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


Team owner Don Schumacher
has confirmed with Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com that he has reached a tentative
agreement for Gary Scelzi to remain with his team through the 2008 season.

“We have come to terms and
Gary will be
driving the Mopar/Oakley Funny Car next year,” Schumacher said. “He has agreed
to drive the car but I know that things come up. If you give someone a definite
answer like the news media and something comes up in the personal life and the
business then you look like a fool.

Gary will drive the Mopar/Oakley Funny Car in
2008. Ken Black has been kind enough to assist Gary at some of the races (reportedly 10) to
get him in and out of the races so he can take care of his business
responsibilities back at home. That will make it comfortable for Gary to continue on.”

The Black arrangement
provides Scelzi an extra 20 days at home with his business.

Scelzi’s simply said,
“Yee, Haw – I’m driving a Funny Car.”

He continued, “I am
excited about coming back to work with Todd Okuhara, Phil Shuler and my boys
that have been with me for a long time.”



Brandon Bernstein, one of eight Top Fuel drivers vying for a spot in
the Countdown to Four in the new NHRA Countdown to the Championship
format, will debut a special Budweiser Countdown paint scheme at
Memphis Motorsports Park.

The O’Reilly Mid-South Nationals Sept. 14-16 is the second event, or
the halfway point, before the four who are eligible to challenge for
the coveted NHRA Top Fuel Championship are named. The elite field of
drivers will be those who are the top four in points.

“We are so excited to debut a new Budweiser Countdown paint scheme at
Memphis,” said Bernstein.  “As far as I know, we’re the only team that
will have a specialty car for the ‘playoffs’ and we owe a big tip of
the helmet to Budweiser for initiating the concept.  It’s the car we’ll
campaign for the five remaining races this season.”

“Brandon and the Bud King team are long-time partners, and Brandon is
having an amazing season with a career-best five wins,” said Randall
Blackford, director of Budweiser marketing.  “Week in and week out,
Brandon is a tremendous ambassador for Budweiser and for the sport, and
we’re excited to celebrate his push for the title with a special red
and silver-flamed paint scheme for the Budweiser/Lucas Oil Top Fuel


C_McClenathan.jpgCory McClenathan said he knows a coin has two sides. He’s discovered both of
them as a veteran driver and fledgling team owner.

McClenathan said he’s
experienced both sides of the frustration starting with a driving miscue during
Friday qualifying in Indy. For him, accidentally shutting off the car was the
tip of the hat in what has been an extremely stressful month.

McClenathan’s temper
redlined after the incident. He said he chewed the man most responsible for the
snafu – the man in the mirror.

“It’s difficult, frustrating
and at the same time very good because at least I know what my destiny is,”
McClenathan said. “The thing I find myself doing is remaining so busy with the
other tasks that I make mistakes. Friday was a perfect example. You’re here in
Indy. Best air … best conditions, the one you have looked forward to all night
all year. What do I do? I go up there and as I backing up, I go to reset the
clutch and accidentally hit the trigger switch. There was no one to blame but


If you couldn't be in two places at one time last weekend, don't
fret because we at Torco's CompetitionPlus.com pulled off the feat.
Up-and-coming photog Kelly Pelrine covered the NMRA Columbus event
while we were off playing at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in



The Pro Modified Racing Association has provided exciting action on the track
throughout its existence, and the 2007 PMRA final at the Grand Bend Motorplex
over the Labor Day weekend certainly provided a dramatic finish to the
With the running of this final
event, the PMRA finally has a repeat winner, as a different team won each of the
previous 13 events.
Joe Boniferro of Niagara Falls, Ontario, beat Bruce Boland
of Hamilton, Ontario in the final round to become the PMRA’s first repeat
winner. Boniferro, driving the Smokin’ Joe’s 1999 Dodge Avenger, ran a
6.625-sec, 216.86-mph pass over Boland’s 6.780-sec, 213.06 effort.
“I’m just ecstatic to become the first two-time winner of
this series,” said a pleased Boniferro after the race. “All my four sons are
here today, along with the whole crew”, he went on. “We came here with a whole
new combination, and I would have been content just to have qualified. But
everything went our way, and I’m very happy.”
Boniferro won the 2006 PMRA event at the Grand Bend
Motorplex. If Boland had won the race, he also would have been the first
two-time PMRA winner, as he won at Lancaster Raceway Park in 2005.


