Rain and cold over eastern half of US cause havoc with racing

The torrential rain that has caused flooding in the Midwest, now is moving to the east coast with many disruptions of racing schedules being the forecast for the weekend.

Rumors roiling regarding sale of NHRA's Atlanta track

The Agent has been told by several well-connected sources that NHRA's track sales push is progressing with the sale of Atlanta Dragway close to being a done deal.


Our sources say that an outlet mall builder with ties to the malls that are already built close to Atlanta Dragway either has or will shortly close the deal to purchase the property.


We have no info or even a rumor about the future of the track should it be sold but the Agent would speculate that the property would be prime for development and not as a racetrack. So far none of the rumors regarding the sale has been confirmed by the NHRA.

 News and notes from the DRO AA/FC Challenge

Just to clarify some questions regarding the DRO races at Bowling Green, KY, in June and October. The June race is a Hot Rod Heritage Series event and will be conducted by the NHRA. The Museum sent an email to some Nitro FC racers stating that, unlike previous years, they wouldn't be "booking" funny cars for the 2017 race.


To try and help the car count the NHRA Museum and DRO's Jeff Burk agreed to make the event a DRO Championship points race but the Museum and the NHRA will be running the event and paying the purse. The DRO series has recommended they pay the standard DRO purse of $1750 to qualify. So, any questions regarding purse and payout will have to be answered by the NHRA.


As in the past seven seasons the DRO series allows the racers to throw out the points from one event when determining the 2017 DRO AA/FC Challenge Champion.


NHRA adjusts Atlanta schedule due to low temps

NHRA officials have adjusted the schedule for the opening day of the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals on May 5 at Atlanta Dragway. The updated schedule moves qualifying two hours earlier in the day due to predicted low temperatures.


The new schedule is:


1:30 p.m. NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying session one

2:15 p.m. NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying session one (Pro Stock Motorcycle/Pro Stock)

3 p.m. NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying session one (Funny Car/Top Fuel)

4 p.m. NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying session two

4:45 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying session two (Pro Stock Motorcycle/Pro Stock)

5:30 p.m. NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying session two (Funny Car/Top Fuel)


IHRA moves Sportsman National at Maryland to July

Due to inclement weather, the International Hot Rod Association and Maryland International Raceway have postponed the May 5-7 IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship event until the weekend of July 14-16 due to a washout predicted for Friday and unstable weather projections through the rest of the weekend.

The next IHRA Summit Sportsman National Championship event is scheduled June 1-4 at State Capitol Raceway in Baton Rouge, La.


Lancaster, NY, weekend events postponed due to rain

Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway has postponed all motorsports events for this upcoming weekend due to the heavy rains that have fallen at the facility earlier in the week combined with the additional rain and cold temperatures that are being forecast for this weekend.


The wet weather that blanketed the Western New York area earlier this week left the facility water-logged with the parking lot and pit areas especially saturated. Any additional precipitation would make it even more difficult to get competitors in and out of the pits without getting their trailers and/or cars stuck.


Lancaster National Speedway & Dragway will resume activities on Wednesday, May 10, with the first Cruise Night of the season. Gates open at 6 p.m. Admission is free for all Wednesday Cruise Nights in 2017.


The Franco's Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing season will start on Friday, May 12. The show will feature all weekly classes, including Top ET, Mod ET, Bikes & Sleds and Street.


VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 4 - April  2017

Coca-Cola to host ‘Night of Champions’ in Atlanta

The Coca-Cola Company has been an NHRA drag racing sponsor for 16 years with its Dasani water, Powerade, and Mello Yello brands.


This week the company that is based in Atlanta will host their Night of Champions where every racer that earned their world titles in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle during the last 16 years are invited to the exclusive affair.


"This particular race weekend definitely starts out special," Erica Enders said. "That night is a really big treat for all of us and I'll get to go with my team owner, Richard Freeman, and my teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. so I'll be feeling special. It's a night to celebrate with so many past champions. It's a huge honor to be a part of that. There's a lot of racers and teams that have done this for 30, 40, 50 years that don't have this opportunity so I'm honored to be a part of it."   

Chad Head again to drive for DeJoria

Chad Head returns to the seat of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia.


