:::::: News ::::::

GRAHAM LIGHT'S TOUGH DAY

 


DSA_4693.jpgNHRA
Senior Vice President, Race Operations Graham Light walked into the
control towerat Virginia Motorsports Park on Saturday morning of the
NHRA Torco Race Fuels Narionals and greeted his staff in the usual
manner. He didn’t say a word, but you could see on his face the desire
for an easier day.

 

Light hoped the day would be a
smoother day than Friday presented. In one day, Light survived inclement weather
which altered the schedule, a racing surface that refused the adhesive process
and a power failure that left the racers and thousands of race fans in the
dark.

 

“We’ve had tougher days, trust me,”
Light said. “We are fortunate to have a lot of good people that know what to do
– some of them twenty and thirty years.”

 

Light said sometimes you just have
to step aside and let those you have in place handle the
situations.

 

“You immediately try and figure how
you can juggle the schedule to make everything fit,” Light explained. “You want
it to be as fair as it can be for both the professional and sportsman racers.
Darryl Zimmerman and his crew do a great job of making all of that
work.”

SONNY'S 220 MPH CLUB FILLED

History was made at the
recently completed 16th annual IHRA President’s Cup Nationals as
membership in the Sonny’s 220-mph club was officially filled. Rickie Smith
(220.73), Chuck DeMory (220.40), John Bartunek (220.15) and Dean Goforth
(223.62) were the last four to race their way into this prestigious club.

CAPPS AT CHRR

R_Capps.jpgNHRA POWERade nitro funny car pilot Ron Capps will return to the Automobile
Club of Southern California Hot Rod Reunion again this year, but this time
behind the wheel of the new Nostalgia Funny Car owned by Gary Messenger.  In
testing, Messenger's newly finished 1972 Dodge Charger-bodied funny car has
covered the Auto Club Famoso Raceway quarter mile in 6.26 seconds shutting
off at 1,100 feet when it was driven by Crew Chief Zane Messenger. 

Capps is one of more than 300 racers who will compete on the
quarter-mile dragstrip in ten classes at the 16th Annual event, presented by
Holley.  Racers are coming to Bakersfield from as far away as England and
Australia.  Media and racing fans are coming from the four corners of the
Earth.

"We're getting ready for the biggest Reunion yet," said Tony
Thacker, executive director of the non-profit Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports
Museum, presented by the Auto. Club of So. Calif., which produces and
benefits from the event.  "Some cars never before seen in the United States
will be competing against the best in the business.  Since the NHRA POWERade

Drag Racing Series has the week off, we know already that many of the
racers from that series will be joining us in Bakersfield.  We've also got
previous champions in Top Fuel who want to add another trophy to their
cases."

In the hotly-contested Nostalgia Top Fuel Dragster class,
2006 California Reunion winner Jim Murphy could easily repeat, but Troy
Green, who won the Holley NHRA National Hot Rod Reunion in Columbus, Ohio on
Father's Day weekend would also like to double his pleasure.  Also expected
are Brad Thompson, Rick White, Brett Harris, Adam Sorokin, Jason Richey and
Jack
Harris.  The ever-popular Mendy Fry is expected along with Shannon
Stewart, Rick Rogers, John Shoemaker, Mark Malde, Bill Dunlap – filling in
for Brendan Murry – Pete Kaiser, Rick Williamson, Scott Mason, Mike
McClennan, local Rick McGee, Howard Haight and Denver Schutz.

NEFF'S BIG DAY

DSA_5971.jpg

Crew chief turned Funny Car driver Mike Neff made his first laps on
Monday testing following the NHRA Torco Race Fuels Nationals in
Richmond, Virginia.

Neff's initial burnout was performed as well as a seasoned veteran and
his short launch was firmly entrenched in the groove. Expect more
testing in Las Vegas soon. 

CONCORD REVERSING DRAG STRIP DECISION?

The city of Concord, North
Carolina
is quickly learning that life with a strip
can be a drag. According to a report in the Charlotte Observer, the city has
reversed its opposition to Bruton Smith’s drag strip on the grounds of Lowe’s
Motor Speedway.

Smith has threatened to
build his strip elsewhere, possibly on relocated Lowe’s Motor Speedway
property.

Smith said on "Tony
Stewart Live" on Sirius NASCAR Radio, "So now they've decided maybe
they do want it.

"One day we will look
back at this, I hope, and we'll all laugh about it," Smith said. "But
in the meantime, when I get home I will take a look and read exactly what
they've done and try to diagnose the whole thing."

Council members voted to
consider amending the speedway’s zoning, which they voted last week to ban drag
strips.

John Cox, head of the
Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the move is exactly what Smith’s
company wanted.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Ramseur admitted
that even this reversal couldn’t guarantee that Smith will keep the racing
facility in Concord.

BECKMAN WEIGHS IN

Jack Beckman can testify regarding the emotional complexities surrounding the
NHRA’s first year of the Countdown to the Championship format. He was eliminated
from championship contention after the semi-final round in Richmond.
 
