Matusek takes Pro Mod win at Houston

Steve Matusek (near lane) and teammate Danny Rowe in the second round at Houston. 


Steve Matusek got the win in the J&A Services Pro Mod series at the NHRA Houston SpringNationals. He got the first-round win over Steven Whiteley and then took out teammate Danny Rowe in the second round. Mike Castellana, who had set Low ET at 5.685 seconds, was off pace in the semi and Matusek moved on. Shane Molinari, who had set Top speed at 257.24 mph, left way too early in the final.


Matusek moves up to second in the Pro Mod points with 147 while Castellana leads with 169.

Emmons scrapes by

Gary Emmons took a bit of a hairy ride Sunday afternoon during the Stock class eliminations. In the fifth round his Cobra Jet did a big wheelie in the right lane and then came down and crossed the center line. Emmons corrected but the car then headed into the right wall, leaving a bit of damage to the Mustang and some stuff to sweep off the track.

VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 4 - April  2017

Pro Stock at Houston shows competition is equalizing

After a frustrating season for both teams in 2016, Bo Butner and Jeg Coughlin Jr. made it to the final round of Pro Stock at the NHRA SpringNationals at Houston. Due to a short field of 13 cars, each had received a bye run, Coughlin in the first and Butner in the second.


James “Bo” Butner secured his first Wally by defeating Coughlin Jr. in the final. When the lights flashed, both men left with identical .061-second reaction times with Butner managing to inch away at each incremental timer for a slight 6.550 to 6.562-second win.


“We got it off our back,” Butner said. “It was the eighth time and I was due. I’ve always, always had a chance to win, so today it happened and maybe they’ll start rolling like snowballs.”


Proving that their return to Chevrolet was a good idea, Coughlin was low qualifier at 6.499 seconds and Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders set top speed at 213.37 mph.

Enders, known for her great reaction times, got too fast in her first-round match against husband, Richie Stevens. Both jumped the gun, Enders .009 and Stevens just .003 to take the win.

Gray, Laughlin teams add post-run excitement

After a first-round Pro Stock drag race that had rookie Tanner Gray getting off the line first and beating Gas Monkey Energy Drink driver Alex Laughlin to the finish line for the win, the two drivers exchanged heated words at the top end in a fracas that later spilled over to the pits and involved with both crews.


According to Laughlin, Gray took exception to Laughlin's staging procedure and wanted to make his point when the two met at the other end of the track.


"I got down there, turned the car off and got out," Laughlin said. "We were both walking over to the ticket stand to get our time slips and I had absolutely nothing to say to him. He grabbed his ticket before I got mine and then he slapped me on the back and said 'how the (expletive deleted) did that work out for you?'


The words flew in both directions with Laughlin telling Gray, ”You’re 17 years old [he actually turned 18 on Apr. 15], you show zero sportsmanship and you have a lot to learn about racing at this level.”


The words continued from both sides back in the pits and the crews then added some physical jousting to the incident.


"The whole thing is just stupid and could have been avoided if he just grew up a little,” said Laughlin. “He's going to have a very hard career if he acts like a spoiled kid every race."


There has been some simmering animosity between Gray Motorsports and Elite Motorsports for quite some time, which was further exacerbated when Laughlin switched from using Gray motors to Elite motors before this race.


Gray went on to a 6.547/211.86 to 6.628/209.75 defeat of Richie Stevens in the second round, but went red against Jeg Coughlin in the semifinal.   

Smith returns to drive ‘Entertainer’ at PBIR

VP Racing Fuels® has announced the appointment of Donato Bonacquisto as Director of Marketing.  In that position, Bonacquisto will be responsible for advertising, sponsorships, event management and public relations in support of all VP business divisions including Race Fuel, Branding and Consumer Products.


Bonacquisto comes to VP from Hankook Tire America where, as Motorsports and Events Manager, he promoted the Hankook Tire brand in the U.S. market across a mix of professional and amateur motorsports initiatives and top-level events in the consumer, aftermarket and commercial sectors.  Prior to that, he held management positions at multiple NASCAR Cup Series teams in both marketing and business development capacities, in addition to tenures with JHE Production Group managing elements of the Sprint title sponsorship with NASCAR and SPEED Channel as Event Marketing Manager.  Bonacquisto has also held roles in the automotive industry producing media/press launches at APEX Performance and managing luxury brands including Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche, Aston Martin and Bentley.


In a related move, VP’s Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Wall, is transitioning to a new position as Senior Director-Branded Retail, responsible for wholesale brand development including both VP-branded gas stations/convenience stores and VP FASTLUBE™ service centers.  In his new role, Wall will lead a team of Regional Sales Managers as well as pursue large customers both nationally and internationally.

Midwest Super Comp series opens season at Byron

The 30th season of racing for the Midwest Super Comp Series opened at Byron Dragway with a very popular win by the Kwasiborski brothers over Pat LaMont in Saturday's race.

