Friday, June 29, 2012


Shelby Performance Parts, a division of Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc., (CSBI.PK) has introduced several new parts to add style and performance to the 2007-2012 Shelby GT500, 2011-2012 Shelby GT350, and the 2005-2013 Mustang and 5.0 Mustang.  The fresh product group features a new Shelby Track Pack suspension system that will dramatically increase every aspect of handling performance for 2005-2012 Shelby or Mustang chassis.  The lineup also includes Shelby GT500 Shift Knobs, Shelby GT500 Super Snake Shift Knobs,  Shelby GT350 Engine Coil Covers and Shelby 5.0L Engine Coil Covers.

“Shelby Performance Parts enables current model Mustang or Shelby owners to customize their ride for great looks as well as high performance,” said John Luft, president of Shelby American.  “The parts group offers pieces engineered and designed to put our customers car lengths ahead of the pack.”

The Shelby Track Pack system is designed to balance the weight of the car from the Mustang V6 up to the mighty Shelby GT500.  The full coil-over conversion kit features single adjustable custom valve inserts for the front and rear, and specific spring rates that can be easily customized to suit different driving styles.  The full track pack includes rear control arm systems, rear coil-over shocks, front struts with integrated caster camber plates, as well as a trick watts link that incorporates a new higher capacity differential cover, and all the linkage and brackets needed for installation.

“The 2005 Mustang featured dramatic improvements in chassis rigidity and handling performance over previous generation cars” added Robert Lane, director of Shelby Performance Parts.  “However, it is still a uni-body with considerable body roll when flying through the corners.  Our brand new Shelby Track Pack is a complete suspension make-over that will give customers impeccable handling performance.”

To complete the Shelby look on the interior, Shelby Performance Parts offers these brand new Shelby GT500 Shift Knobs in a multitude of color and stripe options.  These high-quality shift knobs are made from resin, not painted, and sport the famous Le Mans racing stripe as well as the legendary Cobra Snake logo on each side facing straight ahead.

If you have a Super Snake sitting in the driveway Shelby Performance Parts has you covered as well with the Shelby GT500 Super Snake Shift Knobs.  These knobs are also available in several colors and all feature the triple Super Snake stripe in black, with the Super Snake Cobra logo on both sides facing forward.

The Shelby GT350 Engine Coil Covers and Shelby 5.0L Engine Coil Covers will bring some shine to your engine bay by replacing the stock plastic coil covers with these high quality steel covers.  The covers are chrome plated then have the logo masked and powder coated in either a red, blue, or black wrinkle finish.  After the masking is removed, the logo shines in the bright chrome finish.  The GT350 coil cover has “GT350 Powered by Shelby” proudly across its face and the 5.0L coil cover has the famous Shelby race track logo.  Both sets of coil covers come with gaskets already installed for a quick and easy installation.

All of the new parts available at or by calling (702) 405-3500.


With the Harley-Davidson Museum® in downtown Milwaukee as a backdrop, hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts in the audience, and the Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines Pro Stock Motorcycle team in attendance, NHRA officials announced today that the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has extended both its official program with NHRA and its title sponsorship of the NHRA Harley-Davidson Sportsman Motorcycle Series through the 2016 season.

“This relationship began in 2006 and this extension represents the strength of the partnership between two iconic American brands: NHRA and Harley-Davidson,” said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. “We are excited to extend this sponsorship through the 2016 season and appreciate everything the Harley-Davidson Motor Company has done and will continue to do to build and grow NHRA.”

The Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Pro Stock Motorcycle team first entered NHRA competition aboard Harley-Davidson V-Rod® in 2004, and has since claimed five NHRA Full Throttle world championships, including three consecutive with rider Andrew Hines (2004-’06) and two titles with Eddie Krawiec (2008, 2011).

“This relationship between Harley-Davidson and the NHRA has been rewarding at all levels,” said Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Kris Schoonover, “from the team’s success on the track to our interaction with the many Harley-Davidson riders and fans who attend every NHRA event, Harley-Davidson and drag racing really work well together, and the company is pleased to extend this partnership.”

This extension continues the all-encompassing involvement of Harley-Davidson with NHRA at a number of levels, including the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. As the official motorcycle of NHRA, Harley-Davidson has an extensive presence on-site at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events as well as in the ESPN2/ESPN2HD broadcasts.

One of the more popular elements on-site at each event in NHRA’s Nitro Alley is the Harley-Davidson display, which provides fans with the opportunity to see the latest Harley-Davidson motorcycles and enjoy many interactive elements. The company also will continue its motorcycle giveaway promotion in conjunction with NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events and maintain entitlement of the NHRA Harley-Davidson Sportsman Motorcycle Series.

The NHRA Harley-Davidson Sportsman Motorcycle Series is contested in four of NHRA’s seven divisions within the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. The sponsorship provides Harley-Davidson with the opportunity to extend its brand across the country through NHRA’s sportsman racing community.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise.  For more information,

Team Kalitta Racing A Hot Streak To Chicago

After posting two runner-up finishes in the two quickest and fastest racing classes on Earth at the previous NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event in Bristol, Tenn. two weeks ago, the four-car nitro-fueled contingent of Kalitta Motorsports returns to action this weekend, June 28-July 1, at Route 66 Raceway for the annual running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill., just a few miles southwest of downtown Chicago.

