NHRA SUPERNATIONALS - SAME DAY COVERAGE
One of NHRA’s original seven national events, this race is steeped in legend: a historic facility, some of the sport’s most knowledgeable (and definitely most boisterous) fans, and a score of dramatic moments.
SNAKE RACING DOUBLES UP WITH DIXON AND JOHNSON JR.
Anderson and Treble round out winner's circle at ProCare Rx NHRA
Drag racing legend Don "Snake" Prudhomme celebrated a double-win Sunday as his two drivers -- Larry Dixon in Top Fuel and Tommy Johnson Jr. in Funny Car -- pulled off a pair of wins at the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2.
Ironically, Pro Stock winner Greg Anderson tallied his 49th career victory, which ties him with Prudhomme for sixth place on the NHRA POWERade Series' all-time winner's list. Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Craig Treble joined in the fun after he dispatched reigning champ Andrew Hines.
Johnson rose from the ashes, literally and figuratively, to get his first win of the year. The veteran racer, who has struggled through most of the season, rebounded to win the event after a giant fire in theopening round reduced his car to a bare chassis.
He also rose from 12th to eighth in the POWERade Countdown to the Championship standings with seven races left in the regular season (the top 8 qualify for the playoffs).
"To go from 12th to eighth and with the way we're running (he paced three of the four qualifying sessions) going into these six races (in six weeks), it's huge. We have the momentum," Johnson said.
It wasn't easy in the final as Tony Pedregon gave him a race, leaving first by a hundredth of a second. But Johnson managed to catch the former champ and pass him to win with a 4.994 at 305.84 mph to Pedregon's 5.022 at 306.33 mph.
"We had to change everything after that fire, right down to the fuel tanks," Johnson said. "That was a bad fire. It snuck up on me because the run was going fine and then, blam, there was this huge fireball.
"It was blazing pretty good. I couldn't see. I couldn't breathe. It was time to go," said Johnson, who made a hasty retreat out of the roof escape hatch and through thick, black smoke as soon as he got the car stopped.
It was the first time Prudhomme had two cars in the winner's circle since Ron Capps and Dixon pulled off the double at Columbus in 2002.
"It's special," Prudhomme said. "When Larry won last week (in Chicago and Tommy didn't), you're only 50 percent happy. It's like having one kid hit a home run and the other strike out.
"Tommy needed it. They're the ones that had been striking out and (Sunday) they hit it out of the park," Prudhomme said.
In the Top Fuel final, Dixon was the first to streak from the gates against Doug Herbert, .057 to .071, and he never looked back, inching away as he went down the track to win with a 4.625 at 321.73 mph to Herbert's 4.675 at 316.30 mph. This was Dixon's second win in a row.He's now been to the final round of this race for the last seven years with four wins.
"We're going to burn up the Snake's credit card at dinner tonight," Dixon said.
Dixon had won five Father's Day races in a row before having the streak ended by Rod Fuller in 2006. This year, with no race on Father's Day, Dixon did the next best thing by winning races on the race weekends before and after Father's day.
Trying to steal away a holeshot win from KB Racing for the second week in a row, Jeg Coughlin was a little too aggressive at the Christmas Tree, leaving early by -.007 seconds to hand Anderson his sixth win in the first 10 races of the season. It may not have mattered as Anderson's Pontiac GTO ran a 6.617 at 209.52 mph, quicker than anything Coughlin had posted all day, but it was all academic after the red-light start.
It was the 49th career win for Anderson.
"I really can't fathom that," Anderson said. "It's not because of me, it's all those guys I'm associated with ... Ken Black. I'm a lucky man and I count my blessings every day. I'm going to ride this wave as long as I can."
After three runner-up finishes here, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park probably owed Pro Stock Motorcycle victor Treble this win, the 10th of his career. The final was a thriller as both men stayed within each other's shadows most of the way down the track. In the end it was Treble eking out a 6.990-second win at 191.70 mph over Hines 7.003 at 190.48 mph."We went for broke," said the sponsor-less Treble who distanced himself from the pack fighting for the eighth and final Countdown playoff berth. "We won a race without a name on the tail section. I think we're the only team in the top ten without a major sponsor."
