Team Aruba to debut new Pro Stock at Indy

Ten Mountain Motor Pro Stocks were invited to be a part of the most prestigious event in drag racing, and Team Aruba was one of them.


“This is an honor and privilege for our team,” stated team owner, Ven Eman. “People work for years just to attend the event or have the opportunity of racing there. To be a part of such a historical moment and be one of the first Mountain Motor Pro Stocks to run at the U.S. Nationals is a huge honor.”


This opportunity is even more exciting for Team Aruba because they will be debuting a new Aruba.com Mustang built by Jerry Haas and powered by an 830 ci Kaase engine.


“We are very excited to bring out our new car,” added Eman. “To be able to debut it at the U.S. Nationals is simply incredible, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We are looking forward to getting this machine on the quarter-mile and seeing what it can do.  

Palmer is racing the ‘Frank Manzo way’

Locked in a three-man battle for the last two playoff spots in Top Fuel, Scott Palmer brings his CatSpot Organic Cat Litter Top Fuel dragster team to the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with firm plans to follow the advice of a drag racing legend.


"Frank Manzo taught me something when I raced with him," Palmer said of the 105-time national event winner. "He said his racing season always started at Indy and ended in Brainerd. So, basically before Indy every year he started fresh with new cars and new parts.


“Usually by Indy your stuff is getting tired and then you push everything harder at Indy because it's Indy and then you push it even harder down the stretch because you're racing for the championship. It really doesn't make sense to do your most important racing with old stuff.


"So, we are doing this the Frank Manzo way. Instead of testing for Indy, we went back and freshened everything up, replaced a lot of parts with new stuff from Tom Conway, and we're ready to give this thing our best effort. Frank won so many championships and races. He's the second winningest driver in NHRA history and he did it because when he got ready to go to Indy, he was starting fresh. We're following his lead."


Going into the weekend Palmer is in 9th place with 631 points and Mike Salinas is 10th with 638. Richie Crampton is only two points behind Salinas.      

Gladstone moves to Team Liberty Racing at Indy

Joey Gladstone will move from the Stoffer/Underdahl Pro Stock Motorcycle team to Team Liberty Racing owned by racer Cory Reed. Gladstone will ride Reed’s Buell V-Twin this week and Reed, who is waiting for a new bike to be built, will sit out the U.S. Nationals.


“We’re still good with the Stoffer/Underdahl team but we just weren’t getting the results we wanted,” Gladstone said. “I love those guys on that team and they’re a great team. I learned a lot while I was over there, but my plan has always been to run with Cory and Team Liberty Racing and we just decided to start early on our 2019 goal.


“I’m excited to work with Cory, the whole group at Team Liberty Racing, and the Whiteley family because they’ve always treated me like their own family. I was going to sit out the Countdown if I didn’t make it and now I have a great opportunity to make it into the Countdown on Cory’s bike.”


Gladstone currently sits 13th in the standings, 36 points behind Hector Arana in 10th place.     

Shane Tucker to start season at U.S. Nationals

Australian businessman and Pro Stock racer Shane Tucker will bring his Auzmet/Structglass Pro Stock Chevrolet Camaro to Indianapolis this week, racing for the first time this season. Starting on the Gold Coast of Australia the 33-year-old Tucker founded Auzmet Architectural and years later added a Dallas, TX, headquarters.


He built a Pro Stock team with his father who lives in Charlotte, NC, and the duo have campaigned a Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stock on the NHRA Mello Yello Series since in 2014.


“We are going to go our every race and try and get qualified and see what happens on Sunday,” Tucker said. “We are realistic but we also know that anything can happen. We have won rounds and beaten some of the established teams. This has been a great year for the underdog in NHRA when you look at some of the winners in the Nitro categories. I don’t consider myself an underdog but we know what we can do. I am putting my entire focus on this team and doing my best when we get to the track.”


Tucker will be racing the rest of this NHRA season with the exception of Maple Grove Raceway in September.  

Funny Car Showdown will determine final Countdown spots

Tim Wilkerson is going into the U.S. Nationals at the number 10 spot in the Funny Car standings, but can he defend his place at the final event before the Countdown to the Championship begins?


Three playoff spots for the Funny Car class are still up for grabs, though four-time Indy winner and 16-time world champ John Force holds a healthy 132-point lead on Bob Tasca. But with the points-and-a-half system in play (150 points to the winner) at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, anything can happen.


Three-time Indy winner Cruz Pedregon is 75 points back of Wilkerson, meaning his playoff chances are still alive, while Jonnie Lindberg has an outside shot. Sitting in ninth, 44 points ahead of Wilkerson, is 2013 Top Fuel world champ and Indy winner Shawn Langdon, who made his Funny Car debut this season. 

BRAKES expands Midwest training schedule

Kia Motors America and B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) are expanding the number of free defensive driving classes offered in the Midwest. Working with B.R.A.K.E.S., Kia aims to reduce the high rate of teens involved in motor vehicle crashes. B.R.A.K.E.S. has provided training for more than 30,000 teens and their parents nationwide since the program was founded in 2008 by former drag racer Doug Herbert after the deaths of his two sons in an automobile accident.


Midwest-based Kia Dealer Marketing Groups – with additional support from the Kansas and Missouri Departments of Transportation and other area businesses – have worked together to bring B.R.A.K.E.S. classes to Warrensburg, Missouri (Sept. 15 and Sept. 16); Topeka, Kansas (Sept. 22 and Sept. 23); Detroit (Sept. 29 and Sept. 30); Chicago (Oct. 6 and Oct. 7); Kansas City, Kansas (Oct. 27 and Oct. 28); St. Louis (Nov. 3 and Nov. 4); Cincinnati (Nov. 10 and Nov. 11) and Cleveland (Nov. 17 and Nov 18). To register for a class or see the upcoming schedule nationwide, visit here.   

Peak celebrates Force’s championships with special offer

Paying homage to the U.S. Nationals and team sponsor, Force will be chasing this weekend’s Wally in a specialty Chevrolet Accessories PEAK Camaro SS Funny Car. Chevrolet is celebrating Force’s 16 Funny Car championships with a special offer to fans until October 1st. When ordering eligible accessories online fans can enter code FORCE16 at checkout to receive a 16 percent discount. While at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, fans can also place their orders at the Chevrolet Performance display for the same discount.  

Hirata team returns with new TAD driver

It’s not the first go-around for the Hirata family, but for new driver Will Smith, this will be his first time driving at the U.S. Nationals. Dave’s father, Kenny, co-owned the Top Eliminator car that won the 1963 U.S. Nationals. After driving himself for a while, in 2014 Dave moved to being owner and tuner.


“We’re preparing for each event and going out there to win, while keeping our focus on our long-term goals for this team,” Smith said. “We’re preparing for 2019 in all aspects of our operation. We’re excited for the future.”   

NHRA adds Brainerd to 2019 Top Fuel Harley schedule

Jay Turner (near lane) and Bob Malloy this year at Houston. 


NHRA officials announced the schedule for the 10-race 2019 Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series.


New for the coming year, the category will compete at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, August 16-19, in Brainerd, MN.



Feb. 7-10: Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, CA

Feb. 22-24: NHRA Arizona Nationals, Phoenix

March 14-17: Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, FL

April 12-14: NHRA SpringNationals, Houston

June 7-9: Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, KS

June 14-16: Fitzgerald NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, TN

July 5-7: NHRA New England Nationals, Epping, NH

Aug. 2-4: NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle

Aug. 15-18: Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, MN

Aug. 28-Sept. 2: Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis  

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