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster, and Rookie of the Year contender Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, both raced to their respective first final round appearances of the 2012 season in Bristol. Along with David Grubnic, driver of the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster, and Jeff Arend, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Kalitta and DeJoria hope to continue to build on Team Kalitta’s momentum this weekend at a venue that has treated the team well over the years.

Reaching both the Top Fuel and Funny Car final at the same event has happened only twice so far in the legendary history of Kalitta Motorsports, helmed by drag racing icon and pioneer Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. Before Bristol, the only other occurrence of this feat happened at last year’s running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals with Grubnic and Arend making the “money round”.

Kalitta, a 47-year old resident of Ann Arbor, Mich., is a three-time O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals Top Fuel champion (2006, 2004 and 2002). He has amassed 32 NHRA Top Fuel title trophies in 65 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 also raced to four semi-final appearances in 2012, including back-to-back semis in Topeka, Kan. and Atlanta. He is currently in the No. 6 position in Full Throttle Top Fuel championship points.

Native Australian Grubnic, a 49-year old resident of Bozeman, Mont., is 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 in 16 final-round appearances.

Grubnic has one win so far in 2012 (Topeka) and is in ninth place 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.

Arend posted the best championship points finish of his career last year by finishing in eighth place in Full Throttle Funny Car points. He also earned a berth in the ultra-exclusive NHRA “playoffs”, the Countdown to the Championship, for the first time.

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.

The newest addition to the Kalitta Motorsports nitro-fueled racing stable is the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by DeJoria. With 2011 Top Fuel World Champion Del Worsham (who defeated Grubnic in last season’s Chicago final round) at the helm of the Tequila Patrón flopper as crew chief, “Team Green” is currently in 13th place in Full Throttle Funny Car points, only 61 points away from the top ten.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

HRML PODCAST UPDATE: June 23rd Broadcast with Alex Xydias

Hot Rod Magazine Live this week is a very special broadcast and Dennis was joined by a very special guest Alex Xydias and get a chance to talk to a living legend about the 50 plus years of So-Cal Speed Shop history. Then Dennis shared his take on spending a week with the 2012 Cadillac SRX. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

Anderson Aims to Stay on Good Terms with Route 66 Raceway

For most of his career, Greg Anderson was not really a fan of Route 66 Raceway, site of this weekend’s Route 66 NHRA Nationals.  His displeasure had nothing to do with the actual facility, which is considered one of the nicest on the Full Throttle Drag Racing circuit.  Instead, it was the fact that it was the only track on tour where the four-time champion had yet to reach the winner’s circle which fueled his concern.

However, that all changed one year ago, when the Summit Racing Camaro driver powered from the No.1 position and broke his Route 66 drought, defeating Erica Enders on a hole shot in the final.  Returning to Joliet this weekend for the first time as the defending event champion, he looks forward to staying on good terms with the Illinois quarter-mile.

“For so many years I went to Route 66 Raceway thinking there had to be something in the water that just wouldn’t allow me to win,” said Anderson.  “It’s a race track with a very good surface and typically good air, so the cars run fast, which normally plays into the Summit Racing team’s hand.  I liked the track and the city and ran well there, but just couldn’t seem to win a race.  It was almost as if we had a love/hate relationship.

“Fortunately, that all changed last year, and I was finally able to add it to the list of tracks where I had won, so I’m going back this weekend with a positive attitude, our heads held high as the defending champions.  Now that we’ve finally broken through, there’s no reason we can’t keep digging and make it multiple wins.”

Ironically, Anderson’s biggest challenge this weekend will most likely come from matching his race car to the conditions and the track.  This will be only the third race for the KB Racing team with their new Camaro, and although admitting they are still coming to terms with the exact boundaries of their new mount’s performance envelope, he believes the progress they have made in recent weeks will allow them to contend for the win in Joliet.

“Although we are still early in the learning process with our Summit Racing Camaro, we did have the chance to get back on the racetrack after the last race in Bristol, spending a day last week testing,” said Anderson.  “Every pass we make gives us more information about what this car needs to run, and we feel we have learned quite a few things about it.  I believe we are going to have a better product than we did at the last race, which to us means we’re going to have a chance to win the event. 

“The forecast is calling for it to be hot this weekend, which will certainly be a challenge, but the conditions will be the same for everyone, so it will be up to us to execute better than our competition. Fortunately, that is something this KB Racing team is fully capable of doing, so we can successfully defend our Route 66 Nationals title.”

Greg Anderson & the Summit Racing Camaro crew
By the Numbers – Route 66 Raceway edition:
1 - Route 66 Raceway wins by Anderson, which happened one year ago.
4 – Final round appearances by Anderson in Joliet.
5 - No. 1 qualifying performances by Anderson at Route 66 Raceway.
5.31 – Average starting position for Greg in his previous 16 Joliet starts.
6.586 – Route 66 Raceway Pro Stock Elapsed Time Record, set by Anderson last year.
9 – Times Anderson has qualified in the top three positions in his previous 16 Route 66 starts.
24 – Elimination round wins by Greg in his previous 16 Joliet starts, versus 15 losses for a .615 win percentage.