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Sunday's final results from the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The race is the tenth of 23 in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel -- Larry Dixon, 4.625 seconds, 321.73 mph def. Doug Herbert, 4.675 seconds, 316.30 mph.
Super Street -- Shawn Fricke, Pontiac Firebird, 10.905, 131.55 def. Frank Abad, Chevy Camaro, 10.882, 126.97.
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Final round-by-round results from the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors at Old BridgeTownship Raceway Park, the tenth of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series:
ROUND ONE -- Doug Herbert, 5.030, 279.96 def. Melanie Troxel, 7.576,104.45; Hillary Will, 4.865, 281.54 def. Bob Vandergriff, 4.918, 299.40; Larry Dixon, 4.947, 280.66 def. Whit Bazemore, 4.997, 272.78; J.R. Todd, 4.625, 321.42 def. Brandon Bernstein, 4.620, 318.39; David Grubnic, 4.686, 318.54 def. Tony Schumacher, 5.383, 174.87; Rod Fuller, 4.624, 323.81 def. Rit Pustari, 4.873, 253.42; Doug Kalitta, 4.655, 325.37 def. Clay Millican, 5.066, 254.09; Doug Foley, 4.580, 328.30 def. Cory McClenathan, 10.089, 78.19;
QUARTERFINALS -- Herbert, 4.699, 310.27 def. Grubnic, 4.770, 307.93; Dixon, 4.669, 313.80 def. Kalitta, 5.227, 217.25; Will, 4.679, 319.60 def. Fuller, 4.748, 318.77; Todd, 5.435, 265.90 def. Foley, 9.840, 89.38;
SEMIFINALS -- Herbert, 4.674, 317.94 def. Todd, 4.780, 307.30; Dixon, 4.662, 315.42 def. Will, 6.619, 128.10;
FINAL -- Dixon, 4.625, 321.73 def. Herbert, 4.675, 316.30.
ROUND ONE -- Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala, 5.008, 304.80 def. Cruz Pedregon, Impala, 5.211, 237.17; Jeff Arend, Impala, 4.965, 309.27 def. Scott Kalitta, Toyota Solara, 5.141, 267.27; Robert Hight, Ford Mustang, 4.938, 302.21 def. Ashley Force, Mustang, 4.949, 299.40; Tommy Johnson Jr., Impala, 5.156, 270.59 def. Gary Densham, Impala, 8.443, 97.53; Tim Wilkerson, Impala, 5.015, 276.69 def. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 5.053,288.15; John Force, Mustang, 5.002, 297.16 def. Gary Scelzi, Charger, 6.297, 152.61; Tony Bartone, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.051, 262.59 def. Jim Head, Solara, 5.078, 252.90; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.942, 309.70 def.Del Worsham, Impala, 7.124, 120.78;
QUARTERFINALS -- Arend, 4.976, 304.67 def. Wilkerson, 5.020, 309.84; Johnson Jr., 4.914, 309.84 def. Beckman, 4.976, 304.80; T. Pedregon, 5.436, 292.65 def. Hight, 7.538, 116.27; Bartone, 5.346, 218.90 def. J.Force, 5.465, 252.90;
SEMIFINALS -- T. Pedregon, 5.028, 306.12 def. Bartone, 5.283, 225.97;Johnson Jr., 4.961, 309.91 def. Arend, 4.960, 305.22;
FINAL -- Johnson Jr., 4.994, 305.84 def. T. Pedregon, 5.022, 306.33.
