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
ENNIS, Texas – Every time Tony Schumacher enters the gates of the famed Texas Motorplex a bit of a nostalgic feeling must sweep over his body.
All of the great drivers vividly remember their first time.
For Schumacher, his first career NHRA victory came at the sport’s first super track, during a wild and wacky 1999 season. After four runner-up finishes in ’99, and four straight runner-up finishes spread out over the three previous seasons, Schumacher must’ve been wondering if he was ever going to break through and finally get the job done.
But that lone victory in ’99, a gritty win over two-time Top Fuel world champ Scott Kalitta, provided all the momentum that the second-generation racer needed to go on and close the doors on his first series championship crown.
He had one race victory and one world championship trophy. Life was good.
At the time, he probably didn’t realize that his ’99 season was actually the launching pad for what has turned out to be a very special drag racing career. Since then, his trophy collection has grown. A lot.
As he prepares for the 24th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, Sept. 24-27 at the legendary dragstrip located just south of metropolitan Dallas, Schumacher is in position to earn another victory and continue to build upon his legacy as the greatest Top Fuel driver in the history of the sport.
The six-time world champ recently put the finishing touches on his 60th career victory, which just happened to be his record eighth title at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. After winning the last five world championships in a variety of ways, including a couple at the last instant in dramatic fashion, Schumacher is ready for another epic run in the Countdown to 1, NHRA’s championship playoffs. The race is the second of six events in the playoffs and the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Chris Rivas (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners of the event, which will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD.
With competitors like regular season winner Antron Brown and two-time world champ Larry Dixon — both of whom earned five victories during the season — in the hunt for the championship, along with Charlotte winner and new points leader Cory McCleanthan, and a few hungry young racers like Brandon Bernstein, Morgan Lucas, Charlotte runner-up Shawn Langdon and Spencer Massey pressing hard as well, Schumacher knows that he’s in for a fight like no other.
“We are in the middle of a phenomenal battle that at the end of the year, whoever wins the championship is going to be able to stand there with a trophy and know that they earned it,” Schumacher said, “because it is truly going to be a battle.”
Schumacher, who drives the U.S. Army dragster, considers himself to be battle-tested. Over the years he has thrilled drag racing fans by pulling off amazing last-second performances to win races and championships. His recent Indy win showcased a little bit of that magic. For Schumacher, the actual winning is secondary to the thrill of the chase.
“I think the championship, all the accolades and the great stuff you get, there’s nothing that compares to just being able to enjoy those big moments, because if you can’t even recognize them, it’s hard to win them,” said Schumacher, who is currently tied for second in the point standings after a semifinal finish at the playoff opener. “And as Antron and all of these guys will have to figure out, you have to understand that it’s a big moment and you have to prepare for it. We are down to some immensely huge races and just a number of big moments coming up.”
With a new crew chief in Mike Green and a whole new cast of teammates tuning his dragster, Schumacher, who was written off early in the season by many who believed without tuning wizard Alan Johnson in his stable he would be a back-of-the-pack contender, feels like he has something to prove this postseason.
“It’s a matter of being able to suck it up, dig deep at the right time and smile while you do it,” Schumacher said. “There’s nothing like those big moments. I have been fortunate to have so many huge bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, full-count moments. Some of the guys are going to be able to handle the weight of the world on them… and some of them aren’t.”
In Funny Car the favorites include Tony Pedregon, who opened the playoffs as the top seed and continues to lead after Charlotte, followed by season-wins leader Ron Capps and Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner Ashley Force Hood. Funny Car icon John Force has won seven times at the Motorplex in his career and has to be considered one of the drivers to beat. Of the remaining Countdown to 1 participants, Del Worsham, Charlotte winner Robert Hight and Wilkerson are all past winners at the Motorplex.
Jeg Coughlin started the playoffs as the top seed in Pro Stock in his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt, and his only Motorplex win came in 2002. However, Mike Edwards quickly claimed the series lead with a victory in Charlotte, aided by a solid performance in qualifying at that race which, by taking advantage of NHRA’s new qualifying bonus point system, increased his lead to 56 over second place Coughlin. Others to watch in the 200 mph category include the Summit Racing Pontiac GXP team of Jason Line and Greg Anderson. Defending Dallas winner Stanfield has posted back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and NHRA Carolinas Nationals.
There will be a new Motorplex winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle. As this press release is issued, none of the past two-wheel category winners are entered in the event. Those riders who have the best chance of pulling it off include regular season champ and defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and his teammate Andrew Hines, a three-time world champ. Together the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates held down the top two spots in the final regular season standings. Charlotte winner Hector Arana, who won three races during the regular season, and two-time winner Craig Treble, also will be riders to watch in the playoffs.
SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions for the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 and 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27.
TICKETS: Tickets are available for the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec by calling (800) 668-6775, or via the Web at www.texasmotorplex.com.
ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 12:15 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 27. Later on Sunday, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will feature NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute pre-race show, at 11 a.m. (ET), and three hours of eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET).
LUCAS OIL SERIES: The O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec also will feature competition in seven categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Series earn their racing stripes. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24. Lucas Oil Series eliminations begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 25.
ON THE WEB: For complete online coverage of the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, please visit www.nhra.com.
