Nitro records broken at Brainerd

Leah Pritchett and Don Schumacher Racing's Papa John's Pizza Top Fuel dragster Powered by Pennzoil and led by crew chief Todd Okuhara and assistant Joe Barlam gave "Papa" John Schnatter the perfect one-year anniversary present on Friday night at Brainerd International Raceway.


One year ago at Brainerd, Schnatter attended his first NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event to see Pritchett and DSR's gold Papa John's dragster.


On her last qualifying run Friday Pritchett ran the thousand feet in 3.640 seconds that eclipsed the 3.658 record she previously held.


Her four wins in a season ties legendary Shirley Muldowney for most nitro event titles in a season by a woman. Pritchett shares another piece of history: Alexis DeJoria won the Funny Car title marking the first time women swept nitro titles at the same event.

In the fastest and quickest side-by-side run in NHRA Mello Yello history, Robert Hight of John Force Racing knocked Matt Hagan off the provisional pole Friday with the first Funny Car run to crack into the 3.7-second range. Hight, who has won two of the past three NHRA events, completed his run in 3.793 seconds at 338.50 mph to better Hagan's previous record of 3.802.


“I could tell it was running fast,” Hight said. “The clutch disc was boiling, and that’s the way Jimmy runs it. That’s how he wants to wear the clutch. It was hard to see, but I did see the 3.79 on the scoreboard, because we shut off at 1,000 feet, I had the chutes out, and I glanced up there but I didn’t know the speed.”


Hight also holds the Funny Car national speed record of 339.87 mph set recently at Sonoma Raceway.

Brittany Force qualified No. 2 in Top Fuel, making a run of 3.685 seconds at a track-record speed of 333.16 mph. That speed was the third best in NHRA history.   

DeJoria gets 250th win for women in NHRA, her first this year

Alexis DeJoria raced to her first win of the season, fifth of her career and the 250th women’s victory in NHRA history when she defeated Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Funny Car finals at Brainerd. Her 3.906 pass at 330.96 mph in her Tequila Patron Toyota Camry bettered Johnson Jr.’s 3.933 at 324.44 in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T.


“The last two years have been really difficult,” DeJoria said. “Lots of ups and downs, injuries, no wins, we just couldn’t get up to speed with everybody else. We were fighting so hard out there and you start to lose yourself in it. You start to forget the love that you had in the beginning. It’s times like those that make this so much better. You really appreciate every moment. This is a huge win for us.”


The DRO crew took some time off on Monday to view the solar eclipse, which was almost total here at the Phlegm Building. (Nice try leaving work early, guys!) We’ll have the full Brainerd report tomorrow.   

Friends and family honor ‘Drums’ Brancaccio by finishing Harley

When Nitro Harley racer Larry “Drums” Brancaccio died last October, his Godson, Michael Hopkins, was in the process of building a Nitro V-Twin for Drums to race. During the off-season, Hopkins decided to finish the project.


Hopkins and dozens of Brancaccio’s friends, family and colleagues gathered at Numidia Dragway in Catawissa, Pa., Aug. 19-20 to remember the fallen legend at the AMRA Vreeland’s Harley-Davidson Northeast Nitro Nationals. Longtime successful bracket racer Bill Rowe, Nitro Harley racer Rich Vreeland, and many others helped organize the tribute.


The bike had not made a pass on track, but Brancaccio’s good friend, Tracy Kile, took it out for the first round of qualifying.


A tip of the Agent’s motorcycle visor to Hopkins and the others for this heartfelt tribute.

Page, Cox lead Cecil Co. winners

Dan Page and DJ Cox took home the wins along with bothers Brian and Mike Sawyer at this weekend’s NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, MD.


Page, Hampstead, NH, faced off with Josh Hart, Ocala, Fla., in the final of Top Alcohol Dragster for the third time this year.  Page turned the tables this time taking the win and his first of the season with a 5.538 second, 262.79 mph pass to Hart’s 6.429, 154.79.  Hart won the previous meetings in Epping, N.H., and Atco, N.J.


