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


ESPN2 has announced a programming change for its Sunday qualifying coverage of
the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park. The qualifying coverage
of the NHRA POWERade Series event will be expanded an extra hour and a half, to
air from 2-6:30 p.m. (ET). Final eliminations will continue to air as scheduled
on Monday, with two shows from noon-3 p.m. (ET) and 7-10 p.m.

NHRA qualifying, Sunday, Sept. 2,


On Saturday morning another web site published a story linking the
futures of Top Fuel driver J.R. Todd and team owner Kenny Bernstein
together.  Unfortunately, according to Todd no one involved in the
publishing of that story had spoken with either of the individuals
mentioned.  That further helped to stir the pot regarding Todd’s future
with team owner Dexter Tuttle, so there being no better source than the
man himself, we sought out Todd for his version of what’s going o.

“I got  call last Friday that the sponsor was pulling out and that
Dexter was going back to part-time racing, and that he was looking at
Alan Bradshaw to drive,” he said.  “Ever since that words gotten out
the rumors have been flying



Todd, Bazemore also need to race ways into field on Sunday
marching all the way from 20th place to third to secure his playoff
berth, NHRA icon John Force is on the verge of putting himself back in
a hole.
With two rounds of qualifying remaining on Sunday at the 53rd annual
Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the first leg of the six-race POWERade Series
playoff, Force needs to run at least a 4.826 in the Castrol Syntec Ford
Mustang tribute car or risk a DNQ that could be a devastating blow to
his hopes of winning a second straight and 15th career world
J.R. Todd and Whit Bazemore, the Nos. 5 and 7 seeds in Top Fuel,
respectively, are also currently unqualified and needing at least a
4.595 to get in the field for Monday's race.
All four of Friday's provisional No. 1 qualifiers -- Tony Schumacher,
Jeff Arend, Max Naylor, and Chip Ellis -- remained in control of their
respective categories at the sport's longest-running event. Saturday's
increased heat kept elapsed times and top speeds relatively in check.
For Naylor and Arend, the No. 1 qualifier would be the first of their respective careers.


NHRA released its 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule today,
expanding the Series to 24 national events.  It is the first addition
to the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule since 2000. 

The newest event on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule,
which will be announced in the near future, will be held September
11-14, 2008.  To make room in the schedule for the new fall event, the
O’Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, Tenn. will move to
September 26-28, 2008.

In addition, NHRA announced that the Pro Stock Motorcycle category will
expand to 17 races in 2008, with the addition of the to-be-announced
event in the fall.  

The only time in NHRA’s history when 24 national events were staged
during the season was to celebrate NHRA’s 50th anniversary, when a
special one-time event was conducted at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in
the summer of 2001. 
“We are coming off one of the most successful seasons in NHRA history
and anticipate the record-setting attendance figures we witnessed at a
majority of our venues in 2007 to continue based on the consistency we
have created in the 2008 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule,”
said Tom Compton, president, NHRA.   “There has been much anticipation
regarding today’s announcement and that anticipation will likely carry
over until we announce the newest addition on the national event



Arend, Naylor and Ellis round out provisional No.

Schumacher's dominance of the world's greatest drag race continued
Friday as the five-time Mac Tool U.S. Nationals winner closed out the
opening qualifying session with a 4.477-second blast at 333.66 mph to
claim the provisional No. 1 in Top Fuel.

In the other categories, Funny Car qualifying leader Jeff Arend (4.754
at 327.51 mph) and Pro Stock front man Max Naylor (6.655 at 206.39 mph)
were mostly overwhelmed by their accomplishments, while Chip Ellis's
provisional top qualifying pass of 6.970 at 188.78 mph in Pro Stock
Motorcycle kept his recent hot streak alive.

The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals marks the beginning of the POWERade Series
playoffs, the Countdown to the Championship, and there were some
notable non-qualifiers on Day 1, including four drivers in the
playoffs: Whit Bazemore in Top Fuel, Tony Pedregon in Funny Car, Greg
Anderson and Jason Line in Pro Stock, and Andrew Hines in Pro Stock Motorcycle.


