NHRA: Pomona Top Fuel action will include full field, lots of new plotlines, drama

January 14, 2009 by  
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by Phil Burgess, NHRA.com



Projected 2009 Winternationals
Top Fuel entrants

Tony Schumacher
Larry Dixon
Brandon Bernstein
Cory McClenathan
Antron Brown
Spencer Massey
Clay Millican
Doug Kalitta
Morgan Lucas
Second Lucas car
David Baca
Joe Hartley
Troy Buff
Mike Strasburg
Arley Langlo
Steve Chrisman
Andy Carter
Urs Erbacher

The Top Fuel field that’s assembling for the upcoming Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 5-8 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, will be deep in number and rich in drama and diversity as the “kings of the Sport” prepare to kick off the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season. In fact, based on entries received and discussions with teams, more Top Fuel cars will be at this year’s season opener than at last year’s lid-lifter.

There’s no doubt that the Top Fuel landscape will be much different than last year as the 2008 Winternationals- and world-championship-winning dynamic duo of driver Tony Schumacher and tuner Alan Johnson parted company after their record-breaking campaign and now will be adversaries in the fuel dragster ranks. Add to that a mix of returning top talent, new players, and local favorites, and it’s clear that the Pomona Top Fuel show will be a memorable one.

Schumacher will begin his bid for a sixth straight and seventh overall Top Fuel title with a new crew chief, Mike Green, and Johnson will begin his quest for a ninth Top Fuel championship with a new driver, former world champ Larry Dixon, and the all-new Al-Anabi Racing team.

“It was a great honor to drive for Alan and that entire team for the last five years,” said Schumacher, “but both of us have new challenges to look forward to this season, and I can’t wait to get out there.”

Dixon, who finished second in points last year, had driven for legend Don Prudhomme since his debut in 1995 but bought out the remainder of his contract with Snake Racing during the winter and joined Johnson’s Al-Anabi team. The team will be led by rookie crew chief Jason McCulloch, who worked as Johnson’s assistant during his entire tenure with the U.S. Army team, so there no doubt will be fireworks each time these two teams pair off.

All eyes also will fall on Spencer Massey, the former Top Alcohol Dragster pilot who will replace Dixon in the U.S. Smokeless dragster. Massey qualified in his NHRA debut last season in Dallas in another car but will be under the microscope in Pomona as driver for former Winternationals winner Prudhomme, and there’s also sure to be a grudge match whenever Dixon and Massey line up alongside one another.

Cory McClenathan, runner-up to Schumacher at last year’s Winternationals, may have lost Green and Neal Strasbaugh to his teammate, but the third-place Fram team will be tuned by capable DSR crew chiefs Phil Shuler and Todd Okuhara as Cory Mac seeks to win his long-sought first world title.

, who also has come tantalizingly close to winning the championship, also will have a new tuner in Rob Flynn, who replaces the recently retired Tim and Kim Richards as crew chief on the Budweiser dragster. Bernstein, who got married in the off-season, picked up Flynn and assistant crew chief Mike Guger from the Caterpillar team, with which they scored second- and sixth-place finishes the last two seasons.

Brandon Bernstein will be seeking his first Winternationals Top Fuel win.

Brandon Bernstein

Antron Brown, who in his Top Fuel debut at this race last year was the No. 1 qualifier, returns to Pomona to kick off his second season in a fuel dragster with hopes to add to the two victories he scored in his inmpressive rookie season last year despite recent changes to the team ownership.

This also could be the year that Morgan Lucas steps to the front of the field as his team has landed backing from insurance company GEICO to help his bid to make the playoffs. A new driver for a second Lucas-backed team will be announced shortly.

Clay Millican and car owners Mark and Lauren Pickens’ newly formed MPE Motorsports team will kick off their first full season of NHRA competition at the Winternationals.

“Everybody on the team is coming back for this season,” said Millican. “We have a great new shop to work in, but I can’t wait to leave it and go to the racetrack. Lance [Larsen, crew chief] went to Australia and helped a team a week after Pomona, and he came back with some new ideas about how to make our car quicker to 60 feet. Our numbers after that were near the top of the chart, so I’m looking forward to stepping on the gas.”

The father-son team of Allen and Joe Hartley will kick off its first complete season on the NHRA tour at the Winternationals.

