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(8-4-2006) - Drawing on the excitement and spectacle of the former Screamin’ Eagle Nitro Harley-Davidson class the IHRA contested from 1998 – 2002, the sanctioning body announced the addition of the Nitro Cycles as an exhibition class during this year’s Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco at Norwalk Raceway Park, August 24 – 27.


The Nitro Cycle class will consist of six riders: Steve Stordeur, Jay Turner, Mike Romine, Mark Cox, Bill Furr and Mike Lehman. All accomplished competitors, the riders will make one pass Friday night and two passes Saturday.


“The Nitro Cycle class has always been a fan favorite and will be an exciting addition to one of IHRA’s biggest events,” said IHRA president Aaron Polburn. “By including Nitro Funny Cars to the eMax Drag Racing Series this year, and now the motorcycles to the World Nationals, the event will offer a unique mix of vehicles and one of the strongest nitro-burning fields anywhere.


“No matter how many times I see one of these motorcycles blaze down the track at 220 mph in just over 6-seconds, it never gets old,” added Polburn.


Each of the six riders have made major contributions to the motorcycle racing world. Many have held top-ten positions in the IHRA or other sanctioning bodies, including the AHDRA.


Jay Turner, Burlington , N.C. , is a two-time IHRA world champion with five top-ten finishes. Steve Stordeur, Goshen , Ohio , finished 2nd in the IHRA point standings three straight years, one of which came the last year IHRA ran motorcycles in 2002, and has two AHDRA championships. Mark Cox, Wilkesboro , N.C. , was the 1998 AHDRA Pro Drag champion and has one IHRA top-ten finish.


“When I competed with IHRA before, it provided a great showcase for the motorcycles,” said Cox. “It elevated the class in front of a very high profile audience, which helps us obtain sponsorship and creates a lot more awareness. Exposure is what we need, and IHRA offers the right demographic and audience.


“It seems like a real nature fit with IHRA,” added Cox. “I’m excited with what the show has to offer this year with their Top Fuel and Nitro Funny Car class. I’m just thrilled to be racing with IHRA again. We are treated like professionals, given a high-caliber track to race on, and it’s something we’ve really missed. I’ve seen the sport not really grow that much since the class came to an end in 2002. I’ve always been a believer that this is where we need to be.”


Mike Romine, Sturgis , Mich. , is the defending and current AHDRA Top Fuel points leader and has five IHRA top-ten finishes. Bill Furr, Orangeburg , S.C. , has 4 IHRA top-ten finishes, including a 2nd and 3rd. Mike Lehman, West Palm Beach, Fla. , is the current AHDRA Pro Fuel ET and Speed record holder at 6.583/208.67.


The Skull Shine World Nationals presented by ACDelco, the eighth event on the 2006 eMax Drag Racing Series, will be held at Norwalk Raceway Park , Norwalk , Ohio , August 24-27. For more information, log onto www.ihra.com.


(8-4-2006) – The Lyn St. James Foundation recognized the late Barbara Parks’ achievements in the world of NHRA drag racing today by presenting the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award in her honor during the fourth annual Women in the Winner’s Circle luncheon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mrs. Parks, wife of NHRA founder Wally Parks and a driving force behind the early successes of the 54-year-old sanctioning body, succumbed to cancer in late January after a long battle with the devastating illness. In contrast to the many women who take the much deserved spotlight as a result of their untiring efforts to contribute to the progress of automotive hobbies and racing, Mrs. Parks, by her own choice remained in the background. But she was a force — an important, determined and very creative influence — in the earliest days of the founding of hot rodding and, of course, the National Hot Rod Association and championship drag racing.

She was active to the end, remaining at her husband’s side as he pursued with painstaking effectiveness the efficient operation of an NHRA museum, a monument to the sport’s illustrious history and a showcase of the archival record of NHRA drag racing. Many of the features showcased in the museum, now named for its founder as The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, are the product of Barbara’s vision, creativeness and talents.

The Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award annually recognizes the achievements of a woman who through her passion and dedication for many years, demonstrates how much women have contributed to the motorsports industry.

