.
“My main focus was just to go out there and make another lap [in the final]. That’s something that I learned mid-season last year, that I took that off my back, not to go out there. And whatever happens, happens. That’s my mentality now going out there. I didn’t put any undue pressure on me. It was just go out there and make a good clean straight run and hopefully your win light turns on.”
Krawiec, who had qualified his Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley No. 2, bookended a second-round victory over Matt Guidera with a pair of easy wins as LE Tonglet was a no-show in round one and national record holder Matt Smith’s NitroFish Suzuki broke against him in the semifinals; this is the second straight event in which Smith has bowed out in the semifinals due to breakage.
Horne, who qualified in his NHRA debut in Gainesville, then reached the final round in Houston in just his second event, continues to amaze his new peers as he made it two final-round appearances in three starts aboard his Buell by besting Michael Phillips, 2007 event winner Karen Stoffer, and Andrew Hines, the latter on a thrilling .009-second win on a semifinal holeshot, 6.95 to 6.94.
The Funny Car final round was a rematch of the Houston money round and the battle for second place in the standings, and this time Beckman was able to reverse the outcome when Force Hood’s Mustang faltered on the top end, Beckman got the win, the seventh of his career, 4.12, 303.43 to 4.15, 248.39.
“On paper, Ashley’s car had us whipped,” said Beckman. “That car’s been the class of the field for about eight or nine months. But anything can happen when you got eight thousand horsepower nitro in the tank, and this is such an awesome feeling. It’s not that you get pessimistic; it’s that you never know when you’ll make a final round with the field as tight as it is now. The other thing is we weren’t that good this weekend. But Johnny West, a lot like Don Garlits, if you give him rounds to tune off of on Sunday he gets better every single run.
“A trophy is a trophy, and 10 years from now you might not know necessarily who you beat for it, but when you’ve had a day like today where you’ve beat four awesome opponents — the three John Force Racing cars and Tim Wilkerson — it makes today feel a lot more special.”
Beckman reached his 14th career final round in Funny Car with his Johnny West-tuned Valvoline/MTS Charger by taking down half of the John Force Racing team – Robert Hight and John Force – in the first two rounds and Tim Wilkerson in the semifinals, though his 4-teen performances were solidly behind Force Hood’s 4.0-second pace and gave up lane choice. He completed his JFR trifecta in the final round for his first win since the 2008 event in Charlotte.
Atlanta Dragway already had provided a career’s worth of highlights for Force Hood. It was at this event last year where she scored her historic first win – becoming the first woman to win in Funny Car – and at this event two years ago where she first raced – and beat – her famous father head to head. This year she started her run to the final round from the No. 1 qualifying spot with a 4.073, and raced her Dean Antonelli- and Ron Douglas-tuned Castrol GTX Mustang past Del Worsham, teammate Mike Neff, and former John Force Racing pilot Tony Pedregon with a bracket-like series of passes — 4.078, 4.082, and 4.079 — to reach the seventh final round of her Pro career. Her 311.41-mph charge in the first round against Worsham was the fastest Funny Car speed in the 1,000-foot era, but she bettered it a round later with a 312.13-mph blast.
After rain halted Pro Stock after just one pair in the first round, they were scheduled to complete their final later in the day, but rain returned after the other three Pro finals had been completed, forcing them to wait an additional day.
Coughlin’s Jegs.com Cobalt was bracket-car consistent in working its way to the final, knocking off passes of 6.648, 6.648, and a 6.636 in the semifinals to defeat low qualifier Greg Anderson’s 6.632 on a holeshot by just .006-second to reach his 90th career final, 72 of which have come in Pro Stock.
Edwards, who reached the final round at the season opener in Pomona and three times already this season has been the No. 1 qualifier, reached his 31st career Pro Stock final by shifting his Young Life/Penhall GXP past red-lighting Steve Spiess, Allen Johnson, and Summit-backed Jason Line with a trio of low 6.6-second passes.
Pro Stock and the balance of Sportsman racing will begin Monday at 9 a.m. The Pro Stock final round will be shown Monday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
Saturday: Massey gets first pole; Force Hood, Anderson, Hines also lead Atlanta fields
Friday: Defending champs Force Hood, Hines lead Friday qualifying in Atlanta
Fast Friday – Test & Tune on April 17 Canceled
Tonight’s Fast Friday April 17, 2009 has been canceled due to the rain storms in the forecast for Ennis, Tx.
Please joins us for the next Fast Friday – Test & Tune on Friday Night May 1, 2009.
Fast Friday – Test & Tune – May 1, 2009
Gates open 6:00pm
Racing 7:00pm – Midnight
All vehicles are welcome to come Test & Tune
All NHRA Rules apply and will be enforced
$15.00 to Race
$10.00 to Watch
12 & Under are FREE
HAMSTRA, HALSEY, GLIDDEN, PROPHIT AND GAHM WINNERS AT SOUTH GEORGIA MOTORSPORTS PARK
CECIL, Ga. – Upset victories, first time winners, record-breaking performances and another overflow, record-setting crowd highlighted the ADRL Hardee’s Georgia Drags at South Georgia Motorsports Park.
