Leading rookie contender Crampton confident about first Sonoma race

SONOMA, CA – GEICO/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton hopes to pad his rookie resume during the NHRA Richie CramptonSonoma Nationals this weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Crampton, a 34-year-old from Adelaide, Australia, is the leading contender for the NHRA rookie-of-the-year award. He sits 10th in the Top Fuel points standings with four races left before the Countdown to the Championship, which features the top 10 drivers.

Crampton is the only rookie to win in 2014, as he stormed to victory lane in Englishtown, N.J., earlier this season. He’s also raced to one semifinal and four quarterfinals with 10 round-wins this year.

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Ready for Sonoma, Morgan leaves dirty laundry in Denver

SONOMA, CA – Lucas Oil Pro Stock driver Larry Morgan left his dirty laundry in Denver — literally.

Larry Morgan - Kansas, SundayThe veteran driver headed back to his shop in Newark, Ohio, with cylinder heads in his suitcase instead. He wanted to do some more work to prepare for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals this weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

“I’m leaving my dirty clothes in Denver,” Morgan said. “We took them out of the suitcase so we could put some cylinder heads in. I was welding all day Monday, fixing heads.”

The extra work was needed because Sonoma is at sea level, as compared to Denver’s mile-high altitude. That’s important because the thin Denver air makes engine builders like Morgan fret, as engines groan without the oxygen they have at sea level.

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DSR Regroups and Heads to Sonoma

Beckman, Valvoline team falter on the mountain near Denver, must regroup at Sonoma to reclaim spot in NHRA top-10

DSRBROWNSBURG, IN - Jack Beckman has raced eight times at the track second closest to his home in Southern California and if ever there were magic in California air the 2012 NHRA Funny Car world champion needs it now.

Jack and his Valvoline SynPower Dodge Charger R/T team seemed ready to climb higher than 10th in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings on Sunday at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, but a quarterfinal loss to Tim Wilkerson enabled the driver known as “Wilk” to move around Beckman for the No. 10 spot in the standings.

From a mile high to sea level, reigning champ Coughlin readies for Sonoma

SONOMA, CA – The annual transition from the mile-high altitude of Denver to Sonoma Valley’s oxygen-rich, sea-level climes in just Jeg Coughlin Jrfour days remains one of the biggest challenges in professional drag racing. But five-time and reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart consider the challenge the perfect time to shine.

“Sonoma is a lot like Denver as far as looking out your window and seeing some of the most beautiful terrain in the country,” Coughlin said. “The main difference is that Sonoma is 5,000 feet closer to sea level, so our Dodge Dart will be chomping at the bit to unleash some horsepower.

“After feeling that struggle we all have in the thin air up there in Denver, I can’t wait to let the clutch out that first run in Sonoma. Most likely, we’ll post some .970s, .980s to the 60-foot timer and if the weather allows and we get some cool air off the bay, those quick starts will help us run some 6.40s in the quarter-mile. That’s a big jump from the 6.90s we were running in Denver. It’ll feel like a rocket launch.”

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Al-Anabi heads to Sonoma for Round 2 of the Western Swing

Shawn Langdon, Al-Anabi Racing Top Fuel Dragster (silver):

al-anabi-logoReigning NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon enters the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in third place in the NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel point standings.  He trails second-place Antron Brown by 164 and leads fourth place Tony Schumacher by 143 points.

Langdon is the defending champion of the NHRA Sonoma Nationals.  The team also won at Sonoma Raceway in 2010 with driver Larry Dixon.  Langdon was the No. 6 qualifier last year; he defeated Bob Vandergriff, Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown and Morgan Lucas on his way to the winner’s circle.

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Meghan, Kelly Coughlin lead family’s race weekend at National Trail

HEBRON, OH – Although they were competing for the first time in their respective categories, sisters Meghan and Kelly Coughlin Meghan Coughlinturned in the most memorable performances of the Buckeye Fuel Wars NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at National Trail Raceway.

Making her Sportsman debut in her uncle Jeg Coughlin Jr.’s Chevy II wagon in the Super Street category, Meghan got things started Friday night in the special Moser Shootout, which included competitors from all of the Super classes. The 26-year-old, who last raced nearly two decades ago in a Jr. Dragster, managed to reach the semifinals before rain washed out the remainder of the action. Her and the other semifinalists eventually decided to split the pot four ways.

“Just getting a single round-win was my goal for the weekend, honestly,” Meghan said. “My emotions were really high and I was thinking about a million different things when I pulled up there for the first race. Fortunately, once I fired up the car and did the burnout, all of that went away and I was just super focused on the race.

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DSE Sportsman Series Set to Host NHRA Ontario Provincial Championships

Brampton, ON   Sportsman Drag Racers all over New York, Ontario, Quebec and even Alberta will be converging on Toronto 2012 Super Pro and Quick 16 NHRA Provincial Champion Matt CostabileMotorsports Park this weekend as the DSE Sportsman Series holds not only its third of six events in the series, but will also host  the most prestigious NHRA Sanctioned event in Ontario, the NHRA Provincial Championships.

Designed to afford Local and Regional Sportsman Drag Racers the ability to compete for NHRA Sanctioned Championships without having to follow the Divisional or National tours, the NHRA State/Provincial Championships is single Race, Tournament Style Championship that is awarded to One Drag Racing facility in each State and Province in North America.

After hosting the Inaugural NHRA Ontario Provincial Championships in 2012, the event has returned to the DSE Automotive Sportsman Racing Series and Toronto Motorsports Park in 2014, and DSE and TMP officials expect this year’s edition to be biggest yet.

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