AUGUST 2006 - RUMORS
|Get on the Torco's CompetitionPlus.com news update list...|
• Ray Alley had tendered his resignation over the Indy weekend and while many had expected him to vacate the position, he offered the NHRA his services for the balance of the season. The fact Alley has had visual knowledge of many of the team's innovative ideas (all new parts and pieces required Alley's approval) didn't set well with many of the them including one prominent conglomeration who reportedly commented, "This guy lived in our compound." The apparent deciding factor in not allowing Alley to work out his notice can be traced to a lengthy conversation between one well known team owner and the NHRA's Graham Light over the course of the Indy weekend. A second was the fact Alley was denied access to a new part the team had developed and was subsequently asked to leave their pit area. (9-7-2006)
• While much of the talk lately has focused on Whit Bazemore and his possible appointment as driver of a second Top Fuel car fielded by the David Powers Motorsports operation. What is not being widely circulated is that his teammate Ron Capps has already received two offers to drive a dragster. He's admittedly not a fan of the dragsters but could be convinced. We'll see how this one plays out. (9-4-2006)
• Evan Knoll remains tight-lipped regarding his plans for involvement with the IHRA but has hinted of some major improvements in purse to be put in place with the sanctioning body. The popular rumor is that he's planning to double the purses for the IHRA's Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions. His generosity won't stop there we are told. Reportedly, he's working to double the purse of the Pro Modified and Pro Stock shootouts which would reward $40,000 to win and $18,000 runner-up. Knoll's only comment is, "Wait until after Indy." (8-31-2006)
• UPDATE: Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has confirmed through
a source close to Staley that former Alcohol Funny Car racer Billy Gibson will
be the driver. It is believed this program will begin in 2007. Gibson will be
teammates with Jim Yates and also utilize Bill Jenkins horsepower.
The hot tip for Indy's multi Pro Stock announcements this weekend is that a NFL Super Bowl champion will announce ownership of a Pro Stock team. Immediately, that brought visions of Jim Yates and Joe Gibbs to mind. However, our source tells us that it's Pittsburgh Steelers running back Duce Staley who will make the jump from Pro Modified to Pro Stock. (8-30-2006)
• There will be another tribute car appearing during the U.S. Nationals weekend. We're hearing the Larry Morgan's Mopar will roll to the line at Indy with a retro Rod Shop Dodge scheme. This will be a one-race deal, but will be one that will spark many memories of drivers like former team members Don Carlton and Butch Leal. (8-26-2006)
• Rumors are afloat that a new eighth-mile drag strip will be built in the Ocala, Florida area, and it should be open and ready for racing by Spring of 2007. We've heard of at least one event that was postponed for later this year and rescheduled for April 2007 at this new Ocala track. More news will be available as we listen and learn. (8-23-2006)
• It appears the 'wedge' motors are back. Ron Miller Racing engines has apparently found the problem that has been ailing his 'wedge' style motors for the last two years. Dwayne Rice and Ron Miller will have the updated engines in their cars at Norwalk. (8-23-2006)
• Speculation surrounding Jack Beckman's return to the fuel ranks has suggested it will be in a Top Fuel dragster. What has not been publicized is that Beckman will be making a few test laps behind the wheel of the DSR Funny Car driven by Whit Bazemore during the Indy session next week. Bazemore is unsigned for next season and this scenario ought to have the rumor mill jumping. (8-19-2006)
• Multiple sources have confirmed that Scott Kalitta will have his Funny Car cloaked in a Toyota shell during the upcoming Indy test session. We have attempted to contact Kalitta throughout the morning and will have confirmation or denial by this afternoon. (8-19-2006)
• The rumors are flying and a few local newspapers in the Kansas City area have reported the news concerning a major manufacturer in drag racing. Here's a link to the article - Weld Wheels. (8-19-2006)
• The question being bantered around for Indy is which prominent non-factory supported Funny Car team will try out a Toyota body during Indy testing. Futhermore, we are hearing that if this works out the team will run it during the U.S. Nationals. Let the speculation begin. (8-20-2006)
• Has Kenny Koretsky sold the Top Fuel team he purchased last season? If rumors pan out, that's exactly what has happened. Koretsky reportedly has had offers, including a one from a prominent team looking to add a second car. However, our sources tell us that Koretsky and driver Clay Millican were both in Michigan yesterday finalizing a deal with the prospective new owner. Ownership is expected to change prior to the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Koretsky will remain involved in the program if the new deal pans out. Torco's CompetitionPlus.com contacted Koretsky, who declined comment on the sale but confirmed that he did meet with "the man who sponsors everything under the sun." (8-16-2006)
• Look for Funny Car racer Bob Gilbertson to debut a new, lighter Dodge
Stratus body with an all-new paint scheme designed by John Bell http://www.johnbellstudio.com/ at the
U.S. Nationals in Indy on Friday, September 1, for the first qualifying
Should we expect something different from Gilbertson? Of course we should. It will be very interesting to see what the Terminator Motorsports team comes up with. (8-16-2006)
• Plans are in the works for a memorial drag race honoring Ronnie Sox. The proposed date is October 19, 2006 and it will be held at Roxboro Dragway in Roxboro, North Carolina. Reportedly, the event is sponsored by the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame who hosts their annual banquet the weekend following the event. Proceeds from the race are destined for the Ronnie Sox Foundation. (8-12-2006)
• Apparently Evan Knoll has a larger plan in store for his Knoll Gas - Torco Race Fuels and it focuses on the future of drag racing. Knoll is rumored to be closing on 270 acres of land in mid-Ohio on which he plans to build a state-of-the-art drag strip, half-mile asphalt oval and a championship motorcross track. The increased number of tracks closing each year is what has inspired this decision. Along with the track, Knoll plans to install more propane facilites as well as petroleum terminals for his gas refinery businesses.
Knoll is determined to build a handful of these "family fun" parks which will also feature adjoining amusement facilities.
