ENNIS, Texas (Aug. 2, 2012) – LJ Echols grew up in a small town in Mississippi called Bassfield right outside of Hattiesburg but has since made Dallas his home. Echols started out in a gospel group called the “The Echols Family”, playing bass guitar and performing background vocals before he made to the move to Dallas and expanded his talents to R&B.
Echols will be on stage TONIGHT at the National Bikers Roundup presented by the DFW Roundup Committee, at Texas Motorplex. Live music starts at 7 p.m. with Echols on stage at 10 p.m.
The 2012 National Bikers Roundup has begun and gates are now open for all participants, racers, bikers, campers, concert spectators and more.
The National Bikers Roundup features the best food in North Texas, live music, games, activities and more. Tickets are just $20 with club colors for the entire weekend, $30 without club affiliation. The concert is included in the ticket.
THURSDAY, AUG. 2 –Events and activities registration 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Table games noon – 3 p.m.; Kids station noon – 7 p.m.; Drag racing 5 p.m. – midnight; Live music 7 p.m.; Headline concert: LJ Echols.
FRIDAY, AUG. 3 – Events and activities registration 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Opening ceremony noon; Table games noon – 8 p.m.; Kids station noon – 7 p.m.; Drag racing 5 p.m. – midnight; Sister-to-Sister conference 3-8 p.m.; Stunt show 4, 7 & 8:30 p.m.; Live music 7 p.m.; Headline concert: Zapp.
SATURDAY, AUG. 4 – Events and activities registration 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Table games noon – 3 p.m.; Kids station noon – 7 p.m.; Stunt show 4, 7 & 8:30 p.m.; Drag racing 5 -10 p.m.; Live music 7 p.m.; Headline concert: KEM.
SUNDAY, AUG. 5 – Church service 8 a.m.; 2013 location vote 9 a.m.; MOVE OUT DAY; Gates close at 5 p.m.
Both are leading candidates for the prestigious Auto Club Road to the Future Award, presented each season to the top rookie driver at the season-ending awards ceremony.
Both drivers have experienced growing pains throughout their rookie campaigns; however, each has had plenty of moments to shine as well.
Force has reached two final rounds behind the wheel of her Traxxas Ford Mustang this season as well as having learned how difficult the 7,000-horsepower nitro-burning machines can be to drive when she brushed the wall at high speed early in the season.
DeJoria has also reached a final round, in Bristol, but the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry team has learned what it’s like to be on the sidelines Sunday morning after posting DNQs at races in Phoenix and Norwalk.
Following the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Force is seventh in the points standings and has qualified for each of the 14 races.
“There have definitely been some ups and downs during my rookie season in Funny Car,” Force said. “I have learned a lot so far this season and will continue learning each time I’m in the seat, and every pass down the racetrack, I am learning something new. Overall, I’m very excited with how this season is going.”
DeJoria is 13th in the series standings and will need to make a move at the next three events if she is going to join Force in the top 10 and qualify for the Countdown to the Championship. However, no matter the outcome, she’s pleased with how her team, which is led by former driver Del Worsham, has performed this season.
“If I had to grade my personal performance, I’d give myself a seven out of 10,” DeJoria said. “I think I’ve overcome a lot, and I’ve done pretty well this season. I always strive to do better and am constantly pushing myself to do better.”
As the tour heads to Seattle, both drivers are looking forward to returning to the track where they earned their first Wally in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. DeJoria won in Top Alcohol Funny Car at the event last season, and Force claimed a Top Alcohol Dragster victory at the scenic facility in 2009.
“I’m so excited to be back in Seattle being that I earned my first ever national event Wally at this racetrack when I was competing in Top Alcohol Dragster,” Force said. “I’m really hoping this is my lucky track and I’ll be able to do just as well in the Funny Car class this weekend.”
Said DeJoria, “It’s very exciting to go back to the place where I won last season in Top Alcohol Funny Car. You can’t help but feel confident going back to a place where you’ve had such great success.”
They are two of the most high-profile rookies to enter NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series competition in many seasons, so ultimately, there is quite a bit of pressure for both to not only perform on the track, but also off the track as ambassadors for NHRA Drag Racing and their sponsors.
“Taking on the role of an ambassador and role model is something that I value very much,” said DeJoria, daughter of famed entrepreneur John Paul DeJoria. “I’m very passionate about what I do, which makes it very easy for me to talk so openly about it. I have a daughter myself, so it’s important for me, and if I can be a positive role model to not only my daughter but any other young girl seeking someone to look up to, I feel as if I’ve done my job.”
The 24-year-old Force is the daughter of 15-time NHRA Funny Car world champ John Force. Racing has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember.
“I love what I do for a living,” Force said. “It has always been a dream of mine to race professionally in the NHRA, so it is an amazing feeling to also have the opportunity to fulfill the duty of representing my favorite sport, the NHRA. As far as being a role model, I just hope I can be represented as a symbol of what young girls are capable of doing when they grow up and that if they stick to their dream, they can make it happen with enough motivation, drive, and a positive attitude.”
