Friday, September 7, 2012
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Returns to Lucas Oil Raceway for Completition of Mac Tools U. S. Nationals Presented by Auto-Plus
BROWNSBURG, Ind. -- The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will return to historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis Sept. 8-9 for the conclusion of the rain-delayed Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. The event was originally scheduled for Labor Day weekend, but persistent rain showers from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac forced series officials to delay the event by one week.
Regardless, the event remains the world’s most prestigious drag race, the one every racer has his or her eyes fixed upon during the course of the season. Most drivers have taken the postponement in stride and are anxious for racing to resume.
“It’s kinda like being a kid and somebody gave you this big piece of candy and then they take it away and say you can’t have it until tomorrow night after dinner; not tonight like we first told you,” said Antron Brown, the defending Top Fuel winner. “The weather is looking really good, mid-70s, so we’re looking for some fast times and it gets you excited about that, but right now you are bummed because you are just sitting here waiting for it to happen.”
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will be the qualifying leaders when racing resumes on Saturday with the first of two pro qualifying sessions, scheduled for 11 a.m. The race, which is the final opportunity for NHRA drivers to qualify for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship playoffs, will be televised by ESPN2HD on Sunday with five hours of coverage beginning at 3 p.m. (ET).
Force, who led Funny Car in the first three qualifying sessions last weekend with a performance of 4.049 seconds at a track record speed of 317.27 mph in her Traxxas Ford Mustang, is eager to return and try to solidify her first career No. 1 qualifying position.
“It is delayed a week but it is still the Indy race, The Big Go,” the 24-year-old Force said. “The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is obviously the biggest race of the season and it really sets the mood for the Countdown to the Championship. Everyone is really trying to lock in. It doesn’t matter if it is this weekend or next, everyone is going to be fighting out there to get that spot.”
In addition, she is one of eight drivers who will race for the $100,000 Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car, a special all-star race within a race which will be held on Saturday the 8th. As the winner of the fan vote/lottery for the eighth starting spot, she will face top seed Ron Capps in the opening round of the lucrative bonus race.
“You’re ready to race and you are so excited since you are at the U.S. Nationals getting qualified and being in the No. 1 spot and then it all just kinda fades away. You look at it and you go I have to come out and do it all again,” Force continued. “It is tough to get a No. 1 spot and it will roll over but anyone can come out here and run better than a 4.04. You’ve got to be ready and you really have to get back in the fight mode.”
Massey, who already won the $100,000 NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel, will now try to keep his hot Indy run going in his Prestone/FRAM dragster, and will work on claiming the top qualifying position and race victory.
“Coming off the NHRA Traxxas Top Fuel Shootout win and being the (qualifying leader) we obviously wanted to come out there Monday and to get the race day going because we had some momentum going,” Massey said. “We still do, it’s just now we have to have a week off in between to keep it going. Now we are going to have two more runs, which is good and bad because it is a chance for other guys to knock us off the No. 1 spot, but also a chance for us to get two more runs of data and to keep going.”
Several Countdown-eligible drivers who failed to qualify for their respective fields last weekend will now get a much-needed second chance. Those drivers include Steve Johnson in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Terry McMillen in Top Fuel, Larry Morgan in Pro Stock, and two past event champions in Funny Car – Robert Hight (2006, 2008) and Cruz Pedregon (1992, 1994, 1995).
“We have new life, the weather put us in this predicament and the weather kinda got us out of it,” Pedregon said. “We are going to take advantage of it. The Snap-on Tools Toyota was off the first three runs, but the schedule was for five runs and we are going to make our best, be smart, get into the field and race like we are capable of doing and we could win this race.”
Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing series and the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx also will continue qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 8, with the rest of sportsman eliminations scheduled for Saturday.
WHAT: 58th Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, 17th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the last race in the NHRA Full Throttle Series regular season. At the conclusion of this weather-delayed event, the top 10 drivers in four categories - Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be locked in to begin the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs, leading to 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Brownsburg, Ind. From I-465, exit Crawfordsville Road (Hwy. 136). Head west for four miles past downtown Clermont. The facility’s main entrance is on the left, one-half mile past Raceway Road. From Interstate 74 use exit 68 and go South on the Ronald Reagan Parkway and then turn West on U. S. 136.
COURSE: Championship dragstrip; Track elevation is 700 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9.
SATURDAY, Sept. 8 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying, time trials and eliminations, 8 a.m.
PRO MOD SERIES PRESENTED BY PROCARE RX qualifying at 2 p.m.; first round of eliminations at 4:35 p.m.
TRAXXAS SHOOTOUT (Funny Car) rounds at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES qualifying at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 9 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations, 8:30 a.m.
FULL THROTTLE SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
PRO MOD SERIES PRESENTED BY PROCARE RX eliminations continue at approximately 2:30 p.m
TELEVISION: Sunday, Sept. 9, ESPN2HD will televise five hours of coverage at 3 p.m. (ET).
SATELLITE: Saturday, Sept. 8, 8-8:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 6/Transponder 12C
Sunday, Sept. 9, 8:30-9 p.m. (ET), AMC 6/Transponder 12C
(3940 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.461470554 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: 3/4; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
2011 EVENT WINNERS: Antron Brown, Top Fuel; Mike Neff, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Hector Arana Jr., Pro Stock Motorcycle;
MOST VICTORIES: Bob Glidden, Pro Stock, 9; Don Garlits, Top Fuel, 8;Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel, 8; Don Prudhomme, Top Fuel and Funny Car, 7; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock, 6; Dave Schultz, Pro Stock Motorcycle, 6; Ed McCulloch, Funny Car and Top Fuel, 6; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock, 6; John Force, Funny Car, 4; Larry Dixon, Top Fuel, 4.
Top Fuel - 3.735 sec. by Del Worsham, Oct. ’11, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.995 sec. by Matt Hagan, Sept. ’11, Charlotte, N.C.; 318.99 mph by Jack Beckman, Sept. ’11, Charlotte, N.C.
Pro Stock - 6.477 sec. by Jason Line, Oct. ’11, Reading, Pa.; 213.91 mph by Jason Line, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
PS Motorcycle - 6.750 sec. by Eddie Krawiec, March ’12, Gainesville, Fla.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.
Top Fuel - 3.762 sec. by Spencer Massey, Sept. ’12; 326.79 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. ’12.
Funny Car - 4.026 sec. by Cruz Pedregon, Sept. ’11; 317.27 mph by Courtney Force, Sept. ’12.
Pro Stock - 6.538 sec. by Jason Line, Sept. ’11; 211.03 mph by Greg Anderson, Sept. ’11.
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.815 sec. by Andrew Hines, Sept. ’10; 196.76 mph by Hines, Sept. ’10.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRATIX.com.