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


For the second time this 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season, Jack
Beckman and the Mail Terminal Services Dodge Funny Car team will represent their
iconic sponsor Valvoline by running a Valvoline body on the MTS/DSR Funny Car at
this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas

Beckman, who moved into second in the Countdown to Four
playoffs point standings following his runner-up finish in Memphis on Sunday,
with two races remaining to determine the final four, is a fan of all the
Valvoline products used by his team.

"I've used nothing but Valvoline in
all my own race cars since 1994," said Beckman. "I use Valvoline in my (Super
Comp) tow vehicle and in my passenger cars and have done that more than a dozen
years. And it's very easy to support a company that you feel that passionately
about their product and their people. And I'm sure that is also why more top
mechanics choose Valvoline."

For Beckman, having this competitive
advantage at the race track is just as important. "At 8000 horsepower in the
Funny Car, our Valvoline gets changed every run as the engine is torn apart. In
my passenger car I always change mine every 3000 miles."


Ron Capps led the points in Funny Car for 14 consecutive races
before the points reset for the playoff and he’s slipped back to third
place right now heading into Dallas. Ron, what’s it like to be in the
middle of this Funny Car race with only 41 points separating … this
Murderer’s Row of drag racers from third to seventh place, you have
yourself, Gary Scelzi, Tony Pedregon, Mike Ashley, and John Force?

RON CAPPS:  Yeah, it’s pretty brutal.  I was looking at the
points again and the other categories don’t seem to be as close when
you take ‑‑ everybody is bunched up from third to six within one round,
I think, something like that.  But either way, it’s close.  We’ve been
through it … the way we came down to the wire at Pomona the last few
years and Tony Schumacher’s run last year to win on the last run we
felt like we’ve been in it.  So we can take that experience.

But even being through it like we have, nothing prepares you for it. 
Once you get to the starting line, it’s we’re not like Cup drivers
where we get to go around and around and you get to make up a bad lap
the next lap.  A crew chief has one shot at getting the car to go down
the track and I think that’s really what sets our score apart.


Don Schumacher said he was
unprepared for Wednesday’s notification


Friday’s announcement that the U.S. Army was ceasing their
association with the Don Schumacher Racing Pro Stock Motorcycle team
came as a total shock on Wednesday to the racing world. Two days later
it shocked the rest of the racing community.

“The conference call on the Wednesday prior to the Memphis event, this
decision came as a total shock to me,” Schumacher said. “The last word
I had heard prior to that was that they were continuing with the
present program in place and that everything was just fine.”

In Memphis, last Friday, the racing world learned otherwise.

Schumacher’s program with the U.S. Army runs on a year-to-year basis
with a particular deadline every season. He said the advertising agency
who represents the U.S. Army account had already verbally given a
commitment within the specified time to continue for 2008. That order
was rescinded.

Fans of the Angelle Sampey and Antron Brown tandem might be forced to pick one of the two for 2008.


johnson_sunday.jpgSteve Johnson enjoyed his best weekend of the season after advancing to
the final round on his Snap-on Tools Suzuki during this weekend past at the NHRA Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, TN.
The Alabama resident defeated Chris Rivas, Hector Arana, and Craig Treble on a
holeshot to reach the money round for the first time this season.

The 20-year racing veteran
broke in the final round against Andrew Hines to end his fantastic weekend.

But, while all might have appeared peachy on the outside -- on the inside Johnson's weekend was a tempest. 

“As a competitor, I’m pretty proud of my riding contributions
this weekend," Johnson said. "It’s so easy to redlight,
or have an okay light or even be late, but this weekend I was in the zone, where
everything worked perfectly.  I don’t
know how to explain it, but every time I went to the starting line my vision
narrowed down and it was just me, our Suzuki and the Tree.  Everything else faded away, and that’s why we
had really good Reaction Times in every round.



scelzi_notebook.jpgFour-time NHRA world champion Gary Scelzi said his
team fought gremlins all weekend, but he overcame them with his third victory
of the year on Sunday. Scelzi opened the day with a holeshot victory over Gary
Densham, then went on to beat Del Worsham and Tommy Johnson Jr. to finally
square off against teammate Jack Beckman for the event title.

"Isn't it amazing what
my little Hawaiian crew chief (Todd Okuhara) can do?" Scelzi said after
his semifinal win. "He can make this short, little fat wop look pretty
good. I'm excited as hell. This Countdown is a big thing for us. We struggled a
little bit here but this car is really ready to rock and roll, we haven't
unleashed the beast yet. Something's always breaking or going wrong, we've
still got some gremlins.

"You know they got me
monitored up on ESPN2 with Dunn and Page. It's hard for me to talk without
cussing, so they took the radio out. They can't listen to me now!"



Dave Connolly has opened the Countdown to Four with back-to-back victories over
season-long dominator Greg Anderson and the young Pro Stock phenom is feeling as
confident as ever as only two races remain until the Countdown to One fields are


Jim Oddy
said he’s enjoying his retirement from building engines and racing and that
Mooresville, North Carolina,
has provided the perfect backdrop for his retirement. The former Pro
Modified icon ventured out to the ADRL's Dragstock event hosted by
Rockingham Dragway.

This past weekend's event left
Oddy wondering what might have been

“This is the kind of racing
we always dreamed of where you could bring your car out and run it as hard as
you wanted and not get the reward on Monday of another 100 pounds or 10% less
on the blower,” Oddy said. “This is what I actually wanted to do way back


Vietnam Veterans/POW-MIA dragster troxel_sunday_01.jpgdriver Melanie
Troxel won her second event of the year in her third final round appearance
after a terrific pedaling job in the semifinals against Brandon Bernstein.
Troxel was able to get to the finish line first after both cars smoked the
tires right off the starting line and the pedal-fest was on. She had no idea
how many times she stepped on and off the throttle.

"I'm going to guess
three or four," said a smiling Troxel. "I don't know if that's right
or not, everything happens so fast in there you don't really know what you're
doing you're just reacting to the car. That was a crazy run, I could hear
Brandon over there pedaling away and neither of us could get the car hooked up.
Thankfully the belt stayed on it, that's the first time this weekend that it
hasn't gone to the finish line with the pedal down. It's just our lucky round
and we're happy to be going on to the final."

Troxel defeated a resurgent
Doug Herbert in the final round with a 4,728 at 313.22 mph to Herbert's 4.901
at 290.57 mph.


D_Herbert.jpgMidway through the Countdown to Four, several drivers have established
themselves as candidates to make the big step to the Countdown to One.

In Top
Fuel Doug Herbert made the biggest move with his runner-up effort, landing in
fifth place, 43 points out of the top four.

Countdown leader Tony Schumacher was
upset in the first round, but didn’t lose too much ground because Larry Dixon
and Rod Fuller lost in the early rounds, and Brandon Bernstein used a semifinal
finish to hold on to his top four spot.


Summer said her tough decision to sit out the ADRL Dragstock event in Rockingham wasn’t a tough one to
make. She wanted to see her turbocharged Corvette run quick and fast, with or
without her.

That's why she selected veteran journeyman Todd Tutterow, a practiced turbo racer. He was her only

“I knew that Todd was very
capable of driving the car and that’s why he was my first choice,” Summer said.
“I’m pulling for him to do better than I ever did. I just want my car to do
well. It’s not a competition or jealousy thing. This was a business decision.”

Summer said her Corvette
ran a 4.20 at 181 miles per hour during an event in Orangeburg, SC.