Army to Sarge: Dismissed!

The U.S. Army has pulled all sponsorship of the Don Schumacher Racing mega team. The announcement came Sunday, July 8.


After nearly two decades with DSR, the Army is “reallocating its marketing budget” out of NHRA drag racing. They will remain as primary sponsor of Tony Schumacher’s Top Fuel dragster through the remainder of the 2018 season.


“The U.S. Army has been an incredibly loyal and longtime supporter of NHRA Championship Drag Racing and we are sad to see them go, especially during a time in which NHRA is experiencing so much success,” said NHRA president Glen Cromwell. “One of the most significant elements of our partnership with the U.S. Army has been its sponsorship of NHRA’s Youth and Education Services program, which hosts approximately 30,000 high school students each year across the country and will continue to do so. Not only does this program serve our communities by inspiring students to pursue STEM-related career opportunities, but it also acts as a powerful recruiting tool for vocational education programs.”

Pro Mod and Pro Stock wins for Alund in Finland

Finland is Jimmy Ålund’s new favorite country thanks to victories in Pro Mod and Pro Stock at the third race of the 2018 European FIA Drag Racing season, the Finland Hot Rod Association (FHRA) Nitro Nationals in early July. It marked the first time ever that one driver has won both FIA Pro Mod and FIA Pro Stock on the same afternoon.

Due to rain delays on Friday, there were only three qualifying runs in Pro Mod. Ålund drove Magnus Petersson’s The Old 51 Chevrolet Business Coupe to the Number One qualifying spot, but it wasn't pretty. Ålund only made it to the finish line twice, and just once under full power.


"We had issues with the shut-off box and tire shake, but got that one 6.86-second run. It was enough for the top spot," Ålund said.


Sunday's eliminations were the complete opposite of qualifying. Ålund won the first round with the second quickest ET of the round. A bye run in Round 2 put him in the semifinals, where he ran the quickest ET of the round to take the win and go into the finals against reigning FIA Pro Mod champion Micke Gullqvist. Ålund left hard while Gullqvist ran into problems; The Old 51 crossed the finish line first with a 5.92 second pass to Gullqvist’s 6.55.


The win at Alastaro extended Ålund’s points lead in the 2018 FIA Pro Mod championship.

The qualifying demons that plagued Ålund in Pro Mod followed him to Pro Stock. He qualified dead last with slowest ET ever for an FIA Pro Stock car, a less than stellar 19.08 seconds. What’s worse, the Summit Racing Camaro never made it to the finish line under full power.


"There are firsts for everything," Ålund explained "To add insult to injury, a hopped-up agricultural combine harvester had us covered by more than three seconds during its exhibition runs."


"We went through the whole car, everything," Ålund continued. "We concluded that the problem was in the tires. We had tested all of the tires we brought along, but no-go. Then fellow racer Michael Malmgren stepped up and let us have a set of his tires for Sunday's eliminations. We can't thank Michael enough for his generosity."


Just as in Pro Mod, Pro Stock eliminations turned out totally different than qualifying. Ålund won the quarter- and semifinals, running the quickest ETs and fastest speeds in both rounds. And like in Pro Mod, Ålund went up against the reigning class champion in the finals. He did his job one last time and won the race over Bengt Ljungdahl.


“We didn't know if the problem was solved until we got to the 60-foot mark in the quarter finals," Ålund said. "To say that we struggled in qualifying would be the understatement of the century. But like the saying goes, 'it ain't over 'til it's over,' and Sunday turned out just perfect for both The Old 51 Pro Mod Car and the Summit Racing Pro Stock Camaro."


The next event on the FIA European Drag Race Series schedule is the NitrOlympX, August 17-19 at the Hockenheimring in Hockenheim, Germany. Ålund will be driving The Old 51 in Pro Mod but leaving the Pro Stocker at home.  

Taylor heads for Australia last time

Frankie Taylor in Pro Slammer action at Summer Thunder. 


Frankie Taylor is preparing for the last hurrah of his current Down Under tour with Team Bray Racing, the upcoming ‘Northern Swing’ starting this weekend at the Hidden Valley Drag Strip.


Nitro Up North will be held at the Darwin race track July 13 and 14, before TBR then heads to Alice Springs Inland Dragway the very next weekend for the Desert Nationals (July 21-22).