  • Shelby American facelifts its celebrated GT350 for 2013 MY
  • New exciting colors and styling changes to distinguish 2013 GT350 year of production
  • Shelby American limits production to only 350 for 2013 MY  

LAS VEGAS – June 28, 2012 – Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK), has announced the changes for its limited edition 2013 Shelby GT350.  New color options, visual styling cues and optional performance upgrades will distinguish the third model year of Shelby GT350 production from previous model year cars.  The 2013 Shelby GT350 will be available as either a coupe or convertible in the entire color palette offered by Ford Motor Company on the Mustang. 

“The Shelby GT350 is one of the world’s most celebrated and iconic modern muscle cars,” said John Luft, president of Shelby American.  “For the third model year of the contemporary Shelby GT350, we’ve further refined the car with   options and equipment requested by enthusiasts.  The Shelby American team is following Carroll Shelby’s playbook to continue building high performance cars and parts designed to keep our customers at the front of the fast lane.”

For the first (2011) model year Shelby GT350, the coupes were clad in white with blue stripes, just as Shelby American did with the initial car in 1965.  In 2012, three more colors (red, blue and anniversary black/gold), as well as a convertible option were offered; this is similar to the options offered by Shelby American in 1966.

For the 2013 model year, Shelby American again matches tradition with expanded color options, equipment choices and styling changes, while performance improvements remain intact. The GT350 will be available in all of Ford’s standard colors offered on the Mustang: Grabber Blue, Sterling Gray Metallic, “Gotta Have It” Green, Candy Red Tint Coat Metallic, Ingot Silver Metallic, “Deep Impact” Blue Metallic (replaces Kona Blue Metallic), Race Red, Performance White and Black.  Customers can choose between Satin Black or Gloss White stripes (a first since 1970) or Azure Blue Metallic on Performance White and Ingot Silver Metallic vehicles to be paired with new wheels in Satin Black or Bright Silver Metallic.  Other styling cues for 2013 include a glass roof option, Recaro Seats and a modified custom rear valance. 

“The Shelby GT350’s rich history is well-documented,” added Shelby American Vice President of Production Gary Davis.  “People who value that heritage asked us to repeat Shelby history with new options this year.  We did that and stayed true to our commitment for performance with a no-comprise car that honors Carroll Shelby and our past.”

The Shelby GT350 is a post-title program based on the Ford Mustang GT.  The 2013 Shelby GT350 performance specs will be continued from the 2012 model year.  Customers can choose a 430 HP normally aspirated, and either a Ford Racing supercharged 525 HP or 624 HP version. An automatic transmission is optional with the normally aspirated engine, while a short throw shifter is standard for the manual on any of the models. For 2013, options include a one piece drive shaft, more powerful brakes, cooling enhancements, interior upgrades and a color coordinated billet aluminum engine cap set.  A new cold air package for the normally aspirated engine will be available to boost the GT350’s output to about 450 horsepower.

The 2013 Shelby GT350 post-title package starts at $26,995.00 (normally aspirated) and $33,995.00 (supercharged), not including the base car.  Only 350 of the cars will be built, all at the Shelby American factory in Las Vegas.   2012 GT350’s are still available with great incentive’s being offered for the base vehicle by Ford.  Build Your Dream Shelby at Customers interested in a Shelby GT350 can also contact the Shelby American sales department at (702) 942-7325 or go to

LE Tonglet hopes new motor brings good results at Route 66 Raceway

There’s a new motor in LE Tonglet’s Nitro Fish/Tonglet Racing Suzuki GSXR Pro Stock Motorcycle as the team prepares for a run at a third consecutive victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals this weekend at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

The new power plant became a necessity when the primary engine expired with a bang in Tonglet’s last race at Englishtown, N.J. 

“Route 66 Raceway has been very good to us for the last two years and you know we’ll give it our best shot to get that third win a row there,” said Tonglet.  “We’d like to bounce back from a slow start this year.  The new motor is fast and we should be running better than we did at Englishtown.”

The mechanical failure came in the semifinals earlier this month and the 2010 series champion was able to move into eighth place in Full Throttle series standings. 

Tonglet put his name into the archives with last year’s victory at Route 66 Raceway.  He failed to qualify at the previous event in Norwalk, Ohio, when rain shortened qualifying to two sessions.  He rebounded and became the first in his category to not qualify for one race and come back and win the next one.

This is the first of two back-to-back races.  The team goes back to Norwalk next week for the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals.

“The races are going to be tough fights,” Tonglet commented.  “It’s fun to race, but there’s a whole lot work and a lot of stress there, too.”

Shane Gray laying groundwork for favorable future in NTB Service Central Camaro

The first step is always the most difficult, but two weeks ago at Bristol Dragway, Pro Stock driver Shane Gray rose to the challenge and debuted the much-talked about NTB/Service Central Chevy Camaro. In their first outing with the brand new car, the Gray Motorsports team earned a qualifying position and a raceday start. This weekend, at the 15th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals held just outside Chicago at Joliet’s Route 66 Raceway, Gray and company will be adding a few more bricks to the structure that promises a very bright future.