NHRA President Tom Compton accepted the prestigious award and read a statement from Barbara’s devoted husband, who was unable to attend the event.

“On behalf of Barbara and all of us at NHRA, let me express our genuine appreciation for this premium recognition and for the years of friendship she enjoyed among you – especially here in Indianapolis,” Wally Parks said in the statement. “She was a trooper – totally dedicated to a very special sport’s advancements in which the ladies have been active in important roles since day one. As she often pointed out, it was the people involved – not the race cars – that she appreciated most in five decades with NHRA. Thank you for honoring her memory with this very special tribute.”

Said Compton: “On behalf of Wally and the entire NHRA family, we want to thank Lyn St. James and the Lyn St. James Foundation for recognizing Barbara’s immeasurable contribution to the sport and honoring her with the Mildred Marcum Pioneer Award as part of the Women in the Winner’s Circle Luncheon. The entire NHRA family owes a tremendous amount of thanks to Barbara Parks for what she accomplished and her influence on the sport will be everlasting.”


(8-3-2006) - Famed alcohol Funny Car racer Arnie Karp, who is best known for his series of “Boston Strangler” and Mountain Dew-sponsored floppers, had his life saved by a kidney transplant several years ago. Now his sister Elaine is facing the same procedure, only this time her outcome may not be as favorable as her brother’s.

In an e-mail recently sent to many friends, fans and family, Karp, now retired from racing, makes a plea for help in the form of a donation and/or participation in a 3.3-mile walk for Elaine, to be held on September 17 around the Charles River near Boston. “Elaine,” he says, “is now faced with the same health issues I had several years ago. She is in need of a kidney transplant. So far, she had not been as lucky as I was.”

Karp received a kidney from his long-time friend and former “bottom end” man Pat Murphy, and is now in good health. “It (the transplant) has been a life-altering experience for both of us,” Karp writes.

His e-mail link to Elaine’s request for help is www.pkdcure.org, and in an e-mail from Elaine herself, she explains that he has an inherited kidney disease called polycystic kidney disease, and she is now on a national register as a person in need of a kidney transplant. Her kidney function in the last year, she writes, has deteriorated at a fast rate, and kidney dialysis is only months away. Arnie and Elaine’s mother died from the disease 42 years ago. There is presently no known cure.

The walk around the Charles River will be a way of raising money for on-going research in finding a cure for polycystic kidney disease, Elaine writes in her e-mail. “Thank you, thank you from someone who’s learning --- late in life --- how to ask for help!” she says. Once again, the e-mail is www.pkdcure.org. And by the way, I was once involved in Arnie Karp and Keith Hughes’ Mountain Dew Top Alcohol Funny Car, and thus I know that the Karp folks are straight-up. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers. --- Dale Wilson  


8-3-2006) - Melanie Troxel, driver of the Skull Shine/Knoll Gas-Torco Race Fuels Top Fuel dragster for Don Schumacher Racing, was awarded The USAC Kara Hendrick Spirit Award today at the fourth annual Women in the Winner's Circle 2006 luncheon, benefiting the Lyn St. James Foundation.

At the function held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in advance of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 this weekend, Lyn St. James presented Troxel with the fourth annual award which honors a female driver whose spirit, determination and
driving ability are reminiscent of the excellence demonstrated by Kara Hendrick during her brief racing career.

Hendrick was a rising star of the USAC Western States Midget Series and a fierce competitor with a bright future. On Oct. 5, 1991, at Cajon Speedway in El Cajon, Calif., 22-year-old Hendrick broke the track record, qualified first and was leading the race until her midget impacted the wall. She did not survive her injuries.

Troxel was taken by surprise when her name was called. "This was totally unexpected," she said, "and I am extremely honored to receive this very special award. I've been very fortunate with the opportunities I have been given and I also thank Lyn for everything that she has done.

"I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to race for Don Schumacher Racing and I'm grateful to everyone involved with the team. It takes a talented group of people to put a car out there that can win races and have success.

"When I first started coming to Lyn's events I was in between rides and she has been a great source of inspiration to me over the years, encouraging me to stick with it and stay out there in front of the teams and sponsors and the people who would make it possible for me to get back out there."

