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Thursday, May 31, 2012
For the first time since the KB Racing team’s inaugural season in 2002, four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson took to the track last week in a Chevrolet-branded race car, shaking down his new Summit Racing Camaro at Rockingham Dragway in preparation for its debut at this weekend’s NHRA Supernationals in Englishtown, N.J.. Over the course of two days, Anderson and crew braved the 90-degree heat in the North Carolina Sandhills, making a total of fourteen runs, posting elapsed times in the 6.5-second range with speeds topping 209 mph. Despite the limited experience, the current championship points leader is enthused by the prospect of once again competing as a member of the Bow Tie Brigade.
“We are excited to bring out our Summit Racing Camaro in Englishtown,” said Anderson. “It’s a tremendous looking car that drives and feels great, with really good visibility. After two days of testing we’ve learned that it definitely has different performance characteristics from the car we’ve been running, but the one thing we can see already is that it has a lot of potential.
“It wants to run the big end of the race track as well as if not even better than our Pontiacs, and it’s just a matter of rubbing on it a little more to get the front half of the track right. We certainly expect a few bumps in the road as we sort out the chassis, but as far as this Camaro body goes they did a great job. I’ve won a lot of races and championships in Pontiacs, but I can’t wait to run this first event in my new Chevrolet, doing what we can to put them back in the winner’s circle.”
As if giving Chevrolet’s legendary muscle car its first Pro Stock win since 2001 was not enough, Anderson will have several other reasons to do well this weekend. Not only will his KB Racing team’s next victory be the 100th of its relatively brief ten year history, but beloved team owners Ken and Judy Black will also be in attendance for the first time since the Las Vegas event two months ago.
“Ken continues to make remarkable progress, so he’s going to fly completely across the country to see us and witness the debut of the new Camaro,” said Anderson. “So far, he’s only seen pictures of it, so he can’t wait to see it go down the track in person. Besides, don’t forget that we also have the possibility of KB Racing’s 100th win.
“We almost got it in Topeka two weeks ago, but maybe the racing gods decided they wanted Ken and Judy to be on hand for it to happen. After all, there’s nothing we would rather have than to put our Summit Racing Camaro in the winner’s circle for our 100th win with Ken Black in attendance. That would be a storybook weekend, and it’s the goal we have going in to Englishtown.”
In a somewhat ironic twist, should Anderson score the multiple milestone win in the Garden State, it will come at the same track where he captured his team’s first Wally in 2002 behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Cavalier. It was the first of the KB Racing’s team seven successive victories at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, spanning a period from 2002-2008, with Anderson the winner on four occasions. Naturally, he hopes history will repeat itself this weekend.
“Raceway Park is one of my favorite tracks,” said Anderson. “I’ve had a lot of final round appearances and a lot of winner’s circle celebrations there, so it’s naturally an event I look forward to every year. It’s a sea-level type track where we always seem to have good air and a big barometer, making it one where the Pro Stock guys lick their chops, because given the right conditions, you could see records set - in fact, I set both ends of the national record there in 2003. When you can run fast and have fun, as a race car driver you naturally get excited going there. I’ve had a good relationship with Englishtown over the years, and look to continue it in a big way this weekend.”
Greg Anderson & the Summit Racing Camaro crew
By the Numbers – Old Bridge Township Raceway Park edition:
4 – a) Wins by Anderson in Englishtown coming into this weekend, which is tied with Bob Glidden and Warren Johnson for the most in Pro Stock history in New Jersey.
b) No. 1 qualifying performances by Anderson at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
5 – Final round appearances by Anderson in New Jersey, most recently in 2008.
5.57 – Average starting position for Greg in his previous 14 Raceway Park starts.
8 – Times Anderson has qualified in the top four positions in his previous 14 Englishtown starts.
25 – Elimination round wins by Greg in his previous 14 Raceway Park starts, versus 10 losses for a .714 win percentage.
