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


Officials have postponed Sunday’s eliminations during the Torco Racing
Fuels Northern Nationals in Martin, Mich. The day began with rain which
pushed racing back until the afternoon. After about four hours of
on-track time, light showers began to fall on Knoll Gas Motorsports
Park at US 131, calling an end to the day’s racing.


Kenny Lang had 20,000 reasons to smile Saturday evening. 20,000 reasons
in U.S. dollars was more than enough to keep the Canadian drag racer
grinning after winning the $56K Torco’s CompetitionPlus.com Pro
Modified Shootout.


Tony Pedregon and Jesse Harris were the professional class winners at
the 30th Annual ACDelco/The Ohio Lottery Night Under Fire presented by
Amalie Oil at Summit Motorsports Park held August 4. The event started
with sportsman racing at 9:00 am, with professional classes in Funny
Car and Jet Dragster running in front of a capacity crowd in the
evening. A 20-minute fireworks display entertained the spectators at
the end of professional eliminations.

Pedregon, Torrance, Calif., the defending champion from last year’s
Night Under Fire held his title by defeating Columbus native Jim Head
in the final round. Both cars came off the starting line with a strong
launch but Head had to shut his engine down mid-track, leaving Pedregon
to take the win with a 4.828 second pass at 301.20 mph.

Dan Wilkerson, making his professional Funny Car debut at the event,
had the fastest Funny Car pass of the day with a 308.71 mph run during
qualifying sessions.


In a move reminiscent of
last year’s Whit Bazemore dismissal, Don Schumacher has demoted Mike “Zippy”
Neff to the role of “advisor” on the Mopar Oakley Dodge driven by Gary Scelzi.
Todd Okuhara will step away from the Jack Beckman operation to replace Neff.

Phil Shuler, Okahara’s
assistant, will assume the tuner role for Beckman.

“Todd and Phil have worked
together for about a year and Don wants to put them on their own to see if they
can handle it,” Neff said. “That way he’ll know for sure what he needs to do
for next year.”

Don Schumacher said there
was no demotion.

“There wasn’t a demotion,”
Schumacher said. “He’s going to be an advisor for both the Mopar Oakley, MTS and
Brut teams. With Mike’s decision to join John Force Racing, I needed to look
toward the future for what we are going to do going forward. It was time to
make an appropriate move in my mind. I wanted to put all three of my Funny Cars
in the best position to win a championship.”


Ashley is happy to be back running in IHRA competition. The former Pro
Modified driver, who finished second in the world during the 1990
season before moving on to compete in the Nitro Funny Car class in NHRA
competition, crossed over back into Nitro Jam competition to run at
Knoll Gas Motorsports Park in the Torco racing Fuels Northern


Ashley Provisional Nitro Funny Car No. 1
Resets Knoll Gas Motorsports Park Speed Record

Mike Ashley, Melville, N.Y., took the No. 1 Nitro Funny Car qualifying
position after round one during the Torco Racing Fuels Northern
Nationals at Knoll Gas Motorsports Park at US 131. Ashley covered the
quarter-mile south of Grand Rapids, Mich., in a track record-setting
4.812-seconds to kick off the first night of the Knoll Gas Nitro Jam.


Paul Richards Racing has signed National, Tire & Battery as a sponsor on their Nitro Funny Car for the upcoming IHRA
Amalie Oil North America Nationals in Epping,
New Hampshire, August 10-12. Veteran tuner,
driver and former IHRA Top Fuel national event winner Mike Smith will be making
his return to the cockpit behind the wheel of the NTB Chevy Camaro at popular
New England Dragway. Smith last drove in San
Antonio this past March. The team plans to test before
the event. Here is a peek at the new paint scheme that will be making its debut
in Epping.


Capps to run
limited schedule; Looking for the opportunity

Sometimes the toughest
decisions made in drag racing are made when you’re straddling the fence. No one
knows that better than Jon Capps. You know Jon, the sibling of NHRA POWERade
Funny Car points leader Ron Capps. Ron is already there. Jon is the aspiring

Jon is the one who cut the
legs from underneath his own dream. From the outside, one might think he made a
mistake. But not Jon, he made the right decision in the best interests of the
company who has trusted his expertise. It was a no-brainer, he concluded.

Jon serves as a product
brand manager for the upstart Vegas Fuel energy drink. He had a choice to
continue racing or play close to the vest and make a sound business decision.

The toughest part for
Capps is that he had to make the decision to limit his drag racing program.

“The demands of staying
ahead of the product got the best of us,” Capps said. “It is going so fast that
it was going to be tough to stay ahead of the brand. It’s going to be smarter
to cut back our schedule this season. It’s financially smarter for us to stay


Call Charlie Peppers the ultimate underdog. But you couldn’t have convinced him
of that in the three decades that he competed in the IHRA Mountain Motor Pro
Stock division.

Nobody could make a low-buck Ford run like Peppers, the
tobacco-chewing man from Auburn, Ga.
Peppers never reached a single final round but he didn’t need
to. His threat to win and never-say-die attitude left more of a legacy than mere
wins and losses. In other words, paired against 15 other like-funded teams,
Peppers would have gotten his share.
Peppers began running Pro Stock in 1970 when it first started
and raced until just a few years ago. He started in the IHRA in


Veteran Top Fuel professional Cory McClenathan has started his own race team
with help from Don Schumacher Racing. The popular Fram-backed driver has managed
to keep all of his sponsors and will operate a team that will lease all of its
equipment from Schumacher, who fields the Top Fuel dragster of four-time
champion Tony Schumacher and six other professional-level

McClenathan hopes to keep his current crew, who has been racing
for the past several events through Scott Griffin Motorsports. Griffin will stay
involved with McClenathan's team through the hospitality program.

is something I've wanted to do for some time now and the opportunity presented
itself recently and I jumped at the chance," McClenathan said. "When the people
at FRAM, Autolite, Prestone, and Bendix, along with JEGS.com, GMC, Mac Tools,
Lucas Oil, and Nordic Boats promised their continued support and encouraged me
to follow my dream at this point in my career, that's what made my mind up for