Cox took the early lead against Phil Burkart in Top Alcohol Funny Car and just barely held on to the hard charging Burkhart who ran quicker at 5.601, 262.08.  Cox, Whiteford, MD, won with a 5.632 at 259.06 mph in his ’17 Monte Carlo.  The win was Cox’s first of the season while Burkart has two this year.


COMP: Calvin Hill, Tamaqua, Pa., '09 Grand AM, I/AA, 8.122, 150.23  def. Frank Aragona, Freehold, N.J., '16 Neil & Parks, E/DA, 7.477, 178.50.


SUPER STOCK: Joseph Franco, N. Babylon, N.Y., '98 Camaro, SS/IA, 9.781, 136.44  def. Douglas Linke, Old Bridge, N.J., '00 Firebird, GT/LA, foul.


STOCK: Todd Hoven, Milltown, N.J., '65 Coronet, AA/SA, 9.799, 130.30  def. Bubba Linke, Old Bridge, N.J., '97 Camaro, C/SA, 10.557, 121.49.


SUPER COMP: Mike Robilotto, Albany, N.Y., '13 Undercover, 8.911, 172.81  def. Brian Guthrie, Chesterfield, Va., '98 Ed Quay, 8.893, 168.98.


SUPER GAS: Mike Sawyer, Leominister, Mass., '03 Cavalier, 9.938, 163.41  def. Brenda Hunter, York, Pa., '63 Corvette, 9.986, 162.43.


SUPER STREET: Brian Sawyer, Luneburg, Mass., '67 Camaro, 10.899, 145.66  def. Barbara Markoglu, Staten Island, N.Y., dragster, broke.


TOP SPORTSMAN: Ronald Proctor, Harpers Ferry, W.Va., '09 Mustang, 6.799, 196.27  def. Nick Willard, Leominster, Mass., '68 Camaro, 7.386, 185.13.


TOP DRAGSTER: Kyle Cultrera, Eliot, Maine, '09 Undercover, 7.320, 166.83  def. Steven Kerns, Kutztown, Pa., '08 S & W, 8.200, 116.37.


PRO STOCK SNOWMOBILE: Frank Berard Jr, Troy, N.Y., '12 Skidoo, 8.789, 151.17  def. Benny Rosado, Sansown, N.H., '03 Skidoo, 8.736, 150.87.


JR DRAGSTER 13-17: Matt Schell, Glenmoore, Pa., '16 Half Scale, 7.943, 75.33  def. Pat Richardson, West Deptford, N.J., dragster, 7.928, 74.91.


JR DRAGSTER 10-12: Brody Harp, Souderton, Pa., '12 Half Scale, 8.953, 69.06  def. Kate Hall, Nokesville, Va., '17 BOS, 8.925, 73.18.


JR DRAGSTER 6-9: Tyler Depascale, '02 Half Scale, 12.051, 52.15  def. Frank Aragona III, Freehold, N.J., '07 KRC, 11.895, 53.15.  

NMCA releases 2018 schedule

The National Muscle Car Association has announced the official event schedule for the 2018 season. Presented by E3 Spark Plugs, the NMCA series features six events starting in March in Florida and ending with the World Street Finals in Indianapolis.



March 8-11, 2018: 16th ANNUAL NMCA MUSCLE CAR MAYHEM, Bradenton Motorsports Park, Bradenton, FL


April 5-8: 10th ANNUAL NMRA/NMCA ALL-STAR NATIONALS, Atlanta Dragway, Commerce GA


May 17-20: 17th ANNUAL NMCA BLUEGRASS NATIONALS, Beech Bend Raceway, Bowling Green, KY




Aug. 23-26: 17th ANNUAL NMCA ALL-AMERICAN NATIONALS, Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, OH


Sept. 20-23: 17th ANNUAL NMCA WORLD STREET FINALS, Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, IN  

New Product of the Day


Low Profile LED Creeper Cart Shop Light from Larson Electronics

Larson Electronics LLC announced the release of their new LED creeper cart light that features a low profile and powerful illumination with a rugged build, ideal for automotive work, mechanic shops and warehouses. The WAL-CC-48-160W-LED-25 is a very low-profile creeper cart light that allows operators to illuminate areas where traditional fixtures cannot fit, such as under vehicles. This 160-watt fixture provides 19,200 lumens of bright white light in a 160-degree wide flood beam. A 60,000-hour rated lifespan and 90% lumen retention is achieved with a special heat dissipating design and LED technology. The solid-state design of the LED bulbs in this creeper cart eliminates the need for a ballast box, which reduces its weight and gives this light cart an even slimmer profile. It is built with aluminum housing and features a shatter-resistant polycarbonate lens. The LED itself is mounted on four polyurethane caster wheels that allow 360-degree movement, ensuring smooth easy movement to adjust the light’s position as needed. It is equipped with a 25-foot 16/3 chemical and abrasion resistant SOOW cord that gives operators a lot of slack to move around freely.

