MOORESVILLE, NC – Heading into the third race in three weekends as well as the third playoff race has Camrie Caruso and her Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro Stock team feeling good and solidly in a positive racing groove. The Mooresville, North Carolina team had the advantage of not travelling last weekend for the Carolina Nationals to the KB Titan Racing powered group will be fresh and eager to go rounds when they roll into World Wide Technology Raceway for the NHRA Midwest Nationals, September 29-October 1. Riding the positive momentum of two solid quarterfinal finishes the previous two weekends has Caruso focused on more round wins.
“I feel so much better in this Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro at this point of the season than when we started,” said Caruso. “There wasn’t anything wrong, but it was a new car and I was still getting adjusted to it. Now I love rolling up to the starting line. I know I have good power from KB Titan Racing and this team is awesome. We have started winning rounds in the Countdown and now we just need to make a move up the points.”
Last year in Caruso’s first run through the Countdown the rookie driver had to dig deep to finish the longest season of her career. She admittedly struggled but has used that experience to better prepare for this year’s Countdown. The results have shown, with solid efforts in Reading, Pennsylvania and Charlotte, North Carolina races.
CHICAGO, IL – The Rust-Oleum Top Fuel dragster is set to continue its surge toward success at the NHRA Midwest Nationals, scheduled from September 29 to October 1 at the iconic Wide World Technology Raceway. TJ Zizzo, the second-generation driver, is poised for a triumphant return to this storied event, powered by an unwavering commitment to excellence.
Now elevated to the status of NHRA countdown playoff race, the Midwest Nationals attracts the finest talents from across the nation, all competing for the NHRA Camping World Top Fuel world championship. For Zizzo and his team, this year’s race is an opportunity to sustain their upward momentum.
“This season our mantra has been simple: put your heads down and work hard,” said Zizzo, a seven-time NHRA Midwest National event contender. “In our four races this year, we’ve consistently raised the bar. The NHRA Midwest Nationals holds a special place in our hearts, and this year will be no different.”
DALLAS, TX – Never one to rest on their laurels Buddy Hull and Buddy Hull Racing will be back in action this weekend for the NHRA Midwest Nationals from World Wide Technology Raceway, racing one of the most unique cars to hit the NHRA scene in recent memory. Hull rebranded his Methanol Moonshine and Vertex Roofing Top Fuel dragster to a kid friendly HULL’K design that drew rave reviews at the Dodge Power Brokers U.S. National at the beginning of the month. Getting this green machine back on track for another NHRA national event is a labor of love for Hull, a Dallas-based business owner and Top Fuel competitor.
Buddy Hull and the HULL’K Top Fuel dragster, photo by Ron Lewis Photography
“I just wanted to do something cool to get kids excited about NHRA drag racing,” said Hull, when asked about the redesign. “We have great marketing partners and growing the sport is one of our big goals. We want to perform on the track of course but getting kids excited and interested is also so important. I also really love the Incredible Hulk, so it is an awesome car to get to race.”
Hull and his Mike Guger tuned Top Fuel team have been working their way through the naturally challenging ups and downs of racing Top Fuel dragsters at the highest level. The stakes will be even higher this weekend at the NHRA Midwest Nationals, the third NHRA Countdown playoff race. While Hull is not in the mix this season for a Top Fuel world championship his participation could easily tip the balance of power as the championship points tighten up down the stretch. The impact he could have on the championship is not lost on the former power lifter and competitive racer.
CLARKSVILLE, TN – As the NHRA Countdown to the Championship intensifies, JCM Racing is proud to welcome a new associate marketing partner, Leatherwood Distillery, to its roster. Leatherwood Distillery branding will appear on Tony Schumacher’s SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel dragster and Tim Wilkerson’s SCAG Power Equipment/Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Funny Car beginning with this weekend’s NHRA Midwest Nationals near St. Louis.
“This new partnership brings together two of my favorite things – sipping Tennessee bourbon and watching the JCM Racing cars go down the track,” said Joe Maynard, team owner, JCM Racing. “I’m really excited about what Leatherwood Distillery is doing and what they represent. I couldn’t be prouder to introduce this brand to the NHRA community at St. Louis and beyond.”
Leatherwood Distillery, a Clarksville, Tenn.-based distiller of bourbon, rye, moonshine, rum, and other spirits, was founded by retired Green Beret Andrew Lang. While serving in Afghanistan, Lang built a homemade still that he would use to clean water for drinking. When he wasn’t purifying water, he would distill moonshine using locally sourced ingredients like corn, wheat, rolled oats and dried molasses. After retiring from the Green Berets, Lang started distilling craft spirits back home in Nashville. He then launched Leatherwood Distillery, where he distills spirits like 911 Apple Pie Moonshine, Check Point Rye Whiskey, Jalapeno Lemon Rum, and Vanilla Whip Moonshine.
PLAINVIEW, NY – Throughout the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season Justin Ashley and the Phillips Connect Toyota Top Fuel team have been singularly focused on consistency and excellence. That focus has not changed after two unusually early exits for the team that led the points most of the season and won a class leading six races in the regular season. There was a stretch in the first half of the season when the team was experiencing some up and down results, but they never lost faith and finished the final nine races of the regular season with four wins, a runner-up and two semifinal finishes to secure the No. 1 seed for the Countdown.