Second-generation driver Gray is pleased with the direction of the program, especially with so few runs on their new car. Of course, they had hoped to go a few more rounds and qualify a bit higher at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, and with that thought in mind the team followed what has become a normal routine and headed right back out for a test session the week after the event. They were pleasantly surprised to be one of the top performing cars on site.

“Well, we tested well – but we always do well when we test,” said Gray. “Since then, we’ve been working away at the shop, and we will continue to dig. What we need to be able to do is race a little bit better, and that is our goal. 

“I’m not the type of guy to get really excited, but I am most certainly optimistic about the future of this team and the NTB/Service Central Camaro. We see a glimmer out there on the horizon, and we’re going after it.”

The highlight of the 2012 season thus far was a semifinals performance at the Topeka Summernationals, and Gray would like to go one or two steps further at Route 66 Raceway, where he was the No. 4 qualifier and finished in the semifinals last year. Currently ninth in the Full Throttle Series standings, the driver who has finished in the top 10 in each of his first two years as a professional Pro Stock competitor is seeking valuable points at the Chicago-area event to further solidify his berth and earn a chance at racing for the championship.

“It’s difficult for me to compare last year to this year, but we have done well there in Joliet in the past,” said Gray. “We have a different car and a different engine combination; everything is different now, but we’re going to see if we can use all that we have available to use and make more progress toward our goals.”


The expected warm temperatures at Route 66 Raceway during this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries could play into the hands of noted warm-weather Funny Car specialist Tim Wilkerson. The Springfield, Ill., driver needs a solid performance at the event to improve his chances of qualifying for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. He is in 12th place in the standings and needs to move into the top 10 to make the playoffs. Wilkerson’s lone victory at Route 66 Raceway came in a 1999 tire-smoking final-round affair against legendary John Force. “We ran well in Chicago last year, and we usually run well there every year,” said Wilkerson. “I’d sure like to think that we could go some rounds there. We always go to every racetrack and focus on how fast we can get down the lane that we’re provided with the circumstances that we’re provided, but it would be a real good place to start our comeback.” For tickets to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, call (888) 629-RACE (7223) or log on to

Burley to make NHRA debut with Junior Pippin Racing

Castrol and Triumph Sponsor S&S Performance Powered Pro Stock Motorcycle Team

Junior Pippin Racing will enter four NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events this season with promising newcomer Kieth Burley riding a Pro Stock Motorcycle supported by Castrol and Triumph Motorcycles, beginning with this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals.

Burley has been racing on two-wheels since the age of five when the Southern California native’s father, a multi-time champion motorcycle drag racer, taught him to ride. Kieth won numerous victories on the All Harley Drag Racing Association (AHDRA) circuit before venturing to the business side of motorsports as a marketing manager with NHRA and then expanding his career within the motorsports industry.

Junior Pippin is a long-time Pro Stock Motorcycle competitor who was nominated for the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future award in his 2008 rookie season of NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racing. Bob Taft, a 30-year veteran of the sport, is the team’s crew chief.

Castrol and Triumph have deep ties to racing and the sponsorship is a marketing venture to engage with drag racing fans who share the same passion for racing and performance.

“Triumph has a rich racing heritage that primarily includes land speed records, road racing and flat track racing,” said Greg Heichelbech, CEO of Triumph North America. “Our partners at Castrol have found great success with the NHRA and Triumph builds the largest displacement production motorcycle on the planet, so it’s only logical to meet fans who have an appreciation for acceleration and top end speed at the races.” 

Larry Cabot, Director of Distributor Sales for the South Division at Castrol, agreed. “Castrol has found great success in motorsports. We’re proud to be the OEM oil for Triumph Motorcycles and we’re looking forward to working with them on this program. Kieth and Junior Pippin have both demonstrated their ability to be competitive and win, and we’re looking forward to engaging with fans and customers through the NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle class.” 

“My first ride on a Triumph was when I was just 12 years old,” said Burley. “Every motorcycle has a different feel, a different vibe. When I got on a Triumph, it was another world; it was just so smooth. The ‘cool factor’ was there, and I never forgot that feeling. I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to represent Triumph as they venture into NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing, and to do so with Castrol as a partner is just beyond my wildest dreams.”

Burley will make his Pro Stock Motorcycle debut at the 15th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, near Chicago, June 28-July 1, 2012. He will also compete at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, and the season-ending Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona.

Mountain View Racing honors Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

Working in conjunction with the NAPA Auto Parts “Get Back and Give Back” program in support of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), an independent not-for-profit serving United States military personnel wounded or injured in service and their families, the Mountain View Racing Pro Stock Dodge will feature a special paint scheme for this weekend’s NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet.

“I have always considered it an honor to drive the Mountain View Dodge, but this weekend I also feel a tremendous amount of pride in being able to show our support for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund,” said driver Vincent Nobile, currently ranked fifth in the NHRA Full Throttle standings. “These brave men and women are true heroes and we’re excited to be able to recognize them in Chicago.” 

“It’s an honor and a privilege to have the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund on our car this weekend,” added team owner and crew chief Nick Mitsos. “This is just one small way in which we can show our appreciation for the U.S. Military and all they do for our country. We’d love nothing more than to be able to win this race with the IFHF on the car.”

