Demon too fast for competition, NHRA says

After months of hype, the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was finally introduced on Tuesday, April 11. It was worth the wait.


Can a car be too fast for the NHRA? Evidently, yes.


Last year the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon ran the quarter mile in 9.650 seconds at 140.09 mph in testing at Gainesville. Both ET and speed exceeded the limits of 9.99 seconds and 135 mph on the 2008 OEM model-year and newer production cars and violate the NHRA rules.


“Therefore, before this car can be run again at an NHRA Member Track it must be brought into compliance with the rules and regulations found in Section 4 of the NHRA Rulebook,” declared Glen Gray, NHRA Vice President, Technical Operations.


So, the Agent has to ask, does NHRA change the rules, make a new class, or do Demon drivers find someplace else to race? [

Terry Chandler recovering from brain tumor operation

Terry Chandler with team owner Don Schumacher.


Terry Chandler wasn’t at the starting line at Las Vegas two weeks ago celebrating when her Make-A-Wish Funny Car team and driver Tommy Johnson Jr. recorded their first win of the season in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and moved up to second in championship points.


Ms. Chandler, who also funds the Infinite Hero Foundation team for Don Schumacher Racing, had been suffering from headaches and an MRI revealed a tumor on the front lobe of her brain that was removed Monday, April 10. She will spend three weeks at home resting before beginning radiation and chemotherapy treatments.


"She's a tough girl and we expect a full recovery," said Johnny Gray, her brother. "It won't be easy to keep her away from her boys and racing family at the racetrack, but she knows that's what she needs to do right now."


A special email address has been set up for fans and friends to send Terry their best wishes and prayers to We add our prayers for a speedy recovery.

Hayball wins Wednesday at the Spring Fling Million

The K&N Spring Fling Million presented by Optima Batteries began Wednesday with a $20,000-to-win race. Primarily a Super Pro-only event, the field included 32 bottom-bulb cars that run separately until a winner is crowned and then that winner is seeded into the sixth round of the Super Pro race and can install a delay box if he chooses.


The Pro 32 came final pitted former NHRA Super Stock world champ, Justin Lamb, against NHRA Div. 7 hitter R.J. Torres. Lamb used an .014 reaction time and a dead-on the dial with a “3” for a .017 package to defeat Torres and move into the seventh round of the Super Pro class.


In addition to Lamb, the Super Pro round of 16 winning players were Ken Sweo, Sean Shaffer, Blu Hayball, Mera Silvia in a door car, Jay Fitzgerald, Dan Lafferty in his fast Camaro, Lane Dicken, and Courtland Carter.


In round nine, Lafferty received a bye run and Silvia, Shaffer, Hayball and Lamb were the winners. Hayball got the bye in the next round with Lamb and Lafferty taking the wins. In the semifinal Hayball again got the bye based on the best reaction time, and Lamb’s .003 quicker R.T. knocked out Lafferty.


In the final, Pro 32 winner Lamb left first with a .004 reaction time to Hayball’s .031 but a .008 runout by Lamb handed the win to Hayball’s dead-on the dial with a “5”. 

Lombardo, Severance top LODRS Divisional at Las Vegas

At the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Pacific Division event at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway April 7-9, Joey Severance and John Lombardo Jr. (shown) took the final round wins in top alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car, respectively.


See all the results at here.


Pacific Division racers head to Auto Club Dragway at Auto Club Speedway for the next NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event, May 19-22.

VOLUME XIX,  NUMBER 4 - April  2017

Osman parks Top Fuel Hydro due to canopy safety issue

Osman’s driver, John Haas, died in a drag boat crash at Chouteau, OK, on Aug. 8, 2010. The Top Fuel Hydro was travelling at 217 mph when it began to skip across the water and then tumbled, breaking into several pieces.


Since 1980 St. Louis-based aeronautical engineer Lou Osman has campaigned a Top Fuel Hydro drag boat. During that time Osman's Speed Sports Special team has won five world championships. He has also suffered through some bad times with the death of his driver John Haas in an accident in 2010. Haas was a three-time world champion in the class.


In 2015 Top Fuel Hydro driver Scotty Lumbert had a career ending crash where the driver’s capsule separated from the boat as it was supposed to, but the windscreen of the canopy failed. Lou Osman told DRO editor Jeff Burk recently that he felt the current capsule and cockpit weren't safe at 260 mph and above. (The current Top Fuel Hydro speed record is 266 set at Phoenix this year.)


"I told the series administrator I believed the boats were going too fast to be safe and they needed to do something to slow them down if they wanted me to field a team," Osman said.


The series did shorten the distance the boats travel under power before hitting the start of the 1,000-foot course they race. That didn't work as the old speed record was broken at that first race.