“We
came in here [Richmond] and it was like a story book,” Beckman said. “Capps and Scelzi both
got in and that’s exactly what we wanted. We really would have liked to have
seen both cars in. You never root against your teammates unless they are in the
other lane. We all three got past the first round and we needed to beat Bartone.
We had lane choice and didn’t get the job done.
 
“It’s one thing if we
went out and knocked the belt off of it or kicked the rods out, then that
becomes a mechanical issue. The thing made a big move towards the wall and I
needed to wrestle it back over and didn’t get it done. It hit the rev-limiter
and spun.
 
“I don’t know what cost us the race. It stinks. So we had a
chance? Now we had to sit and watch, but the question then begins, who do you
cheer for?”
 
“The only time I ever bet against Capps or Scelzi is when
they are in the other lane. You want them to win, but you know if they make the
final round it will knock you out. It’s devastating. It’s not just me because
there are ten other guys whose livelihood to make that car run as good as
possible. They have given me a great a car and great momentum. There are eleven
disappointed guys out there including me. You always want to control your
destiny and to sit and watch it unfold for two rounds. It’s tough to put a good
spin on this right now.”

TECHNICOAT SHOOTOUT FIELD SET

Tony Schumacher will start from the No. 1 position in the Technicoat
Top Fuel Shootout on Oct. 27 during the seventh annual ACDelco Las
Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The
all-star race-within-a-race bonuse event, which awards $100,000 to the
winner, showcases the eight Top Fuel drivers who accumulated the most
qualifying points during the 2007 Technicoat Top Fuel Shootout series.
The series began with the 2006 ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las
Vegas and ended at the 2007 Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at
Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Va. this past weekend. Other
racers who have earned a position in the Technicoat Shootout include
three time winner Larry Dixon, 2004 winner Dave Grunbic, three-time
runner-up Cory McClenathan, 2002 runner-up Brandon Bernstein, 2006
runner-up Rod Fuller, Melanie Troxel, and J.R. Todd.

CAPPS RIDES THE COUNTDOWN ROLLERCOASTER

Ron Capps admitted that he felt like
a broken record throughout the NHRA R_Capps.jpgTorco Race Fuels Nationals race weekend when talking about his championship
chances with the ESPN2 crew.
 
“This is the most important round of my
life,” Capps told them before he made his Saturday qualifying run.
 

Capps was unqualified and got into the field as the 15th qualifier.
 

“We needed to get in to have a shot and then I found out I had to run Robert
Hight in the first round,” Capps said.
 
When teammate Gary Scelzi
qualified eighth, it put him into a tie with Capps unofficially since points are
only made official at the completion of an event.
 
Once again Capps
said it.
 
“This is the most important round of our life – if we don’t
win – our season is done,” Capps repeated.
 
Then Jack Beckman lost in
the second round to Tony Bartone. The only way Capps could entertain
championship thoughts was to win the semi-finals.
 
Capps was on the
losing end of a tiebreaker with Scelzi, which meant all of the pressure was on
him.

CACKLEFEST BRINGS EXCITEMENT TO CHRR

To car folks, Cacklefest is the sweetest sight and sound in the world: 40 or
more vintage dragsters fire up and "cackle" 10 gallons of nitromethane fuel
in less than five minutes. The sound of that exploding nitro will be music
to the ears of thousands of fans at fabled Auto Club Famoso Raceway, near
Bakersfield, Calif., on Saturday night, Oct. 13, as Cacklefest once again
roars at the 16th annual at the Automobile Club of Southern California Hot
Rod Reunion, presented by Holley. The Reunion runs from Oct.
12-14.

"A Cacklefest is like a barely controlled atomic bomb," said Greg
Sharp, curator of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, producers of
the Reunion and the man who coined the term back in 2000. "That
exploding nitro cracks like a gun shot and shoots header flames into the
night sky. It's a sight to behold and people love it," said
Sharp.

Among drag racing fans, Cacklefest is now a common word. Perhaps
Webster's will add it in the dictionary soon. There's even a
www.cacklefest.com.  This year, according to Sharp, more than 50 cars (a
Cacklefest record) will push-start their early-style front-engine dragsters
like they did in the 1950s and '60s, then line them up down the center of
the drag strip at Famoso with the headers glowing and the motors running
or 'cackling.' 

DRAG RACING'S NEWEST TF DRIVER

harris1.jpg

harris2.jpgJesse
Harris, known for her exploits behind the wheel of the Queen of
Diamonds jet dragster, began licensing runs yesterday in Richmond, Va.,
behind the wheel of Evan Knoll's Ratt Tribute dragster normally driven
by Clay Millican. Millican was her instructor during the day and gave
her rave reviews. This was her first experience behind the wheel of a
nitro-burning vehicle.

Sources indicate that Harris coulod join
the a prominent team, but according to those close to the situation such a
deal is nowhere close to being completed. 

"Monday was just testing, I don't have a deal yet," Harris said. "I have to continue to go out
there and prove myself both on and off the track.  But, I can tell you, after Monday, I know I was born to drive these cars."

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