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2010 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals event notebook
Friday, September 03, 2010

Event info: About | Tickets | Schedule | Entries
From the track: Results | Team reports
Coverage: Notebook | Staff blog | Live blog
Multimedia: Audiocast | Photos | Video

News and notes from Monday at the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals from O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. Compiled by the National DRAGSTER staff.

MONDAY (Previous: Friday | Saturday | Sunday)
Last update: 5 p.m. (Click to latest)

Welcome to raceday (9 a.m.): Welcome to the final day of the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Luicas Oil. Today is the day we make legends and crowns champions at Indy. After five days of time trials and qualifying, at day's end we'll be handing out the most special of NHRA Wally trophies.

It's currently about 60 degrees under whispy white clouds. The forecast day is for much warmer today that the previous days, jumpin gabout 1 degrees to the high 80s. We'll find out which teams were planning ahead, which teams can adapt, and who will reign supreme.

Pre-race ceremonies will begin at 9:30 will all of the hoopla and pangeantry for which the U.S. Nationals is known, with final eliminations beginning at 11 a.m. Stand by!

WFO Radio: A special edition of WFO Radio will air at 7 p.m. ET tonight following the U.S. Nationals.  The show will include interviews with the newly crowned U.S. Nationals champions plus coverage of post-race press conferences from the media center at O'Reilly Raceway Park.  The U.S. Nationals post-race show will be replayed on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET during the typical WFO Radio NHRA Tuesday time slot
To listen live, go to wforadio.com or download the free WFO Radio iPhone application.  All past episodes and interviews including 6.5 hours of coverage from the U.S. Nationals are available on-demand at wforadio.com or at iTunes.

Special awards: Pre-race ceremonies are coming to a close, and, as is tradition at each event, special awards were handed out to a trio of racers. Lloyd Wofford's SS/AH Cuda was voted Best Appearing Car and John Gaydosh's military-tribute team was named Best Appearing Crew. The prestigious Best Engineered Vehicle award was presented to Comp racer Scott Parks for his Nostalgia Dragster.

Live blogging: If you haven't already done so, check out the live blogging going on over at our Interactive@Indy page. You can follow the live commentary and reporting of eliminations and ask questions of the National DRAGSTER staff covering the event. Check it out here. From that page you also can access the ND Staff Blog, which is offering behind-the-scenes stories from the event.

Fire in the pipes! (11 a.m.): The first pair of fuelers are fired up! Hot Rod Fuller and Steve Torrence lead things off in the first round of Top Fuel. Follow along on the live chat here.

Top Fuel round one (11:25 a.m.): A trio of stunning holeshot wins open round one with Steve Torrence putting it to Rod Fuller, Doug Kalitta uncharacteristically second off the line against T.J. Zizzo, and noted leaver Shawn Langdon zapping Antron Brown.

Tony Schumacher takes a step toward his ninth Indy win and a shot at passing Don Garlits' record in taking down gutty Terry Haddock with a 3.815 that Larry Dixon matches in beating Bruce Litton. Cory Mac outdoes them both with a 3.811 against up-in-smoke Terry McMillen. Brandon Bernstein a nice 4.83 against Bob Vandergriff Jr. and Morgan Lucas advances against a traction-plagued Dave Grubnic.

Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold:
vs. Torrence
Bernstein vs. Langdon
McClenathan vs. Zizzo
Schumacher vs. Lucas

Funny Car round one (11:50 a.m.): Huge upset on a holeshot by Melanie Troxel over No. 2 qualifier Ron Capps and by Paul Lee over Robert Hight. Other winners were Cruz Pedregon over Jeff Arend, Ashley Force Hood over Del Worsham, Matt Hagan over Tony Pedregon, John Force over Brainerd champ Bob Bode, Jack Beckman over Tim Wilkerson, and Bob Tasca III over Jim Head.

Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold:
Hagan vs.Tasca
C. Pedregon vs.Force
Troxel vs.Beckman
Lee vs. Force Hood

Pro Stock round one (12:10 p.m.): A red-light by Johnny Gray advances Greg Anderson. V. Gaines beats Kurt Johnson, Jeg Coughln takes down Rodger Brogdon, Jason Line over Ronnie Humphrey, Allen Johnson over red-lighting Steve Spiess, Mike Edwards over Justin Humphreys, Greg Stanfield over Warren Johnson, and Ron Krisher over Shane Gray

Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold:
vs. Anderson
Coughlin vs. Gaines
A. Johnson vs. Krisher
Line vs. Stanfield

Pro Stock Motorcycle round one (12:25 p.m.): Red-lights by Karen Stoffer, Craig Treble, Shawn Gann, Joe DeSantis, and Wesley Wells advance Steve Johnson, Chip Ellis, Matt Smith, LE Tonglet, and Andrew Hines. In green-light goes, Jim Underdahl takes down Michael Phillips, Hector Arana beats Redell Harris (by just .009 second!), and Eddie Krawiec chases down Doug Horne. Hines' 6.921 is low for the round.

Second-round pairings, lane choice in bold:
vs. Johnson
Arana vs. Underdahl
Tonglet vs. Ellis
Krawiec vs. Smith

Top Fuel round two (1:30 p.m.): Brandon Bernstein breaks something in the steering backing up from his burnout and has to shut off; solo for Shawn Langdon. Larry Dixon cruises away from Steve Torrence with a 3.830, Morgan Lucas smokes 'em against Tony Schumacher, and Cory mac goes low for the round at 3.82 against T.J. Zizzo.

Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
vs. Langdon
McClenathan vs. Schumacher

Funny Car round two (1:40 p.m.): Ashley Force Hood is solid at 4.13 to end Paul Lee's upset bid. Low qualifier Matt Hagan overcomes lack of lane choice to beat Bob Tasca III, John Force beats smoked-in Cruz Pedregon, and Jack Beckman outlasts Melanie Troxel.

Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
Hagan vs.Force
Beckman vs. Force Hood

Pro Stock round two (1:50 p.m.): Greg Anderson shakes out of contention against Mike Edwards, V. Gaines outruns Jeg Coughlin, Ron Krisher turns it red against Allen Johnson, and Greg Stanfield stops jason Line on a holeshot and gets lane choice to boot.

Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
Edwards vs. Gaines
Johnson vs. Stanfield

Pro Stock Motorcycle round two (2 p.m.): Brainerd runner-up Jim Underdahl keeps the magic going by beating Hector Arana, Eddie Krawiec is 6.911 against red-lighting Matt Smith and will lose lane choice to LE Tonglet, who beats Chip Ellis with a 6.87. Andrew Hines joins Krawiec inthe semis with a 6.92 conquest of Steve Johnson.

Semifinal pairings, lane choice in bold
vs. Underdahl
Tonglet vs. Krawiec

Top Fuel semifinals (3:10 p.m.): Larry Dixon advances to the Indy Top Fuel final again at Shawn Langdon's expense and will have lane choice against Cory McClenathan, who outduels Tony Schumacher (who hasn't lost here since 2005) as both cars lose traction around halftrack.

Funny Car semifinals (3:15 p.m.): Ashley Force Hood goes back to the final round. She won here last year in Funny Car and in 2004 in Alcohol Dragster. her opponent? Her father, who outlasts low qualifier Matt Hagan in another tire-smoking top-end battle.

Pro Stock semifinals (3:20 p.m.): Allen Johnson can't make it down the tough-on-Pro Stockers right lane and shuts down; Greg Stanfield races to the final, his first at Indy. Stanfield will take on Mike Edwards, who's stuck in the bad right lane but gets a -.050 red-light from V. Gaines.

Pro Stock Motorcycle semifinals (3:25 p.m.): Jim Underdahl breaks just off the line but Andrew Hines would have been tough with a 6.89. LE Tonglet prevented an all-Harley final by beating Eddie Krawiec, 6.90 to 6.93.

Final rounds (5 p.m.): LE Tonglet all but locks up the rookie of the year award by upsetting low qualifier Andrew Hines to win the U.S Nationals. The victory moves him into second place in points. Greg Stanfield also earns his first Indy win, but has to do it the hard way, on a holeshot. 6.665 to 6.627 over Mike Edwards. Ashley Force Hood won her second straight Indy Funny Car title with a 4.14 when her dad's Ford falters just off the line. Dixon wins his fourth Indy Top Fuel crown and his first since 2005 in a great race with Cory McClenathan, 3.83 to 3.87.