Knoll offered no comment regarding his Ohio plans but did confirm that he's looking at potential facilities. He's even fielding offers of tracks for sale. Facilities for sale can contact Knoll via email - Tracks for Sale
It just makes you wonder if all of this comes to pass, what is up his sleeve for the future - especially with the rumored purchase of the IHRA. (8-10-2006)
• Rumors have circulated that Don Schumacher has sold off the Pro Stock portion of his multi-car team. Schumacher denied that he's sold off the team but did admit he's entertained the proposition of bringing in a partner. Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has learned this partner could likely have a Texas background. While on the subject of Schumacher, we have also learned from a reliable source that Carlson has not left the team and is officially retained to help in the engineering of DSR's Pro Stock cars.
Carlson will not be driving in either Brainerd or Memphis we are told. (8-5-2006)
• There will be some double-duty Pro Stock racing in 2006 from what we hear. In the Seventies and Eighties it was a normal process to see IHRA mountain motor racers convert to NHRA Pro Stock and vice versa. This practice is likely to return as we have learned that Rickie Smith will run his same car on both schedules. The one we found interesting is when the IHRA comes to Tulsa in 2007 that Mike Edwards could be another one. (7-29-2006)
• Could the NHRA POWERade tour skip Seattle in 2008? Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has learned from usually reliable sources that if the necessary permits are obtained for Pacific Raceway's reconstruction the facility could go on a one-year hiatus similar to what Bandimere Speedway did some years back and open with a completed product. While we have yet to obtain confirmation from track management or the NHRA, there is a very good shot at this coming to pass.
Seattle's revamped facility could have company in 2008 if another unsubstantiated rumor comes to pass. Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has asked NHRA officials about a possible date south of the border in Monterrey, Mexico. While they wouldn't confirm such a venture, they didn't deny it either. (7-24-2006)
• Look for Don Schumacher to run another tribute car at Indy this year. Reportedly, he was looking into a salute to Mopar legend Ronnie Sox but that may not happen because there is rumored to be a Sox & Martin car hitting the circuit soon. Our sources indicated there's a very good chance you could see old Pro Stock Truck comrades Panella and Bailey working together with Sox & Martin legend Buddy Martin.
Where does that leave Schumacher? Don't be surprised if a RAMCHARGERS car makes it to the staging lanes. (7-24-2006)
• Evan Knoll was reportedly hopping mad yesterday at the notion the NHRA was shortening their season and planning more three-in-a-row races in an attempt to thwart the efforts of the new IHRA Funny Car class. Knoll has a vested interest in the IHRA's Funny Car program as the sponsor.
Knoll, who joined the NHRA sponsorship fold as a national event sponsor, reportedly got up on the tires with a business associate and leveled threats that he'll up his backing of the class to equal that of Glendora and a few key words...and maybe more for good measure. We'll just have to see how this rumor shakes out. (7-18-2006)
• From what we are hearing, expect Rodger Brogdon, the Competition eliminator standout, to announce in the near future that he'll be stepping up to Pro Stock. Now the Million Dollar question remains...will he do it in a Chevrolet or a Mopar? (7-18-2006)
• Tate Branch was scheduled to drive a Top Fueler for Chris Russell at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Word comes to us that sponsorship has fallen through on the program and Branch is currently seeking a ride to return in Top Alcohol Funny Car. (7-18-2006)
• As Torco's CompetitionPlus.com reported back on 6-27 that the NHRA could be shortening the 2007 schedule, we have heard from a reliable source the revamped tour could conclude as early as the laast weekend in October. One has to wonder what the reasoning is for more back-to-back races and the consensus among sources close to the situation suggests it is to put a crimp in the IHRA's schedule which was revamped in 2006 to accomodate the new Nitro Funny Car class. (7-17-2006)
• Johnny West, recently let go from his position as crew chief on Scott Kalitta’s Funny Car (assistant crew chief Larry Meyer resigned at the same time) will reportedly be making the next few races with Kenny Koretsky’s Top Fuel team and driver Clay Millican. Crew Chief Mike Kloeber has asked West to come aboard as an observer/advisor in the hopes that the experienced tuner might pick up on some small thing that Kloeber might be missing – that little error that could be keeping Millican out of the winners circle. (7-17-2006)
• Although no one has officially confirmed nor denied yet, we have learned from a reliable source that Top Fuel driver Morgan Lucas will be driving his family's A/Fuel Dragster next weekend in Seattle. The car has been driven for most of the year by Aaron Olivarez. From what we are hearing, Lucas could be pulling double duty in Sonoma as well. Could Tom Conway be involved as well? (7-16-2006) UPDATE: Morgan Lucas has confirmed to Torco’s Competitionplus.com that in addition to his regular Top Fuel ride in the “family hot rod” Lucas Oil dragster he’ll do double duty during the next two weeks by also wheeling their nitro injected Top Alcohol Dragster.
• You have to love those Brainerd International Raceway rumors that seem to circulate this time every year. We have already received three different emails from residents close to the track who have pointed out, not only has the track been sold but a sign out front reads "The Colonel is OUT." This UNSUBSTANTIATED rumor says the track is under new ownership from the same gentleman that headed up the bid for the failed Pine Run Motorsports Park. We are still investigating this story and will have more details once they become available. (7-16-2006)
• At the request of Pro Stock racer Larry Morgan, we have removed the photos of his "Can't Fix Stupid" from the pages of Torco's CompetitionPlus.com. Apparently, the management of the NHRA is none too pleased with the production of the shirt with their logos attached (as well as the message) and have cried trademark infringement foul. The NHRA had forced him to cease and desist apparel sales from the trailer (with no mention of sales elsewhere) but the unstoppable Morgan moved the sales via his Newark, Ohio shop. The bottom line is if you purchased one of the original shirts then you have a collector's item.
Morgan will make another production run of the shirts, but this time they will be minus the NHRA POWERade logo. Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has tried to talk to the NHRA officials involved but our requests have been declined. (7-13-2006)
• After Buddy Ingersoll's departure and a rumored Bill Glidden hiring, it
appears that Gary Henry will be joining Mike Androwick (airflow engineer) and
Gary Stropko (race engine builder) at Barry Grant Racing next month at their
Charlotte-based race shop.
According to a source, Henry will continue to fulfill his weekend commitments with IHRA racers Tim Dooley and Mike Bruno until the end of the 2006 season--IHRA events don't conflict with NHRA events.