“We faced some adversity in the early part of the season when we would either win or get knocked out of a race early,” said Ashley, an 11-time Top Fuel winner. “We worked through that by simply trusting the process and trusting one another. The same principles apply now. We are a championship team that is facing a small bit of adversity. These tests are good and it’s how we respond that will make all the difference. We are focused on St. Louis and the first qualifying session on Friday night. A quick run to start the Midwest Nationals will set the tone for the rest of the weekend.”
Buddy Hull To Race in Support of Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas during Texas Fall Nationals
DALLAS – Top Fuel team owner and driver Buddy Hull will be racing to raise awareness and donations for the Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas during the Stampede of Speed and the NHRA Texas Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex, October 6-15. The wildly popular driver on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series has a history of high-speed philanthropy and joining forces with the Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas is another effort by the big-hearted Texan to support those in need. Hull will be participating in several fan events and racing activities throughout the 10-day Stampede of Speed. The ultimate goal is to raise $50,000 for the organization through corporate and fan donations. Hull is confident that the support and funds will make an immediate difference.
“I met with the folks from Down Syndrome Partnership of North Texas and I immediately knew we needed to get involved with them,” said Hull, who has also supported breast cancer charities as well as anti-bully initiatives. “This organization has been working with families and caregivers for almost two decades and I just really felt the need to get involved. Fans that make a donation through the Buddy Hull Racing Fund Raising landing page will get their name on my race car for the Stampede of Speed and I would love to see the car covered.”
OCALA, FL – The NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway could be just the race and race track Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers team is looking for to accelerate their pursuit of their first NHRA Camping World Top Fuel world championship. Hart will be making his third appearance at the state-of-the-art multi-use facility located just across the river from downtown St. Louis. His previous two races saw the entrepreneur from Ocala, Florida, race to a semifinal and runner-up finish in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
“We have had some good races at St. Louis and if I can just avoid Steve Torrence, I feel like we could be a great shape this weekend,” joked Hart, about the only driver to have defeated him at the Midwest Nationals. “Two years ago we made a good run from the No. 10 spot and last year we qualified No. 2 and raced all the way to the final just like it says on paper. This year I want that fourth win light on Sunday.”
The Countdown has not been kind to Hart and the R+L Carriers team as two first round exits have seen the two-time Top Fuel national event winner slip to twelfth place, but with four races left in the playoffs and a reshuffling of the points leaders, the field is tightening up. Hart started the Countdown 121 points out of first and now after two races he has slipped to 218 points back. With two Countdown race wins, new point leader Doug Kalitta made up a 75-point deficit on the point leader to start the Countdown and now has a 63-point lead of the No. 2 driver, for a net improvement of 138 points. A strong move by Hart in St. Louis could easily propel him back into the mix with three races remaining including the season finale in Pomona with points and a half on the line.
Bristol, TN — The final stop on the 2023 Fling Race Series Tour is happening this week at the RAD Torque Systems Fall Fling presented by Optima Batteries. Bristol Dragway will host 425 of the best bracket racers in the country at this unique single entry event.
“With 677 entries at our 2022 Bristol event, we felt we needed to cap the field in order to deliver the experience our racers have come to expect,” said promoter Peter Biondo. “We decided to only accept 425 single entries to allow us to finish before the track gets too cold or humid at night. Our goal is to provide a safe racing surface and end each day at a reasonable hour.”
Rob’s Automotive Tuesday will host a track-operated test and tune run in conjunction with the American Race Cars/Race Tech 32-Car Dragster Shootout where the finalists will each win a chassis with the winner having choice of builder.
ST. LOUIS – Before the NHRA Countdown to the Championship started, Doug Kalitta’s last Top Fuel victory came in 2020 at World Wide Technology Raceway, the site of this weekend’s 12th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals.
Since then, the fan-favorite driver has been perfect in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series action, winning a pair of playoff races as he competes for that elusive first world championship in his 11,000-horsepower Mac Tools/Toyota dragster. Kalitta had waited nearly three years between wins, dating back to his 2020 triumph in St. Louis, before getting his 50th career win two weeks ago and adding another on Sunday in Charlotte.
Heading into St. Louis, where Kalitta has always thrived, the veteran also has the points lead for the first time in three years. A fifth victory at World Wide Technology Raceway – which would tie him with Antron Brown for the most in NHRA Top Fuel history at the popular track – would keep him perfect in this brilliant postseason run and cap off this string of three consecutive race weekends in dominant fashion.
Norwalk, OH – With ambition and anticipation, Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio staged its Inaugural Ken Ganley Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram World of Mopar presented by Arrington Performance, Sept. 22-24, 2023 and by all accounts, it was an extraordinary event.
Produced and presented by Summit Motorsports Park with Mopar enthusiasts in mind, it featured three days of racing, a Fun Field Car Show, swap meet, car corral, manufacturers’ midway, concert by Trainwreck Country Band and fireworks.
“We couldn’t be happier with our Inaugural Ken Ganley Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram World of Mopar presented by Arrington Performance,” said Bill Bader Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park. “Our team spent several months organizing this event, and we all wanted it to be successful, and we are all very grateful that it was. We had a tremendous turnout, and we look forward to an even bigger event next year. The planning starts now.”