Final eliminations day (9:30 a.m.): Here we go, race fans, time for the final two qualifying passes to set the fields for Monday's final eliminations. We're in the midst of some Sportsman eliminations, leading up to the final Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car qualifying session, followed by their first round later today.

Full Throttle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Weather conditions are 55 degrees under a cloudless sky, heading to a high of 77 degrees. Monday is forecast in the high 80s, so if we're going to see more big number at this year's Indy, it will have to be today.

Pros on deck (10:50 a.m.): Alcohol qualifying is winding down and the Pros will be up at 11:30 a.m.

New plan (11:30 a.m.): Due to a protracted oildown cleanup in Alcohol Dragster, the last four TAD entries -- Randy Meyer, Jim Whiteley, Chris Demke, and Bill Recihert -- will get their runs later today as they have to give away to Pro qualifying due to live TV commitments on ESPN2. They'll run after the Pros.

Multimedia additions (11:45 a.m.): Video clips of yesterday's Pro qualifying and a Sportsman photo gallery have been added to the site. Access them from the tabs on the home page news window.

Pro Stock Motorcycle, session four (12:15 p.m.): Andrew Hines' domination continues. He posts a 6.87 to bank another three bonus points. LE Tonglet was strong with a 6.87. Eddie Krawiec and Matt Smith ran matching 6.938s, but Krawiec was faster with a 190-mph speed, so he'll get the final qualifying bonus point.

Pro Stock session four (12:45 p.m.): Some great runs early as Allen Johnson runs 6.580 to match Jeg Coughlin's Friday pass, but gets the top spot on a better speed, a feat that Jason Line duplicates to also move past Jeg and into second. 6.580 is a popular e.t. Mike Edwards squeaks past all three of them with a 6.579 for the No. 1 spot with one session to go.

Funny Car session 4 (1:45 p.m.): Jack Beckman goes low for the round with a 4.076 right alongside Ashley Force Hood's 4.077. No major changes at the top .. still Matt Hagan then Ron Capps. The bump was 4.16 by John Smith, but his car came up 10 pounds light at the scales so the official bump with one session to go is Jeff Diehl at 4.25.

Top Fuel session four (2:20 p.m.): No changes atop the field as Larry Dixon maintains the pole. Cory McClenathan's 3.86 was low for the round. "Hot Rod" Fuller was scond-quick at 3.87 and Dixon third at 3.88.

National record (3 p.m.): Looks like we have our second new national record of the event. Brad Personett ran 254.52 in the final Pro Mod session which, backed up by his 254.14 yesterday, gives him the new speed record. The old mark was 253.52.

Pro Stock Motorcycle session 5 (4 p.m.): Lots of improvements and runs into the sixes. Michael Phillips runs 196.39 for top speed on a 6.91 pass. Thirteen riders are in the sixes but Wesley Wells' 7.054 bump falls shy of the 7.025 record bump.LE Tonglet has a monster run of 6.849, tying the second quickest pass in class history, to jump to No. 2 behind Andrew Hines' 6.815. It quickly becomes the third quickest pass as Hines runs a stunning 6.836 and also nets top speed at 196.76.

Pro Stock session 5 (4:45 p.m.): The bump began and ended with Justin Humphreys at 6.631. although Richie Stevens Jr. got close with a 6.632. Ron Krisher drops some jaws with low e.t. of the round at 6.594. Jason Line is second best at 6.601.

Funny Car session 5 (5:30 p.m.): Tony Pedregon bumps his wayinto the field and lands on the bump, keeping alive his long qualifying streak alive. Matt  Hagan, the low qualifier, also is quickest this session, posting a 4.095. Robert Hight was second quick at 4.103 and Del Worsham third best.

Top Fuel session 5 (6:10 p.m.): Not much to report here as there was no movement in the top 16. Larry Dixon remains No. 1 in the field.

Saturday, at the Park: Welcome back to O'Reilly Raceway Park and Saturday of the 56th Big Go. We've got two Full Throttle sessions scheduled today (followed by two more Sunday)beginning at 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m.