As part of the promotion during the busy travel month of July, NAPA customers will receive up to a $25 mail-in rebate for every battery, alternator, and starter they purchase, which they can donate all or a portion of to the IFHF.  Additionally, NAPA will donate $1 to the IFHF for each redeemed rebate.

To raise awareness of the fundraising effort, NAPA stores across the country will also be hosting a “Black Out,” where employees will trade their usual blue and yellow uniforms from July 1 – 7 and instead sport a black NAPA t-shirt with the IFHF’s logo, along with the phrase, “We Believe In Heroes.” Signage will also be placed throughout NAPA stores across the country. Additionally, participating locations of the over 13,000 nationwide NAPA Auto Care Repair Centers will also be promoting the “Get Back and Give Back” program.

“NAPA is proud to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the important work that they do for the incredible men and women of the Armed forces and their families,” said Gaylord Spencer, Vice President of Marketing Strategy, NAPA Auto Parts. “As Americans across the country hit the road this July to visit their friends and loved ones, we encourage them to remember our troops, honoring and supporting them in whatever way they can.”

For more information about “Get Back and Give Back,” please visit NAPA Auto Parts website ( ( To learn more about the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, please visit:

Beckman gets nostalgic about competing at Route 66 and could be candidate for next Funny Car time traveler

If Jack Beckman could pick any car to drive this weekend at Route 66 Raceway it would be a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 instead of his Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

Instead of nitromethane helping to produce 8,000 horsepower, the fuel source would be plutonium producing 1.21 gigawatts of power. A supercharger would be replaced by the "flux capacitor."

Sadly, the NHRA Route 66 Nationals near Chicago is not a science fiction movie like "Back to the Future" in which Doc's DeLorean was the star of the time-travel saga.

That car's lure for Beckman wouldn't be speed as much as it would be the ability to travel back in time to the glory days of Funny Car racing in the late 1960s.

"Southern California was the hotbed for Top Fuel but Chicago and the Midwest was the hotbed for Funny Cars," said the Southern California native. "Chicago was the mecca. Guys could live there and be within half of a day from five tracks."

One of the Funny Car pioneers is Don Schumacher, who lists Beckman's Schumacher Electric Corp. Dodge as one of seven cars he campaigns in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

"Just think about it: Back in the early seventies Don ran three Funny Cars out of dad's garage. You hope to last long enough to win a Wally (trophy) at every NHRA track, but Chicago is high on my list because it's in Don's backyard and it always will remind me of all the Funny Car history of that area."

Beckman and crew chief Todd Smith only need to improve a little on what the team accomplished a year ago at Joliet when it qualified fourth and advanced to the semifinals.

The duo also did well two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn., where it qualified third and advanced to the semifinals in the event won by Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps.

After a weekend off, Beckman and the NHRA pro tour gird for two consecutive weekends of racing. That alone makes him appreciate what the Funny Car pioneers did to create one of the most popular divisions in all of motorsports.

"Sometimes we complain about racing back-to-back weekends but think about what Don and team's like the Chi-Town Hustler or 'Jungle Jim' Liberman did. In the summer they'd race three or four days a week and at three different venues.

"And there were only a few NHRA national events for them to go to, and they'd go there hoping if they won it would increase their booking value for match-races.

"It's always nice to wax nostalgic, but we probably wouldn't have jobs today were it not for what real racers like Don did 40 years ago.

"And I bet they had a heckuva time doing it."


To celebrate the life of legend Carroll Shelby and 50 years of Shelby American, the 50th Anniversary Tour display will rumble into Plano, Texas for the Legacy Texas Bank and SCAT Car Show. The anniversary display will include the new 950 horsepower Shelby 1000, which was introduced this year at the New York Auto Show, along with the exciting Shelby GT500 Super Snake and GT350. Live music, food and rare cars are all part of this Shelby celebration.

Massey hopes to return to winning ways in FRAM dragster as NHRA tour heads to Route 66 Raceway at Joliet

Spencer Massey never ventures far from drag racing. Even when he has a weekend off from his 8,000-horsepower FRAM/Prestone Top Fuel Dragster, you can find Massey at a racetrack somewhere.

Last weekend Massey was in Tulsa, Okla., helping friend Chase Copeland at an NHRA division race.

"I just always enjoy being at the track," said Massey. "It doesn't matter what I'm doing, just being at the track makes me happy. Chase didn't exactly have the weekend we had hoped for, but any time I can be at a racetrack it's my happy place."

Massey will return to his happy place this weekend when the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing tour stops at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., the site of Massey's first win in 2009.

"It's always nice to go back to a track that you've won at," said the 29-year-old. "But that one was really special because it was my first one in an NHRA Top Fuel Dragster. You never forget your first win.

"I beat Antron (Brown) in the final there in 2009. I doubt I was thinking then that he would one day be my teammate, so that's pretty awesome."

Not only the site of Massey's first win, Route 66 Raceway also serves as the home track for team owner Don Schumacher, who resides outside of Chicago. 

"It would be very cool to get Don a Wally at the event so close to his home," said Massey. "That would be really awesome to be able to hand Don a trophy on Sunday afternoon."

Massey has three wins so far this season and is second in Top Fuel points after losing the lead to DSR teammate Tony Schumacher two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn.