Proceeds From Auction of Car Donated by Jewelry Designer & American Car Collector Nicola Bulgari Will Go To Elegance at Hershey Charities
Organizers of The Elegance at Hershey, a weekend long series of vintage and collector charity car events June 8-10 at The Hotel Hershey® today placed a special 2002 Camaro RS Collector car up for auction on eBay, with proceeds to be directed to the Elegance at Hershey charities. The Elegance at Hershey raises funds for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), the AACA Museum and the AACA Library & Research Center in Hershey.
Donated by famed jewelry designer and American car collector Nicola Bulgari, the 2002 Camaro RS was specially ordered by him. With less than 1,000 miles on the odometer, after multiple alterations and upgrades by SLP Engineering of Toms River, NJ and Lingenfelter Performance Engineering of Decatur, Indiana, the collector car is originally valued at more than $38,000. The car will be sold on eBay with a modest reserve beginning 10:00 p.m. EST Friday June 1 and ending at 10:00 p.m. EST on June 11th. The eBay number is 134432368821.
"We are extremely pleased and grateful that Nicola Bulgari has chosen to donate this special car to The Elegance at Hershey to help raise funds for our beneficiaries," noted Mark Lizewskie, a member of the Elegance at Hershey Board. "This is a special car, from a very special person and no doubt will be successfully bid by another special collector," he said.
Bulgari originally intended to export the Camaro to his Rome, Italy residence to run down European exotics on the Autostrada, according to Lizewskie. Powered by a L36 3.8 liter V6 engine, it is mated to the MM5 5-speed manual transmission. The car includes such factory options as a power 6-way driver's seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and Ebony leather interior, remote keyless entry, body color body side moldings, rear window defogger, rear performance axle w/ 3.23 ratio, traction control, Monsoon premium speaker & sound system with a 12-disc CD changer, and sales package RS dual labels.
That is where the factory package ends. The Bright Red exterior was custom-ordered by Bulgari in a monochromatic scheme, with red roof and mirrors to match and the factory stripe deleted. The instrumentation is metric due to its original ENEuropean intentions. The car has covered only 955 kilometers (593 miles) since leaving the factory.
"Due to his close ties with General Motors, when Mr. Bulgari orders a vehicle, it is treated with the utmost importance and attention to detail," Lizewskie explained. "For example, when assembly is completed, his cars are pulled from the assembly line and put through rigorous testing on GM's Milford Proving Grounds Test Track, as evidenced by the windshield sticker still affixed to the car," he noted.
After all tests are completed, Bulgari's cars are then brought back to the factory, disassembled and inspected to ensure the vehicle is perfect in every detail. Factory sticker price on the car was $23,446.01 with the sticker and all original paperwork remaining with the vehicle today. As it left the factory, however, work on the car was far from complete.
The Bulgari Camaro RS was then sent to SLP Engineering of Toms River, NJ for multiple performance and appearance upgrades including 17" x 9" ZR1 style wheels shod with B.F. Goodrich g-force 275/40ZR tires and the Rally Sport suspension package for a total added cost of $2514. After their modifications were completed, SLP Performance engineers Reg Harris and Ed Hamburger signed under the hood to identify their work.
Taking delivery of the car on October 15, 2001 through Bennett Chevrolet of Allentown, PA, Mr. Bulgari kept the car for a time in his private collection of prized American-built cars. Plans to export the car to Italy changed, and in 2007 the car was sent to Lingenfelter Performance Engineering of Decatur, Indiana for even more upgrades. Some $12,062 later, the car emerged wearing Baer 4-wheel drilled and ventilated disc brakes, a throaty Corsa exhaust, heavy duty front and rear sway bars with adjustable coil-over suspension and cold-air package. The car was then fully dyno-tested and calibrated to gain the utmost power while still keeping its 50-state emissions package. Total final price tag: $38,022.01.
Mr. Bulgari has generously donated this better-than-showroom vehicle to The Elegance at Hershey to be sold for charitable purposes. The car comes with full paperwork, including factory build sheets and original invoices from SLP and Lingenfelter.
