SEMA eNews Vol. 18, No. 42, October 15, 2015

NHRA: Countdown to the Championship Implications Get Bigger in Texas

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NHRA News

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COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP IMPLICATIONS GET BIGGER IN TEXAS: At the 30th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, October 15–18, at the Texas Motorplex, competitors continue their quest to claim world championship titles. The event, which is the fourth of six playoff races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, will feature drivers trying to maintain their momentum from the opening three races of the Countdown—the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, North Carolina, AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals near St. Louis and NHRA Keystone Nationals in Pennsylvania. This year’s edition of the event will feature side-by-side racing as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle compete for their share of the $1.2-million purse and the vital Mello Yello Series points. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised on ESPN2.

TRAXXAS DOUBLES DOWN FOR DALLAS EVENT WITH TWO FORCE CARS: Traxxas will be the primary sponsor of two John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Cars at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, where fans can also get discounts on Traxxas products based on the success of the team. Courtney Force, whose colorful, eye-catching livery for the Traxxas Funny Car has been tuned up to all pink for the month of October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, will be joined by her father, John, who also will be flying the colors of Traxxas, “the Fastest Name in Radio Control.”

“I think it will be great coming into Dallas and giving the fans a real show with two Traxxas Funny Cars competing within the same race, me and my dad,” said Courtney. “I'm honored to run the pink car but also excited for my dad to run a paint scheme similar to my rookie car, while at the home track of Traxxas!”

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NHRA'S LIGHT INDUCTED INTO CANADIAN DRAG RACING HALL OF FAME: NHRA Senior Vice President-Racing Operations Graham Light was one of 38 luminaries honored October 9 as an inaugural inductee into the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Montreal. The 28 living and 10 posthumous legends who were inducted included racers, crew chiefs, mechanics, track officials, promoters and sponsors from Victoria, B.C., to Poole’s Corner, P.E.I., who have made a lasting impact and significant difference in the development of the sport of drag racing in Canada and elsewhere.

“It's a great honor to be inducted into the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame during its inaugural year and to be included among the legends of Canadian drag racing,” Light said. “All of the inductees owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to founder John Scotti for his vision in creating the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame, which will provide an appropriate venue to preserve the history of the sport well into the future.”

He Said, She Said

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“Winning the AAA Texas FallNationals would be huge for us. We haven’t started the Countdown the way we planned, but there are three races left and we have had success at all three. There is still a championship on the line and we want to do everything we can to make sure that championship trophy comes back to John Force Racing. Our mindset hasn’t changed all season. We had a tough weekend in Reading and everyone was kind of behind the eight ball. You can’t get discouraged by a bad race or a couple bad races. Every race, you have to go into the race thinking you have a chance to win and this AAA Texas team definitely thinks that.”

—Robert Hight, the 2009 Funny Car world champion, on racing at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. Hight has one win this season and two runner-up finishes and one No. 1 qualifying position. Hight entered the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship as the eighth seed but he has slipped to 10th after three consecutive first-round losses. Hight has two career wins at the Motorplex.

Inside the Numbers

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94: Number of points Top Fuel racer Tony Schumacher trails category leader Antron Brown after three races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Schumacher will attempt to track down red-hot teammate Brown over the final three races of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, starting with this weekend’s 30th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex, where Schumacher is the defending event winner. Brown is unbeaten through the first half of the Countdown, winning the first three races, but Schumacher is ready for the challenge of trying to make up the deficit.

“For as long as we’ve been doing this, and for all the events and championships we’ve earned over the years, we show up at the track each and every weekend of the season looking forward to the challenges,” Schumacher said. “That’s what makes our U.S. Army team so great, and that’s what makes it great to be a part of this U.S. Army team. We do have quite a challenge in front of us over the second half of the Countdown. Hats off to Antron and all those Matco Tools/U.S. Army guys because they’ve had about as perfect of a run so far as you can have in this sport.”

Did You Know

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LADIES OF THE NHRA TO HIGHLIGHT NHRA BREAKFAST AT 2015 SEMA SHOW: The 2015 NHRA Breakfast at the SEMA Show will celebrate the success of women in drag racing. Drivers who will be featured during the NHRA Breakfast are Erica Enders, Courtney Force, Alexis DeJoria, Leah Pritchett and the legendary Shirley Muldowney. The popular annual event at the SEMA Show, which has showcased many of NHRA’s drivers, team owners and other characters within the sport, has grown into a must-attend affair for SEMA Show attendees, and this year’s program promises to continue that tradition. NHRA will bring together some of its most successful women in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and they will discuss their memories and legacies.