"Not only would we like to get another win under our belts, but we really want to get back around our teammate Tony that top spot in points," said Massey.

"I know you just need to be at the top spot at the end of the season when all is said and done, but I love seeing my name with a '1' in front of it at any point in the season."

Funny Car champ Hagan seeks to crush competition, hopes it comes first on the dragstrip at Route 66

Matt Hagan can't wait until he can put on a firesuit and helmet, hit the racetrack, floor the throttle and crush some cars.

"You know, that's just what I might need. And I'm going to do it," he said.

The reigning NHRA Funny Car world champion is frustrated with being ranked 11th in his DieHard Advance Gold Dodge Charger R/T, and he believes he knows how to release the tension.

"Yeah, I'll go crush some stuff."

The good news for his Funny Car brethren at this weekend's NHRA Route 66 Nationals at Joliet, Ill., is that they will not be the targets of his effort to vent. His targets of mass demolition will be unoccupied vehicles on July 4 when he drives the Virginia Giant monster truck at a holiday show at Motor Mile Speedway near his home in Christiansburg, Va.

"Last year they let me start it and drive it around, but this time I get to crush stuff."

Hagan said "crush stuff" numerous times, including in the verbiage he used when detailing his plan to crush the run of bad luck he and crew chief Tommy DeLago have endured.

The team has yet to advance past a second round through 10 races this year, but progress has been steady. Hagan qualified in the top eight two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn., for the fourth straight race. In the second round, Hagan's time of 4.140 seconds was quicker than two others who won in the round, but it wasn't quick enough to beat teammate Jack Beckman's 4.100, which was the round's quickest.

"We're close to breaking through," Hagan said.

Hagan moved up one spot to 11th in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series standings after Bristol and is 45 points out of 10th place, which is the last coveted spot to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship field that will be determined after the U.S. Nationals on Aug. 29-Sept. 3 at Indianapolis.

"That's our next step," he said. "We're closing in on it."

Route 66 could help the DieHard team get back on course. Hagan won at the track in 2010 when he set the track elapsed-time record of 4.022. A year ago, he qualified No. 2 ago before being upset by Dale Creasy Jr.

He won't be trying to break records on the Fourth of July, just car parts.

What could be next if his monster-truck driving stint is successful?

Perhaps the "wild man of cattle ranching" will try to pilot a 160-mph drag boat.

Brown ready to deliver victory at Route 66 Raceway for first since when his daughter was born in 2001

Antron Brown wants to prove that he remembers how to find the winner's circle at Route 66 Raceway.

It's been 11 years since he visited the celebratory stage after winning an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event title at Joliet, Ill., and then it was with two wheels.

Brown won Pro Stock Motorcycle titles at the track near Chicago in 2000 and 2001. Since moving to Top Fuel in 2007, he has only come close to winning. Two years ago he was runner-up in his Matco Tools dragster and was the No. 1 qualifier.

"Man, it was a long time ago when I won there," Brown said. "Heck, my three kids weren't even born yet!"

Brown's wife Billie Jo, however, was pregnant with daughter Arianna who was born that year on Nov. 14.

He was reminded of how much time has lapsed as he watched his daughter run around DSR headquarters on Monday.

He promises a Chicago title is close but and guarantees that if he and crew chiefs Mark Oswald and Brian Corradi win for the second time this season that a fourth Brown offspring should not be expected near the end of this year.

Brown qualified No. 3 a year ago and advanced to the semifinals.

Brown, 37, who lives in Pittsboro, Ind., not far from DSR headquarters could not be more upbeat about his team despite disappointing endings at three of the past four NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events.

The Matco team produced its second No. 1 qualifying effort of the year two weeks ago at Bristol, Tenn., and advanced to the semifinals before being knocked out by Doug Kalitta.

Kalitta has been somewhat of an Achilles heel to the one-time track star by ending his day at the last four events including twice in the first round.

"Doug's just had our number lately, but we're happy with how our Matco Tools dragster is running. I know Mark and Brian have been working on some things that will help us down the road."

Brown is ranked third in Full Throttle points behind teammates Tony Schumacher, who is first, and Spencer Massey.

Capps has added incentive when racing starts at Route 66; NAPA Batteries provides Intrepid Fallen Hero crew member

Ron Capps wants nothing more than to win an NHRA world championship. He's devoted most of his adult life to winning one of the ultimate prizes in motorsports.

The 47-year-old Southern Californian has come close three times, falling short in 2005 by the smallest margin (eight points) in NHRA history.

The driver of the NAPA Batteries/Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing will start this weekend's NHRA Route 66 Nationals near Chicago as part of the hottest team in drag racing.

He surely wants to win for the third time this season, and he will have extra motivation to drive into the winner's circle Sunday afternoon at Route 66 with crew chief Rahn Tobler and the rest of the team.

Nothing would make Capps happier than to share the spotlight with that day's NAPA AUTO PARTS Honorary Crew Member, retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert "Rob" Dickey, a native of Capps' San Diego area who resides in San Antonio, Texas.

Dickey, 35, is a drag racer who can share his memories with Capps of legendary Carlsbad Raceway in Southern California.

