Thursday Reminder: New National Dragster Issue Reveal http://t.co/3OONc14Ltp
Jeg Coughlin Jr. had a huge weekend at Heartland Park Topeka. He drove the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger to his 53rd Pro Stock win and 69th victory of his career, winning in Pro Stock for the first time since the Brainerd event in 2008. His place among the greats in the Pro Stock category is interesting considering how different his career path has been compared to those with similar accolades.
The Matco Tools Top Fuel and Pitch Energy Funny Car teams share more than just a hospitality center at the races and a roof under the Don Schumacher Racing facility in Brownsburg, Ind.
When teams weren’t battling each other during the past three weeks in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, they were getting trounced by a much more formidable opponent in Mother Nature. Rain has washed out two qualifying sessions for three straight events, and the postponement of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals creates five consecutive weekends of racing rather than having a week off leading up to the Topeka event. Rob Flynn, crew chief of the C&J Energy Services Top Fuel dragster that won in Houston, helps describe the changes in planning and approach caused by the weather.
The live television broadcast at this year’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries on ESPN2 gave fans at home a more in-depth look at what the teams go through to turn their cars around in the pits than what they could have previously witnessed without physically attending the event. The suspense of the coverage during the quick turnarounds paid off in dramatic wins for Bob Vandergriff Jr., Cruz Pedregon, Jason Line, and Hector Arana Jr.
You’d think that the only event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series that matches up four drivers at a time would be enough of a quirk in and of itself, but the spectacle of going four wide is usually joined by unrelated abnormalities and highlight-reel moments when the series heads to zMAX Dragway in Charlotte every spring. This year’s event provided further evidence.
The Countdown to the Championship format, in place since 2007, essentially resets the points with six races remaining to create a playoff among the top 10 drivers in each Professional category for their season titles. Teams have employed strategies around the format or otherwise benefited from it. Only four races into the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the tactics of a handful of teams have been clearly forged with the forgiveness of the 16-race regular season in mind.
When teams arrived at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, they had to dust off the notes that had laid dormant since last September when they had last experienced track temperatures of more than 120 degrees. Decision-makers were also wise to shake the go-for-the-throat mentality that became their default setting when traveling from one mineshaft to another. Those who raced smart were rewarded on the fourth stop in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Cruz Pedregon does things his way. The Funny Car veteran is in the rare position of being a driver, owner, and tuner, and he took an even rarer path to get there. Traditional crew chiefs are often befuddled by his array of old-school methods that lead to impressive numbers on the scoreboard. Pedregon shared how his situation came about and why it works for the Snap-on team.
The evidence collected in the first three events of the 24-race 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series indicates noticeable trends and exciting seasons in all four Professional categories. I’ve compiled a list of 10 lessons we’ve learned so far as the season begins to take shape.
At the conclusion of an exciting Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, the Don Schumacher Racing organization ruled the day with Funny Car winner Johnny Gray and Top Fuel victor Antron Brown scoring respective win Nos. 199 and 200 for the team dating back to its patriarch’s Funny Car victory in Indianapolis in 1970.