The 2002 Bulgari Camaro RS will be on display at The Elegance at Hershey events June 8-10 at The Hotel Hershey. For more information and advance tickets go towww.theeleganceathershey.com.
The four-car contingent of Kalitta Motorsports featuring the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster driven by David Grubnic, the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta, the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Jeff Arend, and the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Alexis DeJoria will be in high-speed NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series action again this weekend, June 1-3, at the famed Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J.
Native Australian Grubnic, a 49-year old resident of Bozeman, Mont., won the title trophy in the world’s quickest and fastest racing class at the previous event in Topeka, Kan. two weeks ago. He’s an 18-year Top Fuel veteran and earned his first career Top Fuel victory in Topeka in 2005, becoming the first racer born outside North America to win an NHRA Top Fuel event. He has three wins in his career with 16 final-round appearances.
Grubnic, known affectionately by fans as “Grubby”, is currently in eighth place in Full Throttle Top Fuel championship points. He qualified in the No. 12 slot for eliminations in “E-Town” last year. He was defeated in the opening round in a close race with Antron Brown in 2011.
Kalitta, a 47-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a two-time Toyota NHRA SuperNationals Top Fuel champion (2003, 2000). He has amassed 32 NHRA Top Fuel title trophies in 64 final-round appearances. He has finished in the top ten in Full Throttle championship points in every season of his 15-year straight-line career. He was the 1994 USAC National Sprint Car champion.
Kalitta has raced to four semi-final appearances in 2012, including back-to-back semis at the previous two events in Topeka and Atlanta. He posted a quarter-final finish in last year’s eliminations in Englishtown after qualifying in the No. 11 spot. He is currently in the No. 6 position in Full Throttle Top Fuel points.
Native Canadian Arend, a 49-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., has posted three wins in eight final-round appearances in his 18-year Funny Car career. He took over the controls of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in 2008 after the tragic death of Scott Kalitta in a racing accident in June of that year in Englishtown.
Arend and the DHL “Yella Fellas” have reached two semifinals so far in 2012 (Atlanta and Houston). They are currently in 10th place in Full Throttle Funny Car championship points. Arend qualified the yellow and black DHL hot rod in the No. 7 spot for 2011’s Funny Car eliminations in Englishtown. He was defeated by eventual event champion Mike Neff in the Funny Car opener.
The newest addition to the Kalitta Motorsports nitro-fueled racing stable, the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Rookie of the Year contender Alexis DeJoria, will also be competing this weekend at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals. With 2011 Top Fuel World Champion Del Worsham at the helm of the Tequila Patrón flopper as crew chief, “Team Green” is currently in 14th place in Full Throttle Funny Car points.
Pro Stock driver Rodger Brogdon is a little between a rock and a hard place heading into this weekend's 43rd annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Brogdon is in a loop where his MAVTV Pontiac GXP needs some work to get it up to speed, which requires lots of testing. However, testing the Pontiac doesn't make a lot of sense because Brogdon will soon take delivery of his new Chevy Camaro, and the Camaro will require some work of its own to shake out the new-car bugs.
Either way, Brogdon knows he can't afford to give up too many points with an underperforming car, as he's currently eighth in the K&N Horsepower Challenge rankings and ninth in Pro Stock points.
"We're struggling with what we've got," Brogdon said. "And we'll need to run the Camaro some because we don't want to go out there and do any worse. We're going to make sure to run it a bunch before we bring it out to the races. Right at the moment, we've got ourselves in a bit of a spot."
Brogdon said the MAVTV team skipped testing after the last race in Topeka, Kan., because engineers from Penske helped a lot on the Pontiac's shock package and the engine builders at Cagnazzi Racing were working diligently to get more horsepower out of their motors. He feels those gains could be enough to show improvement on the track.