Dickey, a husband and father of five, will be at the Route 66 Nationals courtesy of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which has provided more than $120 million in support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans.

"We're so focused on getting to the track and doing everything we can to win and taking care of our sponsors that we tend to forget a lot of time about what goes on in the outside world," Capps said.

Intrepid has helped Dickey adjust to life after a land mine in Afghanistan on Sept. 6, 2010, forced surgeons to perform a below-the-knee amputation of his right leg and partially remove part of his left calf.

Capps, 47, is eager to meet Dickey when he arrives at Joliet in time for Friday evening's qualifying that begins at 5 p.m.

Capps adds that everyone can appreciate life more after meeting a soldier like Dickey, whose sacrifices puts race-car breakdowns and tire-smoking runs into proper perspective.

"The best thing about having a great sponsor like NAPA and an owner like Don (Schumacher) is being able to do a special car like the one we'll run this weekend and to really give something back to someone who has given so much more than we could ever imagine," he said.

Capps' traditional blue and yellow NAPA AUTO PARTS Funny Car this weekend will feature a special paint scheme to bring attention to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and NAPA's "Get Back, Give Back" campaign that runs through July to encourage consumers to apply all or part of their rebates from NAPA Battery, Starter or Alternator purchases to Intrepid. Consumers can receive up to a $25 rebate on their purchases. Additionally, NAPA will donate $1 per consumer rebate redeemed.

Martin Truex Jr. and his Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup entry will field a similar look on the No. 56 NAPA Toyota in the July 7 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
"Our car this weekend will touch a lot of people when they see it and they want to cheer for it because of what it represents," Capps said.

"It's always special to run a car like that but to put that car in the winner's circle and have Rob there with us would mean more than anything."

An added bit of fun would be winning in the hometown of Schumacher, who owns the seven-car operation.

"That would be a bonus," Capps said. "Everyone knows that it is Don's hometown and the amount of people he entertains there is cool. So when you can win with all those people there it's just extra special."

A victory also would get Capps closer to points leader Robert Hight of John Force Racing. Capps was eighth in the standings and 209 points behind Hight after four events before Tobler took over as Capps' crew chief. Since then, the Capps-Tobler combination has advanced to six consecutive championship rounds with a 19-4 record in eliminations and cut Hight's lead to 73 points.

The NAPA Funny Car also became the quickest ever on May 31 when he completed a run in 3.964 seconds at 320.89 mph, which is the second fastest ever.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

As Temperatures Creep Towards the Nineties,’ Team Patrόn Looks to Continue their ‘Hot Streak’ in Chicago

With temperatures threatening to break into the nineties,’ it’s looking like a hot weekend at the 15th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, IL for the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car team.

Coming off of their two best race weekends to date, Team Patrόn travels to Chicago feeling confident and looking to keep the momentum going strong. Prior to this weekend’s race, the black-and-green team made their first-ever Final round appearance at the Thunder Valley Nationals, a huge accomplishment for the young team. At the May Toyota Supernationals in Englishtown, Team Patrόn broke into the 4.0-seconds elapsed time bracket for the first time. Their 4.040-second pass during Friday night’s qualifying session landed team driver Alexis “La Patrόna” DeJoria the right to claim the title of the second quickest rookie ever in the Nitro Funny Car class.

“Our car is running well and it’s consistent. We’re moving in the right direction. I’m really proud of how well our team has performed these past few weeks,” said DeJoria, a top Rookie of the Year contender. “Del [Worsham, the team’s crew chief] has done really well in Chicago in the past- he knows how to win,” she said, speaking of Worsham’s 2011 Route 66 Nationals Top Fuel win- one of four victories at that track for her award-winning crew chief during his successful Top Fuel career.

“I’ve raced in Chicago in the past with my Alcohol [Funny] car. It’s a great facility, and it’ll be nice to go back to a familiar race track in my Nitro car. Before we head out there, I’m going to spend some time in the city with my family seeing the sites and doing some press. Chicago is an awesome town and I’m looking forward to sharing it with my daughter.”

Jim Oberhofer, Vice President of Kalitta Motorsports, shares DeJoria’s view of the Midwestern tour stop. “Chicago is a nice track and the fans are always great. Historically, we [Kalitta Motorsports] have had a lot of success there. Of course, things are a little trickier these days now that this race falls during the summer, and both Friday and Saturday are evening qualifying sessions, but we know our car is good,” Oberhofer added, “With all four qualifying runs taking place at night, we’re not going to have much information for race day, but our strategy going into this weekend is to take advantage of both night sessions, run hard, and position ourselves in the ladder as best we can. That way, come race day, we’re not stuck going up against someone that’s very, very competitive.”

“This race is a funny thing, because you could show up on Sunday  in the number sixteen spot and race the guy in the number one qualifying spot, and you’re both pretty much on equal footing because neither of you have any information. When you’re doing laps in the evening all weekend long, you really aren’t sure of what to expect come race day when you’re starting off at 11AM. The sun is more intense, the track gets hotter, the rubber gets slicker- it’s a whole different animal. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot of upsets this weekend.”

Alexis DeJoria and the Kalitta Motorsports Tequila Patrόn Toyota Camry Funny Car team are currently ranked 13th and are looking to add some more points this weekend at the 15th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, IL. Funny Car qualifying begins at 5PM on Friday.