Reportedly Androwick and Stropko have increased Grant's engine power by 175 hp since joining the team last year, but they're still seeking a little more to be competitive. Their current goal, subject to successful testing in August, is to be ready to race by Memphis. (7-13-2006)
• If what we're hearing is true, the state of Hawaii is open to bringing in a world-class racing facility. Here's a shocker...Bruton Smith's name is often brought up. Could there be a new NHRA facility in the mix? This has been the talk in NASCAR circles where it is said that roundy-round racing would be involved. (7-12-2006)
•Remember the Bill Bader ad offering to sell his minority ownership of the IHRA in SPEED SPORT News recently? From what we're hearing, a representative of Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports was among those calling to inquire over the last two weeks. (7-12-2006)
• The burning question remains about which team will pick up sponsorship from John Deere for 2006. The company has been looking to get involved in drag racing and company executives were at an NHRA national event not too long ago. (7-12-2006)
• While we reported earlier in the month an ad in SPEED SPORT News offering Bill Bader's 25% share in the IHRA for sale, we have heard that Evan Knoll not only intends to purchase the minority share but also plans to have it done by September. (7-11-2006)
• The consensus among many racers in the pits this season is that the Alcohol Funny Car class is in its last year on the IHRA tour. An unsubstantiated rumor suggests that a group of corn growers specializing in ethanol-based fuels are in negotiations for sponsorship of the class in order ensure its survival.
Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com asked the IHRA's Aaron Polburn if he was talking to potential sponsors and he said yes. However, when we asked him who the potential sponsor could be, he declined to comment. (7-10-2006).
•While there are rumors out there suggesting that Larry Dixon could be test driving teammate Tommy Johnson, Jr.'s Funny Car in a test session, we have heard that Tony Schumacher could be testing one of the DSR Funny Cars following Sonoma. From one of our solid sources, the potential of Schumacher in a Funny Car already has the blessings of his sponsor, the U.S. Army. Schumacher had originally planned a test outing during the pre-U.S. Nationals test session at Indy but this may happen sooner. (7-5-2006)
• Is there trouble in paradise in the Victor Cagnazzi Pro Stock camp or is it just a matter of frustration? A recent slump in performance has reportedly led to some finger-pointing and an alleged confrontation between Greg Enders, father of driver Erica Enders, and team owner Victor Cagnazzi. Cagnazzi denies any argument took place between himself and Enders. He did point out that there was tension amongst Enders and some members of the team.“That’s something that happens with all teams,” he said.
Cagnazzi believes the situation is something that needs to be resolved, however, or it could force him and the Enders to part amicably. He said that he fully expects resolution and that the team will move forward. Cagnazzi admitted that the disagreements are largely because “people just don’t understand each other. I think in the end everyone wants the same result – to win. It’s just like a family.”
Attempts to reach Greg Enders were unsuccessful.
One interesting thing about the Cagnazzi interview is that he was asked whether future plans included Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
“I can’t comment on that,” Cagnazzi said. “I’m like any other team owner; I’d love to have him with us.” (6-29-2006) UPDATE - Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com was unable to obtain a phone number for Enders before the original posting was uploaded. Enders contacted our offices today.
“Anything that goes on within our team is our business and not news, especially inaccurate news. I’ve never had a discussion with the team members about performance. That’s not even an issue for us. Nobody is upset about performance. Victor said there was tension but there was no confrontation with anyone. This sport has to be really short on news if this is what is printed.
“We had a bad part and it took us two races to find it. Warren Johnson is the king of the world out here and he didn’t qualify. If it happens to the best how are we going to avoid it? Victor and I wouldn’t argue over anything like this because the things that matter are not on the track. There’s no difference between me and members of the team. We have a different view on whether or not news crews tailing Erica all weekend is disruptive to racing. That’s not an argument. That’s a business discussion.
“We are having dinner together, hugging and high-fiving. What are you portraying here? Why?
“There have been no words between myself and team-members related to the race program or Erica…none. Victor and I have never had a harsh word ever. We lost our way on the set-up for a couple of races…big deal.” UPDATE: Erica Enders left the Victor Cagnazzi camp on Thursday afternoon and will drive for Don Schumacher. (6-30-2006)
• Remember the name Mark Stockseth? Most recently he was involved with Rick Jones on the IHRA Knoll Gas – Torco Race Fuels Pro Stock side. Word comes to us that he will be assisting Rickie Smith on the tuning of his IHRA Pro Stock team. (6-29-2006)
• Yet another Evan Knoll Top Fueler? One of our sources (and a good one) has indicated the Knoll was behind Steve Torrence's licensing efforts. By our official calculations, all he needs is ten more dragsters to be able to fill his own 16-car Top Fuel field. (6-28-2006)
• The NHRA may be shuffling its schedule in 2007 and from what we are hearing St. Louis may very well move to the weekend currently held by Commerce. This could be one of several changes as the NHRA is reportedly interested in ending the season earlier than the standard November date. If the latter transpires it could mean more back-to-back-to-back races and less weekends off. The only date that would be safe would be Mother's Day. (6-27-2006)
• Could a Glidden be headed back into the Pro Stock wars soon? Reportedly, the leading candidate for the Barry Grant's crewchief is none other than Rusty Glidden. (6-25-2006) UPDATE: (6-27-2006) Barry Grant has not named a crewchief and from what we are told from a company spokesperson, Glidden will not be the crewchief. The spokesperson confirmed what we were told in a conversation with previous crewchief Buddy Ingersoll. It was Grant's desire for Ingersoll to relocate to Charlotte in order to be closer to the team's Charlotte race shop.