For both events, Taylor will line up alongside TBR stablemates Victor Bray and Ben Bray. After finishing the 2017/2018 400 Thunder Pro Slammer championship in fourth place, Ben Bray is hoping to get this season’s championship chase off to a strong start.


“It is going to be a huge team effort up North in July – first we have Nitro Up North and then the Desert Nationals and we will be looking to give Frankie a good send off as well. I can’t wait to see what we can do on this special Northern Swing.” 

Nowalk wins supercharger v. nitrous showdown at Lancaster

Mike Novak


Lancaster National Dragway partnered with the Supercharged Bounty Hunters on Friday night, July 6, for a special event that pitted four of the top supercharged doorslammers against four of the fastest nitrous-powered cars on the property.


The blown engine versus nitrous challenge came down to Dave Texido of the Supercharged Bounty Hunters against the nitrous-powered Camaro of Mike Nowak. The nitrous cars earned the bragging rights at the end of the night as Nowak got the win on a holeshot. Texido had the faster elapsed time (4.706 to 4.721), but Nowak launched off the starting line quicker (.408 to .471). It was the third straight win at Lancaster for Nowak with Top 8 Eliminator victories the previous two weeks.

In Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing action, Mike Swinarski of Orchard Park, NY, picked up wins in both Top 8 Eliminator and Top ET. It marked the second year in a row that Swinarski accomplished the feat. He defeated Alex Noltee in the Top 8 Final (Swinarski .549 RT, 5.18 dial, 5.196 ET, 131.98 mph def. Noltee, .553 RT, 5.57 dial, 5.591 ET, 123.30 mph). In Top ET Swinarski (.504 RT, 5.18 dial, 5.200 ET, 132.38 mph) dispatched Mark Glomb (.504 RT, 5.82 dial, 5.898 ET, 115.74 mph).


Dale Eckert of South Wales, NY, earned his third win of the year in McGard Mod and fifth win overall at Lancaster in 2018. Eckert defeated Anthony Platania in the finals after Platania broke out. In Tread City Tire Street, “Fast Eddie” Semlitsch of West Seneca, NY, scored his second Street win of the year and third victory overall in 2018. Semlitsch faced Deanna Winkowski in the final pairing as Winkowski was making her first ever final round appearance. Unfortunately, Winkowski triggered the red light at the starting line to hand the win to Semlitsch.


Vic Puglia of Tonawanda, NY, won for the second week in a row in Hebeler’s Sales Bikes & Sleds. Puglia cut a perfect light in his final round win over Pete Marston with a .500 reaction time.


This Friday night, July 13, Lancaster National Dragway hosts its annual Nitro Night of Fire featuring a Top Fuel Dragster match race between Todd Paton and Dom Lagana plus the TNT Super Series and a full card of Franco’s Pizza IHRA Drag Racing.   

Mother Nature throws monkey wrench into Friday Footbrake Challenge

With rain in the forecast for the BTE World Footbrake Challenge in Bristol, TN, racing began an hour earlier than scheduled on Friday, but two bouts of rain during the day put an end to the day’s racing after only one round.  

Put on your blue suede shoes and cruise Norwalk

Drivers are set to shine up and show their 1972 and earlier street rods at the 17th Annual Lingenfelter Performance Engineering Blue Suede Cruise, July 13-15, at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.


They’ll also make fun-runs down the recently reconstructed track while music of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s plays in the background.


The event evocative of poodle skirts and pompadours will feature the Nostalgia Drag Racing League, Gasser Magazine Gasser Appreciation Race, a manufacturers' midway, swap meet, vintage fashion show, and more. Summit Motorsports Park supporter ScottRods Custom HotRods and Fiberglass is even building a 1934 Ford Roadster roller, valued at $22,000, to be given away during the event. Heating up the evening on July 14 will be a Smoky Burnout Contest, a concert by Phil Dirt and the Dozers, a flame-throwing contest with judging for Injection and Non-Injection categories, a parade of neon lights, and fireworks over the track.    

Thursday Test & Tune added to Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing

NMRA/NMCA racing officials have added a Test & Tune on Thursday, July 26, before the 13th annual Nitto Tire NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL.


Heads-up ad index racers can expect track prep from the NMRA/NMCA on-track team led by Jake Green, the official starter of NMRA and NMCA, and Kurt Johnson of Total Venue Concepts.   



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