Grime Boss Hand Wipes to be Primary Sponsor for Jim Dunn Racing at Joliet NHRA

NHRA professional driver, Todd Lesenko, will climb into the Jim Dunn Racing nitro Funny Car at Joliet, Illinois this weekend with a new driver’s suit and new livery on the car courtesy of team sponsor, Grime Boss hand wipes.   Nice-Pak Products, Inc., the largest global producer of pre-moistened wipes, introduced Grime Boss to the NHRA audience earlier this year as an associate sponsor of Jim Dunn Racing at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta.  Grime Boss is expanding their presence with the team as a primary sponsor on four of the next seven NHRA national events including Seattle, Brainerd, and the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.

Grime Boss has immediately come to the front of the hand wipe category for automotive, home improvement, and outdoor sporting enthusiasts based on its portable packaging and ability to take on anything, even the toughest messes on hands and surfaces, while leaving skin feeling great.   Jim Dunn Racing Team Manager, Jon Dunn, feels like the company and product they are representing fits the racing industry perfectly.   “We have had many racers, teams, and other companies in the automotive industry tell us they have just started switching over to using the Grime Boss hand wipes and can’t believe the difference between not having to go to the sink every time they get grease on their hands, or using a product with chemicals that dries out your hands” said Dunn.  “Fans attending an upcoming NHRA national event can come in to our pit area and see Grime Boss products at work anytime.”

Manufactured in the USA, Grime Boss is a unique extra-large wipe with Dual Scrubbing Action, including one tough side and one soft side. The proprietary Pro-Klean™ Formula contains vitamin E and aloe to moisturize hands, without harsh chemicals. Grime Boss wipes are the perfect solution to clean even the toughest messes.  Fans can learn more about the product online at www.grimeboss.comand follow the race team at and on Twitter at!/GrimeBoss.


Two weeks ago in Bristol, Tennessee Robert Hight suffered his second first round defeat of the season losing to Johnny Gray in the opening session of the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The last time Hight was ousted after just one run on Sunday was the season opening NHRA O’Reilly Winternationals in Pomona. Hight is hoping his Auto Club Ford Mustang will react similarly to getting extra time off on race day.

Following Pomona Hight and his Auto Club Funny Car team went on a tear through the competition winning the next four races in a row and reaching the semi-finals at the fifth race. Hight won from coast to coast reaching the winner’s circle in Phoenix; Gainesville, Florida; Las Vegas; and Charlotte. The run propelled him to the points lead and has the former crewman turned driver ready to get back to the winner’s circle.

“The start of the season was unbelievable. I won four races in a row which only a handful of Funny Car drivers have ever done. In addition my teammates John Force and Mike Neff also won so in the first six races John Force Racing had six wins. Since then we have reached some finals but haven’t been able to get over the hump. I don’t think anything is wrong at JFR but I am ready to start winning races again, said Hight.

Heading into Chicago for the 15th annual O’Reilly Rt 66 NHRA Nationals Hight has is goal set on winning for the first time in the Windy City. He reached the finals here twice losing to teammate John Force in 2006 and then dropping a heart breaker to Matt Hagan in 2010. John Force Racing has six wins in Chicago including last year’s race which Mike Neff won in dominating fashion. This race starts a tough five races in six weeks stretch that Hight would like to get underway with a win.

“Now it is going to get fun. We race five weekends out of six including the Western Swing. I love to be at the races and going rounds. I think you could look at this like a mini-Countdown. You want to win as many races as possible here to get ready for the real Countdown. The goal is to be at the top of the points but another goal is to be ready with a solid tune-up and some momentum,” said Hight.

For Hight this season has continued a streak of success for the driver and president of John Force Racing that started in 2005 his rookie season. Each season Hight has competed at the highest level he has won multiple races and has led the points at least once. This year with four victories he is one shy away from his personal best five wins in a season which he accomplished last year. Ironically it was his championship season of 2009 where Hight had one of his lower win counts winning just three times. All the wins came in the Countdown a pattern repeated by Matt Hagan last season.

“You want to win every race no doubt about it. I talk with Jimmy Prock all the time about dominating all season long. We got on a streak early this season and there are other drivers who are hot right now. We all know you need to also get hot in the Countdown. These races starting Chicago will be big for everyone to get momentum or keep momentum. I love the position we are in now as the points leader. I want to get my first Chicago win and then head to the next race in Norwalk and win there. Neff won both these race last year so it can be done,” said Hight.

One other piece of business Hight would like to take care of is joining the Funny Car 250 round win club. There are only a handful of current drivers who can say they won 250 rounds of Funny Car racing. They are multiple-time world champions, veterans and Hall of Fame contenders. With two round wins at the O’Reilly Rt 66 NHRA Nationals Robert Hight can join a group of current drivers with a minimum of 250 round wins that includes John Force (1,103), Tony Pedregon (503), Cruz Pedregon (451), Ron Capps (448) and Tim Wilkerson (261). Hight could achieve this feat in only 172 races (including Chicago) which is a pace of nearly 1.5 round wins per race. The only driver who has a better round win to race ratio is Force (1.85).