• The hottest rumor circulating around the nitro pits suggests a major banking institution will sponsor not only a fuel car but also an NHRA national event as well in 2007. (6-25-2006)
• The word we are getting is that carburetor magnate and Pro Stock driver Barry Grant has relieved crewchief Buddy Ingersoll of his duties. (6-24-2006)
•Here's the teaser of the weekend, could a prominent Competition Eliminator driver be on the verge of headed 500-inch Pro Stock racing? (6-24-2006)
• Almost a year to the date that several prominent Pro Stock teams admitted they were sitting out the western swing, word comes to us from a reliable source that not only will one of the tour regulars sit out the west coast swing but will also reportedly park the operation. Apparently, the decision was made prior to Englishtown. UPDATE: The team in question is the Dart Heads Pro Stock owned by Dick Maskin. Although sources have indicated the team is parked, a return call from a Dart Heads spokesperson confirmed the car will not be in St. Louis but did say the team will return to action at the following event. The spokesperson also confirmed that Rickie Smith will no longer be driving for the team. From what we hear this whole scenario is expected to take a wild turn and if you aren't confused by now, you will be soon. UPDATE2: Tom Martino will be the successor to Rickie Smith as driver for Maskin. (6-22-2006)
• Just when you thought the scenario couldn't get any odder than it already is, apparently Mike Ashley is going to race at St. Louis after all. Word has it that he'll be strapping into the 1967 Shelby Mustang Pro Modified that was formerly driven by Troy Coughlin. Confirmation should come today once the entry list for the AMS Pro Modified Shootout is distributed, so we'll just wait and see if this comes to pass. (6-21-2006)
• In an email forwarded to Torco's CompetitionPlus.com authored by Mickey Thompson's sister Collene Campbell, Michael Goodwin, the man accused in the execution-style slayings of Mickey and Trudy Thompson, will finally go to trial on September 21, 2006. This comes nearly eighteen years since the couple was brutally gunned down in front of their home.
Although Colleen expressed the feeling that she'll believe it when she sees it, a round of appeals were all denied by Judge Teri Schwartz. We are still researching for official court documents to verify the claims. (6-21-2006)
• The question being bantered around this week is which Funny Car will Jeff Arend drive in St. Louis. (6-19-2006)
• The question being bantered around this week is which Funny Car will Jeff Arend drive in St. Louis. (6-20-2006)
• Sport Compact racer turned Pro Stock driver Shaun Carlson's status in the three events following Joliet could determine his future at Don Schumacher Racing. From what we're hearing, the cars have been fixed to suit his needs and Richie Stevens even drove the red car to competitive performances in testing. Carlson got off to a bad start in the first of the three reported "determining races" with a DNQ in Englishtown. (6-19-2006)
• Though many reports have suggested the Doug Kalitta will be driving Scott Kalitta's Funny Car at the Norwalk Raceway Park's Night Under Fire, we hear that Scott will indeed drive the car. (6-14-2006)
• One of the more popular subjects under discussion at Joliet was that Mopar is courting driver Greg Stanfield and car owner Bart Price to return to the manufacturer's fold. Some might recall that the last time David Nickens was in charge was when Stanfield drove a Mopar. Price and Stanfield remain tight-lipped, although other sources have confirmed such a thing is going on. (6-10-2006)
• A burnout in Manhattan, NY.? New York mortgage banker Mike Ashley made mention during his online television show SKULL FACTOR News Network that he is in the process of finalizing details to do a burnout in New York City in the days leading up to Englishtown. Ashley along with Terry Haddock will be participating in a tribute to the New York Firefighters by donating to their Widow's fund. (6-10-2006)
• Expect an announcement to come down the pike today for a new nitro Funny Car team owned by Evan Knoll. Word has it this program could have some interesting scenarios. (6-5-2006)
• Torco's CompetitionPlus.com has heard rumblings of a new sponsorship signed by Don Prudhomme to replace exiting Miller. We contacted DPR's publicist who did not know of a sponsorship, but did respond when we named the rumored sponsor, "Snake Racing will not be making any comments or announcements about future plans until the appropriate time and all the media will be alerted at the same time." (5-30-2006)
• This could be something to create a discussion for much of the leading into Columbus. From what we hear, the folks at Jeg's Mail Order could be making a significant announcement at the event. (5-13-2006)
• Less than two weeks ago, Terry Adams made headlines by reassignment to co-crewchief duties on the Evan Knoll Pro Stocker. Word comes today that Adams has left the team altogether and has already found a job with Don Shumacher Racing. Reportedly, Adams will assist Dave Nickens. (5-12-2006)
•The popular speculation is that the NHRA will consider handing down a decision this week surrounding an incident between Don Schumacher's drivers Ron Capps and Whit Bazemore. In the past, Schumacher has made moves to send a public statement to detractors that he's in control of his programs. This situation may not be any different even though he's pointed out that it is a private matter. (5-8-2006)
• Expect an announcement from the NHRA soon regarding a new sponsor for the national event at Virginia Motorsports Park. Reportedly the contracts were signed this week and Torco Race Fuels will be the title rights sponsor for that event. (5-4-2006)
• We've heard about on-track rivalries but on the NHRA Manufacturer's Midway? Word has it that officials from Summit Racing Equipment asked that the Speedco/Jeg's midway and service trailers not be parked side-by-side during the Las Vegas event. From what we hear those spots were designated by the NHRA. A similar situation has reportedly happened again for this weekend's event in Atlanta, even though the trailers were said to have been 100 feet apart within their designated spaces. The popular scuttlebutt is that the folks at Jeg's are not taking this situation well and promise there will be a less likelihood of being cooperative in the future. (5-3-2006) UPDATE - An NHRA official pointed out the situation was the fault of the sanctioning body. The common practice is not to place a competitor's trailer close to the event sponsor's prominent spot.
• If what we're hearing comes to pass, J.R. Todd could be running a full-time tour soon with the Menards dragster. Reportedly, Todd will still run the Dexter Tuttle dragster at 12 events, but another sponsor could be soon announced that will extend that program. (5-3-2006)
• Word has it there has been a change of crew chiefs for the Pro Stock entry
driven by Dave Connolly. From what we hear, crewchief Terry Adams has been
relieved of his duties following the team's DNQ at Bristol. (5-2-2006)
UPDATE - Apparently things have changed, according to a phone call from Evan Knoll. Terry Adams will now serve as assistant crew chief working under newly appointed crewchief Tommy Utt
• Those who remember Bob Glidden's relentless work ethic and dominance as a driver in the 1980s will recall he acquired the nickname "Mad Dog" as a result. He earned a reputation for making Ford-powered cars run really quick. Could that be in the future for "Mad Dog"? Let the speculation begin. (5-1-2006) UPDATE: Glidden has since denied any chance that he will be returning with Jim Cunningham's Ford Pro Stock team.
