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



two of the multi-million-dollar, multi-phase renovation project at
Gainesville Raceway is underway, with the new race control tower and
media center quickly taking shape.


McMillen Provisional No. 1 Top Fuel Qualifier At Canadian Nationals
presented by PartSource


Terry McMillen,
Ind., drove to the provisional No. 1 Top Fuel
qualifying position Friday evening during the IHRA Canadian Nationals presented
by PartSource. McMillen covered the quarter-mile at
Park in 4.659 seconds at 311.92 mph
to take the top spot and Last Man Standing.


provisional No. 1 qualifiers include Jack Wyatt (Nitro Funny Car), Scott Cannon
Jr. (Pro Modified), Terry Munroe (Alcohol Funny Car) and John Montecalvo (Pro


In Knoll Gas
Torco Racing Fuels Pro Nitro Top Fuel, McMillen is trailed by Bruce Litton,
4.664, Scotty Cannon, 4.736, Jeff O’Neill, 4.762, and Bobby Lagana Jr., 4.915.
Paris, Ontario-native Todd Paton is currently not in the field.



If there was a defining
moment in Floyd Cheek’s decade-long career in IHRA Pro Stock competition, it
certainly came in 1991. The milestone for the former IHRA sportsman champion
(1988 - 8.90 Quick Rod) was reached that year at St. Louis, Missouri,
during one of his first events as a competitor in the mountain motor division.
He and fledgling team owner Alvin Whaley not only qualified No. 1, but also
reached the final round before losing to the iconic Rickie Smith.

“That’s when I really
realized that we could kick some serious butt doing this,” Cheek said. “I shook
the tires on that run, but it really woke me up to doing this.”

Cheek quickly climbed the
ladder of success and in his career reached 16 final rounds with eight national
event victories. He won two of those events in 1997 when he won the world



As the NHRA Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series tour heads into it's final
two races, the battle for the Division 4 Comp Eliminator title is still up for
grabs as five drivers still have legitimate shots going into this weekend's
event at Red River Raceway just outside of Shreveport, La.  In addition to
battling for valuable points, racers in Comp Eliminator will be vying for bonus
cash provided by the Division 4 Comp Eliminator Shootout along with the $7,000
Roof-Tec "Luck of the Draw" bonus this weekend.

Joey Tanskley, of Greenwell Springs, La., currently
leads the division with 303 points with his C/Dragster, but is followed closely
by the defending Division 4 Champ, Craig Bourgeois, who trails by a mere 11
points in his A/Nostalgia Dragster.  The Championship chase isn't limited to the
top two, however.  Charlie Watson, Jr., currently third, trails Tanksley by only
two rounds (31 points) with his potent Super Mod Cobalt.  Young Chase Williams,
currently fifth, is within striking distance of the leaders, 76 points back with
three events left to claim in his Super Mod Grand Am.  The wild card in this
points race is Scott Benham, who currently sits sixth with 210 points, but has
only been to three races in his Super Mod Cavalier. 
Championship scenarios are wide open at this
point.  Racers in Comp Eliminator can claim their best five out of the first
eight division races they attend towards the Division Championship.  Tanksley,
Bourgeois and Watson all have been to six events, leaving two more events to
claim for them.  Williams has been to five, leaving three more events for him to
claim.  With only three races under his belt, Benham will be able to earn 'full'
points at his next two events rather than replacing events like his competitors,
which clearly makes him the spoiler in the field.  


Bernstein is arguably among the most important competitors on the NHRA
POWERade Series circuit.  As the president of Pro he wields
considerable influence with both his fellow racers and the NHRA, and
his two decades-plus relationship with Budweiser cant be ignored.  Last
year, for example, Bernstein was brought into the initial discussions
about the Countdown program with the NHRA hierarchy, although he was
sworn to secrecy.  When his fellow racers found out he’d been involved
in the discussions fro the very beginning, they weren’t happy until
they realized that it was better to have had at least one racer’s voice
o the panel than to have none at all.  But, that’s not to say that he’s
totally pleased with the way the Countdown program has been structured
thus far.
We asked him if he’d like to see some changes for 2008, and he didn’t
hesitate in responding.  “Absolutely I’d like to see some tweaking to
the system for next year.  I would like to see, and I think all of us
on the PRO side would like to see something like this:  A 10-car
situation instead of eight, maybe even 12, but 10, and run it from Indy
until the end of the year, with no more step-down with the four and the