ROUND ONE -- Dave Connolly, Chevy Cobalt, 6.614, 209.20 def. Max Naylor, Dodge Stratus, 6.652, 208.46; Larry Morgan, Stratus, 6.640, 208.52 def. Dave Northrop, Pontiac GTO, 6.674, 208.04; Allen Johnson, Stratus, 6.639, 207.75 def. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 6.664, 208.17; Jim Yates, GTO, 6.656, 207.59 def. Jason Line, GTO, 6.628, 209.62; Greg Stanfield, GTO, 6.653, 208.04 def. V. Gaines, Stratus, 6.728, 208.46; Richie Stevens, Stratus, 6.638, 208.33 def. Warren Johnson, GTO, 6.673, 207.37; Greg Anderson, GTO, 6.698, 206.42 def. Craig Hankinson, GTO, 6.685, 205.91; Jeg Coughlin, Cobalt, 6.621, 209.20 def. Mike Edwards, GTO, 6.674, 206.76;
QUARTERFINALS -- Yates, 6.676, 207.21 def. Stanfield, 7.463, 137.11;Stevens, 6.650, 207.91 def. Morgan, 6.761, 206.83; Coughlin, 6.647, 208.55 def. A. Johnson, 6.655, 207.43; Anderson, 6.635, 209.52 def. Connolly, 6.639, 208.49;
SEMIFINALS -- Coughlin, 6.651, 208.91 def. Stevens, 6.684, 207.40; Anderson, 6.642, 208.84 def. Yates, 6.709, 206.95;
FINAL -- Anderson, 6.617, 209.52 def. Coughlin, foul.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE:
ROUND ONE -- Geno Scali, Suzuki, 8.121, 116.32 def. Hector Arana, Buell, foul; Craig Treble, Suzuki, 7.004, 192.47 def. Chris Rivas, Buell, 7.023, 186.28; Matt Smith, Buell, 6.968, 189.79 def. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.035, 190.94; Antron Brown, Suzuki, 6.984, 189.84 def. Peggy Llewellyn, Buell, 7.202, 184.98; Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.008, 189.68
def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.298, 153.86; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.957, 189.60 def. Paul Gast, Suzuki, 7.074, 187.13; Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.908, 192.99 def. Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.057, 188.10; Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.013, 190.14 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.962, 190.08;
QUARTERFINALS -- Brown, 7.074, 187.57 def. Stoffer, 7.082, 187.05; Johnson, 7.050, 188.73 def. Smith, 7.057, 179.97; Hines, 7.016, 190.11 def. Scali, 7.103, 188.52; Treble, 7.011, 190.75 def. Sampey, foul;
SEMIFINALS -- Hines, 6.969, 191.13 def. Johnson, 7.045, 189.90; Treble, 7.003, 189.44 def. Brown, 7.064, 187.23;
FINAL -- Treble, 6.990, 191.70 def. Hines, 7.003, 190.48.
Point standings (top 10) for NHRA professional categories following the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the tenth of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series -
1. Rod Fuller, 688; 2. Larry Dixon, 653; 3. Brandon Bernstein, 635; 4. J.R. Todd, 625; 5. Tony Schumacher, 544; 6. Melanie Troxel, 488; 7. David Grubnic, 480; 8. Bob Vandergriff, 472; 9. Cory McClenathan, 453; 10. Whit Bazemore, 440.
1. Ron Capps, 786; 2. Robert Hight, 663; 3. Gary Scelzi, 585; 4. Tony Pedregon, 560; 5. Jim Head, 542; 6. Mike Ashley, 522; 7. Ashley Force, 443; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 428; 9. Jeff Arend, 425; 10. Jack Beckman, 419.
1. Greg Anderson, 954; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 753; 3. Dave Connolly, 660; 4. Jason Line, 628; 5. Allen Johnson, 508; 6. Kurt Johnson, 484; 7. V. Gaines, 469; 8. Richie Stevens, 454; 9. Warren Johnson, 444; 10. (tie) Mike Edwards, 421. Larry Morgan, 421.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Matt Smith, 518; 2. Angelle Sampey, 462; 3. Karen Stoffer, 425; 4. Andrew Hines, 392; 5. Craig Treble, 361; 6. Chip Ellis, 311; 7. Chris Rivas, 296; 8. Steve Johnson, 288; 9. Antron Brown, 284; 10. Peggy Llewellyn, 277.
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SAMPEY OBLITERATES NATIONAL RECORD ON NO. 1 QUALIFYING PASS
Schumacher, Johnson Jr. and Anderson round out top qualifiers
Three-time NHRA POWERade Series champion Angelle Sampey ran the quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle pass in history Saturday to highlight the final day of professional qualifying at the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors.
The former nurse and beauty queen zipped through the timers in 6.871 seconds at 194.21 mph to shatter the previous mark by three hundredths of a second, a massive amount of time in drag racing. Her Q4 pass of 6.927 validated the national record.