PEAK Antifreeze, O'Reilly Auto Parts and Herculiner announced today that an
agreement was reached with Zizzo Racing to join Race News Magazine as sponsors.
PEAK, O'Reilly and Herculiner will become the primary sponsor on the Zizzo
Racing Top Fuel Dragster for the remainder of the IHRA season. The announcement
comes on the heals of a career best performance for Zizzo at the 53rd annual Mac
Tool U.S. Nationals. Zizzo remains the points leader in a tightly contested
battle with veteran Bruce Litton for the Knoll Gas Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series

Brian Bohlander, Brand Manager for SplitFire and Herculiner
looks forward to the partnership. "After TJ's success at the U.S. Nationals we
couldn't think of a better way to continue the PEAK Antifreeze 60th anniversary
celebration than by becoming a partner with TJ as he competes for the IHRA
Championship," he said.

PEAK and Zizzo renew a partnership that began in
2004. "We're excited to be involved with PEAK and O'Reilly," Zizzo said.
"They've been a friend to our team and a great marketing partner. As the Fall
season approaches we want drag racing fans to think about replacing their
antifreeze with PEAK from O'Reilly Auto Parts."


We caught up with Pro Stock and Top Fuel team owner Ken Black to ask him
about the latest involving Gary Scelzi’s possible return next season. 
He said, “Well, all I’m going to do for next year is that I’ve agreed to
fly him to and from about 10 races next year to help him spend more
time with his family  For next year that’s all we’ve got going.
“Our other deal fell through, so we’re just puling back and
regrouping.  I met with Don Schumacher this morning and we discussed
it, and he’s willing to help me with anything he can in pursuit of a
Funny Car team that we’re probably going to put on hold until 2009. 
That was my original plan.
“My understanding is that Gary will continue to drive for Don, with
Todd Okuhara tuning the car, and in the meantime we’ll try to put our
own team together for 2009 with Gary driving and a certain other party
as crew chief that fell through.”


AOL Sports today announced that NHRA Driver
Ashley Force has been named the winner of the First Annual “Hottest Athlete”
Poll (http://sports.aol.com/photos/hottestathletes.)  AOL Sports
users voted on the best-looking sports guys and gals over the last several weeks
and Force came out on top.  Force, who is
the daughter of NHRA racing legend John Force, beat out football hunk Tom Brady,
as well as fellow motorsports sensation Danica Patrick, for the nod as the
hottest athlete in sports.


Defending IHRA Pro Stock champion Peter Berner was
spotted walking around the U.S. Nationals pits, which immediately brought a
question to mind: Is Berner considering a move to NHRA Pro Stock, and taking notes
from fellow IHRA racer Rickie Smith?

“It would be pretty
interesting to give this side a try,” said Berner. “I just couldn’t afford to
run the 23-race schedule over here in addition to the 11-race schedule in

Pro Stock legend has
converted his versatile Jerry Bickel-built Chevy Cobalt from a mountain-motor
Pro Stock car over to a 500-inch machine for this weekend’s race. Berner thinks
his car could do the same thing.


Morgan Lucas confirmed that he will be driving a Top
Fuel dragster for his parents but the second car sponsored by Evan Knoll is up
in the air.

“We owe it to the great
sponsors like Evan Knoll and Dixie Chopper to keep things going and give them a
great season instead of the crappy one we’ve had,” Lucas said. “We’ll chase the
points and do it the right way. We have two teams that could actually pursue
and finish in the Countdown. We can contend for the championship. That’s a big
statement to make, but I think we that have that. I think we have shown that in
the last few races. Right now, I can say that I am as excited as I have ever
been and having stability is important.

“I am the kind of person
that hates not knowing what is going on. My dad is finally starting to come
along because of the ups and downs we’ve had. It has been hard for him because
of the money he’s got invested. He’s finally stepped in and got more involved.
It has shown a difference lately. The more he’s involved means the better this
is going to get. The more excited he gets is going to mean the better it is for
everyone in the long run.”

Earlier in the weekend,
Lucas received a gut-punch with the announcement of teammate Melanie Troxel’s
defection to the Funny Car ranks to drive for Mike Ashley’s expanding team.