"I didn't have much time this week because I have business here at home to run, and we're prepping to get that Camaro next week so the shop is gearing up for that," Brogdon said. "The guys at the (Cagnazzi Racing's) engine shop are working to get us more power and the Penske guys got us 80 percent under control. We're definitely a lot closer now than we were three races ago.
"If we run good this weekend, we should qualify in the top half and go from there."
It's been a year since rising Pro Mod star Leah Pruett first pulled on a helmet in NHRA competition at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals, which returns to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park this weekend for the 43rd time.
And what a year it's been.
Although she's contested just eight national events in the NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by ProCare Rx, Pruett has proven herself to be one of the top contenders in the class. She's won two times in three final-round appearances and has an impressive 16-5 race day record. In a sport where anything better than a .500 winning percentage is considered good, Pruett is off to an extremely successful start.
This year, Pruett is No. 4 in the rankings after the first three races with a runner-up and semifinal finish to her credit. Yet her inner drive tells her there's room to improve.
"I haven't been 100-percent happy with my driving this season so we took the five weeks off between the last race and Englishtown and went testing at Commerce (Ga.), which is just up the highway from the shop," Pruett said. "It was a great session and I really feel like I'm back on my game.
"The guys switched some things around in the cockpit and I was super consistent on the Tree. That really pumps me up. We worked on some things with the car as well so I feel like we're as prepared as we can be heading into this event."
Last year's Pro Mod assault on Old Bridge Township Raceway Park was a record-breaking one, with top qualifier Melanie Troxel, Pruett's former teammate, posting a double-world-record pass of 5.772 at 258.71 mph with basically the same equipment Pruett is using now. However, Pruett said fans shouldn't expect the same display of unbridled horsepower this time through.
"That was 125 pounds ago," she said, referring to the extra weight NHRA officials added to turbocharged entries since last year's Supernationals. "It's still one of the quickest tracks we race at and if the weather is cool like it was last year, we can go really fast, but I don't think we'll be close to the records.
"The main thing is to keep our ProCare Rx Mustang at the top of the charts every round. We have a lot of ProCare Rx employees and clients coming out and we want to show off for them. I love when our pits are full of people and we're all having fun. The best way to do that is to run well, so that's what we plan to do."
Current plans call for team owner Roger Burgess to drive the other ProCare Rx entry at this event. Burgess has missed the last two races due to other commitments. Crew chief Brad Brand filled in for Burgess and recorded a semifinal and a quarterfinal finish.
Pruett, Burgess and the rest of the Pro Mod competitors will be signing autographs and meeting with fans at 1 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday in front of the Pro Mod Series souvenir trailer on the Merchandise Midway.
Pro Mod qualifying begins with two sessions at 3:15 and 5:30 p.m. Friday, followed by a final qualifying round at 1:45 p.m. Saturday. The first round of eliminations is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Saturday and will resume with the quarterfinals at 12:15 p.m. Sunday.
ROWE READY TO DEFEND ENGLISHTOWN VICTORY AND TURNING FOCUS TO FIRST PRO MOD SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Danny Rowe enters this weekend’s Toyota NHRA SuperNationals riding a wave of momentum. The Laguna Hills, Calif., native is coming off his first win of the season, is the current NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx points leader and the defending race winner at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
At the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in April, Rowe powered his Sterling Bridge ’67 Camaro to victory over Kenny Lang in the final round. This was the third career victory for Rowe and jump starts the beginning of the season for he and his team.
“Any time you get a win it puts confidence in the whole team,” Rowe said. “It also gives you an appreciation for all the hard work and dedication that my team has shown me, all of them: Jimmy, Junior, Karen, Darryl, Chop, Michael, and Donnie.”
In the first three races of the 2012 season, two different drivers have been No. 1 qualifiers and there have been three different winners. Rowe knows the field is wide open and success isn’t a guarantee each weekend.
“The NHRA Pro Mod Series has been crazy; every car that shows up has a shot at winning the race,” Rowe said. “You never know what is going to happen. The quality of the teams that are participating is world class. It seems every year different combinations have a little advantage. Last year it was the turbos; this year the nitrous cars have picked up and we are a little behind them. All we can do is keep working hard and try to stay competitive.”