Ashley Force, the 24-year-old driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang Funny Car
and recent winner of AOL Sports’ “Hottest Athlete” poll, will guest Monday
night, Sept. 10, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  The NBC-TV show airs in
every major market following the late local news. 
 Coming off a solid performance in last week’s Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at
Indianapolis, Ind., a race in which she qualified No. 2 and, on race day, posted
the quickest quarter mile time in the category (4.784), Ms. Force has
distinguished herself this season as the first woman to compete in the Funny Car
class since 2000.
 Her No. 2 start at Indy was the best ever for a woman Funny Car driver and
she already has won more rounds (10) than any of the nine other women licensed
in the class.  She also has become only the second woman to advance as far as
the Funny Car semifinals, doing so in back-to-back races at Atlanta, Ga., and
Madison, Ill.
 Although she has established her credentials as a candidate for the
Automobile Club of Southern California’s Road to the Future Award as the NHRA
Rookie-of-the-Year, Ashley has gone through a baptism of fire – literally and


When you win Indy... cool things happen.



Team owner Don Schumacher
has confirmed with Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com that he has reached a tentative
agreement for Gary Scelzi to remain with his team through the 2008 season.

“We have come to terms and
Gary will be
driving the Mopar/Oakley Funny Car next year,” Schumacher said. “He has agreed
to drive the car but I know that things come up. If you give someone a definite
answer like the news media and something comes up in the personal life and the
business then you look like a fool.

Gary will drive the Mopar/Oakley Funny Car in
2008. Ken Black has been kind enough to assist Gary at some of the races (reportedly 10) to
get him in and out of the races so he can take care of his business
responsibilities back at home. That will make it comfortable for Gary to continue on.”

The Black arrangement
provides Scelzi an extra 20 days at home with his business.

Scelzi’s simply said,
“Yee, Haw – I’m driving a Funny Car.”

He continued, “I am
excited about coming back to work with Todd Okuhara, Phil Shuler and my boys
that have been with me for a long time.”



Brandon Bernstein, one of eight Top Fuel drivers vying for a spot in
the Countdown to Four in the new NHRA Countdown to the Championship
format, will debut a special Budweiser Countdown paint scheme at
Memphis Motorsports Park.

The O’Reilly Mid-South Nationals Sept. 14-16 is the second event, or
the halfway point, before the four who are eligible to challenge for
the coveted NHRA Top Fuel Championship are named. The elite field of
drivers will be those who are the top four in points.

“We are so excited to debut a new Budweiser Countdown paint scheme at
Memphis,” said Bernstein.  “As far as I know, we’re the only team that
will have a specialty car for the ‘playoffs’ and we owe a big tip of
the helmet to Budweiser for initiating the concept.  It’s the car we’ll
campaign for the five remaining races this season.”

“Brandon and the Bud King team are long-time partners, and Brandon is
having an amazing season with a career-best five wins,” said Randall
Blackford, director of Budweiser marketing.  “Week in and week out,
Brandon is a tremendous ambassador for Budweiser and for the sport, and
we’re excited to celebrate his push for the title with a special red
and silver-flamed paint scheme for the Budweiser/Lucas Oil Top Fuel


C_McClenathan.jpgCory McClenathan said he knows a coin has two sides. He’s discovered both of
them as a veteran driver and fledgling team owner.

McClenathan said he’s
experienced both sides of the frustration starting with a driving miscue during
Friday qualifying in Indy. For him, accidentally shutting off the car was the
tip of the hat in what has been an extremely stressful month.

McClenathan’s temper
redlined after the incident. He said he chewed the man most responsible for the
snafu – the man in the mirror.

“It’s difficult, frustrating
and at the same time very good because at least I know what my destiny is,”
McClenathan said. “The thing I find myself doing is remaining so busy with the
other tasks that I make mistakes. Friday was a perfect example. You’re here in
Indy. Best air … best conditions, the one you have looked forward to all night
all year. What do I do? I go up there and as I backing up, I go to reset the
clutch and accidentally hit the trigger switch. There was no one to blame but