• Reportedly Evan Knoll is going to name another driver to pilot his personal Top Fuel dragster. Our sources have revealed that the car is being taken to Murph McKinney for a back-half to make it legal for NHRA POWERade competition. Apparently the fun doesn't stop there, as we also hear that Knoll is negotiating to buy both a well-known Top Fuel team and a nitro Funny Car program.
As if that's not enough, Knoll could be purchasing land for a new race shop to be based in Indianapolis. (4-27-2006)
• We've heard the world of NHRA POWERade Pro Stock racing can be tough on a
person, but in the last few weeks we have heard it has put Ron Krisher through
Combined with the DNQ at Las Vegas and personal business not going the way he'd like, the past top ten finisher decided to call it quits and likewise released his engine building team.
Krisher reportedly took some time off and has since decided to race again in Bristol and in Atlanta.The engine team has since been brought back in. After that, we hear that he will re-evaluate his decision. He was extremely disappointed in his engine program's performance and reportedly took an engine down to Larry Morgan's shop to have it dynoed. The team reportedly found some extra horsepower for the event. (4-24-2006)
• We have heard from multiple sources already regarding a new procedure to absolve Goodyear from future lawsuits. Reportedly Goodyear is seeking to entice nitro teams to enter an agreement for free tires in exchange for signing on to accept all legal responsibility associated with them whether its personal harm or injury to spectators. The individuals we have talked to (all of which are heavily involved in nitro drag racing) are said to have balked at the idea.
From what we hear, this started as early as last year. We are in the process of contacting Goodyear for confirmation or denial. (4-19-2006)
• There's a good chance the fast-paced world of NHRA POWERade Pro Stock could
feature more comings and goings outside of the recent split between Don
Schumacher and Bob Glidden. Word has it that a well-known past Top 10 finisher
in the class is expected to park his ride in the days to come. We are still
trying to reach the parties involved for an official comment.
On the flipside, we are hearing that past Top 10 points earner Steve Schmidt has a hankering to return to the class and could do so soon. (4-18-2006)
•If what we're hearing is true, there's a good chance we'll see a new look for Scotty Cannon's rebuilt Pontiac GTO when it rolls out of the trailer in Rockingham. (4-18-2006)
• The word coming down the pipe is that a well-known IHRA sponsor well step up to put their name on the title rights of the NHRA's return event in Virginia. Virginia Motorsports Park left the NHRA to come to the IHRA in 2001. VMP returned to the NHRA this season. (4-14-2006)
• Has longtime Chevrolet Pro Stock Truck runner Bob Panella sold all of his Bowtie equipment to Tony Rizzo because he plans to switch his program to Mopar? (4-13-2006)
• We're told that Rhonda Hartman-Smith will return to competition with a limited schedule, beginning at Bristol and continuing in Atlanta. Watch the entry lists. (4-11-2006)
• We have it on good authority that at least one of the nitro teams will be testing at 90% nitro on Monday after Las Vegas. Apparently the new tires are at their best with an engine that is very aggressive. Could the NHRA be considering the possibility of running 90-percent again? (4-10-2006)
• According to a video interview on 1320TV.com, Chris Russell is planning to debut at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis a Top Fuel Dragster that Tate Branch will drive. Reportedly, the brother of Darrell Russell has sponsorship lined up for the venture. (4-6-2006)
• Funny Car's Mike Ashley might make a special appearance as a Pro Modified driver during AMS Pro Modified Challenge competition at Englishtown, New Jersey. He claims Old Bridge Township Raceway Park as his home track. The two-time NHRA Pro Modified champion reportedly will debut a 1968 Camaro Pro Modified that weekend. (4-6-2006)
• The word floating around Flint, Michigan, is that a certain group of Hardcore drag racers are going to be featured on an episode of "Pinks" this summer. Stay tuned. It could have a Torco's CompetitionPlus.com connection. (4-6-2006)
• Take a look at some of the new front ends on the GTO Pro Stockers and compare it to the older ones, it may not be a total optical illusion of difference. Could it be the ID chips inside the fiberglass are relocated from one to another? That's the word we're hearing. With the full template measured at the start of the season, it could easilly slip by the naked eye. (4-5-2006)
• Could Evan Knoll be plotting another car in his stable of personal race cars? If what we're hearing comes to fruition, there could be a second A/Fuel Dragster forthcoming. (4-5-2006)
• The word has it floating through the pits that Dave Connolly will have an influential figure in his pits at Las Vegas. Reportedly, Rickie Smith will help out longtime friend Terry Adams in sorting out the SKULL GEAR-sponsored Chevrolet Cobalt. The word has it the chassis suffers in the first 330-feet, but after that works like a charm. If they can't get it to work right, the team will return to the Jerry Haas chassis they crashed earlier in the year. (4-4-2006)
• Gary Scelzi's problems may be solved as on Monday after Houston the test tested and laid down an impressive 4.79 on a car that was basically built in Houston. Morgan Lucas also tested on a newly prepared dragster after it was deemed his Sunday car had structural damage from the wheelstand in eliminations. (4-4-2006)
• The most talked about subject in the Torco Pro Modified pits during the IHRA Texas Nationals was the strong potential for adjustments to the supercharged combination following a strong showing. Our sources say the adjustments will not come in the form of supercharger overdrive or weight additions. The reported adjustments will center around the supercharger and permitted modifications. (3-28-2006)
• Carl Spiering's crash may have dealt a setback to his championship hopes in the early going but not as much as you think. We are hearing that he has a new early-model Camaro that may be pushed into action sooner than expected. (3-28-2006)
• While Scotty Cannon may proclaimed that he'd put "lipstick on the old sow" more affectionately known as his ageless 1953 Studebaker, talk was going through the pits that the team's Vanishing Point Race Cars will be rebuilt in time for Rockingham. (3-28-2006)
•During the Eastern Spring Test Nationals, IHRA Pro Stock driver Angelo Alesci was making laps in Charlie Taylor's entry. The word floating around is that displaced driver Frank Gugliotta may be behind the wheel for the IHRA opener San Antonio, Texas. (3-22-2006)
• Word has it that two formidable engine sealing manufacturers have entered into merger talks. If this union comes to fruition, it may become one of the most diverse and capable gasket manufacturing forces in the performance aftermarket. (3-16-2006)
• Could Kenny Nowling's American Drag Racing League soon be in the nitromethane business? Nowling has conveyed to Torco's CompetitionPlus.com that sponsor negotiations are going on for a fuel Funny Car field at ADRL events with a purse similar to that of the IHRA. (3-15-2006)