Rowe has raced in the series since its inception in 2010 and in each of the two years he has finished just outside of the No. 1 position, including 31 points behind the champion last year. He enters the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals as the points leader by the narrowest of margins, one point, and the focus of the team is to continue racing each round as hard as they can.
“Every year we go out there with the goal of winning a championship, and this year is no different,” Rowe said. “We are dedicated to do whatever we can for us to make that happen.”
Ricke Smith, Leah Pruett, Jay Payne and 2010 Englishtown event winner Von Smith will all take to the track in their nearly high-horsepower Pro Mod machines that are some of the most exciting racecars on the planet.
Featuring the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars with an extremely diverse collection of vehicles, including ’63 Corvettes, ’68 Camaros, ’67 Mustangs, ’68 Firebirds, as well as late model cars, the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast.
• SCHEDULE: NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on June 1 and at 1:45 p.m. on June 2. The first round of Pro Mod eliminations begins on June 2 at 4:15 p.m. Pro Mod eliminations continue on June 3.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Martyn L. Schorr gained a lifetime achievement award for his service at a number of automakers, including GM's Buick division, and as a magazine editor and owner of Performance Media Public Relations (PMPR).
"Twenty Five years ago, Marty Schorr, then representing Buick Motor Division, was instrumental in the formation of NEMPA, http://www.nempa.org/, the Boston, MA based New England Motor Press Association," said John Lawlor, NEMPA Founding Member and a regular on CAR TALK , National Public Radio's top rated show. "And that's why the organization is honoring him tonight, an event that's been 25 years in the making.
"Marty Schorr is the recipient of the 2012 Charlie Dole High Road Award, named for the Christian Science Monitor's Automotive Editor (1960s-1980s)," said Keith Griffin, NEMPA President. "Charlie was a consummate gentleman and mentor who truly never said a negative word about anyone, always finding the good. Marty Schorr is a most deserving recipient of the 2012 High Road Award."
The award was presented on Friday evening, May 11 2012, at a dinner at MIT's Sloan School of Management Faculty Club, Cambridge, MA. Hosted by Wayne Carini of Chasing Classic Cars (Discovery Velocity Channel), the annual event also celebrated NEMPA's quarter-century as a professional association comprised of automotive journalists, public relations specialists and industry executives.
An author and automotive media relations & marketing communications consultant, Marty Schorr lives with his wife, Sharon, in Sarasota, Florida.
FORMER FULL THROTTLE SERIES WORLD CHAMPS READY TO MAKE A MOVE AT REGULAR SEASON MIDPOINT AS COUNTDOWN PLAYOFFS LOOM
The first half of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series regular season has presented several prominent winning streaks, record-breaking performances, the end of a winless skid and a first time winner. It has also offered its share of slumps, high-profile droughts and bad breaks.
While Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the regular season mid-point series leaders and have been producing incredible results all season, four former NHRA Full Throttle Series world champs come to the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals, May 31-June 3 at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park looking to change recent trends in their programs as the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship looms in the distance.
Seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher is second in points, but is hoping to put an end to a 32-race drought from the winner’s circle. Defending Funny Car world champ Matt Hagan is mired in a slump and is currently 13th in the points standings. Four-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin is also trying to find his way into the top 10 before the Countdown begins. In Pro Stock Motorcycle, 2010 world champ LE Tonglet sits 10th overall, but needs to press forward if he’s going to make the playoffs.
Much has been made about Schumacher’s slump in Top Fuel. He has advanced to 11 final rounds since his last win came in Oct. 2010 in Las Vegas. During that span he’s even led the points standings a few times. However, he desperately wants to end this stall and add more Wally trophies to his category-leading win total of 67 victories. As strong as his U.S. Army dragster has been running lately, Schumacher feels the time is now. He’s a past winner at Raceway Park, and feels this could finally be his week to end the drought and start a winning streak as the circuit rolls toward the playoffs.
