Your inside glimpse at the world’s fastest motorsport
Your inside glimpse at the world’s fastest motorsport
TONY SCHUMACHER: Coming off his win two weeks ago in St. Louis, Schumacher hopes to get right back in the thick of the Top Fuel chase with back-to-back wins at Bandimere Speedway near Denver. That would be back-to-back wins in 2006 and at Bandimere Speedway. Schumacher won the 2005 race by defeating Morgan Lucas in record-setting fashion. He set a new track mark for speed in the final round by going 331.45 mph. Although Schumacher is sitting in sixth place in the POWERade points standings, 250 points behind Melanie Troxel, he feels like he now has the momentum to make up the deficit if he can come up with a string of second-half wins.
· SCELZI HAS A SECOND CAREER: In preparation for the Mopar Mile-High Nationals, Gary Scelzi will be starting a new career. Don’t look for him to leave his Funny Car team anytime soon, but Scelzi will be the “minister” for a special wedding ceremony at the Mopar Big Block Party to be held in downtown Golden, Colo. on Thursday, July 13 from 6-10 p.m. MDT. Joining Scelzi to help the couple take their vows will be Angelle Sampey as maid of honor and Ron Capps as best man. This free event is the “Official Starter” for the race weekend.
· VEGAS THRILLS: The NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series returns to the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on July 14-15. This year’s Las Vegas NHRA Sport Compact Nationals promises to be action packed with D1 Grand Prix and Extreme Autofest invited to provide fans with the greatest sport compact motorsports show on earth. The Las Vegas NHRA Sport Compact Nationals will mark the first time in history NHRA has invited a professional drifting sanctioning body to an NHRA sport compact drag racing event. D1 Grand Prix will be shipping 16 professional drift teams from Japan and inviting 10 professional drift teams from the United States to compete for prize money and awards on a specially constructed track in the pit area of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway behind the stands of the drag strip.
· SECOND CAREER #2: Cory McClenathan donned a driver’s suit this past Saturday to drive in the King Taco Super Truck event on the half-mile oval at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., which is about 15 miles east of Los Angeles. Despite a cut tire he drove respectably by staying on the lead lap the whole race. He finished in 18th position nearly 19 seconds behind the winner. McClenathan, on hiatus from his regular job driving the Carrier Boyz Fram Boost dragster during the midseason break, competed in the truck series in 2001 when he was between Top Fuel rides.
· DRIVING FORCE’ DEBUT NEARS: The much-anticipated debut of “Driving Force,” a reality show based on 13-time NHRA Funny Car world champion John Force and his drag racing daughters Ashley, Brittany and Courtney, is now just one week away (July 17, 9 p.m., A&E). For more information, check out the latest news and family photos at http://www.aetv.com/drivingforce/.
· MOPAR MILE-HIGH NHRA NATIONALS, DENVER, JULY 14-16: NHRA teams will race at high altitude at scenic Bandimere Speedway and kick-off the grueling Western Swing.
· LAS VEGAS NHRA SPORT COMPACT NATIONALS AND D1 GRAND PRIX, LAS VEGAS, JULY 15-16: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will host the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series which includes the 220 mph Scion of Pro RWD racer Brad Personett and the world’s best drifting cars in the D1 Grand Prix.
· SCHUCK’S AUTO SUPPLY NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LUCAS OIL, KENT, WASH., JULY 21-23: The Western Swing rolls into the beautiful Northwest as NHRA teams will battle for the POWERade Series race victory at Pacific Raceways.
· FRAM-AUTOLITE NHRA NATIONALS, SONOMA, CALIF., JULY 28-30: Infineon Raceway hosts the final stop of the Western Swing, where POWERade Series world championship contenders often reveal themselves and brace for the season’s final eight events.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
· 5: The number of drivers who have swept the grueling Western Swing through Denver, Seattle, and Sonoma, Calif. The five drivers are Joe Amato (TF) ’91, John Force (FC) ’94, Cory McClenathan (TF) ’97, Larry Dixon (TF) ’03, and Greg Anderson (PS) ’04. The Western Swing is the traditional back-to back-to-back trio of races in consecutive weekends in July. The Swing starts in the high altitude of Denver, then heads to the beautiful Pacific Northwest of Seattle, and finishes in the scenic wine country of Sonoma, Calif.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
· IT IS OFFICIAL NOW THAT DON HAS SPOKEN: Amid all the talk after the O’Reilly Midwest Nationals about Erica Enders joining Don Schumacher Racing, nothing official had come out of the camp. Schumacher has now spoken: “The news that Erica Enders was joining DSR spread like wildfire around the sport and was reported as fact before we were able to make an official announcement. I am pleased to finally make it official and welcome Erica to Don Schumacher Racing. She is an outstanding driver, as she has already demonstrated, and her fan popularity, youth and driving talent will definitely be assets to our team and to Mopar. We look forward to a long association with Erica and, with the expansion of the team earlier this year to include crew chief David Nickens and co-crew chief Terry Adams, I am confident we will see strong results from Erica and the other three Mopar teams.”
DRIVERS TELL ALL
· FROZEN VALVES: No, not valves on a Funny Car, but on a trumpet. In the recent edition of National Dragster, Max Naylor let the readers know in Five Things You Didn’t Know About Me, “I took piano lesson as a kid and later played guitar and trumpet. Of course, I‘ve been so preoccupied with racing the last few years that I haven’t practiced much. My trumpet has been packed away so long that I’m sure the valves are frozen.”