Jason Hamstra (Pro Extreme), Jim Halsey (Pro Nitrous), Billy Glidden (Flowmaster Extreme 10.5), Matt Prophit (Pro Extreme Motorcycle) and Brian Gahm (Extreme Pro Stock) were winners in their respective classes.
It was the first career ADRL victory for Hamstra, Prophit and Gahm.
A complete wrap up follows.
CECIL, Ga. – Final round results for the ADRL Hardee’s Georgia Drags V at South Georgia Motorsports Park, round two of the ten race National Guard ADRL tour.
Pro Extreme – Jason Hamstra (3.801 seconds, 197.45 mph) def. Jason Scruggs (5.128 – 91.73)
Pro Nitrous – Jim Halsey (3.9201 – 191.00) def. Steve Vick (3.953 – 187.57)
Flowmaster Extreme 10.5 – Billy Glidden (4.091 – 176.03) def. Spiro Pappas (4.161 – 178.80)
Pro Extreme Motorcycle – Matt Prophit (4.238 – 170.39) def. Charlie Prophit (11.476 – 34.14)
Extreme Pro Stock – Brian Gahm (4.085 – 177.09) def. Cary Goforth (4.136 – 175.18)
JDRL JR DRAGSTER CHALLENGE
TOP ELIMINATOR: 13 & OLDER (7.90 Max ET)
MODIFIED: 10-12 YRS OLD (8.90 Max ET)
SPORTSMAN: 8-9 YRS OLD (12.90 Max ET)
WIN & R/U: Trophy & Savings Bond
**Signup for JR Dragster points to be eligible to earn a space on the Texas Motorplex JDRL Western Conference Team. Points signup costs $20.00. Click here to download a 2009 JR Dragster Points Signup Form. **
O’Reilly Bracket Racing Series Race Info & Payout
WIN: $1,200, R/U: $600, SEMI: $200, ¼’S: $100, ENTRY $70
**PRO – 1/8th Mile
WIN: $950, R/U: $450, SEMI: $150, ¼’S: $60, ENTRY $60
**NO ELECTRONICS – 1/4th Mile
**QUICK 16 – 1/8th Mile NEW
WIN: $500, R/U: $300, SEMI: $65, ENTRY $70
**Signup for points to be eligible to earn a space on the Texas Motorplex Summit ET Bracket Finals Team. Points signup costs $20.00 per class. Click here to download a 2009 Points Signup Form. **
WIN & R/U: TROPHY, ENTRY: $15
(ALL PRICES INCLUDE PIT PASS)
YOUTH (6-15): $5.00
CHILDREN UNDER 6 ARE FREE.
Gates open at 8:00am
Jr Dragster Time Trials begin at 9:00am
O’Reilly Bracket Racing Time Trials begin at 3:00pm
**SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE DUE TO WEATHER, CAR COUNTS AND RACING CONDITIONS. **
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Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) were the big winners at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. The win is Schumacher’s second straight, Capps’ third this year, and Coughlin’s second of 2009.
The three now lead the points in their respective categories. Schumacher took over the Top Fuel points lead with his final-round victory against Brandon Bernstein and now fronts former pack leader Antron Brown, 412 to 394. Capps has led the points all year, and he just added to his lead when he defeated teammate and new second-place driver Matt Hagan; Capps has a 106-point advantage, the biggest lead in any class. Like Schumacher, Coughlin took over the points lead when he won the final round. Coughlin trailed then-leader Jason Line by two points entering his final-round bout with Greg Stanfield and now leads Line by 18.
The Top Fuel final was a high-stakes, winner-takes-all match befitting of Las Vegas. Schumacher and Bernstein both entered the final five points or fewer behind Brown in the standings, meaning the winner would not only take the event title but the points lead as well. In addition, both had been running strong and steady all day, recording the two quickest times of eliminations, a 3.871 by Bernstein in round one and the 3.874 that Schumacher put on the boards to win the final round. The win is the 58th of Schumacher’s career and his fifth at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (his second at the spring event).
“Most of the guys on this team have not won two races in a row, so that was great for them, and they did it today because I didn’t drive flawlessly,” said Schumacher, who was appearing in his 90th final. “I did a good job of keeping it straight and all that stuff, but I didn’t drive as well as I did last week, period. Last week, I had a pretty special week, and this week, it was the team. They did a heck of a job. The car ran right down the track every time.
“It was a perfect, perfect run in the final. The final was a big round. He’s gone a whole year without winning a race, and he’s looking for a sponsor, so you know he’s going to dig deep. We weren’t out there just running an average guy. He’s an outstanding driver, and they’re a great race team, so you’ve got to go up there and do your job.”