Sunday's final was contested between two close friends Joe Fuesting and Chad LaMont. LaMont was having a great day defeating both Brian and Nick Folk and cutting a .009 light in the final. However, it was Fuesting who was closer to the index in a double breakout 8.89 to LaMont's 8.88.

New concrete ready for this week’s test & tune at Toronto

With the Dragway at Toronto Motorsports Park set to open for the 2017 season this Sunday, track personnel are proud to announce that work has taken place over the past two weeks to improve starting line traction. This weekend’s Test & Tune session, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. will give competitors their first look at the reworked surface.


The work, which was concentrated in the starting line area of the 1320-foot racing surface, is intended to create a stronger bond between the concrete and the glue/rubber that is applied during track preparation. The process, which involved wet abrasive blasting, not only removed the build-up of existing rubber and glue left behind from years of competition, but also put a mild profile on the concrete surface, which is intended to promote better adhesion during track prep. The work was performed with equipment supplied by BlastALL Equipment Rental & Supply, owned by the McIntyre Family, which sells, rents and services the Graco wet abrasive blasting equipment that was used in the process.


While the racing surface will undoubtedly require some breaking in, Dragway Track Manager Neale Armstrong is optimistic about the improvement this will make during track prep and in the long term for competitors.


“We’ve had issues in the past with the glue not adhering as good as it should, so this work was done with the intention of helping that bond better with the concrete surface,” stated Armstrong.

Street Outlaws take over the Rock

Despite a loss to Jeremy Rogers and “The Bank Note” 1969 Chevy Nova, Shane McAlary of Elk City, Okla. and his “Blackbird” 1977 Chevy Vega were the overall winners of Sunday’s inaugural Street Outlaws Takeover at Rockingham Dragway.


Rogers, of Canute, Okla., broke a connecting rod, got into his own oil and hit the wall with his 1972 Chevy Nova beyond the finish line after beating McAlary in their head-to-head showdown. When he was unable to return, McAlary went on to beat Shannon Poole of Moss Pointe, Miss., in the popular “Big Dookie” 1967 Chevy Chevelle for the unofficial title.


The shootout lost some of its luster when Chuck Seitsinger of Oklahoma City, currently No. 1 on “The List” on the Discovery Channel’s highly-rated “Street Outlaws” series at the wheel of his “Death Trap” twin-turbo Mustang, opted not to compete for fear of damaging his engine in advance of the taping of a new segment next Saturday in which he will be racing for a $75,000 top prize. Instead, Seitsinger hung with the fans and signed autographs until the event’s conclusion.


In the featured 28/275 Shootout, Carlton Thompson of Tallahassee, Fla., won an all-Mustang final round over Winnabow’s Randy Eller who was assisted on Sunday by former Mountain Motor Pro Stock standout Jeff Dobbins of Wilmington.

The Small Block Nitrous Shootout went to Matt Bowers of Fort Lawn, SC, who beat David Brinkley of Wilmington in another all-Mustang final.


FOOTBRAKE FINAL – Dell Britt, Pembroke, 1983 Chevy Camaro, .040, 7.786 on a 7.560, 89.92 mph, def. Mark Soles, Delco, NA, foul.


JR. DRAGSTER FINAL – Kiya Elks, Marshville, .121, 7.929, 79.32 mph, def. Matthew Minter, Fredericksburg, Va., .166, 7.889 breakout, 80.90 mph.


6.0/7.0 FINAL – Daniel Comer, New London, 1971 Ford Maverick, .020, 7.053 on a 7.000, 105.00 mph, def. Todd Comer, 1997 Ford Ranger, foul. 

DENSO to sponsor Angie Smith for four events starting at Charlotte

DENSO Products and Services Americas, an affiliate of leading global automotive supplier DENSO Corp., has partnered with Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Angie Smith as her lead sponsor for four weekend contests of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The first event, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, takes place April 28-30 at Smith’s hometown racetrack, zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, NC.


After extensive off-season testing, Smith is racing on DENSO Iridium spark plugs for the entire 2017 season.


In addition to the North Carolina race, DENSO will be Smith’s lead sponsor at the July 28-30 Toyota Sonoma Nationals in California, the Sept. 29-Oct. 1; AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals in Illinois, and the Oct. 26-29 Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas.

Rain postpones Virginia LODRS event until August

Mother Nature got the best of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series this past weekend at Virginia Motorsports Park and the 2017 NHRA Northeast Division opener.


With rainy weather forecast for Sunday, NHRA and track officials altered the schedule and were hoping to run all rounds of eliminations on Saturday and complete the event. However, the rain came early forcing officials to postpone the event which has been rescheduled for August 26, back at VMP. Qualifying was completed and all classes are closed to new entries except for the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League classes that are running in conjunction with the event.


When racing resumes on August 26, competitors will get one time run prior to the start of eliminations. Round one of Stock Eliminator was completed on Saturday prior to the rain putting a halt to the racing action. The track will be open on Friday, August 25, for a test and tune day.


Northeast division racers will head to Maple Grove Raceway, May 26-28, for their next NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event.

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