Head, who assumed the driving duties for Team Patrón pilot Alexis DeJoria last weekend in Charlotte, will compete as the interim driver of the Kalitta Motorsports entry until DeJoria’s return. DeJoria looks forward to reuniting with her team and returning to the driver’s seat as soon as possible. 

NHRA Tech Dept. makes adjustment to Nitrous Pro Mods

Jonathan Gray at Houston. 


As of May 4, 2017, based on performance numbers from the first three races of the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Racing Series, the NHRA Technical Department is decreasing the allowable minimum weight on Nitrous assisted entries by 25 pounds.


The new allowable minimum weight for the Nitrous assisted entries will be limited to a minimum of 2,425 pounds. The minimum allowable weight for Supercharged entries will remain unchanged at 2,600 pounds and Turbocharged entries will also remain unchanged at 2,650 pounds.

Crampton to drive as Lamattina team supports children’s charity

The dragster will be driven for the Sydney event by none other than former NHRA champ, Richie Crampton.  Lamattina Top Fuel Racing, one of Australia’s drag racing teams, has put their support behind Novita Children’s Services for the event at Sydney Dragway on May 5-7..


The team is offering their new ‘blank canvas’ dragster as a unique opportunity for fans to be a part of the team’s upcoming Nitro Thunder event. Race fans will be able to sign their name on the car for a gold coin donation, which will be given to Novita to help with their wonderful work in the area of children’s disability services.


Team boss, Phil Lamattina said, “As a team, we are happy to be able to do this for Novita kids and to also have the fans literally on-board as a part of our team, we are encouraging fans to take social media pictures and share them with their friends and family to help promote the cause.”


Novita Children's Services is one of the largest providers of quality services to children living with disability and other special needs, (including their families) for 75 years. Novita supports children and young people throughout their childhood and adolescent years, in Adelaide, regional South Australia and beyond with services including therapy and aquatic therapy, medical services, family support, physical rehabilitation, psychology, rehabilitation services and speech pathology


Team boss Phil Lamattina added, “We will also have limited edition ‘LTFR Richie Crampton’ caps for sale at the event and we will donate $2 from every cap sold to Novita kids also.


“This will be the only time you ever see a plain LTFR race car, so we figured why not take this opportunity to give the fans a chance to really be involved and let them ‘Ride with Richie’, all for a good cause!” 

Wednesday winners at Spring Fling

Shane Carr


On the Wednesday schedule for the K&N Spring Fling at GALOT Motorsports Park was $15,000 for the winner.


The survivors of round six were Corey Manuel, Jeremy York, Shane Carr, Kenny Underwood, Tom Cable and “Disco Dean” Karns. In round seven, Manuel defeated York, Carr took out Underwood and Cable won out over Karns. For the semifinals, Carr received the last bye run of the night to automatically advance to the final, while Manuel and Cable tussled, with Manuel turning on the red-light to advance Cable.


In the final were Cable, a former ‘Fling winner and ‘Fling points champion, and Carr, who has several wins on the big stage in addition to just this year alone having won three times in his last four outings with his dragster. Due to his dial-in, Carr left first with a .005 reaction time, coupling it with a dead-on the dial with a “9” for a .014 package and the win, essentially boxing out Cable who had a .016 reaction time and as they say, was mathematically ineligible.


“I don’t know what it is,” said Carr after the run, “but this car and I have been very good this year. We might dust off the dial-in board and ‘maybe’ run the valves but we’re not going to change anything.”

Randall Blinson


Following the Yukon Gear & Axle Wednesday eliminations, the Hoosier Tire Door Car Shootout took place. Thirty-two randomly selected door car racer Tech Cards were pulled with each receiving one time trial prior to eliminations. Each semifinalist receives a new Bell GP-3 helmet, while the runner-up pocketed $1,000 and the winner walked away with $10,000.


With four cars left, it was Don Hansen and Gary Williams tangling with Hansen scoring the win, while Randall Blinson took the win over Joe Gary. For $10,000, it was another final where one competitor was “mathematically ineligible” when Blinson used a .013 package to defeat Hansen’s .026 initiated start.

