JUPITER, FL/NEW YORK, NY – Following the conclusion of the inaugural 400 Thunder Drag Racing Season, the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) is set to increase its commitment to Australian drag racing, with a goal to move the sport to greater heights.
Owned by IRG Sports + Entertainment (IRGSE), one of the largest sports marketing companies in the world, the IHRA is the second largest drag racing sanctioning body in the world with more than 100 member tracks across the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.
IRG Sports + Entertainment Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Lencheski said, “The Australian market has become a major focus for IHRA as a result of the success of 400 Thunder Series and the quality of the tracks and passionate memberships that have come into the IHRA family of members. Our international membership is way up year-over-year and our IRGSE board and TPG, our parent and global investment company, wholly support this movement by the IHRA.”
The Smiths qualified in the No. 5 (Matt) and No. 12 (Angie) spots in Denver, meaning they would have to face each other in the first round. They raced heads-up, with Matt getting a slight edge on the starting line (.068-second reaction time to .080) and then leading all the way to the finish line.
Matt’s pass of 7.251 seconds at 183.67 mph inched away from his wife’s run of 7.314 seconds at 180.00 mph. Angie, though, could feel her Gunner slowing in high gear and could only watch as her husband took the win light.
Both the Lucas Oil Buell of Hector Arana Sr. and the Lucas Oil Racing TV Buell of Hector Arana Jr. carry a predominantly red paint scheme, but both racers saw red in the first round.
Moments after Arana Jr. left too soon against Chip Ellis, Arana Sr. drew a red-light against Angelle Sampey.
Morrison, CO – The 37th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals saw a familiar face in the winner’s circle when Allen Johnson, driver of the HEMI®-powered J&J Racing Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart, earned the seventh Bandimere Speedway win of his career in his 10th consecutive final round on “The Mountain.” Johnson, whose last victory came at the season-closer in Pomona last year, pocketed the 27th Pro Stock Wally trophy of his career in front of packed stands and with thunderous applause from the ever-supportive spectators at the celebrated facility nestled in the Rocky Mountains.
“We are thrilled to have Allen Johnson take a Mopar Dodge Dart to the winner’s circle for a hard-fought first national title this season and to see him do this at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals for the seventh time,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “The never-give-up attitude and hard work this team has put in to tune the HEMI and get the win truly represents what Mopar performance is all about.”
DENVER – Sometimes in drag racing you’re in the right place at the right time. Other times, you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster driver Richie Crampton found himself in both positions at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Bandimere Speedway.
Crampton, the third-year pro from Adelaide, Australia, won a first-round match despite a not-so-stellar run, then the seven-time NHRA winner made a solid pass in the second round but lost.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” Crampton said. “Sometimes you need a little luck to get a round-win, and sometimes no matter how hard you try you can’t get any luck. We were fortunate to get a win in E1, but then J.R. (Todd) just outran us in the next round. On to the next one.”
DENVER, CO – John Force, the winningest driver in NHRA history, continued to add to his legendary body of work winning for the 7th time at the Mopar Mile High NHRA Nationals in ten final round appearances and for the unprecedented 144th time. This is the 29th season Force has won at least one Funny Car national event, an accomplishment unequaled in all of motorsports. The 16-time Funny Car champion had to defeat his youngest daughter and NHRA superstar in her own right, Courtney Force, in the final round to get the win.
In the final round Force turned a slight starting line advantage into a win light when his Realtree PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Camaro got to the finish line in front of Courtney’s Traxxas Camaro with a winning elapsed time of 3.965 seconds at 319.45 mph. It was a spectacular side by side three second final with Courtney recording her third three second run of the day in a losing effort.
Valvoline/Nova Services pro Shane Gray found that out the hard way in the first round of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals on Sunday at Bandimere Speedway.
His Gray Motorsports Chevrolet made a solid pass in the first round against Chris McGaha, 6.992 seconds at 198.12 mph. That was the fourth-quickest run of the round, so clearly the car, crew, and engine performed well. But Gray had a misstep behind the wheel and ended up losing on a holeshot.