“Even though we have yet to win a race, we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Schumacher said. “At each event, we seem to get that much better and that’s what counts. We’ve been the points leader a couple of times, already, which is nice. As long as we remain in serious contention over the next nine races, we’ll be positioned where we need to be when the six-race Countdown to the Championship rolls around. Of course, that’s when you want to be running at your best. I would give up winning now in favor of winning six straight races in the playoffs and capturing another world championship.”
Meanwhile, in Funny Car, 2011 world champ Hagan has found defending his title to be somewhat of a tough chore. The Virginia cattle rancher has posted five first round losses and one DNQ. His best finishes have been two quarterfinal exits. He’s qualified in the top five only one time. Despite the slow start, Hagan feels confident that with crew chief Tommy DeLago calling the shots, his Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger will roar to life at Englishtown. Cool conditions during Friday’s evening qualifying session could allow the team to better its national record time of 3.995 seconds which they set last September in Charlotte, N.C.
“It’s going to happen and it could be this weekend,” said Hagan. “We are the same team we were when we won two races at the end of last season and won the championship. Our first goal now is to move into the top-10 in points before the last six events so we can defend our title.”
After sitting out a year, Coughlin returned to action full time this season and started off with a runner-up finish at the Winternationals. Since then his JEGS Dodge Avenger has reeled off four first round losses and two uncharacteristic DNQs. Coughlin hopes a strong performance at Raceway Park, where he’s won three times in five career finals, will get his team back on track and help improve upon his 13th place points position.
“We feel like we’re building momentum,” Coughlin said. “Every motor we build at JNR comes out a little bit better than the last one and the guys on the crew are making the right adjustments on the chassis. We’re pecking away at it. Just like in a golf tournament, our first big goal this year is to make the cut for the Countdown playoffs. We have nine races left to earn a spot and we’re focused on that goal. Englishtown would be a great place to take a big step forward. We’ve won there before, the fans are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate in the sport and the facility hold legendary status for drag racers. It’s one of our majors. We’re not holding anything back.”
The first three races of the 16-event Pro Stock Motorcycle season have gone to the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson tandem of defending world champ and points leader Eddie Krawiec and three-time world champ Andrew Hines. Krawiec, an Englishtown native, has two wins, while Hines has one. Tonglet, who comes to Englishtown with renewed sponsorship support from local resident and former NHRA driver Kenny Koretsky through his Nitro Fish brand, is eager to recapture the magic he had during his 2010 world championship run. Tonglet knows he got hot at the right time during his 2010 title run on his family-owned Suzuki and he feels he can do the same this season.
“We go in there in 10th place and we want to make sure we get into the Countdown to the Championship in a few months,” Tonglet said. “We have been working on a few things . . . trying to squeeze out every one-thousandth of a second we can on each run.”
SCHEDULE: Full Throttle Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on Friday, June 1, and noon and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 3.
TICKETS: Tickets are still available for the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals. For tickets, please call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800 or visit www.RacewayPark.com
ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 90 minutes of qualifying coverage at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, June 2. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours and 30 minutes of eliminations coverage at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 3.
LUCAS OIL SERIES: The Toyota NHRA SuperNationals also will feature competition in seven categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 8 a.m. on May 31. Lucas Oil Series eliminations begin at 8 a.m. on June 1 and continue through June 3.
NHRA PRO MOD SERIES PRESENTED BY PROCARE RX: NHRA’s popular Pro Mod touring series will make its fourth start of the 10-race 2012 season at the Toyota NHRA SuperNationals. The series features some of the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars, with an eclectic mix of vintage and late-model body styles, in quarter-mile competition. Two of three scheduled rounds of qualifying will be held on Friday, June 1 at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. The final round of qualifying is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 2. The first round of eliminations is scheduled for Saturday, June 2 at 1:30 p.m. Eliminations will continue on Sunday, June 3.