• Veteran driver Tom Martino seems to be making his way around the conglomeration of Larry Morgan-powered cars. This weekend in Gainesville, he'll reportedly be driving a second car for V. Gaines. Most recently, Martino drove a second entry for Morgan. (3-14-2006)
•Could there be turbocharged cars in the Pro Modified pits when the IHRA tour rolls into Rockingham in April? We're hearing from a very reliable source that that may very well be the case. Would those behind the AMS program on the NHRA side follow suit since they have adopted IHRA rules for the 2006 season? There's never a dull moment in the Pro Mod world. (3-12-2006)
• Look for Ashley Force to test again on the Tuesday following the CSK Nationals behind the wheel of a Mustang prepared for her and not her dad John Force's entry. The tuner will be Dean Antonelli which will be something to watch for in the future. (2-26-2006)
• The IHRA's new series sponsor, which is expected to be announced on Wednesday, is a non-automotive sponsor but what makes this even more interesting is the company is said to be a publicly traded entertainment company. Could this have an excellent tie-in with the newest of the Clear Channel properties - Live Nation? (2-21-2006)
• As the Pro Modified World Turns continues. Reportedly, the NHRA has signed the contract and mailed it to officials at AMS Staff Leasing. This information comes from an official who would rather remain unnamed. (2-12-2006)
• There's a war brewing in the pits between current nitro sponsors, and it came to a head today on the Midway in Pomona. Stuck in the middle of the rumble is the NHRA's Marketing Department. We're remaining mum on the parties involved in order for diplomacy to have a chance for success. (2-10-2006)
• If it seems as if Mopar Pro Stock drivers Richie Stevens and Larry Morgan have a performance advantage over the other cars in their brand, it might just be a new block that the factory has developed. Production is underway but the aforementioned drivers got the first two released. More are expected by Phoenix or most likely Gainesville. The major difference in the design is in the bottom of this unit. (2-9-2006)
• Don't be surprised if IHRA Top Fuel racing has a bit of a boot-stomping, Nashville kind of sound to it in 2006. Our sources are telling us that a team planning to run the full tour has landed a Nashville-based entertainment company as a sponsor. The source is sworn to secrecy and has even offered up the farm as collateral for its validity. (2-9-2006)
• Mike Corvo might have missed out on the Don Schumacher driving gig but we're getting word that on Monday he received two offers to driver, one on the NHRA POWERade tour and the other in IHRA Hooters. (2-8-2006)
• We're hearing that a contract for the Pro Modified series has been in the NHRA's hands for some time now and that's the reason it hasn't been announced yet. That delay could be the deciding factor between full fields and not so full fields at some NHRA events in 2006. Teams are making their decisions based on the current programs available. (2-8-2006)
•A rumor floating around at the Pro Stock Super Bowl in Vegas is that Bruton Smith is now looking to form a partnership with the NHRA rather than buy the organization outright. In this latest version of the "will he or won't he" saga, Smith would buy all of the tracks owned by the sanctioning body and then broker a television deal with ESPN and ABC. ESPN would broadcast qualifying and ABC would present the eliminations rounds. This story just gets more interesting with each telling. Will we ever know all the details? Time will tell. (2-3-2006)
•Bob Gilbertson's Dodge Stratus Funny Car will be sporting a new associate sponsor's signage soon, according to sources close to the team. The company involved has been involved with the NHRA on a significant scale for a number of years. (2-3-2006)
•Here's a 17-million-dollar question that begs to be answered: Has Bradenton Motorsports Park been sold? That's the latest word coming out of the Sunshine State, although nothing has been confirmed. This venerable facility, home of the Snowbird Nationals, has long been a favorite winter testing spot for professional teams, and new owners and an injection of cash may be just what's needed to keep it that way. (2-3-2006)
• In the words of the late Ed Dykes, founder of the Drag Race Central website, "Some stories are just too good to confirm." However, this one would be better left as an unsubstantiated rumor. This tale (not a fable) centers around a nitro team and three cylinder head manaufacturers whom we will name "A", "B" and "C." When this team acquired a great deal of equipment utilizing brand "A," they sold them to another team. Normally, they would have used the orginial manufacturer but "A" only services a limited number of clients. The focus was then put on "B." However, a burned bridge between the parties involved sent them to brand "C." (2-2-2006)
If you're thoroughly confused by this story, that's acceptable. Just remember the moral of the story, burned bridges sometimes come back to haunt you. (1-31-2006)
• Here's another tidbit of information that might just give a bit more credence to the all-American Pro Stock Motorcycle class of the future. Reportedly, Suzuki wasn't afforded the opportunity to bid on the program now held by Harley-Davidson. We are hearing that officials from Suzuki are understandably upset at the way it was handled. However, they are said to be angrier yet with the offer by NHRA to become the sanctioning body's "Official ATV."
Needless to say, we are hearing that Suzuki's plans for a new engine development program could be in jeopardy for this season. (1-30-2006)
• How serious is next week's Schumacher Showdown in Las Vegas? Reportedly Mopar is intent on giving Shawn Carlson the best chance and with that said, we've caught wind the former Sport Compact standout is under the tutelage of drag school instructor Roy Hill for the next few days doing nothing but making lap after lap. We are also hearing that Mopar is picking up the tab for this since Carlson is reportedly their preference. (1-30-2005)
• Here's a question to ponder. Could the recent program announced with Harley-Davidson serve as a precursor to an all American-made Pro Stock Motorcyle class? Time will tell. (1-29-2005)
• In this wonderful world world of racing announcements, word has it the throaty rumble of Kenny Koretsky's announcements will come on Friday with another scheduled for Monday. The first is expected to be in regard to his Pro Stock program and the second will reportedly have a television connection. The famous family involved should find the world of Captain Chaos to be rather familiar. (1-27-2005)
• The word on the street is that Barnett Performance is building two Super Stock/A Automatic cars. The high-flying machines will reportedly be driven by Stewart Way and David Rampy's father-in-law, Sonny Ray. (1-26-2006)
• The only program that can rival Bob Vandergriff's extended
announcement of sponsorship with UPS, is the NHRA's Pro Modified program.