The father and son team of Allen and driver Joe Hartley also has committed to run the full 24-race schedule for their first time since entering the class in 2000. The Nebraska-based team, which twice has finished 17th in the standings while only running a dozen or so races, has shown its mettle by reaching a final round and grabbing a No. 1 qualifying berth, and the extra track time this year will only boost its stock.  

Buff, a former Top Alcohol Dragster driver who switched to Top Fuel in 2006, will begin his second year behind the wheel of Miller’s dragster after a solid 14-race campaign last year that netted a 14th-place finish.

Chrisman, the son of drag racing legend Jack Chrisman who began his career in Top Alcohol Funny Car before moving to the fuel dragster ranks in 2003, ran eight races last year in the western U.S. with his independently financed machine and finished a respectable 18th.

Langlo is a Southern California Top Fuel veteran who began competing in the late 1960s with his and partner Jay Roach’s fan-popular Zip Code entry and has been a Winternationals staple for decades.

The Winternationals Top Fuel field also will have an international flavor as 2008 FIA world champ Andy Carter, who will be competing in Terry Haddock’s U.S.-based dragster, and Swiss racer Urs Erbacher, who competed at six races last year, both will try to make the field at the season opener.

David Baca, runner-up at the Winternationals in 2006, also is readying for his return to the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Baca, whose only action since the 2006 season was a two-race stint in the Matco Tools dragster at the final two races of 2007, will begin the 2009 season with his own team. Baca’s reorganized team will be headed by crew chief Rick Henkelman, who often challenged him on the Top Alcohol Funny Car circuit in Northern California in the 1980s, and car chief Jon Schaffer. Schaffer began wrenching for Baca at 15 years old and most recently was a part of Doug Herbert’s team.

“I’m pretty close to announcing a sponsor that could have us attending half the races or a little better, but we have to keep it under wraps at the moment,” said Baca. “We’re going to test in Phoenix and come out with a vengeance in Pomona.”

Kalitta Motorsports will celebrate 50 years of drag racing by team owner Connie Kalitta, and Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, will be behind the wheel of the family’s dragster in Pomona. Doug, a 30-time tour winner, was runner-up at the 2004 Winternationals.

Local favorite Steve Chrisman will again be part of the Top Fuel show.

One of the newest entrants is Utah’s Mike Strasburg, a strong western states campaigner with his family-operated machine and he’ll be joined in battle by the strong Troy Buff-driven Bill Miller Engineering entry.

Southern California will be well-represented by a couple of local drivers, Steve Chrisman and Arley Langlo.


PINKS ALL OUT Racer Limit Reached

January 7, 2009 by  
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  PINKS All Out Returns!



You still have a chance to be part of PINKS ALL OUT by participating in our qualifying races on Saturday March 7 and Saturday March 14th.

Full details about those races will be available during the week of 1/20/09 on our web site. 



PINKS ALL OUT returns to its birth place on March 21, 2009.  PINKS ALL OUT turns the national TV spotlight on the North Texas racer who can go all out to capture the $18,000—- in cash and prizes and the title of PINKS ALL OUT Motorplex champion. 


Competitor Rules & Regulations:

Entries are NON-Transferable
All Competitors must be 18 years of age at the time of pre-registration
All Competitors are allowed ONE Entry.
Competition Vehicle must run quicker than 12.99
Door Cars are the only vehicles allowed to compete.
All Competitors must provide the following information at the time of pre-registration

Full Name                        Address
Telephone Number            E-mail address
Date of Birth                    Year/Make/Model of the Competition Vehicle
Estimated Elapsed Time (E.T.) of the Competition Vehicle

If you have a question about whether or not your vehicle meets the requirements please visit the Track Rules Section on TexasMotorplex.com and refer to the 2009 NHRA Rulebook.

Spectator Ticket Information and Event Schedule:

***Click here to purchase Spectator Tickets***

Friday Adult General Admission                $15.00
Saturday Adult General Admission            $20.00
Saturday Adult Reserved Super Seat                 $25.00
Saturday Child(12 & Under) Reserved Super Seat  $5.00
Weekend Crew or Spectator Admission     $30.00
Competitor (Includes Friday 3/20/09 Test & Tune)  $60.00 

**Only one tow vehicle per competitor entry allowed in the pits.  Restricted Parking Control will be in effect. **

Children 12 & Under are free in General Admission Seating
Spectator Parking is Free

Spectator Rules:

Spectator access to the starting line will be prohibited
No Video/Film Cameras allowed
No outside Food or Drink
No Weapons
No Golf Carts, ATV’s, Scooters (Gas or Foot powered), Skateboards, Rollerblades, Segways.
No Animals

Event Schedule: Schedule Subject to change without notice

Competitor Line up begins Friday, March 20 at 6:00am.

