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

ASHLEY FORCE - HOTTEST OF THE HOTTIES

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.

IHRA CHAMPION CONSIDERING NHRA?

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
IHRA.”

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 WEIGHS IN

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.

DIXON'S UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Larry Dixon, Jr. told Torco's CompetitionPlus.com said that he's
uncertain at this time about his future in the sport because of
Skytel’s involvement beyond the 2007
season.


“I have no idea on that
stuff but Snake says we will be just fine,” Dixon said. “My contract option runs out
October 1, so I am sure I will find out soon. Thirty-days from now I will know
what my plan is for the future.”

Dixon confirmed the Skytel sponsorship was a one-year
deal.

We asked Dixon if he felt Prudhomme would run the car
without a sponsor in 2008 as was speculated for 2007 prior to the announcement
of Skytel.

“Would you run a website
with no sponsors?” he asked.

HONORING WALLY

When more than 500,000 car enthusiasts roll into San Bernardino for the
18th annual Stater Bros. Route 66 Rendezvous, it’ll be only natural
to think of Wally and Barbara Parks. After all, Wally founded NHRA – now the
governing body of the world’s largest motorsport – and the two nurtured the
sport together, making drag racing one of the most popular spectator sports in
the country today.

For that reason and many others, Wally Parks and
his late wife will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the
Cruisin’ Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Brunch presented by The Gas
Company, at 9:30 a.m. on September 15 at the Hilton Hotel San Bernardino, 285
East Hospitality Lane, San Bernardino, Calif.

Accepting the award on the couple’s behalf will
be Dick Wells, member, Board of Directors, NHRA.

“I am particularly pleased (to receive this
honor), as it was in following the planned route of 66, in the 1920s, that I
came to California from Kansas with my parents, in a Model-T Ford,” Wally Parks
said. “I have always had an affection for Route 66 since then – that and the
fact that our NHRA headquarters are within a stone’s throw of 66, and our
National Dragster publication’s offices are right on it. I am proud to accept
this Lifetime Achievement award at such an important venue for true automotive
enthusiasts.”

WJ TO SERVE AS LSX GRAND MARSHALL

– Throughout his Hall of Fame career, drag racing legend Warren Johnson
has served many roles.  Engineer. Racer.
Pioneer. Teammate. Champion. Mentor.  However, this October, the man universally
acclaimed as “The Professor of Pro Stock” will add yet another entry into his
distinguished racing resume, as he serves as the Grand Marshal of this year’s
inaugural GM Performance Parts LSX Shootout, which will be held on October
11-14 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, TN.

Johnson, 64, is a six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion and the
leader in all-time wins among the “factory hot rods” with 96.  In addition, he has played a key role in the
design and development of modern Pro Stock technology, including all three generations
of the legendary GM Drag Racing Competition Engine (DRCE).  Although still competing on a full-time basis
in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO, earlier this year he became only the
seventh drag racer inducted into the prestigious International Motorsports Hall
of Fame in Talladega, AL. 
With a rare off weekend in his racing schedule, he looks forward to
attending the Tennessee event named after the block he helped design.

MILLICAN'S GOT ANOTHER SHOW?

Racing reality show fans check your TV Guide. Clay Millican is coming back
with another television show with Pink’s producer Rich Christenson.

“I’m going to be doing
another drag racing related reality show on Speed Channel,” Millican said. “All
of the details are worked out, but we will begin filming towards the end of the
season. Rich Christenson and the Speed Channel keep moving forward to promote
drag racing. It’s really awesome.”

Just so you know, Millican
won’t be blowing anything up this time.

“This
is a whole different idea, just drag racing related,” Millican said. “It will
feature a well-known drag racing icon.”

MICKEY THOMPSON'S PRO STOCK INTRO


_JA66817 copy.JPGThere were two Pro Stock Pontiacs bearing significant Mickey Thompson
Tires signage on their sides competing at the Mac Tools NHRA U.S.
Nationals, but neither were actually running the tires, nor are they
likely to at any time in the near future.  Matt Scranton, a former
Sport Compact racer of some renown, is driving a GTO that came out of
the Greg Anderson/Summit Racing camp (and first competed at this year’s
Gatornationals), with a second car being piloted by Bill Glidden, son of
the 10-time Winston champion, Bob.

Jason Moulton from M/T Tires told Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com that
“what we’re here to do with this new car (indicating Glidden’s silver
GTO) is shake it down and get as much data as we can.  Billy lives
close to Indy, and it’s a little bit of an extracurricular activity,
but we’re thinking we’ll be able to learn something and get our car
ready to do our development program.

Moulton admits that the company is far from ready to introduce a new
tire for Pro Stock, but that’s definitely their goal.  “It’s going to
be in the near future,” was as far as he appeared willing to go.  “We
don’t have our timeline figured out yet for the development of the big
tire, but I know it will be soon.  Mickey Thompson has been a part of
NHRA (drag racing) for a long time and we want to increase or
involvement.”

TREBLE'S BOOST TO FRONT-RUNNER

psm-winnerDSA_7142.JPGThe final round in
Indy's Pro Stock Motorcycle featured No. 8 Countdown hopeful Craig Treble, who showed
everyone he was serious about winning the championship with his final round
berth, pitted up against the Southern steamroller, Matt Smith. Smith entered
the final as the defending champ and the POWERade point's leader but the
pressure may have been too much, Smith lost his chance to repeat with a -.003
red light start, handing Treble his first career victory at the U.S Nationals.
Treble also sent a solid message to the rest of the pack that he is more than
capable of stealing the POWERade crown on his Team Tigue Suzuki. It was his
second victory of the season and 11th of his NHRA career and it also
vaulted Treble into second in the Countdown point's battle.

Treble didn't even qualify for the Countdown playoffs until
eliminations at the rain-delayed race in Maple Grove two weeks ago, when Matt
Guidera defeated Chris Rivas, thus giving Treble the final spot.

"I have to tell you," said Treble with a winning
smile, "Matt Guidera is my biggest hero in drag racing right now. That guy
saved my butt, that's the bottom line, and I showed my appreciation by taking
him out in round one today. What kind of guy am I," said Treble laughing.

CONNOLLY QUICKLY GAINING REPUTATION

D_Connolly.jpg

Dave Connolly has already won quite a few Pro
Stock races at the young age of 24. This U.S. Nationals win has to rank up
there as one of the most memorable, however. Not only is it the ‘grandaddy of
all drag races’, but Connolly started the day with a win over Jason Line, then
wrapped it up with a narrow victory over Greg Anderson in the finals. It was
the second consecutive year that Connolly and Anderson met in the final round
at the U.S. Nationals. This year, it was Connolly’s turn.

At one point in time last
year, it was reported that Evan Knoll was considering withdrawing funding from
any car in the NHRA Pro Stock category. According to the report, Knoll was
tired of racing for third place behind KB Racing’s one-two punch.

It’s amazing how things can
change.

In 2007, Anderson
has remained the Pro Stock car to beat, but Connolly and his Victor Cagnazzi
teammate Jeg Coughlin have been nipping uncomfortably close to Anderson’s heels all season long. With the
win over Anderson,
Connolly also moves into the points lead in the Countdown to the Championship.

“I felt real confident about
the whole situation going into the finals,” Connolly said. “We had the best car
all day long starting with that 6.64 in the first round, and we had lance
choice which was huge today. It’s nice to say that we are the car that knocked
Greg off that streak he had going. It’s also nice that we go up by one round
over Greg with the Countdown to the Championship, and he is finally the one
chasing us.”

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