Osman said he believed that when most racers changed over from an Air Force F-16 canopy system to an aftermarket lighter capsule the new canopy material wasn't safe at speeds above 260 and he wasn't willing to put his driver in the water as long as nothing is done to slow down the 260+ mph Top Fuel boats.


Top Fuel Hydro boats are among the most dangerous and expensive racing machines in motorsports. There has always been a shortage and it looks like that isn't going to change any time soon.

‘Gentleman’ Hank Johnson passes away

The Agent received this notice from the Austin & O’Brien Racing team:


Veteran drag racer and Northwest Drag Racing Hall of Fame member ”Gentleman” Hank Johnson bravely batted his final round opponent to the end but sadly was lost on Saturday, April 10, to the vicious opponent known as cancer. He was 75 years old.


Johnson bravely fought the disease all the way into the lights and looked like he would win in typical “Gentleman Hank” fashion: with goggles down and a top-end charge he was well known for, but unfortunately, just came up short at the end.


We at Bucky Austin Racing, The Austin Companies, Austin & O’Brien Racing, and Benchmark RV are going to miss our brother in arms greatly. He was a gentle guiding voice of reason when his deft knowledge and experience was most needed. If we just wanted to sit back and talk racing, Hank could literally entertain us for hours on end with stories of the past. He was an encyclopedia of intelligence and foresight!


As noted, Hank’s nickname was “Gentleman.” If you knew him, it wasn’t hard to figure out why and we will continue to reprise that persona in all of our endeavors as we dedicate this season to him as well as his loving and devoted wife, Betty. Regardless if we win or lose, we’ll know we did so in that same “Gentlemanly” fashion in which Hank taught us so well!


A memorial service for Hank will be held Sunday, April 23, 1 p.m. at the Glen Eagle Golf Course, 7619 E. Country Club Dr., Arlington, WA 98223. 

PSCA Heads-Up Hootenanny set for St. Louis

The Premier Street Car Association is kicking off its St. Louis schedule at Gateway Motorsports Park April 21-22 with Heads-Up Hootenanny.


The event, presented by Extreme Brand Products, combines four PSCA heads-up classes including the new Mid West Pro Mod Series with the NHRA Division III JEGS Super Quick Series and Gateway’s regular bracket racing program. The four PSCA heads-up classes are Radial vs. The World, Limited Drag Radial, X275, and MX235.


VP Racing Fuels begins its partnership with the PSCA as the sponsor of the Limited Drag Radial class. They are also the Official Track Prep sponsor for all the pre-event test and tunes at Gateway, which includes Heads-Up Hootenanny and SCSN: Anarchy Under the Arch IV Aug. 3-5. In addition, VP Racing Fuels is posting contingency awards in every PSCA and Street Car Super Nationals category throughout 2017.

Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Assn. announces schedule

Arlee Williams (near lane) and Mark Ipsen.


With a look that honors the stars and spirited privateers of Pro Stock’s heyday, the MNPSA  presents exciting side by side match race action. Members include aggressive young drivers Arlee Williams III in the "Doc Holliday" Arrow, Tyler Shenuk in the “STP” Firebird and Kelly Dill, driver of the "‘lil Cotton Pony Pinto. Seasoned veterans show the way with Dan Manesis in the “DeSantis & Crider” Colt and Jim Parks, debuting his new “Nickey” Vega this season.


May 27-28: Memorial Day Classics, Great Lakes Dragaway, Union Grove, WI

June 3: Spring Nostalgia, Central Illinois Dragway, Havana, IL

July 1: Night of Fire Jet Spectacular, Great Lakes Dragaway

July 22: Budweiser Summer Nationals, Wisconsin Int’l Raceway, Kaukauna, WI

Aug. 4-5: Cavalcade of Speed, Gateway Motorsports Park, Madison, IL

Aug. 19: Nitrous Street Car Brawl, Great Lakes Dragaway

Sept. 2-3: Time Machine Nationals, Great Lakes Dragaway

Sept. 23: Fall Nostalgia, Central Illinois Dragway 

Midnight ‘Redneck’ Madness this Friday at Gateway

Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, IL, will present yet another unique Midnight Madness event on Friday evening, April 14. Midnight Madness is GMP's street-legal drag racing and drifting program. Midnight Madness offers a safe alternative to illegal street racing and an opportunity for drivers to race each other in their street-legal cars on the Dragplex’s quarter-mile drag strip in an informal atmosphere.


This week's theme is Redneck Madness and will feature mechanical bull rides, ladies from the PBR St. Louis cowboy bar, World Wrestling Entertainment swag giveaways and displays of large trucks.


Gates will open at 6 p.m. with racing and drifting at 7 p.m. 