Schumacher lived in the three-second zone, the only driver to record threes in all rounds of competition. He began with a 3.887 that ended Terry Haddock’s day, then followed with a pair of 3.93s in wins against teammate Cory McClenathan and top qualifier Shawn Langdon.
After recording the 3.871 that stood as low e.t. of the weekend to best Spencer Massey, Bernstein ran low e.t. of the second round, 3.927, to defeat Larry Dixon. Bernstein had a hiccup in the semi’s when his engine blew at the top end, but he was still able to beat Brown to set up the monster final, his 28th, with Schumacher.
Capps made a nice rebound after back-to-back first-round losses in Gainesville and Houston. Appearing in his third final this year, Capps kept his season final-round record perfect when he ran a 4.182 to defeat teammate Hagan. Capps now has 28 Pro wins, 27 in Funny Car. This is his first win at the spring Las Vegas event, though he has won the fall event twice.
“I was asked several times by the media what was wrong the last two races, and I just never worried,” said Capps. “ ‘Ace’ [crew chief Ed McCulloch] needed to get in his comfort zone. You’ll find a lot of teams seem like they may be struggling here the last couple of races, but with four test days for the whole year, there are a lot of teams, including us, testing stuff that you have to try in qualifying once you get in the show and even race day, believe it or not. So it’s tough to gauge how people are really doing. ‘Ace’ was trying things.
“We have found that just trying to approach the season like a NASCAR team and saying, ‘Okay as long as we’re in the Countdown and in the top 10’ and trying to focus and peak at the right time doesn’t work. So we stepped it up, and ‘Ace’ is trying to rip their throats out every single run. You can’t run these cars anymore and be halfway safe and just look to go down the track. You can’t do it. You have to step all over these things with the tune-up, and the driver has to be on their game. It’s days like this where it’s fun. It sounds cliché, but we’re just focusing on one round at a time, one race at a time.”
Capps’ march to the final began with a win against Brian Thiel. He then defeated a pair of John Force Racing drivers, Mike Neff and Robert Hight, to advance to the 57th final of his career.
In his ninth NHRA start, rookie of the year candidate Hagan advanced to his first final. Hagan was solid in the first three rounds. He ran a 4.144 to defeat Bob Bode in round one, then posted a 4.215 to oust teammate Jack Beckman. In the semi’s, Hagan powered to a 4.200 to trailer defending world champ Cruz Pedregon. The run gave him lane choice for the final by .001-second over Capps.
The Pro Stock final was a repeat of the final at the fall event here last year: Coughlin took on Stanfield, and the end result was the same with Coughlin coming out on top when Stanfield fouled out. Stanfield turned on the red by .021-second, handing the win to Coughlin. Coughlin likely would have been tough to beat, though, running a 6.715. Coughlin now has 43 Pro Stock wins, five of which have been in Las Vegas (three at this event).
“We’d love nothing more than to come out of Indy in first place in the Countdown with the extra bonus points that come with being No. 1, but there are a lot of races between here and there,” said Coughlin. “We had a tough day. This is the most consistent our car has been, and that was our goal coming into here. We changed a lot of stuff in the suspension and with the car to try and get a more consistent race car. That’s what’s been plaguing us since the end of last year. The name of the game is continue to better yourself and not make mistakes, and that’s what we were doing — shooting ourselves in the foot — and that’s what was hurting us.”
Coughlin’s day got off to an odd start when rubber lodged in the timing system on opponent Kurt Johnson’s side inadvertently timed out Johnson, forcing a rerun. When the duo returned about 25 minutes later, Johnson went red, and Coughlin sailed through for the win.
“I’m used to going multiple rounds each day with bracket racing, but the team isn’t,” said Coughlin of the added run today. “We just kind of had a hurry-up offense all day. Really, we weren’t able to catch our breath until right before the final. NHRA did a great job of working with the situation and getting us delayed in the program enough to let us get prepared properly.”
Though a little rushed from that point, the rest of the day pretty much went normally for Coughlin. The reigning world champion got the nod in round two when top qualifier Mike Edwards red-lighted, and he advanced to his 71st Pro Stock final when he defeated Line in the semi’s.
Stanfield has now appeared in three straight finals at The Strip; he lost to Line at this event last year and Coughlin in the fall. He defeated Dave Beckley in the opening frame, then drove around Warren Johnson and Greg Anderson to advance to his 18th Pro final round.
In Lucas Oil Sportsman action, Jody Lang completed the rare double, winning Super Stock and Stock. Joining Lang in the Sportsman winner’s circle were Justin Davis (Top Alcohol Dragster), Tony Bartone (Top Alcohol Funny Car), Dan Fletcher (Comp), Michael Miller (Super Comp), Ted Seipel (Super Gas), and Tim Landis (Super Street).
Saturday: Langdon grabs first pole; T. Pedregon, Edwards also on top
Friday: Bode, Anderson lead provisional fields on shortened opening day in Las Vegas