Iowa is an ‘altered state’ for Eddyville event

Veteran driver Marc White defeated Roger Lechtenberg in a close final for the "A" field championship at the 12th annual World Fuel Altered Nationals at Eddyville (IA) Raceway Park.


White, driving Frank and Deb Ousley’s "Crop Duster", drove around the two-time champion "Nitro Madness" Fiat of Scott and Peggy Gaulter driven by Roger "Radar" Lechtenberg. White set low ET of the event with a 3.74 at 200.53 mph over the “Nitro Madness” team's effort of 3.88/188.

Second generation nitro pilot Joey Haas in his "Nimrod" coupe defeated first-time competitor Jim Hidy in the "B" field final with a 4.52 ET at 150.91 mph to a losing 5.57 at 97.88 from Hiday, who made a half pass while having ignition problems.    

Fans can vote final drivers into two Traxxas Nitro Shootouts

Only one spot remains available for Top Fuel and Funny Car racers in their respective categories in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout fields taking place at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Those two positions will be determined in the next 10 days by NHRA fan votes and a pair of lottery-style drawings.


In the Top Fuel class, three drivers are eligible and five drivers in Funny Car will be entered into the fan vote in each class.


The three Top Fuel drivers who are eligible for the eighth position in the fan vote/lottery are Terry McMillen, Scott Palmer and Troy Coughlin Jr.


The five eligible Funny Car drivers are Courtney Force, Tim Wilkerson, Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham and Jim Campbell.


Fan voting on NHRA’s Facebook page is now open and will remain open until noon (ET) on Tuesday, Aug. 29. You can vote for your favorite eligible driver in each category at here

Mallare ends winless streak at Lancaster

Lancaster National Dragway finally got their first Franco’s Pizza Friday Night IHRA Drag Racing event of August in the books on Friday night, Aug. 18, following two straight weeks of rainouts.

Michael Mallare of Grand Island, N.Y. captured his first Top 8 win of the season. He entered Friday night with a 0-4 record in final rounds this season, but his luck finally changed as he was able to beat Joe Masullo. Mallare completed the eighth mile in 5.47 seconds, just a hundredth of a second off his 5.46 dial-in while Masullo ran under his 5.09 dial-in.

There was quite the show of sportsmanship in the Mallare Enterprises Top ET final. Shawn Beatty was set to face Dan Szewczyk in the final pairing, but Szewczyk was unable to make the call to the starting line due to mechanical problems. Beatty, however, graciously allowed Szewczyk to make repairs to his car so they could race instead of taking the bye run and the automatic win. Szewczyk was ready to go 30 minutes later and he drove past Beatty at top end to score the victory aboard his “Head Knocker” 1941 Willys. Szewczyk ran 5.646 on a 5.63 dial while Beatty ran 7.535 on a 7.52. 


Keith Banas scored his first win of the year in McGard Mod over Rich Hodge. Banas had to only make up a tenth second head start on the tree to edge Hodge at top end.


Vic Puglia backed up his first career Bikes & Sleds win on July 28 with his second in a row. Puglia defeated Drew Nearhoof in the final round to score the victory 6.819 on a 6.74 dial to Hodge’s 6.919 on a 6.84. John Wachowicz returned to Tread City Tire Street victory lane in his Lincoln Mark VI with a win over Fast Eddie Semlitsch in the finals, 9.117 (9.06 dial) to 8.820 (8.77 dial).


The Junior Dragster 7.90 Index class made its second Friday night appearance of the season and the final round was a rematch of their first race. Alexandra Young once again picked up the win over her sister, Victoria. 




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