* * *
O’REILLY SUPER START BATTERIES NHRA FALL NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 24th annual O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec, the 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the second of six races in the Countdown to 1. The top 10 drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, 7500 W. Hwy. 287, Ennis, Texas. Follow I-45 or I-35E to Hwy 287, then follow 287 to the track.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 24-27
SCHEDULE: THURSDAY, Sept. 24 - Sportsman qualifying begins at 10 a.m.
FRIDAY, Sept. 25 - Sportsman eliminations begins at 8:30 a.m.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 2 and 4:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, Sept. 26 – Sportsman eliminations begin at 8 a.m.
PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 27 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
FINAL ELIMINATIONS begin at 11 a.m.
TELEVISION: Sunday, Sept. 27, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 12:15 a.m. (ET)
Sunday, Sept. 27, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will telecast NHRA Race Day at 11 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, Sept. 27, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise three hours of final eliminations at 7 p.m. (ET).
SATELLITE: Friday, Sept. 25, 8 – 8:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 6 K (11820 MHz, horizontal)
(Analog feed) Saturday, Sept. 26, 7:30 – 8 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 6 K (11820 MHz, horizontal)
Sunday, Sept. 27, 7 – 7:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 15 / Transponder 6 K (11820 MHz, horizontal)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.
WINNERS: J.R. Todd, Top Fuel; Tim Wilkerson, Funny Car; Greg Stanfield, Pro Stock; Chris Rivas, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
TRACK Top Fuel - 3.820 seconds by Larry Dixon, Sept. ’08; 315.19 mph by Brandon Bernstein, Sept. ’08
RECORDS: Funny Car - 4.063 seconds by Robert Hight, Sept. ’08; 304.67 mph by Melanie Troxel, Sept. ’08
Pro Stock - 6.631 seconds by Jeg Coughlin, Sept. ’08; 208.26 mph by Warren Johnson, Sept. ’08
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.970 seconds by Eddie Krawiec, Sept. ’08; 191.92 mph by Krawiec, Sept. ’08
(Top Fuel and Funny Car race distance is 1,000 feet; Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle race distance is 1,320 feet)
NATIONAL Top Fuel – 3.771 sec. by Tony Schumacher, Oct. ’08, Richmond, Va.; 319.22 mph by Antron Brown, Sept. ’09, Indianapolis
RECORDS: Funny Car – 4.023 sec. by Ron Capps, Feb. ’09, Chandler, Ariz.; 312.13 mph by Ashley Force Hood, April ’09, Atlanta
Pro Stock – 6.528 sec. by Greg Anderson, Feb. ’09, Pomona, Calif.; 212.03 mph by Mike Edwards, March ’09, Baytown, Texas
PS Motorcycle – 6.860 sec. by Andrew Hines, May ’09, Madison, Ill.; 197.45 mph by A. Hines, March ’05, Gainesville, Fla.
(Top Fuel and Funny Car race distance is 1,000 feet; Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle race distance is 1,320 feet)
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) MOTORPLEX (668-6775). Tickets also are available at texasmotorplex.com.
RESERVED SEATS – Thursday: Adult, $10; Youth (12 years and under), $5. Friday: Adult, $30-50; Youth (12 years and under), $5-22. Saturday: Adult, $32-60; Youth (12 years and under), $5-30. Sunday: Adult, $36-66; Youth (12 years and under), $5-33.
For the latest news releases, photos, logos, statistics and event information, please visit http://media.nhra.com
* * *
NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS
GLENDORA, Calif. — Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the second annual NHRA Carolinas Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., the 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the first of six races in the Countdown to 1, NHRA’s championship playoffs -
1. Cory McClenathan, 2,162; 2. (tie) Antron Brown, 2,152; Tony Schumacher, 2,152; 4. Larry Dixon, 2,141; 5. Shawn Langdon, 2,113; 6. Brandon Bernstein, 2,098; 7. Spencer Massey, 2,076; 8. Morgan Lucas, 2,065; 9. Doug Kalitta, 2,042; 10. Clay Millican, 2,031.
1. Tony Pedregon, 2,148; 2. Ashley Force Hood, 2,147; 3. Robert Hight, 2,120; 4. Ron Capps, 2,115; 5. Bob Tasca III, 2,112; 6. Jack Beckman, 2,103; 7. Tim Wilkerson, 2,076; 8. John Force, 2,070; 9. Del Worsham, 2,053; 10. Mike Neff, 2,045.
1. Mike Edwards, 2,198; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 2,142; 3. (tie) Jason Line, 2,136; Greg Stanfield, 2,136; 5. Allen Johnson, 2,128; 6. Greg Anderson, 2,092; 7. Kurt Johnson, 2,079; 8. Johnny Gray, 2,053; 9. Ron Krisher, 2,040; 10. Rickie Jones, 2,020.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
1. Hector Arana, 2,194; 2. Eddie Krawiec, 2,185; 3. Andrew Hines, 2,125; 4. Douglas Horne, 2,101; 5. Karen Stoffer, 2,094; 6. Matt Smith, 2,093; 7. Shawn Gann, 2,092; 8. Michael Phillips, 2,085; 9. Craig Treble, 2,072; 10. Matt Guidera, 2,020.
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.”
Texas Motorplex and Time Warner Cable are giving away a FREE exclusive Texas Motorplex backpack to the next 200 ticket orders to the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, September 24-27, 2009. Limit one per order, while supplies last, so act fast to make sure you do not miss out!
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.