Top Fuel racer Tony Schumacher (4.455 at 331.94 mph), Funny Car's Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.729 at 321.96 mph), and Pro Stock's Greg Anderson (6.592 at 210.57 mph) shared the low qualifier's podium with Sampey.
Sampey had a hard time getting her arms around her record elapsed time, which occurred just past noon. It was by far her most impressive of her 42 career top qualifying efforts. The U.S. Army Suzuki rider has now earned the No. 1 position three times this year.
"I was totally shocked," Sampey said of her record run, which has already been backed-up to make it official. "The bike left well, it felt straight, and I hit my shift points. Steve [Tartaglia, tuner] was aiming for a 6.91 so I figured it was close to that. Then I pulled off and the EMT's were clapping and jumping around so I pulled over there and they said 6.87. I had to ask them three times because I didn't believe it. I wanted to see the [time] slip."
Friday's top gun, Andrew Hines, slipped to second with his career-best pass of 6.910 at 193.57 mph on the Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod. Chip Ellis remained third on his Drag Specialties S&S Buell with a best of 6.950 at 192.30 mph.
Schumacher and Johnson's nighttime passes were untouchable in Saturday's heat. This was Schumacher's fifth pole of the year in his U.S. Army dragster and the 40th low qualifier award of his career. Johnson's eighth career pole lifted a lot of pressure off his shoulders as his Chevy Impala has given his team fits this year.
"Like usual, the Friday night run was the hero run, but being low of that round we just finished with a 4.60 is just as impressive to me," Schumacher said. "That was just a good, old-fashioned get-it-down-through-there run in the heat of the day."
The timing couldn’t have been better for Johnson, who was at the Greenwich, Ct. headquarters of title sponsor Skoal for two days earlier this week. And on Sunday, Johnson will be hosting two busloads of Skoal employees and family members.
"It's looking more and more like we have found the consistency we've been lacking," said Johnson, who had the best pass during three of the four qualifying passes. "We pushed the limit this morning and smoked the tires so we put it back, so to speak, to the way it was before and we were low of the final session with a 4.86, so it's responding to the changes we're making."
Anderson's seventh low qualifier of the season's first 10 races ruined Stevens' chance to be the low man in the class for the first time since last year's Chicago race. Instead it will be Anderson's Pontiac GTO leading the way once again as the current POWERade points leader will try to extend his lead over the chase pack in Sunday's eliminations, which begin at 11 a.m. ET and will be televised by ESPN2 beginning at 10 p.m. ET.
"I've got so much beyond what any driver could ask for," Anderson said. "I have a great car that can win every week. I'm a very lucky man to have the team I have around me and to have [team owner] Ken Black's support. I was kicking the dog yesterday when I was second. That's how spoiled I've become."
First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the tenth of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday.
Top Fuel -- 1. Tony Schumacher, 4.455 seconds, 331.94 mph vs. 16. David Grubnic, 4.808, 314.09; 2. Rod Fuller, 4.479, 330.39 vs. 15. Rit Pustari, 4.734, 312.78; 3. Clay Millican, 4.487, 330.39 vs. 14. Doug Kalitta, 4.653, 328.38; 4. Brandon Bernstein, 4.500, 331.04 vs. 13. J.R. Todd, 4.649, 307.79; 5. Cory McClenathan, 4.516, 326.40 vs. 12. Doug Foley, 4.582, 331.20; 6. Whit Bazemore, 4.521, 332.51 vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 4.558, 322.42; 7. Hillary Will, 4.544, 328.38 vs. 10. Bob Vandergriff, 4.557, 311.13; 8. Melanie Troxel, 4.555, 332.43 vs. 9. Doug Herbert, 4.555, 314.90.
Funny Car -- 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.729, 321.96 vs. 16. Gary Densham, Impala, 4.938, 304.32; 2. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.747, 325.37 vs. 15. Gary Scelzi, Dodge Charger, 4.925, 309.13; 3. Ashley Force, Mustang, 4.760, 321.19 vs. 14. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.893, 301.67; 4. Scott Kalitta, Toyota Solara, 4.768, 317.79 vs. 13. Jeff Arend, Impala, 4.841, 319.52; 5. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.775, 319.90 vs. 12. Tim Wilkerson, Impala, 4.819, 323.89; 6. Tony Pedregon, Impala, 4.780, 323.04 vs. 11. Cruz Pedregon, Impala, 4.811, 318.62; 7. Jim Head, Solara, 4.785, 324.83 vs. 10. Tony Bartone, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.797, 323.97; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.789, 325.30 vs. 9. Del Worsham, Impala, 4.796, 325.22.