ON THE WEB: Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com. Visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
The path to playoff contention in NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series is littered with broken parts and broken hearts. Only the top 10 professional drivers in each class after 17 races advance to the Countdown to 1.
Steve Torrence’s first-year team is doing its best to clinch a position in the top five as the series moves to legendary straight-line track Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., for the 43rd annual Toyota SuperNationals, Friday through Sunday.
He has been one of the most consistent dragster drivers in the last six races with a team that has competed in only 11 races, including three last year. He claimed his first Top Fuel victory May 6 at Atlanta. He was the low qualifier at Charlotte as well and has been the second qualifier at the last three events. In series scoring, he is a solid fifth with 527 points.
“We are excited about going to Englishtown,” said Torrence. “It is always one of the biggest races of the season. The track has a long history in the sport and there are a lot of great drag racing fans.
“We had a motor problem in the last race at Topeka that knocked us out in the second round against David Grubnic. After the guys inspected it, they said it was a parts failure . . . and we know what caused it. We were running well before that happened and I don’t think that should hinder us any this weekend.
“We were happy to see Grubnic go on and win the race. He hadn’t won in a long time.”
“Our plan this weekend is still the same,” concluded Torrence. “We want to be as consistent as we have been, stay in contention and get more round wins.”
This weeks Hot Rod Magazine Live is a special broadcast from IMS for the 96th running of the Indy 500. In celebrating the 101st running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" Dennis welcomes guests that range from the crew at Firestone motorsports to Ed Justice Jr., Greg Damon, and NHRA World Champion Larry Dixon.
It’s been nearly two years since NHRA driver Alexis DeJoria’s infamous crash at the Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ, when she went barreling through the sand pits and safety nets after her brakes failed and her parachutes ripped off the back of her Top Alcohol Funny Car. Although understandably shaken up by the incident, the tough-as-nails Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car driver hasn’t let fear keep her from fulfilling her dreams of racing professionally in a Nitro-fueled Funny Car.
Of returning to Englishtown, DeJoria said, “Obviously it’s an intense race and there are a lot of emotions flowing. It’s a tough weekend for a lot of people. We’ve seen so much sadness there, and I feel so grateful and blessed that I’m able to return to that track when others weren’t so fortunate,” she said, referring to the tragic deaths of Neal Parker and Scott Kalitta, son of legendary Top Fuel and Funny Car racer, and owner of Kalitta Motorsports, Connie Kalitta.
DeJoria’s violent crash is what initially sparked the relationship between her and the Kalitta family, which eventually led to her joining their team. “This weekend is especially emotional for me, but in a good way. It will be not only my first time visiting the track as a Nitro Funny Car driver, but also as a member of the Kalitta Motorsports team, so it’s almost like I’ve come full circle. We’ve all been through a lot there, but I’m excited and honored to come back as part of such a wonderful organization.”
Historically, Englishtown has been a good track for DeJoria. “I’ve always done well there, and believe it or not, it’s my absolute favorite track. Even when I had my crash, I was running my ‘career best’ at the time, so I’m hoping we can run some good numbers this weekend, and go a few rounds on race day,” she said, adding, “I just want to stay very focused on doing my job and not get too wrapped up in the emotional side of it.”
Bob Tasca Sr.’s Legacy No Mystery in Tasca Family, Ford; Grandson Unveils Tribute Paint Scheme for Englishtown
· Bob Tasca III and Motorcraft and Quick Lane Racing will honor his grandfather, the late Bob Tasca Sr., with a special paint scheme at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
· The Mystery 4 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang Funny Car brings back the legendary “Mystery” series Bob Sr. campaigned in the early days of NHRA Drag Racing.
The late Bob Tasca Sr.’s story began in the eighth grade, when he decided to be a Ford dealer.
He wrote about it in a class assignment. Really, that first assertion showed the personality that was already evolving the boy to a man whose discipline and self-awareness would yield a very simple business plan: To satisfy each customer, no matter what. That plan would make him a very successful Ford dealer indeed.
