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


It’s quite possible that
Eric Medlen and Robert E. Petersen had never heard of each other, yet their
untimely deaths – both last Friday – will send ripples through the world of
motorsports for a long time to come.
  Separated by miles – Medlen
passed away in Florida, Petersen in Los Angeles – and years --
  Petersen, at 80, was 47 years older than Medlen – they
were both dedicated to the sport of drag racing.
  Each, in his own special way, played an important role
in the sport, one largely historical, the other as current as today’s

In some small sense Petersen’s involvement in the
quarter mile sport literally decades ago may have played a role in Medlen’s
having been able to compete today.
  In 1948 Petersen began peddling
a hastily put together, black & white “magazine” out of the back of an old
panel wagon for a whopping twenty-five cents.
  Eagerly snapped up by participants at car shows and
dry lakes speed contests in Southern California, copies of those first issues of
Hot Rod Magazine
now command top dollar from
Hot Rod as its lynchpin, Petersen Publishing Company soon
spun off a whole series of automotive-related titles, including the likes of
Craft, Motor Trend
and numerous


As the Powerade Drag Racing Series headed to Houston Raceway
Park for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals, the fourth of 23 races, competitors in
all four pro classes shared their memories of Eric Medlen and how they plan to
honor the late Funny Car driver from John Force Racing by carrying on:


You never forget your first win and for three-time world champion Pro Stock racer Jeg Coughlin Jr., his first professional-level
victory came deep in the heart of Texas in 1997 at Houston Raceway
Park, the site of this weekend's 20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring
Nationalspresented by Pennzoil.

Racing in just his second national event behind the wheel of a Pro
Stock car, Coughlin beat a bevy of veteran racers, including Mike
Thomas, Steve Schmidt, Mike Bell, and Mark Osborne in the final to
become the first racer in NHRA history to win titles in four different
classes in the same year, a record that holds to this day. Aside from
his Pro Stockwin, Coughlin had already won in Super Stock, Comp, and
Super Gas.


John Force Racing, Inc., still is evaluating what occurred in the accident that
caused the severe closed head injury which resulted in driver Eric Medlen’s
 The JFR crew chiefs, headed by Eric's father, John Medlen, will be working
closely with the NHRA, the PRO and the team’s vendors to evaluate the series of
events that caused the tire blow-out and an extreme vibration beyond anything
previously recorded in the sport.
 “It is our sincere desire to provide a summary of the information taken
from this accident to all parties,” said John Medlen.  “That is what Eric would
have wanted.”


Out, the popular spin off show to SPEED
hit reality series, PINKS, will
be shooting episode five at Rockingham (N.C.) Dragway on Saturday, April 7.
Hosted by Rich Christensen, PINKS: All
Out is an all-day, open competition where more than 300 grassroots
drag racers will be competing for a $10,000 grand

Called ‘the hottest car
show on television,’ by Hot Rod
magazine, the PINKS: All Out
production begins with time trials in the morning, selection of finalists in the
afternoon and PINKS: All Out 16
eliminations beginning at dusk. More than 20,000 people attended the two most
recent PINKS: All Out shoots at
Houston Raceway Park
in Texas and Moroso Motorsports Park in southern Florida. Pullin Television, out of Los Angeles, produces both
this show and the original PINKS,
which as a brand, made its debut in February of


In this era of multi-car teams and well-funded racing budgets, NHRA Pro Stock
driver Mike Edwards seems to quietly be leading the charge as a one-car wonder
in his class.  As a single-car team, Edwards finished fourth in the final NHRA
POWERade points standings last year, and the Oklahoma native is coming off a
semifinal appearance at Gainesville (Fla.) two weeks ago and sits third in this
year's early points standings as he prepares his Young Life Pontiac GTO for this
weekend's 20th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on
March 30-April 1.  Edwards is the defending event champ at Houston as he
narrowly defeated fellow Pontiac driver Jim Yates in last year's final round for
his first win in nearly four years.  Edwards visited the winner's circle again
at St. Louis and also had runner-up finishes at last year's season-opener at
Pomona (Calif.) and Dallas. 


Gary Densham's successful weekend activities have been overshadowed by the tragic loss of Eric
Medlen. As a former John Force Racing driver who worked closely with the Medlen
family, the loss of Eric hit home especially hard for Densham.

“I knew Eric for a long time, and whether it was being a crew
member, roping bulls, or driving a race car, he went at it full blast,” Densham
remembered. “Force gave him the opportunity to drive one of these cars, and he
had the potential to be one of best for years to come, but unfortunately we will
never find out.”


Effective immediately, Rahn Tobler has resigned his duties as crew chief of the
Mac Tools dragster driven by perennial championship contender Doug Kalitta in
the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

The Mac Tools team will compete in
this weekend’s, March 30-April 1, NHRA national event, the O’ Reilly NHRA Spring
Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Tex., just a few miles east of
downtown Houston. Kalitta Motorsports’ collection of nitro crew chiefs, Jim
Oberhofer, crew chief of the Hillary Will-driven KB Racing LLC Top Fueler, Jon
Oberhofer, crew chief of the Zantrex-3 Top Fueler driven by Dave Grubnic, and
Glenn Mikres, crew chief of the Scott Kalitta-driven Kalitta Air Toyota Solara
Funny Car, will combine their efforts to guide the 8,000-horsepower, bright red
Mac Tools dragster entry until a permanent crew chief replacement is made in the
near future.


On Thursday, March 29, NHRA POWERade Drag
Racing Series drivers from Don
Schumacher Racing will meet and greet the
public and sign autographs between
6:00-8:00 pm on Main Street in downtown
La Porte, located east of SH

DSR will have its U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster, two U.S. Army Pro
Motorcycles and the Brut Revolution Dodge Charger Funny Car on
Food, vendors, and entertainment will be available.  Music will be
by the '70s rock group ³JJ Dynomite.² Dynomite is known for its
covers of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Bad Company, and many other
acts of
that era.


Rod Fuller has been flying high atop the NHRA Top
Fuel points standings following his victory at Phoenix in late February, now the
four-time NHRA Top Fuel winner will sport the recognizable yellow and black
colors of Caterpillar. David Powers Motorsports, Caterpillar and Houston-based
Mustang Cat have partnered to back the Fuller-driven rail during the
20th annual O’Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, team owner David Powers announced


relationship between David Powers Motorsports, Caterpillar and the Cat Dealer
Groups is designed as a pilot program to increase technician recruiting.
Caterpillar dealers are experiencing a shortage of technicians, and NHRA drag
racing offers a technician-rich recruiting environment to find qualified
candidates with experienced mechanical backgrounds. Mustang Cat is the southeast Texas authorized sales,
parts and service dealer for Caterpillar construction equipment and