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News and notes from the Burkster’s Reporter’s Notebook

Midwesterner Frank Ousley might get the title “King of the 392 nitro-Donovan” after his driver, Joe Haas, won the DRO AA/FC Challenge at the World Series of Drag Racing in Ousley’s Donovan-powered Plymouth Duster. The Ousley-tuned Donovan-powered Fuel Coupe ran in the 5s every time it went down the track except the first lap of eliminations. With the win, Ousley’s “Crop Duster” is about 80 points behind defending DRO National Champ John Hale with three (maybe four) races left in the season. The next DRO race is Sept. 7-8 at Martin, Mich. Ousley’s AA/FD (also Donovan-powered) is currently leading the NHRA Heritage Series Championship chase.

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Kudos to NHRA prez Tom Compton for securing a new and somewhat obscure Coca-Cola brand (Mello Yello) as the NHRA series sponsor through the 2016 season for reportedly 3-4 million dollars a year. When series sponsors are hard to find at all levels of motorsports, the fact that the Coca-Cola company thought enough of the value of sponsoring the NHRA pro races to use it to promote one of its lesser known brands. I’ll admit that Full Throttle sports drink would seem to be a better fit for NHRA demographics and racing than the Mello Yello brand, but if the Coke executives are willing to commit a reported 10-12 million bucks to support the NHRA I’m glad for it and I’ll give that beverage a try.

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The 59th World Series of Drag Racing at Cordova Dragway Park had, according to track owner/operator Scott Gardner, the best Friday and Saturday crowd in that race’s nearly six-decade history. The only real change to the Friday format at that race was that the Mickey Thompson Tire DRO AA/FC Challenge ran both of its nitro qualifying sessions on Friday night instead of one Friday and one Saturday. Evidently World Series fans were more willing to part with a $20 bill for the Friday night portion of the race if they got two nitro sessions. Look for that format to be adopted in the coming season at other DRO races and absolutely at the 60th annual World Series in 2013.

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If you are a hard-core NHRA sportsman fan and want to see those classes at the upcoming U.S. Nationals you will have to figure out a way to get to Indy early (8:30 a.m.) this Wednesday and Thursday to see them qualify. You talk about burying the sportsman classes at the Big Go!

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With prices here in the Midwest - and I’m assuming the prices nationwide - approaching $4.00 a gallon for gas and diesel edging towards $5.00 a gallon I cannot see how this cannot adversely affect the number of sportsman and pro class teams that will travel long distances to race. One racer told me it cost him $2200 to fuel his tractor alone while traveling to the recent NHRA Heritage race in Boise, Idaho. I am concerned, and will be interested to see if the sportsman fields at the upcoming U.S. Nats continue to be filled to capacity and over.

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