FYI WIRZ: NHRA Full Throttle Hot Leaders Talk Race 5 at Houston

Dwight Drum@@racetakeCorrespondent IIIApril 27, 2011

Al-Anabi Top Fuel dragster warms up tires in Gainesville, Fla.
Al-Anabi Top Fuel dragster warms up tires in Gainesville, Fla.

NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series presents the O’Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown (Houston), Texas. 

Eliminations are Sunday, May 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET on EPSN2 

The best way to enjoy an NHRA Full Throttle drag race is in the stands with earplugs and a cold beverage after strolling through the pits while crews work on race cars.

High-definition TV brings the competition and the power of the side-by-side sport like never before, but to feel the speed, it’s best to have a ticket for Friday or Saturday during qualifications or the big ticket on Sunday for eliminations. 

Every ticket is a pit pass.

If you are near Baytown (Houston), Texas this weekend you can see nitromethane fuel explode into horsepower on the track. Dedicated fans wear gas masks in pit areas so they can endure, close up, Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars warm up the big engines. 

At the track during nitromethane runs, engines erupt, exhaust blasts into the sky, the ground and stands vibrate while two cars try to get to the win light first at speeds exceeding 300 mph.

Fans need only wait four seconds or less for that to happen.  

Pro Stock Cars also entertain the crowd at speeds sometimes more than 210 mph and push the record near six and half seconds in the quarter mile. Pro Stock Motorcycle riders with only leather suits and helmets routinely exceed 180 mph and go down the track in less than seven seconds.

Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock point leaders—Del Worsham, Robert Hight and Greg Anderson—had words for the media before heading to Texas.

FYI WIRZ is the select presentation of motorsports topics by Dwight Drum @ Racetake.com. Quotes derived from motorsports industry press releases.

Del Worsham (Top Fuel Dragster)

“It’s really been a great start to the season, and we’ll do everything we can to keep the Al-Anabi team where it is right now at the top of the point standings. 

"Having the points lead hasn’t really set in because we’re only four races into the season, but now we’ve actually built a little points lead. We could certainly lose it, though if we don’t keep working as hard as we can.

“We’re just trying to be ready for the beginning of the Countdown (Countdown to 1 NHRA Playoffs) in September.

“The level of competition in Top Fuel is unreal. The number of fast cars and great teams is amazing. Three of our round wins have been by margin of less than eight thousandths of a second. That’s tight racing. 

"The Top Fuel drivers are very focused drivers, not that Funny Car drivers aren’t, but on every single qualifying run, these Top Fuel guys are trying to kill the tree and do the best they can do...it’s fun to be a part of it.”

Robert Hight (Funny Car)

“We’ve had a lot of success there, but Houston is a great facility,” Hight said.

“When the air is good it’s actually below sea level. That just produces huge numbers and horsepower, so it all plays right into our hands,” said Hight.

“I was doing the clutch on John’s car when he got his 100th win in Houston, and now we go to Houston with the chance for the team to have our 200th Funny Car win, which to me is mind-boggling.

“A lot of history there, and looking at the forecast, it’s going to be some great racing, good conditions, and we can’t wait. JFR is 3-for-4 and we need to keep that going. I guess if I could write a script perfectly, it would be two JFR Fords in the final. You know then it’s over–you’ve got the 200th win.”

Greg Anderson (Pro Stock Car)

“I work very hard at being a better driver, because in this class it can often be the deciding factor,” Anderson said.

“That’s why I approach every race feeling like I am the underdog. I know my boys are going to give me a great Summit Racing Pontiac, which in turn puts the pressure on me to do my job.  Knowing that, I stay driven to perform at my very best so I can help put us in a position to win.

“As tough as the competition is right now, you have to have the complete package. You’re not going to win because you have more horsepower, or a better car set-up, or even a better driver.  You have to put all three together it you want to get the Wally, with no room for error. 

“Racing in Baytown offers numerous challenges. We’ll make good power because we’re at sea level, which makes it even tougher to negotiate the racetrack, but also makes it a lot of fun. The cars will run fast, but be finicky, so it’s going to fall into the crew chiefs’ hands to make the most of it.”

Engine News: Coughlin Brothers Racing, owned by drag racers John, Troy, Mike, and Jeg Coughlin Jr., announced a partnership with Nick Ferri and Roy Simmons to build a state-of-the-art engine shop that will produce Pro Stock racing motors for consumers around the world.
JNR Racing plans to build and lease motors from its new Research and Development facility in Mooresville, N.C. 

Four-time Pro Stock Car champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. is skipping the 2011 season to race in Sportsman classes, but he may race at the pro level toward the end of the season.

Jeg Coughlin Jr.

"We are extremely excited to align ourselves with Nick and Roy," Jeg Coughlin said.

"We have all worked together in the past and know what it takes to put a championship caliber engine program together.
"Our goal is to do this like it's never been done before. We want to build the best horsepower possible for our customers. We fully intend to supply our customers with the best products and service in the world. The motors we build will be capable of winning races and championships, and we'll stand behind everything we build.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Coughlin said, "and we're getting after it right now."

Pro Stock Motorcycle participates in 16 of 22 national NHRA Full Throttle events and will be racing in Houston for the second race of the year for the class.

Team Screaming Eagle rider Eddie Krawiec leads the points.

Photo credit: Gary Larsen @ Racetake.com.


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