Friday March 20, 2009 – PINKS ALL OUT Closed Test & Tune

Competitor Gates Open  8:00am
Spectator Gates Open   12:00pm (NOON)
Tech & Registration      10:00am-6:00pm
Test & Tune                2:00pm- 8:00pm
Secure Track               9:00pm

Everyone entering the Competitor Entry Gates on Friday March 20 will be required to buy a Weekend Admission Pass or Competitor Admission.

Due to space limitations all competitors will be allowed only one vehicle into the pits.  All Additional Support Vehicles will be directed to park in the spectator parking.  Please Plan accordingly

Saturday March 21, 2009 – PINKS ALL OUT

All Gates Open                       7:00am
Tech & Registration                7:00am – 9:00am (All Racers MUST BE in by 9:00am)
Time Trial 1                                9:00am*
*Time Trial 1  runs in order starting with the SLOWEST ET, If you miss your ET Group you will not be able to run time trials until the Time Trial 2*

Secure Track                        12:00am (Midnight)

Due to space limitations all competitors will be allowed only one vehicle into the pits.  All Additional Support Vehicles will be directed to park in the spectator parking.  Please Plan accordingly

****Schedule Subject to change without notice****


Texas Motorplex named “Track of the Year” by ADRL.

December 19, 2008 by  
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Billy Meyer’s Texas Motorplex has been named “Track of the Year” for 2009 by the ADRL.   President Kenny Nowling announced the award at the PRI Show, where he also unveiled the 2009 ADRL title sponsor, the National Guard, and the 2009 schedule, which includes the LenMar Motorsports National Guard ADRL World Finals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, TX., on October 23-24.


Ennis Families and Friends Use Hearts and Feet to Fight Cancer

December 16, 2008 by  
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(Ennis, Texas) — Walkers (and joggers) will go around the clock in the battle against cancer during the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Ennis.

            Teams of Ennis residents will gather at Texas Motorplex on April 24 at 6 p.m. for an overnight relay against cancer. Relay For Life is a family-oriented team event where participants can walk relay-style around the track and take part in fun activities off the track. Teams can include coworkers, club members, family and friends who have gathered donations prior to the event.

            This is the first year the event has been held at the Texas Motorplex. 

“The Motorplex is glad to be a part of such an important event for the Ennis community,” Glenn Menard, president of the Motorplex, said. “We have had thousands of Ennis residents that have been employees here and have been affected by cancer and we are glad to do our part to help the American Cancer Society and the Ennis Relay for Life.”

            “Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for our community to come together in the fight against cancer,” Denise Hodges, American Cancer Society representative, said. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors who serve as reminders that our community is not immune to this disease and we can actually help our friends, families and neighbors who have been touched by cancer.”

            All are invited to attend the luminaria ceremony, which takes place after sundown. To honor the community’s cancer survivors and to remember those lost to the disease, survivors circle the track rimmed with glowing luminaria (candle lanterns) while the names of survivors and those lost to the disease are read aloud. Luminaria may be purchased for $5 by calling (972) 878-5439.

 Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients and their families. Funds also support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.             

Relay For Life events take place in nearly every community throughout Texas, raising millions of dollars for the fight against cancer.

To locate a Relay For Life event and find out how you can get involved, please call 1-800-ACS-2345, available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, or visit www.cancer.org.

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.


Gift Certificates Available for the Holidays

December 5, 2008 by  
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Cannot figure out the perfect gift to get that someone special for the Holiday’s this year??  Why not give them the gift of Drag Racing with Texas Motorplex Gift Certificates.  Texas Motorplex Gift Certificates can be used for admission for any of the events held at the Texas Motorplex including the NHRA O’Reilly Fall Nationals and the NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional Event.   You can order them online here or call 1-800-MOTORPLEX.


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For event information or tickets please call 972-878-2641
or 1-800-MOTORPLEX (1-800-668-6775)