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Mar 01, 2013 - 06:55 PM
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2013 NHRA: Shoe's News: Countdown At 198
Posted by: newsla on Mar 01, 2013 - 06:54 PM
NHRA
2013 NHRA: Shoe's News: Countdown At 198


When Don Schumacher won his first NHRA Funny Car title in 1970, he never could have imagined that one day he would be responsible for collecting 197 more coveted NHRA Wally trophies with more to come.

 

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But after Ron Capps and Tony Schumacher won titles Sunday in the NHRA Arizona Nationals near Phoenix, Don Schumacher Racing is on the cusp of reaching what once was an unfathomable milestone of reaching 200 titles.

It is possible for DSR to end the mystery at the next NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event March 14- 17 in the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla.

It would take a double-up day in championship eliminations, but that’s what Tony in the U.S. Army Top Fuel Dragster and Ron in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car did at Firebird International Raceway.

It was the 35th national event when DSR teams won at least two titles.

After winning 22 of 46 possible titles in 2012, DSR is off to an even faster start to 2013.

In Funny Car at Firebird, Capps defeated teammate Matt Hagan in the Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge with new crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Mike Knudsen. DSR’s Johnny Gray earned the No. 1 qualifying spot in his Pitch Energy Dodge before losing traction in the opening round of eliminations.

While it was a disappointing day for reigning Funny Car champ Jack Beckman, the teams enjoyed success by unveiling the MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors Dodge and fans completed scores of encouraging postcards for Wounded Warriors.

In Top Fuel, each of the three DSR team enjoyed success along with the U.S. Army team.

Johnny Gray’s Pitch Energy Dodge Charger R/T won the team’s second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position at Firebird and posted two of the events quickest runs in qualifying but lost to the tricky Firebird track in the first round when a loss of traction sent Gray toward the guardwall where he glazed it and was disqualified.

Less than one week after Antron’s horrific crash in the opener at Pomona, Calif., the Matco Tools team prepared a new dragster that on its second pass down the track sat on the provisional pole before settling for the No. 2 qualifying spot. The team advanced to the semifinals before losing to Tony.

Spencer Massey rebounded from a first-round loss at Pomona to win his first-round race near Phoenix with a quicker reaction time and advanced to the semifinals with the Battery Extender Powered by Schumacher.

Mr. Brown goes to the Statehouse

Top Fuel world champ Antron Brown and Funny Car champ Jack Beckman of Don Schumacher Racing and other 2012 racing champions based in Indiana will be honored Tuesday by the Indiana Legislature, Gov. Mike Pence and Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann.

The event from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Indiana Statehouse is dubbed Motorsports Day at the Indiana Legislature and presented by the Indiana Motorsports Caucus.

Among champions being recognized along with Antron are: Eddie Krawiec, NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle, Vance & Hines; Ryan Hunter-Reay, IndyCar Series, Andretti Autosport; Dario Franchitti, Indy 500 winner, Target Chip Ganassi Racing; and Scott Pruett and Memo Rohas, Grand Am Racing, Target Chip Ganassi Racing.

NAPA Know How traditions

The NAPA AUTO PARTS team with Capps and crew chief Rahn Tobler are off a near flawless start with a runner-up at Pomona and Capps’ 39th NHRA title near Phoenix.

The NAPA team seems to add celebratory traditions each year, but a few have followed Tobler around.

After winning a title like the one in the Arizona Nationals, Tobler rides in the racecar while it’s towed back to the pits and drinks from a large, red tumbler bedazzled with sequins that he calls a "krunk cup." It started with "Rahn" in sequins on the tumbler but he lost the "R" and it now is "ahn" Cup. That’s what happens when your teams win a lot.

And in every winner’s circle the past few years, body and tire specialist Bill Pickett dons a once-bright yellow sports coat, oil smudges and all.

One thing missing so far this season is "Blue," a giant stuffed dog Tobler won for his wife, Ellen, at last year’s first event near Charlotte ... and right before the team mounted a hard-charge to the top of the pack.

HOW ABOUT THIS ... Tobler and his crew, which started last season with Jack Beckman, have won three of the past four Arizona Nationals titles. They helped Jack to the winner’s circle in 2010 and 2011, and Ron this year.

Jack, Frank talk at Gators

Racers, crews and fans will be treated to a special night with Frank Hawley and Jack Beckman, two of the most respected drag racing instructors in the world, when they discus the intricacies of the sport at 7 p.m. March 15 (the Friday of the Gatornationals) at the Best Western Gateway Grand (www.gatewaygrand.com) at Gainesville, Fla.

They have combined to win four NHRA world championships, taught over 20,000 drivers and given hundreds of lectures on the sport.

Hagan rebounds with Venables

It’s a happy camp in Matt Hagan’s Mopar/Rocky Boots pit since crew chief Dickie Venables and assistant Mike Knudsen took over to start this season.

Consider these comparison’s to Hagan’s 2012 season:

 The team’s record is 4-2 after two events; a year ago it didn’t win in the second round until Bristol, the 10th event of the season;

 The team is third in points after two events; the highest they ranked last season was a tie for 10th;

 The team advanced to the championship round in this year’s second event; its first final last season was at Sonoma, the 14th event of the year.

Shoe’s Store

New DSR souvenir items are being added regularly, and you don’t need to wait for the DSR merchandise trailer to arrive at a Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in your neighborhood to be outfitted in 2013 official DSR apparel and hats.

You can shop 24/7 at Store.ShoeRacingStore.com.

Among the newest items is a tribute T-shirt to DSR owner and Funny Car pioneer Don Schumacher that features seven of the Funny Cars that helped him earn induction on May 2 into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Ala.

New DSR designs are in stock.

Time fore DRAW golf

The deadline is approaching to enter the 17th annual DRAW Golf Tournament on March 13 at Gainesville, Fla., to kick off the March 14-17 NHRA Gatornationals.

DRAW - Drag Racing Association of Women - has busily been preparing for its first major fund-raising event of the season. Fans can join drivers and crew members and help the NHRA community.

DRAW provides financial and emotional support to qualified individuals involved in drag racing accidents at a track.

Individual entry is $80, and three Mulligans can be purchased for an additional $10. Event sponsorship also is available. Entry fee must be received by March 4, however, late entries would be accepted at the course including at the event until the field is full.

EF-65: Official Hand Cleaner of DSR

Say hello to DSR’s newest partner: eco-friendly EF-65 hand cleaner. The versatile hand cleaner that doesn’t require rinsing is in each of DSR’s seven pit areas and throughout the organization’s 120,000-square-foot headquarters that includes fabrication and CNC machine shops.

EF-65 Hand Cleaner is a safe, effective hand cleaner that is a non-toxic, biodegradable gel that does not contain harsh abrasives or chemicals, and works fast to remove heavy grease, oil and dirt build up from your hands. The non-greasy formula won't leave an oily residue and won't dry out skin.

Gary Longley, president of Seattle-based EF-65, said the coconut-based "family recipe" was purchased 50 years ago by his father-in-law, Jack Gourlie, who originally sold it door to door.

"I don’t see how I could be doing any better than to be involved with Don Schumacher Racing," Longley said. "This is the pinnacle for us and it would be for any corporation involved with DSR."



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