NHRA POWERade competitors
received a memo on Monday afternoon from the NHRA’s Graham Light addressing the
issue of team orders and influencing the outcome of a race based on point

Light took an aggressive
stance on the issue in his memo, which
our sources report he had help in composin

Professional Teams:

With the growth of the
sport, NHRA has seen the development of multi-car teams in each of the four
professional categories in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

We know that every
driver and team’s mission is to win.  With that said, NHRA does not
condone or approve of any team not competing at the highest level as a result
of “team orders” handed down to advance one driver over another driver at any
national event.   Actions of this nature are not in the best interest
of the sport. 

Racing provides the highest level of competition in the sport of drag racing
worldwide.  NHRA intends to provide and preserve a level playing field and
to require good sportsmanship from all participants.  Team actions that do
not meet this standard, or that might negatively affect the integrity of the
sport, will not be tolerated.  Such actions will be met with significant
penalties that may include, but are not limited to, point deductions, fines,
disqualification, and suspension.

We are confident that
every participant in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series understands the
unacceptable nature and severe consequences of such actions and will respect
the sport and the integrity of the competition.  



Graham Light

Senior Vice President
Racing Operations




181595608197_0_0.jpgFirst year Funny car team
owner Mike Ashley will campaign a second Funny Car in 2008 with Melanie Troxel
as his driver. Ironically, this decision comes a full year after sponsor Evan
Knoll granted Ashley permission and the necessary sponsorship funding to pursue
team ownership.

“I basically told Evan
last year if he’d give me the chance to own my own team that I’d build a solid
foundation for a first class winning organization,” Ashley said. “He gave me
that chance, and while we are far from perfect, we have had a good run of

Troxel will fulfill her
obligation as driver on the Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster for Morgan Lucas
by driving for the rest of the season. She will run a 23-race schedule in 2008.

Troxel has already begun
the crossover licensing process and hopes to complete the process soon.

“I went to about
half-track in testing last week, and it felt really good,” Troxel, whose
husband Tommy Johnson, Jr. also competes in the Funny car division. “I wanted
to be sure that the things I remembered from my Alcohol Funny Car days were
still the same, and the feeling was still the same.


Although as car owners, president and CEO of Lucas Oil Products,
Forrest Lucas and Executive vice-president and wife, Charlotte may not
have a dragster in the NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship, but
together they still celebrated a world championship Thursday night.

At the Lucas Oil reception held at the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts
compound, a distinguished tribute was bestowed upon them by Tom
Zupancic, Senior vice-president of Sales and Marketing of the Colts
organization, as they were presented with team Super Bowl rings as part
of the continued celebration of their victory over the Chicago Bears at
Super Bowl XLI in Miami back in February.  To say the Lucas’ were
delighted would be an understatement.

“It’s so much better than that,” said an ecstatic Lucas, who was almost
speechless after the presentation.  “Who in the world has a Super Bowl
ring?  The Colts have been very generous with us since we’ve entered
into our business relationship with them.  They have been good to us,
but to do something like that is just extremely special.  We are just
very, very honored.


2419.jpgDrivers from the NHRA and GM Racing made their annual stop at the world-renowned
James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children on Thursday. The GM Racing program
has made the yearly visit to Riley Hospital a part of its Mac Tools U.S.
Nationals weekend since 1999. It is the second time this season that a GM Racing
contingent of drivers has spread good cheer at a children's hospital in
conjunction with a locally held national event. Earlier this year, a group of
drivers made a visit to the Pediatric Specialty Clinic at Shands Hospital in
Gainesville, Fla., and later this fall a similar children's hospital visit is
planned for Las Vegas.

Signing autographs, and visiting with the kids and
their families on Thursday were Kurt Johnson, Melanie Troxel, Marty Ladwig, Greg
Anderson, Jason Line, Cory McClenathan and Hillary Will.



Some photos are just too good to caption. This one ought to fuel speculation.