More changes to dragster give Brittany hope for Atlanta

Brittany Force’s team didn’t casually make its way to the north Georgia area from Charlotte, site of last weekend’s Four-Wide Nationals, this week. Instead, many on her team returned to the team’s shop in Brownsburg, Ind., to work on updates to the chassis of Force’s Monster Energy dragster.


“Atlanta is going to be tough for our guys,” Force said. “They headed back to Indianapolis on Monday morning to ‘front-half’ the car and then get it over to Atlanta for the weekend. It’s a lot of work but I know the guys can do it.”


Force’s dragster has already underdone changes during the early part of the 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. She raced to the final round in the second race, at Phoenix, but circumstances and an NHRA rules change mandated the chassis to be altered.


The changes didn’t work out as planned, so more updates were necessary as Force chases her first victory of the season. Force maintains her confidence in the team led by crew chief Brian Husen and tuning consultant Alan Johnson.


“I always appreciate my team and everything they do,” Force said. “I know we will make it happen and to bring home a win there, would make everything worth it.  The good thing is that we go right into the next one which makes it a little bit easier.” 

Bench racing raises $15K for charity

The check presentation at JEGS headquarters was attended by, from left, Ron Richards, Troy Coughlin Jr., Jeg Coughlin Jr., Mike DeChicco, Noah Mabry, Jane Graebner and Troy Coughlin. 


The recently completed 13th annual Mr. Aruba's Winter Nationals Bench Race and Charity Challenge raised nearly $15,000 for the JEGS Foundation for Cancer Research. This year's record-breaking total boosted the amount of monies donated to the JEGS Foundation since the inception of the race to almost $75,000.


"It's great what Mike DeChicco and Jane Graebner -- or Mr. and Mrs. Aruba, if you like -- have been able to establish and build upon through the years," said Jeg Coughlin Jr., vice president and co-owner of JEGS, which started the JEGS Foundation in 2003. "What they've done has really made a difference in cancer research, both at Ohio State University and Nationwide Children's Hospital.


DeChicco and Graebner started Mr. Aruba's Winter Nationals Bench Race and Charity Challenge in 2006 as a way to have a little fun during the cold Ohio winters. Held at "Ostrander International Raceway" - aka DeChicco's basement - in Ostrander, Ohio, the Winter Nationals features special races on a practice Christmas Tree. Family, friends and fans buy into the race, with the money going to the JEGS Foundation.


The Winter Nationals unofficially began in 2005 when DeChicco and some friends gathered for beverages around a practice Christmas Tree. A year later, after learning of a friend's battle with cancer, DeChicco and Graebner decided to use the party for a bigger purpose, and the fundraiser

was born.


After numerous perfect lights, each worth some great JEGS apparel, the Gambler's Race was won by Jeff Day of Precision Machine in Canton, Ohio, who edged Brian Spring for the top prize. Both men immediately kicked back a large portion of their winnings to the JEGS Foundation. Semifinalists included Lonnie Smith and Michael Beard, who each pocketed $50 JEGS gift cards.


Jeg Coughlin Jr. himself won the Chip Foust Memorial Race presented by Mark Hummer and Delphos over Ron Richards and immediately donated back the $200 prize. Richards was awarded a FireCore wire set. Angie "the Assassin" Goodwin and Kevin Ralston took home Jax Wax car care kits for their efforts.


The JEGS Sportsman Eliminator was won by Larry Smith, who earned a Stoner Care detailing kit, donated by Peter Taraborelli. Jason Wheatcraft came in second.


Mark May won a case of Brad Penn Racing Oil donated by Precision Machine for correctly guessing this year's "Mystery Part."


The JEGS Foundation supports cancer research at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center and at Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation, both in Columbus, Ohio.

COPO Camaros finish 1-2 at Charlotte Factory Stock Showdown

No one was more surprised than 19-year-old Peter Gasko Jr. when his red 2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro activated the win light April 30 at ZMAX Dragway in the final of the SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown.


“This is probably the coolest and most exciting thing that has ever happened to me,” said Gasko, of Monroe Township, NJ, who won on a holeshot. “I want to thank everyone who helped us get the win. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”


That included David Barton, who was the runner-up in the second round of the five-event series. In addition to having a Ray Barton Racing Engine in the striking red 2017 Chevrolet COPO Camaro he was driving, Barton built the powerplant employed by Gasko in the event in Concord, NC.


