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February 2018
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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

Anderson, Hight, Hines and Millican lead AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis area


MADISON, Ill. – Top Fuel pilot Clay Millican set the national elapsed time record for the category under the lights at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Robert Hight (Funny Car) Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also current No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the third of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Millican raced his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster to a 3.631-second pass at 330.39 mph at the home race for Stringer Performance during the second round of qualifying. He is chasing his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 10th of his career.
“That run is 100-percent is David Grubnick doing his thing,” Millican stated. “He is the baddest dude out here right now and I don’t think anybody can argue that. He does it his way, there’s no shared information and it’s done with group of young guys. That’s Doug Stringer’s car that I get to go out and stomp on that loud pedal in.”
Tony Schumacher an eight-time world champion, ran a 3.680 pass at 327.66 in his U.S. Army dragster to put him in the second spot and Doug Kalitta is currently third in his Mac Tools dragster after a 3.681 at 331.85 run.
Hight set the track elapsed time record with his pass of 3.830 at 333.91 in his AAA Missouri Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. Hight also set the track speed record at 338.60 during his first qualifying session. He is in pursuit of his seventh No. 1 qualifier of the season and 56th of his career.
“It’s more fun to sit back and watch my team work and you know what they’re up against when the conditions are like this,” Hight said. “No one is really talking but they’re focused on what they’re doing because they’re trying to make record run. We got six more points today, we were low each session. Forget records or anything else that’s what we’re here for.”
Teammate John Force follows in the No. 2 position in his PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS with a pass of 3.832 at 334.65 and points leader Ron Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to a pass of 3.849 at 332.51.
In Pro Stock, Anderson currently holds the top spot after driving to a 6.525 at 211.03 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro during his second pass of the day. He is in pursuit of his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season.
“The conditions, weather and atmosphere didn’t change that much between the first run and second run,” Anderson stated. “The race track is maxing out the track gripper and it’s as good of a race track you’ll ever ever get and when you get conditions like that you need to just throw everything at it.”
Teammate and reigning world champion Jason Line is in the No. 2 position with a pass of 6.553 at 211.66 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro and Drew Skillman follows in this third after a run of 6.535 at 211.56 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro.
Hines took the lead in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with a 6.802 at 196.19 in his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson during his first pass on Friday. He is seeking his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 40th of his career.
“This sets the tone for the last three (races),” Hines said. “We need to come out of here strong and if we can maintain the No. 1 spot and get some more bonus points that would be awesome. We just need to do some damage on Sunday. It’s always good for team morale when you come out of the box and go Q1 to low and hopefully it will stick.”
Current reigning world champion Jerry Savoie currently sits second in his White Alligator Racing Suzuki after a pass of 6.817 at 197.28 and Scott Pollacheck is third in his Extended Protection Suzuki with a run of 6.820 at 195.28.
Qualifying resumes of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at 1:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Gateway Motorsports Park.
MADISON, Ill. — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the sixth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, 21st of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel — 1. Clay Millican, 3.631 seconds, 330.39 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.680, 329.26; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.681, 331.85; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.697, 329.83; 5. Brittany Force, 3.714, 329.58; 6.
Richie Crampton, 3.714, 326.87; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.721, 325.37; 8. Dom Lagana, 3.729, 323.35; 9. Terry McMillen, 3.749, 321.27; 10. Antron Brown, 3.759, 325.45; 11. Pat Dakin, 3.768, 321.96; 12. Shawn Langdon, 3.768, 324.28; 13. Scott Palmer, 3.785, 320.97; 14. Troy Buff, 3.857, 314.17; 15. Terry Haddock, 3.993, 248.43; 16. Luigi Novelli, 4.263, 207.24. Not Qualified: 17. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.563, 169.17; 18. Ashley Sanford, 4.740, 155.90; 19. Chris Karamesines, 5.533, 118.60.
Funny Car — 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.830, 338.60; 2. John Force, Camaro, 3.832, 335.32; 3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.849, 332.51; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.863, 333.16; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.873, 331.77; 6. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.877, 329.50; 7. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.885, 327.74; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.897, 325.30; 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.907, 329.34; 10. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.910, 327.27; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.923, 325.37; 12. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.930, 327.19; 13. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.978, 323.27; 14. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 4.014, 285.11; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.053, 313.73; 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.153, 306.26. Not Qualified: 17. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.623, 184.07; 18. Bob Bode, 9.029, 90.03.
Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.525, 211.06; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.533, 211.79; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.535, 211.56; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.542, 210.70; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.548, 211.03; 6. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.550, 210.87; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.553, 210.34; 8. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.575, 209.39; 9. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.591, 208.49; 10. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.612, 208.46; 11. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.886, 168.96; 12. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.906, 191.51; 13. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 7.038, 155.01; 14. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 8.728, 113.16; 15. Brian Self, Camaro, 9.500, 98.77; 16. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 9.606, 95.73.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.802, 196.19; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.817, 197.28; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.820, 195.28; 4. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.837, 194.88; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.841, 194.41; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.846, 194.74; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.867, 194.07; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.869, 192.82; 9. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.894, 194.13; 10. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.921, 192.08; 11. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.960, 192.03; 12. Marc Ingwersen, Buell, 7.009, 188.28; 13. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.211, 169.42; 14. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.218, 153.56; 15. Andie Rawlings, Suzuki, 7.657, 174.14; 16. David Hope, Buell, 7.845, 127.17.