As much as DeJoria and Force hope to earn their first Funny Car victories at Pacific Raceways, many other drivers in the category will be battling with them for the title. That includes three-time defending event Funny Car winner Tim Wilkerson, who is fighting for a spot in the top 10.
Reigning Funny Car world champ Matt Hagan is coming off his first final round of the season and hoping to build on that success in Seattle by passing Wilkerson in 11th and John Force in 10th so that he can earn a playoff berth.
In Top Fuel, Don Schumacher Racing has dominated all season, with Antron Brown and Spencer Massey tied atop the points standings. Tony Schumacher is in third right behind his teammates. The battle is brewing between Clay Millican and Bob Vandergriff Jr. for the 10th and final spot in the Countdown to the Championship. Millican is four points out of 10th with just three races left until the Countdown begins.
Allen Johnson and his Mopar Dodge Avenger took over the Pro Stock points lead in Denver and extended it with a win against Greg Anderson at the most recent NHRA event in Sonoma. The battle at the top is tight, but so is the battle for the ninth and 10th spots, between Ron Krisher, Jeg Coughlin Jr., V. Gaines, and Larry Morgan. With only three races left before the Countdown, the battle for the final top 10 spots in all of the classes kicks into high gear starting in Seattle.
* TICKETS: For tickets for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to www.NHRATix.com.
* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 90 minutes of qualifying coverage at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Aug. 4, and three hours of eliminations coverage at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 5.
* LUCAS OIL SERIES: The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries will feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where some of the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 3; eliminations begin at 9:15 a.m. on Aug. 4 and continue through Aug. 5.
EPIC BATTLE BREWING IN FUNNY CAR AS DRIVERS ON BUBBLE TRY TO QUALIFY FOR FULL THROTTLE COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP
SONOMA, Calif. — With four races remaining in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Regular Season, many teams will need to add a new tool to their arsenal of wrenches, widgets and gadgets in their pit areas: a trusty calculator.
While each of the four Full Throttle Series classes have some intriguing plots and subplots regarding who will and won’t qualify for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs, perhaps the most competitive top 10 battle will be in Funny Car.
As many as eight teams, from sixth all the way down to 13th in the points order, will be racing hard to grab one of the final spots in the playoff field over the course of the final four races of the regular season.
Next up for those who are trying to break into the top 10 is the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, July 27-29 in Northern California, just north of San Francisco. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and LE Tongelt (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event that will be televised on ESPN and ESPN2.
Sixth place Courtney Force, who raced to her second final round appearance of the season in Denver, sits only 128 points from 11th place Tim Wilkerson in the series standings. Defending world champ Matt Hagan is 13th in his Aaron’s/Mopar Dodge Charger, 152 points back of 10th place John Force.
There are a lot of scenarios that teams can work up on paper, but at the end of the day, it will all come down to performance on the track. For Hagan, his team needs a quick turnaround in that department if he’s going to be able to defend his world championship title. So far in 2012, he hasn’t advanced past the second round and has suffered eight first round losses and one DNQ.
“We won’t give up on the Countdown until somebody tells me it’s impossible for us to get into the top 10,” Hagan said. “And even then our Aaron’s team will never quit trying to get better and win. We have 10 more Full Throttle races left and that means we have a shot at winning 10 trophies. That’s our goal. We don’t give up; we never will.”
Wilkerson, who posted a runner-up finish at Norwalk and surged ahead, knows that 70 points stand between he and 10th place Force. With a great record of success at the four remaining races of the regular season – including multiple wins at Sonoma and Seattle – he knows the time is now or never. Of his 30 career final rounds, nine have come at those four races.
“We went from almost out of contention to right back in it, and we have four races left in the regular season to make the playoffs,” Wilkerson said. “I’d rather be the hunted instead of the hunter, though, so our goal is to just keep winning rounds and if we do that we’ll jam our way into the top ten no matter what anybody else does. That’s the only way to think about it and approach it, because right now there are eight great teams legitimately fighting for the last five spots in the Countdown, and you can do the math. It’s going to be a very interesting stretch of racing here, between now and Labor Day.”
As we’ve seen before in the Countdown with current series points leader Robert Hight in 2009 and Hagan last year, if you can qualify for the Countdown, a championship title is certainly within reach. Force hopes he can hang on to have a shot at winning world championship title No. 16.
“We’re 10th in points,” Force said. “You gotta be in the top 10 (to make the Countdown playoffs). At the end of the day, you know that if you make the Countdown, anything can happen.”
In Top Fuel, Bob Vandergriff is on the 10th spot, with Clay Millican 23 points behind in 11th. Terry McMillen is 115 points back in 12th and rookie Khalid alBalooshi, who earned his first eliminations round win at Denver, is 13th in the Al-Anabi Racing dragster, 117 out of 10th.