Reportedly the announcement will be made this weekend for a 10- race series in
2006 with the winner's purse reduced to $5000 The series is a joint venture
between AMS Staff Leasing and a new mail order parts business owned by RV
magnate Roger McCombs.(1-26-2006)
• So who is Don Schumacher's second Pro Stock driver? There's going to be a competition in Las Vegas to determine that. Word has it that Mike Corvo, Jr., will be at DSR land to be fitted for the car. However, we are hearing that both he and Shawn Carlson will drive during the Pro Stock Super Bowl in Las Vegas with the winner taking home the prize. (1-25-2005)
• We are still investigating and have calls in to the parties involved. If what we're hearing is true, a crew chief change and a new driver announcement could be imminent for a major Pro Stock team. The word on the street is that Bob Glidden left Don Schumacher's team in a disagreement over who the new driver should be for the second car. Glidden wanted one of his sons and Schumacher reportedly hired sport compact racer Carlson. If this pans out true, Glidden departed on Thursday. When we called Friday for confirmation, the receptionist at DSR commented, "He's out to lunch." (1-20-2005)
• Sources indicate an announcement could be forthcoming today from Kenny Koretsky regarding his new major associate sponsor. The big question remaining is will this association expand to include a Pro Stock Motorcycle in the future? (1-20-2005)
• A West Coast A/Fuel team is going to run Division 2 this year. That's the word floating around following their success in Division 2 national events. (1-17-2006)
• Apparently former alcohol dragster standout Troy Buff will have a ride in NHRA Top Fuel competition. The word is that he's going to be the driver for an upstart team owned by Tim and Renee Coghlan. The car is reportedly from Brad Hadman and will utilize TFX powerplants. (1-17-2006)
• We keep hearing the new Charger bodies will not be out until maybe Pomona at the earliest. While the general consensus suggests the first of the Charger bodies will debut with the Brut Racing team since driver Ron Capps has been the only driver to test one, the first one could debut with Gary Scelzi at the CSK Nationals in Phoenix at the latest. (1-13-2006)
• For several seasons, you may have noticed former IHRA Pro Stock driver Angelo Alesci assisting on Brian Gahm's team. Reportedly, Alesci will return to driving in 2006 and take over the driving chores on Charlie Taylor's entry replacing Dan Seamon, Jr. Sources indicate that Seamon opted to not return in 2006 in order to spend more time with family. (1-13-2006)
• If every "i" gets dotted and "t" gets crossed this week, "Captain Chaos" Kenny Koretsky and Top Fuel driver Clay Millican could announce the procurement of a major associate sponsorship that has been one of the most sought after in drag racing. Reportedly, it is a done deal and the parties involved are working on the announcement strategy. (1-11-2006)
•The word on the street is that former Pro Modified standout Dale
Brinsfield will soon be announcing that he's entering the drag racing school
wars. Brinsfield, a former drag racing school instructor with Roy Hill, will
reportedly be opening his own program starting in March. These instructional
courses will feature everything from econo dragsters to Pro Stockers.
We're hearing from an unimpeachable source that Brinsfield will conduct his classes at Rockingham Dragway and one of the cars he'll be using is a former NHRA Pro Stocker.
Reportedly his philosophy will be to conduct courses with no more than four students at a time in order to provide as much one-on-one exposure as possible. (1-06-2006)
•This is certainly one rumor that we hope pans out. Reportedly Chris Russell has secured sponsorship for his Top Fuel program. According to sources, the team's car will be driven by Top Alcohol standout Tate Branch. (1-06-2006)
•The time frame has been stretched out longer than expected regarding the announcement of the driver for Don Schumacher's second NHRA Pro Stocker. As Torco's CompetitionPlus.com reported over a month ago, the leading candidates are all past or present Mopar drivers. The three, Greg Stanfield, Mike Corvo, Jr., and longshot Shawn Carlson, are all primed and ready to go, but it will come down to who can bring the best package to the table. Schumacher is contractually bound to bring out a second car by sponsor Mopar but reportedly there is no timetable for when he must do it.
Clearly Schumacher has said that he'd love to have a program in place by Pomona and that's the game plan, although it's not set in stone. (1-05-2006)
•While the announcement of an NHRA Pro Modified series remains on the unofficial list, defending tour champion Mike Ashley posted on at least two message boards that a new sponsor is 75% secure and the backer could be an auto parts-oriented company. Reportedly the Pro Modified class will be at 10 races. (1-04-2006)
•While Jeg Coughlin, Jr., will not be racing in Pro Stock during the 2006 season, we have heard that he will be getting some laps in behind the wheel of Harry Holton's SS/AA car. If rumors pan out, Holton could have a new Dart in 2006. (1-02-2006)
•Darlington Dragway isn't going away without a fight. Yet another rumor has surfaced, indicating a deposit has been put down on the track for the lease formerly owned by past drag racers Johnny Rocca and Carlton Philips. (1-02-2006)
• Nobody lays down the gauntlet better than drag racers. During a special test session scheduled for January 9 - 14, we are hearing that Warren and Kurt Johnson are headed to South Georgia Motorsports Park and the one thing on their minds is a 6.5-second run. Word has it that WJ made a call and let the track management know the next rip will be a quicker endeavor than the recently completed session. (12-21-2005)
• Look for at least two major announcements during the first week of January for Top Fuel teams. Both teams will announce non-automotive sponsors for competition. One will be an NHRA exclusive program and the other will run both tours. Here's a hint...both companies operate worldwide. (12-20-2005)
• Is the "Grump" Bill Jenkins now working with another GM team? One of our photographers working the recent test session there spotted the veteran engine builder assisting former NHRA Pro Stock champion Jim Yates. How ironic was it that Jenkins former client Evan Knoll's team was the only other team testing. (12-20-2005)
• After years of catering to 500-inch Pro Stock programs, Comp eliminator and quick bracket engines, it appears that Reher & Morrison may be soon making a push into Pro Modified with a nitrous program. (12-20-2005)
• Len Inbrogno, the NHRA's sportsman liason, denied any such rumors suggesting that a speed limit was being imposed on the Top Sportsman division. (12-20-2005)