Friday qualifying at AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in Greater St. Louis led by Mike Castellana


MADISON, Ill. – Mike Castellana ran the quickest during the first day of qualifying at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the 11th of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.
Castellana raced a track elapsed-time record of 5.713-seconds at 253.85 mph in his Al Anabi Racing Chevrolet Camaro during the second round of qualifying.
“It’s great. I mean, my team worked hard getting the car ready,” said Castelana, who is the points leader and holds the national elapsed time record. “We did some testing and set the car up good. Hopefully we can remain consistent this weekend.”
Steven Whiteley is currently in the second position with a 5.757 pass at 248.02 in his Y-Not Racing / J&A Service Cadillac and Dan Stevenson is holding onto third with a 5.769 at 235.72.
NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series qualifying continues Saturday at approximately 12 p.m.
MADISON, Ill. — Friday’s results after the first two of three rounds of qualifying for the sixth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the 11th of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Saturday’s first round of eliminations.
Pro Modified — 1. Mike Castellana, Chevy Camaro, 5.713, 253.85; 2. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.757, 250.32; 3. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 5.769, 235.72; 4. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.781, 251.53; 5. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.781, 250.18; 6. Eric Latino, Camaro, 5.787, 252.71; 7. Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.788, 254.81; 8. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.791, 249.53; 9. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.793, 250.55; 10. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.798, 252.19; 11. Carl Stevens, Camaro, 5.800, 257.28; 12. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 5.804, 250.60; 13. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.810, 250.09; 14. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 5.810, 249.44; 15. Doug Winters, Chevy Chevelle, 5.815, 247.25; 16. Chip King, Dodge Charger, 5.823, 246.80. Not Qualified: 17. Jonathan Gray, 5.838, 248.98; 18. Chuck Little, 5.841, 244.07; 19. Michael Biehle, 5.869, 252.05; 20. Mike Janis, 5.884, 234.13; 21. Melanie Salemi, 5.922, 237.80; 22. Shane Molinari, 5.980, 250.37; 23. Billy Harper, 5.980, 240.38; 24. Jeffery Baker, 6.301, 234.25; 25. Brandon Pesz, 6.407, 167.68; 26. Clint Satterfield, 7.034, 200.95; 27. Harry Hruska, 7.853, 175.68; 28. Jim Whiteley, 10.190, 119.26; 29. Shannon Jenkins, broke.

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle star LE Tonglet readies for Dodge Nationals in Pennsylvania


LE Tonglet in action (photo by National Dragster courtesy NHRA)




MOHNTON, Pa. – A class-best five wins during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season showed the type of performance Pro Stock Motorcycle’s LE Tonglet is capable of this year. It’s also why Tonglet won’t let a slow start to the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship get him down heading to this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Tonglet lost in the second round in Charlotte to teammate and reigning world champ Jerry Savoie, also dropping the points lead to event winner Eddie Krawiec. But pointing back to the type of performances he had repeatedly on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki, Tonglet fully expects to be back in prime form at the second stop of the NHRA’s six-race playoffs.

LE Tonglet (photo by National Dragster courtesy NHRA)

“It’s just getting back on track,” said Tonglet, who trails Krawiec by 48 points. “Every weekend in the Countdown is a very important one and we go into every race with the same mentality, and that’s to go rounds and try to win the race. We’re hungrier than ever and we’re going to give it our best shot. We’ve got two bikes capable of winning every race and the championship.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live final eliminations coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 24. The stop at Maple Grove Raceway is the middle race in a string of three straight events to open the Countdown to the Championship, and Tonglet is ready to get back on track.
He was incredible throughout the regular season, winning five times in a seven-race span, taking the points lead into the playoffs. But he wasn’t pleased with qualifying sixth in Charlotte and even more disappointed in having to race his teammate in the second round. A defeat to Savoie opened the door further for Krawiec, and Tonglet, who has 15 career wins, knows it is important to stop that momentum at Maple Grove Raceway. Krawiec has back-to-back wins, leading Hector Arana Jr. by 52 points, teammate Andrew Hines by 58 points and Savoie by 61.
“We didn’t qualify to the best of our abilities and you never want to meet your teammate in the second round,” said Tonglet, the 2010 PSM world champion. “That’s good for our competition and bad for us. I know Andrew and Eddie were happy to see us meet up. They’ve really turned the corner, but I know we can beat them. It’s a matter of getting our ducks in a row. I feel like we can outrun them and we just have to focus on making good, clean passes.”
Teaming up with Savoie has been beneficial for both riders, bringing two proven talents together. Both Tonglet and Savoie won championships as part of a one-bike team, and their success as a tandem this year ensures they will be in the title conversation until the end. But for Tonglet to return to the top spot, he needs to impress this weekend at the Dodge NHRA Nationals.
“I have all the confidence in the world in (crew chief) Tim (Kulungian) and everyone on the team,” Tonglet said. “They are great at what they do and Tim’s a hell of a tuner. I go to every race and feel confident, and that’s huge as a rider. Anytime you can take any jobs or stresses away from the rider, it can really help. Jerry and I bring out the best in each other.”
Back-to-back Top Fuel world champ Brown looks to rebound after an early Charlotte loss, chasing seven-time 2017 winner Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta, the Charlotte winner and points leader.
Robert Hight took the Funny Car points lead with a win in Charlotte, and will look to hold off reigning world champ Ron Capps and defending event winner Johnson.
In Pro Stock, everyone is chasing red-hot rookie Tanner Gray, who took the points lead with his Charlotte win to open the Countdown to the Championship.
The event features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Hanna Motorsports First Strike and Top Secret Eastern Raider Jet Funny Cars. They are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers. Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Before the race, the Mopar Mega Block Party will jump start the Dodge NHRA Nationals for the second consecutive year, with a full slate of free, fan-friendly activities from 4-10 p.m. on Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading. The event includes a home run derby with Mopar drivers and NHRA personalities, the unveiling of Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett’s dragster with a wrap celebrating the Mopar brand’s 80th anniversary, and special recognition for retiring Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, an NHRA driver autograph session, live bands, an all-Mopar car show, fireworks and more will also be part of the festivities.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 610-856-9200. Tickets also are available online at Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more info, visit ;