Rodger Brogdon is currently 10th in Pro Stock, but the Houston driver has decided to skip the Western Swing in order to test. He will surely drop out of the top 10 during that three-race span. A strong run at his home track in Denver pushed V. Gaines into 11th, eight points behind Brogdon. Four-time world champ Jeg Coughlin also is in the mix, sitting 12th in his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger, 26 points out of the top 10. Lucas Oil Ford Mustang driver Larry Morgan is 13th, but only 27 points out of the playoff picture.
Veteran rider Steve Johnson is in 11th in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and trails 10th place Shawn Gann by 36 points. The two-wheel teams only have three races until their Countdown field is set, so those teams have even less time to make a move. Rookie John Hall is 64 points out of the top 10 and Jerry Savoie, who qualified for the Countdown last season, is 13th, 82 points back of Gann.
* TICKETS: For tickets for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, please call Sonoma at (800) 870-RACE or log on to www.racesonoma.com.
* ON TV: ESPNHD will televise two hours and 30 minutes of qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, July 28, and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, July 29.
* LUCAS OIL SERIES: The NHRA Sonoma Nationals will feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 8:15 a.m. on July 27; eliminations begin at 8:15 a.m. on July 28 and continue through July 29.
* ON THE WEB: Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com. Visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 25th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals, the 14th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif. The track is located at the intersection of Highways 37 and 121
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, July 27-29.
FRIDAY, July 27 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying at 8:15 a.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifying at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
SATURDAY, July 28 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations begin at 8:15 a.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifying at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
SUNDAY, July 29 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, July 28, ESPNHD will televise two hours and 30 minutes of qualifying coverage at 7 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, July 29, ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage starting at 7 p.m. (ET).
SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Saturday, July 28, Midnight – 12:30 a.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 23C
Saturday, July 28, 10 – 10:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 23C
Sunday, July 29, 10:30 – 11 p.m. (ET), AMC 1 / Transponder 23C
(4160 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.461470554 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.
2011 EVENT WINNERS:
Antron Brown, Top Fuel; Ron Capps, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; LE Tonglet, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
John Force, 7, FC; Doug Kalitta, 5, TF; Greg Anderson, 4, PS; Warren Johnson, 3, PS; Jim Yates, 3, PS.
Top Fuel – 3.805 seconds by Antron Brown, July ’09; 321.65 mph by Tony Schumacher, July ’11.
Funny Car – 4.060 seconds by John Force, July ’11; 311.99 mph by Force, July ’11.
Pro Stock – 6.538 seconds by Allen Johnson, July ’11; 211.56 mph by Johnson, July ’11.
PS Motorcycle – 6.843 seconds by Hector Arana, July ’10; 197.65 mph by Michael Phillips, July ’10.
Top Fuel – 3.735 sec. by Del Worsham, Oct. ’11, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car – 3.995 sec. by Matt Hagan, Sept. ’11, Charlotte, N.C.; 318.99 mph by Jack Beckman, Sept. ’11, Charlotte, N.C.
Pro Stock – 6.477 sec. by Jason Line, Oct. ’11, Reading, Pa.; 213.91 mph by Jason Line, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
PS Motorcycle – 6.750 sec. by Eddie Krawiec, March ’12, Gainesville, Fla.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 870-RACE (7223). Tickets may also be purchased online at http://www.racesonoma.com/tickets/nhra_sonoma_nationals/
NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
GLENDORA, Calif. — Point standings (top 10) following the 13th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel: 1. Spencer Massey, 1,071; 2. Antron Brown, 1,060; 3. Tony Schumacher, 990; 4. Steve Torrence, 950; 5. Morgan Lucas, 762; 6. Doug Kalitta, 744; 7. Shawn Langdon, 685; 8. Brandon Bernstein, 661; 9. David Grubnic, 625; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 568.
Funny Car: 1. Robert Hight, 1,060; 2. Ron Capps, 994; 3. Mike Neff, 863; 4. Jack Beckman, 862; 5. Johnny Gray, 766; 6. Courtney Force, 701; 7. Cruz Pedregon, 680; 8. Jeff Arend, 661; 9. Bob Tasca III, 654; 10. John Force, 643.
Pro Stock: 1. Allen Johnson, 1,104; 2. Greg Anderson, 1,085; 3. Jason Line, 1,072; 4. Mike Edwards, 895; 5. Vincent Nobile, 884; 6. Erica Enders, 762; 7. Ronnie Humphrey, 550; 8. Shane Gray, 529; 9.Ron Krisher, 495; 10. Rodger Brogdon, 492.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Eddie Krawiec, 714; 2. Andrew Hines, 670; 3. Hector Arana Jr, 574; 4. Hector Arana, 510; 5. Karen Stoffer, 396; 6. LE Tonglet, 378; 7. Michael Ray, 354; 8. Scotty Pollacheck, 329; 9. Matt Smith, 308; 10. Shawn Gann, 284.