• We reported recently that Johnny Gray's 10.5 car was going to be a Camaro. The latest suggests he is having Don Ness build him a first-generation Chevy II. (12-20-2005)
• The nostalgia Funny Car sensation continues to expand as we hear that Ron Capps will once again drive Jeff Gaynor's Dodge Challenger-bodied flopper. Our sources tell us that Roland Leong will tune the ride and Mopar will step up with some backing from their Direct Connection product line. (12-19-2005)
• Could another nostalgia flopper be in the planning stages. If what we're hearing comes to pass it will be prepared as a match racer opposite of the Blue Max. The hottest speculation suggests at least one half of a former duo from the old school and a current driver on the NHRA POWERade tour. (12-17-2005)
• It may come to pass and it may not. We are hearing that the NHRA is considering putting a cap on the speed being achieved by their exhibition sportsman eliminator - Top Sportsman. We have attempted to contact the NHRA's Len Imbrogno for comment on this unsubstantiated rumor. Once we hear back, we will pass on the results. (12-17-2005)
• Reportedly, one of the Funny Cars destined for the IHRA's new nitro program has landed a backer. Their new backers will be a combination of Fatheadz sunglasses and the B.A.S.F. group of companies. (12-17-2005)
• Earlier in the week, an unsubstantiated rumor surfaced that suggested the Professional Racers Organization was preparing a boycott for the NHRA Winternationals if the restriction of approved nitro suppliers was not lifted. Torco's CompetitionPlus.com contacted two of PRO's board members who adamantly deny such a move was even being considered. (12-17-2005)
• Word has it that former nitro Funny Car racer Johnny Gray could be soon returning to racing. However, this ride will not be nitro. Sources indicate that he's having a 732-inch motor being built for Outlaw 10.5 racing by none other than Reher & Morrison. We are hearing his ride could be a late-model Camaro. (12-12-2005)
• A rumor has surfaced that suggests Angelle Sampey is licensing for a Pro Stock car ride is just that. A call to Don Schumacher revealed, "The U.S. Army wants Angelle on a motorcycle so that's where she will be."
Schumacher did say that he should have an announcement forthcoming on the open Pro Stock ride. He has narrowed the candidate list to three drivers. (12-08-2005)
• Don't look for Don Prudhomme to keep associate sponsor Ameriquest for next season. Our sources tell us that sponsorship money will be headed to Jack Roush and NASCAR. (12-05-2005)
• One of the more popular rumors floating around the PRI Show revolves around the forthcoming Top Fuel team of Las Vegas businessman Doug Davenport. The word we are hearing is that his driver's seat will be filled by none other than John Spar of B&M fame. We've yet to confirm this rumor by the parties involved, but it has been popular scuttlebutt. (12-03-2005)
• Preparations are being made for the NHRA's return to Virginia Motorsports Park next Fall. According to a track official, a new racing surface is in the process of being installed and the old one removed. That should make for a record-setting return. (12-03-2005)
• With all the controversy swirling around the IHRA's potential inclusion of Toyotas and turbocharged V-6 entries in Pro Stock, could the NHRA be far off with the introduction of a factory-backed 500-inch program with Toyota? Word has it that at least one prominent team is very close to revealing plans for such a program. (12-02-2005)
• The plot thickens for the IHRA's Pro Stock future. Reportedly one current driver has threatened to build a turbocharged V-6 Ford to run in his second car. His bid was quickly squashed as officials reportedly reminded him that that particular combination is "invitation" only. While the Sport Compact cars run blocks that are essentially made of "beer can" material, the word is that the turbo cars will be allowed to use a billet block. (12-02-2005)
• Here's the tip of the day. Word has it that a popular Australian driver could be making an announcement regarding his future driving plans on Thursday, December 1. (11-30-2005)
• Word has it that Dan Sweeney has recieved a Rick Jones GTO which will be equipped with Chris Holbrook horsepower. He is planning to start testing in January with what is RJ's first IHRA Pro Stock GTO. (11-29-2005)
•While nothing could be confirmed during the holiday, it appears a
new ProMod team is ready to hit the track.
Kirk Silbermann, owner of AJAX engines in Ontario, Canada reportedly has decided to go into ProMod racing in a big way. Silbermann, who had previously dabbled in the class by purchasing Gary Irvin's 41 Willy's, has purchased a new 1957 Chevy from Tim Mcamis Race Cars..
The new Chevy is now at Low Down Hot Rods in Cambridge, Ont. for finishing touches. The car will then be delivered to Scott Wildgust for wiring and plumbing. Wildgust will also be the driver in this new team.
Silbermann has hired Terry Vince of Competition Speed racing engines to build the Brad Anderson engines, as well Carl Spiering of ERD ( Engine Research and Developement) will be dyno testing the engines and providing the horsepower and consulting for the team to put together a very competitive package. (11-25-2005)
• If what we're hearing pans out, there's a very good chance that Pro Modified team owner Ed Steffey could have a new driver for the 2006 season. The word is that Dave Roemer had planned to run a new GTO, but has reportedly elected to sell that new ride as well as his trusty Camaro in order to drive for Steffey. (11-22-2005)
• There a good chance incoming Top Alcohol Funny Car rookie Jonathan Johnson, will take over the vacated Etterman Racing / Bar's Leaks seat. Our sources say to look for more on this in the next few days. (11-22-2005)
• Expect an announcement soon that Frank Pedregon will be the latest to throw his hat in the IHRA Funny Car ring. No driver has been announced but we have a sneaking suspicion who it could be. (11-21-2005)
• Quain Stott will have his second Pro Modified car at all 11 IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series events. From what we are hearing, it could be a mix of three different drivers. One will have experience on the tour and the other two will be rookies. (11-21-2005)
• We've have it good authority that interest in the IHRA could be sold over the next few months. The question remains, will the interest being sold be that of Bill Bader or the controlling interest of Clear Channel. Talks have heated up over the last few weeks. Inside sources say such a sale could be completed by May if this comes to fruition. (11-21-2005).
• We've heard that the crewchief for Bob Vandergriff's forthcoming Top Fuel operation will be Jim Dupuy and most of the crew from the former Joe Amato operation. Word has it the long awaited program with U.P.S. could be shipping a great Christmas gift if you know what we mean. (11-18-2005)