Spring Fling Million under way Tuesday in Vegas

Tuesday was the first day of the K&N Spring Fling Million presented by Optima Batteries. In addition to a free Test & Tune session, the Poulsen Trailer Shootout awarded the winner of the exclusive 32-car filed with a brand new 24-foot Poulsen trailer.


After two time runs, the top eight competitors faced off. For the final, Dan Northrop used an .011 reaction time and a 4.859 on a 4.85 dial to defeat Paul Nero’s none-thousandths under his dial. Northrop ran five 4.85s during eliminations with his worst reaction time coming in the final, the .011.


The racing continues Wednesday with the first of three separate $20K to win races; Wednesday, Thursday and finally Saturday to close out the week.

Friday is reserved for The Million with a guaranteed purse paying at least $100,000 to the winner followed by very rewarding round money, based on the number of entries. Last year’s race saw 270 cars enter the exclusive field which awarded Jeff Verdi $270,000 as his first-place prize.

‘No Problem’ for Meyer and Whiteley

At the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, South Central Division, Nitro on the Bayou at Louisiana’s No Problem Raceway, Megan Meyer, Olathe, Kan., and Annie Whiteley, Grand Junction, Colo., took home the wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car respectively.


Meyer was the runner up at this event in 2016, and came out strong this weekend as the number one qualifier who worked her way through the field and earned her second divisional win, and second win of the year. She had the starting line advantage and ran the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend for the final round win in 5.234 seconds at 279.67 mph. This victory was over Jackie Fricke, Flemington, N.J., who had a runner up lap of 5.307 seconds at 271.35 mph.


Whiteley, chased down Bryan Brown, Gainesville, Texas, who had the starting line advantage, and posted a winning run of 5.561 seconds, 268.06 mph in her 2015 Camaro. Brown drove a 6.420 second, 209.14 mph lap for his runner up finish.


Defending Comp Eliminator event winner, Keith Hall, Ravenna, Texas, red lighted at the line giving the win to Dick Maris. Maris posted a winning time of 7.751, 129.11 mph in his ’10 Prostart. This is Maris’ fifth Lucas Oil Drag Racing series win.

The Candies Family Motorsports cars competed in Stock with both Brett and Paul winning their first rounds. Brett lost in the second to Leonard Johnson while Paul fell to Jacob Pitt in the third round. In Super Stock P.B. lost in the first round while Brett won the first and second rounds before bowing to Doug Fazzolare in the third. 


SUPER STOCK: David Latino, Donaldsonville, La., '06 Cobalt, GT/HA, 9.616, 137.09 def. Kevin Helms, Schriever, La., '10 Challenger, FSS/E, 8.994, 149.33.


STOCK ELIMINATOR: Justin Hutto, Rowlett, Texas, '69 Corvette, AA/SA, 9.818, 124.37 def. Brenda Grubbs, Magnolia, Texas, '69 Camaro, AA/SA, 9.987, 130.03.


SUPER COMP: Koy Collier, Benton, La., '68 Camaro, 8.915, 179.42 def. Alan Savage, Mexia, Texas, '15 Miller Dragster, 8.922, 174.87.


SUPER GAS: Shannon Brinkley, Highlands, Texas, '02 Corvette, 9.899, 155.88 def. Clark Mundt, Longview, Texas,'63 Corvette, 9.886, 156.94.


SUPER STREET: Chris Huesers, Rayne, La., '06 Cavalier, 10.871, 138.87 def. Dennis Clark, Pasadena, Texas, '68 Camaro, foul.


TOP DRAGSTER: Ross Laris, Raceland, La., '15 American, 6.438, 208.39 def. Darian Boesch, Kenner, La., '16 Profab, 6.271, 212.90.


TOP SPORTSMAN: Lance Rutland, Spring, Texas, '63 Chevrolet, 7.571, 180.00 def. Cole Prejean, Saint Amant, La., '06 GTO, foul.


SPORTSMAN MOTORCYCLE: Dwayne Tousand, Lake Charles, La., '06 Kawasaki, 9.859, 133.84 def. William H. Keele Jr, San Antonio, Texas, '82 Kawasaki, 9.207, 138.31.

Gustafson builds a Pro Mod

A note in the mayo jar high atop the second-story Phlegm Building penthouse porch tells the Agent that Eric “Goose” Gustafson will be building a Pro Mod.


The CEO of Coast Packing Co. will bring out a ’69 Camaro built by Gary Naughton Race Cars of North East, MD, powered by a 521 ci Hemi engine out of the Brad Anderson shop with a ProCharger F3X-143 supercharger. Jason Lee and Patrick Barnhill of PTP Racing in Worthington, Ohio, tune the engine. The team hopes to roll out the new car by July.


The California-based Gustafson will continue to run his 2014 NMCA WEST Street Outlaw champion white Ford Mustang with the NHRA, NMCA and NMRA.

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