We also have a nostlagia Funny Car exhinition today after the first session. That should be exciting,

Live blogging: If you haven't already done so, check out the live blogging going on over at our Interactive@Indy page. You can follow the live commentary and asks questions of the National DRAGSTER staff covering the event. Check it out here. From that page you also can access the ND Staff Blog, which will be offering behind-the-scenes stories from the event. Yesterday was a roaring good time (you can access the transript for yesterday in the Completed Events section).

Records were made to be broken (12:05 p.m.): Five track records fell in Full Throttle qualifying yesterday, including both ends of the record in Top Fuel and Funny Car as well as the Pro Stock speed mark.

Cory McClenathan's 3.789 broke the 3.816 record of Tony Schumacher while Schumacher's 321.35 broke Antron Brown's incoming 319.22. Robert Hight's 4.055 bettered
Tony Pedregon's 4.073 from two years ago while John Force stole the speed mark from daughter Ashley, 312.86 to 309.84. Allen Johnson's 209.46 busted the 209.01 held by Mike Edwards.

Edwards still holds (for now) the e.t. mark at 6.581. Both ends of the Motorcycle record (6.918 by Matt Smith, 193.85 mph by Andrew Hines) still exist. Hines has held that mark since 2005.

JEGS renews SPORTSnats: JEGS Mail Order, a nationwide leader in the sales and distribution of parts and supplies for the aftermarket performance industry, has signed a multi-year agreement with NHRA to renew its title sponsorship of all three NHRA SPORTSnationals events it was announced today during a news conference at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. [Full story]

Pro Stock Motorcycle session 2 (3:20 p.m.): An incredible series of runs close out the session as the track record is broken over and over again before it ends up with Andrew Hines at 6.815 at 195.17. The e.t. is the quickest in class history. Other great runs were 6.86 by Eddie Krawiec and 6.90s by Hector Arana and LE Tonglet.

Pro Stock session 2 (3:55 p.m.): Greg Anderson runs 6.60 early in the session that stays low until Jeg Coughlin runs 6.591 to surpass Mike Edwards' Friday-leadng 6.596. Jason Line betters that with a 6.587, and Allen Johnson follows with a duplicate number but his 209.75 speed is faster than Line.

Force Scooter giveaway: One of the fan promotions within the 25th anniversary celebration of John Force Racing’s association with Castrol, Susan Porter of Cumberland Furnace, Tenn., drove away Saturday with one of the most infamous scooters in the history of NHRA drag racing, the actual scooter on which 14-time Funny Car champion John Force traversed NHRA tracks across the country for the first 17 races of the season.

Force presented Porter with the key to the scooter on which he has traversed NHRA tracks across the country during the 2010 Full Throttle series. The presentation was made at the John Force Racing sponsor midway trailer between Saturday qualifying rounds at the 56th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O’Reilly Raceway Park.

Force has been chronicled riding his scooter at tracks as he supports his drivers on ESPN2 broadcasts as well as in National DRAGSTER. A scooter that has that many miles on it has picked up some obvious signs of wear and tear but the various scratches and dings only adds to the mystic in Porter’s eyes.

“When I saw the scooter for the first time I thought it was nice. I am not worried about some of the scratches. I think it gives it some class,” laughed Porter.

Top Fuel qualifying session 2 (5 p.m.):
Cory Mac was low yesterday at 3.78 and has the best run of this session with a 3.82. Larry Dixon and Antron Brown both record 3.85 for the next best runs,

Funny Car qualifying session 2 (5:40 p.m.): Like Cory Mac, Friday leader Robert Hight is also our leader this session, running a 4.0093. Ron Capps' 4.111 is second best then Matt Hagan's 4.112.

Pro Stock Motorcycle session 3 (6:45 p.m.): Lots of improvements, mostly up to the 6.97-6.98 range until LE Tonglet goes 6.91 and Hector Arana 6.95, but they only set the stage for the Harley twins, Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec.

Pro Stock session 3 (7:30 p.m.): Mike Edwards gets to run early due to his poor pass earlier today and grabs No. 1 back with a 6.585, better than Allen Johnson's 6.857. That lasts almost the whole session until Jeg Coughlin rips off a 6.580. Johnson gets the last shot at taking back the pole but shuts down early.