Pro Stock -- 1. Greg Anderson, Pontiac GTO, 6.592, 210.57 vs. 16. Craig Hankinson, GTO, 6.643, 207.66; 2. Richie Stevens, Dodge Stratus, 6.598, 209.20 vs. 15. Warren Johnson, GTO, 6.643, 208.71; 3. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.612, 209.46 vs. 14. Mike Edwards, GTO, 6.640, 207.91; 4. Jason Line, GTO, 6.612, 209.95 vs. 13. Jim Yates, GTO, 6.635, 208.17; 5. V. Gaines, Stratus, 6.617, 209.30 vs. 12. Greg Stanfield, GTO, 6.628, 209.01; 6. Allen Johnson, Stratus, 6.617, 208.81 vs. 11. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 6.627, 208.84; 7. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 6.617, 208.26 vs. 10. Dave Northrop, GTO, 6.627, 209.14; 8. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 6.621, 208.42 vs. 9. Max Naylor, Stratus, 6.624, 209.04.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.871, 194.21 vs. 16. Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.033, 189.28; 2. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.910, 193.57 vs. 15. Paul Gast, Suzuki, 7.032, 190.40; 3. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.950, 192.30 vs. 14. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.024, 190.16; 4. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.954, 193.24 vs. 13. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.023, 190.14; 5. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 6.955, 192.55 vs. 12. Peggy Llewellyn, Buell, 7.005, 190.38; 6. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.962, 191.05 vs. 11. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.002, 193.16; 7. Geno Scali, Suzuki, 6.965, 192.47 vs. 10. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.987, 189.92; 8. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 6.969, 194.77 vs. 9. Chris Rivas, Buell, 6.975, 190.48.
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VETERAN JOHNSON JR. RACES TO TIMELY PROVISIONAL NO. 1 QUALIFIER
Schumacher, Stevens and Hines also on provisional pole
Funny Car veteran Tommy Johnson Jr.'s 4.729-second pass at 321.96 mph led a record-filled Friday at venerable Old Bridge Township Raceway Park as all four professional categories set new performance marks for this facility.
None was more impressive, or unexpected, than Johnson's pass, which instantly pulled the veteran racer from a season-long slump. Top Fuel ace Tony Schumacher's 4.455 also got the near-capacity crowd excited, as
did Richie Stevens' lightning-quick 6.598 in Po Stock and Andrew Hines' spectacular 6.910 in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
After spending two days this week at the Greenwich, Ct. headquarters of sponsor Skoal, Johnson showed up with the best Funny Car on the premises, turning in the the best pass in each of the first two rounds of qualifying including the track-record pass in the night session.
"The way this year has gone I feel like Rocky Balboa. We've just taken so many body shots and yet we're still here fighting," Johnson said. "We finished (2006) so strong and we tested like crazy and we were so fast. Then the season started and it just fell apart. We were like, 'what is going on?'
"We literally changed everything on our car, everything, and it still didn't improve. We finally just pushed the whole thing to the back of the shop and left it there just like it was and built a new car from the ground up. It hit the track in Topeka and, combined with the hiring of (clutch specialist) Scott French, we've just done a 180-degree turn."
The Forces, John and Ashley, are second and third in Funny Car in their Castrol GTX Ford Mustangs. Dad led daughter with a 4.747 at 325.37 mph to her 4.760 at 321.19 mph.
Schumacher was at ease after blazing down the strip in 4.455 at 331.94 mph in his U.S. Army dragster. The four-time and reigning Top Fuel champ seems pleased to be running well and will most assuredly not need a heroic comeback like he had in 2006 to remain a contender for this year's title.
"Alan [Johnson, crew chief] came in here with a bit of a chip on his shoulder," Schumacher said. "I don't think he's ever won here with [Gary] Scelzi or Blaine [Johnson] and I know that's something he wants to change. You know, we have A.J. because of this place. We didn't qualify here in 2003 and that's when Dad went out and hired him. We've been on a pretty good roll since then."