In her first full season of Top Fuel competition, Troxel, 33, led the Top Fuel points through the first 12 races of the 23-event 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, was the first NHRA driver to have reached the final round in the first five events of a season, and has won two events so far.

She is currently second in points and in the middle of a serious chase for her first Top Fuel championship.

Troxel, who lives in Avon, Ind., with husband and Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr., is the quickest and fastest female driver in NHRA history, after clocking a 4.458-second pass and 330.31-mph speed in Dallas in 2005. She has since upped that speed to 331.04 mph.

Her other achievements include ESPYS nominations for Driver of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, and was the first quarter winner of the 2006 Driver of the Year award.

Don Schumacher Racing was also presented the 2006 Opportunity Award honoring teams that go above and beyond in helping with the development of female drivers.


(8-3-2006) – America’s Baby Cancer Foundation (ABCF) and SpeedFreaks have inked a long term and integral marketing partnership to help raise the awareness of children's cancer.  In addition, Kenny Sargent and Lugg Nuttz, hosts from the SpeedFreaks Radio and Television programs, have been elected to its Board of Directors.

“SpeedFreaks finally found a cause we could really grab a hold of and make a difference," says Sargent.  "Serendipitously, it was a charity golf tournament that started the Freaks' wheels to roll after we met Samiya, Matthew and Eddy, three of the many children America’s Baby Cancer Foundation's helps from the Kaiser Permanente Hospital ’s Pediatric Cancer program."

"It is with great pleasure that the Board of Directors welcome the SpeedFreaks team," declares Phillis Lane, President and Vice-Chairman of ABCF.  "The Foundation welcomes the commitment and enthusiasm exhibited by both gentlemen and is excited to be working with such a great and ubiquitous media outlet as SpeedFreaks."

Lugg Nuttz became a supporter of America’s Baby Cancer Foundation three years ago by organizing an event at Irwindale Speedway in Los Angeles for the families of UCLA/ Mattel Children's Hospital, Miller Children's Hospital and the Kaiser Permanente Hospitals.  At the Speedway, Lugg met some of the children who are currently battling cancer and their families.  Through his efforts, Irwindale Speedway established a program where it now provides ABCF families with tickets for Saturday night races.

"You talk about a wake up call, baby cancer will affect over 11,000 children under the age of 15 this year," says Lugg Nuttz.  "If that wasn't enough, childhood cancer rates are ncreasing at a rate of approximately 1% each year.  SpeedFreaks' massive blanketed media exposure will without a doubt assist in baby cancer awareness"

Building on the Irwindale Speedway success, SpeedFreaks intend to capitalize on the relationships with other motorsports' venues, drivers, riders, teams and sponsors that have been so kind to the show over the years and come up with creative opportunities and events for these children to enjoy.


(8-3-2006) - Former NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Lee Callaway will be able to take the 'interim' off his title as the newly announced driver of the Torco Race Fuels/Conway Automotive A/Fuel Dragster. With two final round appearances in as many outings as the 'interim' driver for the team, the team will continue their pursuit of both the Divisional and National Championship during this weekend's Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Gateway International Raceway just outside of St. Louis.

Callaway, from Baytown, Texas, is excited about the opportunity to drive for Team Owner/Tuner Tom Conway, who not only won last year's National and Division 4 Championship as a car owner, but two National Championships and eight Division 4 Championships as a driver.

"It's really an honor and privilege to get to drive this car," said Callaway. "We kind of tested the water at the past two races, and everything has clicked so far. Tom really has a great team assembled; the car runs good and we have a good time racing. We're also have a good sponsor in Evan Knoll's Torco Race Fuels companies. It really helps when you have a sponsor that's behind you like they are."

The team is also looking forward to competing with 'fresh pipe' at this weekend's event. The car was recently back halved at Joe Monden Racecars following some rough outings earlier in the year.

"We're excited about getting back on track with the new backhalf," stated Team Manager Shane Conway. "The car had been driven through some pretty serious tireshake during the first part of the year. Hopefully the fresh pipe will help us improve our performance this weekend. One of our sponsors Casino Queen is just a few miles from the track, so we'd like to do well for them as well."