Top Fuel qualifying session 3 (8:20 p.m.): Tony Schumacher gpoes 3.790 and makes the second fastest run in class history, 324.84 -- second only to his 324.98 recorded earlier this year in Gainesville -- but he runs early in the session so there's high hopes for a possible naional record. We don't get it, but we get a sun-record run. 3.776 by Larry Dixon to go to No. 1. It's the second quickest pass in history after Cory Mac's 3.752.

Funny Car session 3 (8:50 p.m.): Cruz Pedregon rips a 4.057 and Ron Capps 4.049, but it's Capps' teammate, record holder Matt Hagan, who takes away everyone's bretah with an early shutoff (277 mph!) pass of 4.039 to take the No. 1 spot.




Finally it's Friday: Welcome to Day 3 of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. After two days of Sportsman time trials and class eliminations, today will be the first day of qualifying for the Full Throttle classes. Alcohol qualifying is at noon and the day's lone Pro session at 5:15 p.m.

Full Throttle teams will get two more runs Saturday and two Sunday to set the fields for Monday's final eliminations.

Already big news: Even though the event is still in 2nd gear, already there have been some big developments. The first is the absence of nine-time Indy winner Frank Manzo, whose bid to unseat Bob Glidden as Indy's all-time winner will have to wait another year. Manzo's , Dominic, passed away Monday so he won't nbe in attendance.

The other big news is that the multi-time Hemi Challenge-winning duo of Charlie Westcott Sr. and Jr. both broke their Cudas yesterday and reportedly won't be part of today's always-thrilling class eliminations.

Live blogging: If you haven't already done so, check out the live blogging going on over at our Interactive@Indy page. You can follow the live commentary and asks questions of the National DRAGSTER staff covering the evevt. Check it out
here. From that page you also can access the ND Staff Blog, which will be offering behind-the-scenes stories from the event.

Track records: Top Fuel - 3.816 sec. by Tony Schumacher, Sept. ’09; 319.22 mph by Antron Brown, Sept. ’09 Funny Car - 4.073 sec. by Tony Pedregon, Sept. ’08; 309.84 mph by Ashley Force Hood, Sept. ’09 Pro Stock - 6.581 sec. by Mike Edwards, Sept. ’09; 209.01 mph by Edwards, Sept. ’09 Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.918 sec. by Matt Smith, Sept. ’09; 193.85 mph by Andrew Hines, Sept. ’05.

Pro Stock notes: John Nobile’s son Vince, who made his Pro Stock driving debut at Brainerd, will be back in action again at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. But instead of driving his father’s car, he will be behind the wheel of the Ford Mustang that Larry Morgan drove for the first portion of this season. Morgan’s best performance with that vehicle was a semifinal round finish at the season-opening Winternationals.

Bob Benza, who has not attended a NHRA national event since Norwalk, will be competing at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Benza’s engine builder, Tom Martino, said, we’ve been working a lot on our current engine since Norwalk and the dyno numbers are the best that we’ve ever seen. We ‘cautiously optimistic’ about our chances this weekend.

Radio Indy: WFO Radio is running an NHRA special edition show live from the U.S. Nationals.  Guests today included Terry McMillan, Steve Torrence, TJ Zizzo, Greg Stanfield, Kenny Koretsky, Lewis Bloom, Bob Frey, Alan Reinhart, and Herb McCandless. Yon listen to the archive here:

They'll be back on the air live tomorrow (Saturday) beginning at 10 a.m.

Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying session 1 (5:55 p.m.): Andrew Hines, the No. 1 seed in the Countndown, shows exactly why he has that lofty position by grabbing the No. 1 spot with a 6.97. Just one run today for the Full Throttle teams.

Pro Stock session 1 (6:35 p.m.): Mike Edwards runs 6.596 to end up with the pole position, with Allern Johnson on his heels at No. 2 with a 6.601.

Funny Car session 1 (7:25 p.m.): Ashley Force Hood breaks the track record -- both ends actually -- with a 4.059, 310.98. The speed record she broke was her own. More cars still to come.

The record doesn't stand through the session as both of her teammates take pieces of it as Robert Hight goes 4.055 for the No. 1 spot and John Force 312.86 on a 4.058 pass that's good for No. 2.

Top Fuel session 1 (8:15 p.m.): Cory McClenaqthan. who led pre-event testing here with a 3.79, goes that one better with a 3.78 to take the No. 1 spot. Tony Schumacher has top speed at 321.35 mph.