Current points leader "Hot Rod" Fuller is quick again, running a second-best 4.479 at 330.39 mph in his plain, white dragster. Clay Millican has the RATT -- Back for More dragster in third place with a 4.487 at 330.39 mph, which was the final 4.4-second pass.
Longtime racer Cory McClenathan of Team Fram is fifth overall after a 4.516 that ended with a giant fireball at the top end. McClenathan avoided hitting anything as he fought to get his car stopped but the fire damage was extensive.
Pro Stock leader Stevens continues his love affair with Old Bridge Township Raceway Park as the two-time E-town winner is the surprise qualifying leader here. Stevens, who won this race in 1999 and 2001, accounting for a third of his career wins, posted a career-best 6.598 at 209.20 mph in his Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T to secure the provisional pole.
"The night session is very important, especially for the Pro Stock cars," Stevens said. "We run carburetors, (they're) naturally-aspirated,and whenever the session is the coolest is probably going to be our best. The night session is always the best for us. It's hard to make itwork sometimes because you only get one good night session in. You kind of got to take advantage of it. Luckily, we did. We ran a .59, which is awesome for us."
POWERade points leader Greg Anderson knocked three thousandths of a second off his opening-round pass of 6.609, but he still dropped a spot on the grid to second overall with a 6.606 at 209.33 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO.
Chicago winner Hines hasn't lost a step with his Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod Pro Stock Motorcycle, running a 6.910 at 193.57 mph to take the top spot on Friday night for the second race in a row. Hines' run was the second quickest in class history. He also posted a 6.932 earlier in the day.
"E-town is such a great place to race," Hines said. "It's like a playground out there for Pro Stock. You're at sea-level and the air is good; when Mother Nature decides to give us good weather here you can fly."
Angelle Sampey was next on her U.S. Army Suzuki but she was a good bit behind Hines with a clocking of 6.949 at 192.41 mph. Chip Ellis followedon his Torco Buell V-Twin with 6.950, while Karen Stoffer was fourth overall with a 6.960 at 193.24 mph on the Geico Motorcycle Suzuki.
Connie Cohen suffered abrasions to her right hand but was alert and conscious after driving through the top-end sand trap and catch nets on her Suzuki. She was transported by ambulance to Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge.
Results Friday after qualifying for the 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, tenth of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's finaleliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Tony Schumacher, 4.455 seconds, 331.94 mph; 2. Rod Fuller, 4.479, 330.39; 3. Clay Millican, 4.487, 330.39; 4. Brandon Bernstein, 4.500, 331.04; 5. Cory McClenathan, 4.516, 326.40; 6. Whit Bazemore, 4.521, 332.51; 7. Hillary Will, 4.544, 328.38; 8. Melanie Troxel, 4.555, 332.43; 9. Doug Herbert, 4.555, 314.90; 10. Bob Vandergriff, 4.557, 311.13; 11. Larry Dixon, 4.558, 322.42; 12. Doug Foley, 4.582, 331.20; 13. J.R. Todd, 4.649, 307.79; 14. Doug Kalitta, 4.653, 328.38; 15. Rit Pustari, 4.734, 312.78; 16. Morgan Lucas, 5.878, 147.67.
Funny Car -- 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Chevy Impala, 4.729, 321.96; 2. John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.747, 325.37; 3. Ashley Force, Mustang, 4.760, 321.19; 4. Scott Kalitta, Toyota Solara, 4.768, 317.79; 5. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.775, 319.90; 6. Tony Pedregon, Impala, 4.780, 323.04; 7. Jim Head, Solara, 4.785, 324.83; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.789, 325.30; 9. Del Worsham, Impala, 4.796, 325.22; 10. Tony Bartone, Chevy Monte Carlo, 4.797, 323.97; 11. Cruz Pedregon, Impala, 4.811, 318.62; 12. Tim Wilkerson, Impala, 4.819, 323.89; 13. Jeff Arend,
Impala, 4.841, 319.52; 14. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.893, 301.67; 15. Bob Gilbertson, Dodge Stratus, 4.947, 301.94; 16. Jerry Toliver, Solara, 4.987, 289.20.