“That’s what is cool about this is that everyday people can get into one and go straight to the top,” said Barton, of Robesonia, PA, who won the season opener in the series at Gainesville, FL, and three of the four events last year in the ’16 Chevrolet COPO Camaro owned by Gary Wolkwitz. “We put him right to the top right away. They were just blown away. It was a like a dream.”


In 1969, Chevrolet's Central Office Performance Order (COPO) program became the source of dealer-ordered, factory drag racing cars that would go on to post many victories in the National Hot Rod Association’s Super Stock and Stock Eliminator classes. When the COPO concept was unveiled at the 2011 SEMA Show, the overwhelming response inspired the decision for a limited, special-edition production run.


A 69-car production was selected to commemorate the original number of ZL-1 COPO Camaros made in 1969, and all 2017 models have long been spoken for.


The production race cars are fitted with racing chassis and suspension components, including a solid rear axle system in place of a regular production Camaro’s independent rear axle, a three-speed automatic transmission, and all the NHRA-mandated safety features.


“That’s what is cool about the Factory Showdown; it’s a whole new era of muscle cars,” Barton said. “We saw where the class is going and Gary was so excited about last season that he didn’t think twice about jumping into a new car. The looks, for starters. They look a lot cooler and look faster just sitting there.


“The car is lighter, and driving the car feels smoother. There are suspension upgrades and a bigger intercooler tank, just a handful of details. Every year Chevrolet keeps improving it.”


The third round of the School of Automotive Machinists and Technology (SAM Tech) NHRA Factory Stock Showdown series is scheduled for June 20-22 at Norwalk, OH. The seven-week gap will allow Barton time to dive into fine-tuning the engine-chassis package. 

Mid Atlantic .90 Association begins season on a somber note

The Mid Atlantic .90 Association kicked off its 2017 season with the 4th Annual Northeast Shootout. Drivers from all over the Northeast converged on the South Jersey facility to kick off the new season on April 29 and 30. The event was held on a somber note as President Rob Keister lost his mother earlier in the week after she fought a long battle with cancer.


On Saturday, Parlin, NJ, Super Comp standout Chris DePasquale took home his first Mid Atlantic .90 Trophy in his "Addicted" Undercover Dragster with a victory over Steve Everett Sr. DePasquale left little room for Everett in the final round with a .005 light and almost perfect 8.903 to take home the victory.

In Super Gas, Hank Smith (far lane) from Leesport, PA, took his Ken's Kustom Camaro to victory over Joe Eckel out of Rockaway, NJ. Smith took the advantage at the tree (.002 to .026) and parlayed that into a 9.923 to 9.920 holeshot victory.


Rounding out Saturday's action, it was a battle of old rivals as the only two Super Street Champs the series has seen squared off in the finals. In the end Keith Mayers out of Ellendale, DE, took to victory over Gilbertsville, PA’s own Jimmy Stack when both drivers recorded 10.892 ET's, but Mayers won it on baby holeshot.


On Sunday, the series concluded its second race of the weekend with three new winners. In Super Gas, two-time MASGA Champion Tom Goldman took his 1958 Corvette to victory over Saturday's winner Hank Smith when Smith lit the red light in the final. In Super Comp, Kathy Smulligan out of Coopersburg, PA gave Steve Everett Sr. his second runner-up of the weekend with an 8.894 to 8.890 result and her first MASCA victory since 2010 at Maple Grove.

In Super Street Marty Ganjoin (near lane) scored his first victory of the season in his 1968 Camaro after Jimmy Stack fouled by .001 in his 1970 Dodge. Ganjoin legged it out to a 10.93 at 134 mph for the victory.


The series will take the month of May off before returning to action at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, MD, on Father's Day Weekend of June 17 and 18.


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Chad Head returns to the seat of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry this weekend at the NHRA Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia.

The dragster will be driven for the Sydney event by none other than former NHRA champ, Richie Crampton.  Lamattina Top Fuel Racing, one of Australia’s drag racing teams, has put their support behind Novita Children’s Services for the event at Sydney Dragway on May 5-7..

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