(8-3-2006) - Crane Technologies Group Inc., of Daytona Beach, Fla., has been acquired by Mikronite Technologies of Eatontown, N.J., which provides technology and parts for the aerospace, automotive, commercial and medical fields, according to a recent press release. The acquisition will take place within 60 days, subject to shareholder approval.

Crane will continue its operations at 530 Fentress Blvd., according to the press release, and the Mikronite company may move some of its operations and employees to that famous address in Daytona Beach. Present Crane employees and the customers they serve are not expected to be affected by the purchase, the press release said.

The Mikronite company has been involved with Crane Cams for more than a year, and its Mikronite metal finishing process has been used on a variety of Crane hi-po performance parts since then. Mikronite, says the press release. The purchase will provide Crane Cams with more than $8 million in cash equity and equipment-related financing, the release says. Jeff Coats, CEO of Mikronite, will become president and CEO of Crane Cams, while Gene Ezzell, CEO of Crane Cams, will become president of Mikronite Automotive Technologies and will develop new automotive and industrial businesses for Mikronite. --- Dale Wilson


8-3-2006) - NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points leader Ron Capps, who drives the Brut Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car for Don Schumacher Racing, will be a guest of Dave Despain on this Sunday's "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" on Speed Channel.

Capps has won five races this season - more than any other Funny Car driver - as he aims for his first Funny Car championship after three seasons as a runner-up. He's in a heated battle with 13-time champion John Force, who is
in second, 70 points behind Capps, with eight events left.

The show airs on Sunday, Aug. 6, from 9-10 p.m. ET, with Capps' live segment from his home in Carlsbad, Calif., scheduled for approximately 9:15 p.m. ET.

Viewers may e-mail questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com or call in at 1-866-WTUNNEL.


(8-2-2006) - NHRA POWERade Pro Stock racer Allen Johnson confirmed that discussions have taken place in an effort to improve the performance of Team Mopar even if that meant bringing Shaun Carlson over to the "other" Mopar camp.

Johnson says details have yet to be finalized.

"There are some things up in the air," Johnson said. "If some things happen - it will happen for the betterment of all of us. We want the best for Mopar as I am sure everyone wants. We have always tried to be team players. We will do what is best for Kevin Miller and Mopar."

"We are all teammates here...Mopar...Don Schumacher Racing and our team," Johnson said. "Kevin Miller and Mopar have been awful good to me and I want to do my part to help out...whatever that may be.

"Our team thinks a lot of Sean and he did a great job filling in for Darrell Alderman when we needed him to. We'll just let the chip fall where they may in this situation."


(8-2-2006) - Okuma America Corporation, a world leader in the development of Computer Numeric Controls (CNC) and machining technology, has entered into a manufacturing and marketing partnership agreement with Don Schumacher Racing, becoming the "Official Machine Tool Supplier" for Don Schumacher Racing.

"With the rapid expansion of Don Schumacher Racing comes the need to design and manufacture more and more proprietary parts in house," said Don Schumacher. "To make that happen we needed to align ourselves with a world leading company in the CNC industry. We knew that Okuma already had a variety of successful programs in the motorsports industry, including Bill Miller Engineering, Competition Cams and with Richard Childress Racing. On top of those programs, Okuma partnered with the NHRA as the Official Machine Tool Company. We did our homework and we realized we didnˇt need to look very far. It made sense for Don Schumacher Racing to partner with Okuma."

Larry Schwartz, president of Okuma America Corporation, said: "I couldnˇt think of a better organization for Okuma to partner with than Don Schumacher Racing. This partnership allows Okuma America to further expand it's High Performance Motorsports Industry program by adding to our motorsports family. Our new partnership with Don Schumacher Racing will allow Okuma the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Schumacher engineers and crew chiefs on some new and exciting projects."

In addition to Okuma machines being used in the Don Schumacher Racing shop in Brownsburg, Ind., Okuma identification will appear on all Don Schumacher Racing race vehicles, transporters and hospitality trailers.