Pro Stock -- 1. Richie Stevens, Dodge Stratus, 6.598, 209.20; 2. Greg Anderson, Pontiac GTO, 6.606, 209.62; 3. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.612, 209.46; 4. Jason Line, GTO, 6.615, 209.52; 5. Allen Johnson, Stratus, 6.621, 208.59; 6. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 6.621, 208.07; 7. Dave Northrop, GTO, 6.627, 209.14; 8. Greg Stanfield, GTO,
6.628, 209.01; 9. Kurt Johnson, Cobalt, 6.635, 208.71; 10. Jim Yates, GTO, 6.635, 207.08; 11. V. Gaines, Stratus, 6.639, 208.55; 12. Mike Edwards, GTO, 6.640, 207.56; 13. Max Naylor, Stratus, 6.641, 209.04; 14. Larry Morgan, Stratus, 6.642, 207.98; 15. Warren Johnson, GTO, 6.643, 208.71; 16. Craig Hankinson, GTO, 6.643, 207.66.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.910, 193.57; 2. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.949, 192.41; 3. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.950, 192.30; 4. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.960, 193.24; 5. Chris Rivas, Buell, 6.975, 190.48; 6. Antron Brown, Suzuki, 6.978, 192.11; 7. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 6.981, 192.80; 8. Geno Scali, Suzuki, 6.994, 192.47; 9. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 7.002, 193.16; 10. Peggy Llewellyn, Buell, 7.014, 190.38; 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.021, 189.92; 12. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.023, 190.14; 13. Mike Berry, Suzuki, 7.033, 188.78; 14. Matt Smith, Buell, 7.057, 191.05; 15. Shawn Gann, Suzuki, 7.066, 189.47; 16. Matt Guidera, Buell, 7.074, 187.31.
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EVENT PREVIEW - NHRA POWERADE DRAG RACING SERIES COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP CONTINUES TO TAKE SHAPE AT PROCARE RX NHRA SUPERNATIONALS
There have been many surprises in the first half of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season. There has been triumph, tragedy, powerful performances and upsets aplenty. Dominators of the past have struggled, while new faces have emerged to showcase their talents in the world’s fastest motorsport. Rookies have been impressive and a diverse group of drivers have earned victories in each pro category.
As the season’s first 17 races will set the stage for NHRA’s first-ever championship playoff, the NHRA POWERade Countdown to the Championship, all teams in each NHRA professional category have been working hard to earn one of the elite eight positions before the Countdown to Four begins at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, the world’s most prestigious drag race. Only eight races remain in the regular season.
The contenders will continue to be separated from the pretenders at the ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors, June 21-24 at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The $1.8 million race, which will be televised on ESPN2 HD, is the 10th of 23 events in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.
While all of the professional categories are featuring thrilling points battles in the Countdown to Eight, Funny Car promises to leave some heavy hitters out of championship contention and on the sidelines after race No. 17 at Reading, Pa. For example, entering the race at Englishtown, NHRA icon John Force is currently 17th in the Funny Car standings, nine positions and 117 points out of the cut-off eighth position.
Ron Capps has been the early season dominator in his Brut Dodge Charger, scoring three victories in five final-round appearances. After his victory in St. Louis and runner-up finish at Chicago, Capps holds a 140-point lead over the season’s second-hottest driver, Robert Hight, winner of two races in four final-round appearances this season.
“We’re leading the points, but we know it’s going to be a whole new season in Indy (U.S. Nationals), so we just want to get into the Countdown to the Championship and still keep chugging along,” said Capps, the defending event winner at Englishtown. “It’s going to be an exciting season.”
Extremely exciting, should Force get his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang firing on all cylinders and make a late season dash to qualify for the Countdown.
This season Force has endured one of the worst slumps of his career. Not only has his performance on the track been shaky, but his extended three-car team has had to work through the emotional aftermath of the death of teammate Eric Medlen in mid-March. After sitting out the Houston race to mourn the loss, Force remained positive after watching his incredible 395-race qualifying streak come to an end in Las Vegas in April. He then rallied to earn his only eliminations round victory of the season at St. Louis. He followed that effort with first-round losses at Topeka and Chicago and knows that he will need a couple of victories over the next eight races to secure his championship hopes.