It didn’t take long for that dream of an eighth-grader to begin. At 16, Bob Sr. started his first job at a Ford dealership. Eleven years later, he opened his own – Tasca Ford. At 27, Bob Sr. was a Ford dealer.
Bob Sr. died in January 2010 with no regrets. The man who made his decisions based on three questions (Would he be happy? Would he be healthy? Would he be doing something he wanted to do?) would die a legend at Ford Motor Company with a sprawling, successful family that cherished him and a legacy that stretched from the dealership floor to the world’s fastest motorsport, NHRA Full Throttle Series Drag Racing.
This weekend at the NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, his grandson Bob Tasca III and Motorcraft and Quick Lane Racing will honor Bob Sr. with a special paint scheme. Called the Mystery 4 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang, the design brings back the iconic “Mystery” series campaigned by Bob Sr. in the early days of drag racing.
Bob Sr., who first raced a “Mystery 9,” said it was mystery how quick his cars would run. Every time his car broke a second barrier, he’d lower the number. He breezed through Mystery 9-8-7. Years later, Bob III put Mystery 5 on his Top Alcohol Funny Car. Someday, he says, he’ll run Mystery 3 when he breaks the four-second barrier in his nitromethane-burning Motorcraft/Quick Lane Funny Car.
Through his own ingenuity and straight-talking leadership style, Bob Sr. influenced decisions made at Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., even convincing it to become involved in drag racing on an organized, strategic level. He developed the Cobra Jet engine. And even though the list of his contributions on both sides of the “Race on Sunday, Sell on Monday” equation is long (Bob Sr. came up with that famous phrase for starters), his proudest accomplishment was his family.
Bob Sr.’s wife Josephine brought him religion - she kept a Blessed Lady statue in the foyer he’d rub on the head at night. He gave her the family she’d bring to the family dealership for dinners on Sunday. Josephine would cover a parts bench with a tablecloth and gather the family around it.
Years away from fulltime jobs but old enough to pick up parts and wash rags, the children, then aged four to seven, emulated their father as soon as they could walk.
“(Josephine) would say to me over the years, ‘You’re working them too hard. They’re going to quit,’” Bob Sr. said. “(I would say) If they’re going to quit, they’re going to quit smarter than when they came. They never quit.”
The two met on a Tuesday night, when she was making her weekly church visit with friends. She saw a 1939 Ford with “shocking” purple lights pass by a few times. Bob Sr. eventually stopped and Josephine talked first to his friend. Eventually, they married.
Now almost every descendent of the two work in the family’s Ford business, carrying on the award-winning salesmanship and service Bob Sr. began when he opened his first dealership.
“I am so proud that every Tasca is interested in the car business, and they’re not interested in it because I pay them to be interested in it,” Bob Sr. said in a family video before he died. “They’re interested in it because they love it. That’s why they work so hard.”
Bob Sr. had one more piece of advice for his family.
“If you’re healthy and happy, you’re going to be successful,” Bob Sr. said. “If all you work for is a check at the end of the week, you’re not going to be successful.”
His grandson, as passionate about NHRA Drag Racing as Bob Sr., will work toward success in Englishtown.
“I was blessed to have had my grandfather in my life for as long as I had,” Bob III said. “He taught me so much about business, but he taught me more about life. For me to have been able to be part of the family dealership for many years while he was alive, and then to bring the Tasca family back into drag racing and for him to see me get my first win in both my Alcohol Funny Car and my Funny Car, those are moments I’ll never forget.
“Before he died, he was asked if he’d do anything different. He said no - there’s nothing left for me to do but to watch my family continue and to build on what I started. I can do that here or I can do that in heaven.
“I think about that every time I get in the car. He’s looking down on me. I’m just honored to have the opportunity to be able to race this car this weekend in memory and respect for all my grandfather has done for our family and all the Ford racers around the globe.”