“Every race (from now on) is critical, but I’ve been saying that for the last month,” Force said. “We’ve always played the consistency game and, right now, we’re just not consistent and we’re not going to start winning until we get that back. We’ve got to find some answers and get back in the game.”
Force has also been heavily occupied with training his 24-year-old daughter Ashley, a rookie this season in the 7,000-horsepower category. She is only the 10th female to compete in Funny Car and earlier this season at Atlanta she outran her father in a highly anticipated first-round meeting en route to a semifinal finish, matching the best previous outing for a female in Funny Car in NHRA history (Della Woods, 1985, Reading, Pa.). She also raced to a semifinal finish at St. Louis and now sits seventh in the POWERade point standings as she focuses on becoming the first female in NHRA history to win a race in Funny Car.
“There haven’t been that many girls in Funny Car, so every little thing we do there will always be something new,” said Ashley Force, a five-time winner in the Top Alcohol Dragster sportsman category and one of 42 women to win a national event in NHRA history. “You can’t let that get into your head. It is not going to help you win rounds. It is not going to help our performance. It is better to just focus on what we are doing.”
While Ashley Force has been getting her share of headlines lately with some milestone performances, another Ashley in Funny Car – Mike – also has seen his team move into the ranks of the quickest and fastest in the category. He has posted No. 1 qualifying positions at three events and raced to a runner-up finish in Atlanta. The fast-talking New York mortgage banker who moonlights as driver of his Torco/Skull Gear Dodge Charger on the weekends earned his first career victory at Topeka with much celebration and now sits in fourth place in the series standings.
With a veteran team led by crew chiefs Brian Corradi and former NHRA Funny Car champ Mark Oswald, he has established track records for speed at three events this season, including the fastest Funny Car speed in NHRA history, a stunning 334.32 mph blast at Las Vegas.
"Winning in Topeka was huge, and I'll never forget it because it was my first Wally [event trophy], but, as a team, we all know that we can't rest on our laurels and let down at all," Mike Ashley said. “This team is a family, and we all know what has to get done to win. I think the win in Topeka just prepared us for what's around the corner, and it'll be tough, but a whole lot of drag racin' fun."
In Top Fuel, Chicago winner Larry Dixon is the active driver with the most victories at the track – three -- including two in the last three years. Last year he was runner-up to Rod Fuller, the current series points leader. Doug Kalitta is the only other active driver in Top Fuel that has earned victories at Raceway Park. Kalitta won at the track in 2000 and 2003.
Interestingly, with all of the success that U.S. Army Top Fuel ace Tony Schumacher has had at nearly every NHRA track on the POWERade circuit, the four-time world champ has never claimed a No. 1 qualifying position nor advanced to a final round appearance at Englishtown.
Brandon Bernstein, J.R. Todd and Melanie Troxel have all earned victories this season and will be looking for more success on the track in New Jersey.
Competition in Pro Stock, where races are routinely won and lost by less than the blink of an eye, is getting tougher. Three-time POWERade world champ Greg Anderson has opened the season with five victories and sprinted out to a large lead in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. However at Chicago a rare first round loss by Anderson opened the door for Jeg Coughlin to get the victory.
Coughlin and teammate Dave Connolly have both been in the hunt all season and join Anderson as pre-race favorites. Another driver to watch in the 200-mph category is Anderson’s teammate, Jason Line, winner of the last three races at Englishtown.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith is the defending race winner on his Torco Buell and comes to the event as the POWERade Series points leader with one victory this season. However, Andrew Hines is the circuit’s most recent winner and he may get some important track tips from his new teammate Eddie Krawiec, a former general manager at Raceway Park. Other favorites in the two-wheel category include Angelle Sampey, Karen Stoffer and Chip Ellis.
SCHEDULE: Professional qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. on June 22, and noon and 2:30 p.m. on June 23. Pre-race ceremonies are scheduled for 10 a.m. on June 24, followed by the first round of professional eliminations at 11 a.m.
TICKETS: Tickets are available for the ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals presented by R2B2 Motors. Please call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800. Tickets also are available at racewaypark.com or ticketmaster.com.
ON TV: On June 23, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 11 p.m. (ET). On June 24, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute pre-race news magazine show, at 11 a.m. (ET) and also will televise three hours of eliminations coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).
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