Motorsports mourns death of race car driver Bruce Leven

(courtesy of ISC Archives & Research Center)

Bruce Leven

June 12, 1938 – Sept. 15, 2017


During the late 1970s and 1980s, Seattle businessman Bruce Leven pursued his dreams and competed at the top level of North American sports-car racing.

He was born in Chicago on June 12, 1938, and two years later moved with his family to Seattle.

In 1964 the ambitious entrepreneur bought Bayside Disposal as a one-truck, one-employee waste-and-scrap hauling business in Seattle, built it into a very successful concern and then sold the company in 1987 as a vertically integrated 400-truck, 500-employee, multi-state operation. Subsequently, he purchased several other disposal and landfill businesses and operated them until he died on Sept. 15.

His affinity to the Porsche marque began in the ’70s when he owned and raced different Porsche models in local SCCA competition, earning the 1977 B-Improved Production-class regional championship. He subsequently raced in the Trans-Am Series and was the 1979 Rookie of the Year, then moved into IMSA Camel GT competition with an ex-Brumos Porsche 935.

As a gentleman racing driver, Leven surrounded himself with international stars that led to the success of his privately-entered Bayside Disposal Racing team – including three victories in the Twelve Hours of Sebring (1981, 1987, 1988). He enlisted such drivers as Peter Gregg, Hurley Haywood, Al Holbert, Scott Pruett, Hans Stuck, Bob Wollek, and others to compete in the IMSA GT series in Porsche 935s and 962s, and Dominic Dobson and Jeff Andretti in Lola open-wheel racers in the CART Indy Car series.

In Leven’s best-ever 1987 season his team earned six wins, with drivers Jochen Mass and Bobby Rahal finishing third and fifth in the IMSA championship despite entering only half the races. For good measure, three-time Le Mans winner Klaus Ludwig also contributed to that dream season with a solo win of his own. Leven was very proud that his small private team achieved such great success against major factory-backed efforts from Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar and Nissan.

Leven disbanded the racing team in the 1990s and turned his attention back to business. His love of cars and things mechanical led him into other new ventures as well. He founded the Bayside Automotive Group - consisting of several new-car dealerships in the Seattle area, including two Bayside Porsche franchises – and Lake Union Air, a commercial float plane business.

In his later years, Leven returned to his first love: building and showing customized cars and hot rods. Not surprisingly, he achieved great success in this endeavor as well, winning numerous prestigious awards, including multiple Best of Class wins at SEMA, the National Roadster Show, and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association national events. His last project, a custom 1951 Ford Club Coupe was chosen as the 2016 SEMA Grand Turismo Award winner and will appear in a future edition of Sony’s popular PlayStation video game. The Ford has continued to rack up accolades across the U.S., including the Gene Winfield Award, three Goodguys Builders Choice Awards, Custom Rod of the Year finalist (Scottsdale Goodguys), PPG Dream Car and will be featured on the Jay Leno’s Garage YouTube channel.
He was a true Renaissance man with multiple passions. In addition to his business and racing endeavors, he was also an avid boater, aviator, studied collector of Western American Art, outdoorsman and world hunter, amassing such achievements as the African “Big 5” and North American 29 “Super Slam.”

Leven leaves behind many close friends in the racing and business community, along with four children – Bruce (Melinda) Leven II, Michael Leven (C. Roxanne Robbin), Scott (Debbie) Leven, and Cydnee Stockton – and nine grandchildren – Jansen Leven, Troy Leven, Morgan Leven, Miranda Stockton, Alex Leven, Jack Stockton, Adrian Leven, Chad Leven and Shay Leven.

There are no memorial services scheduled at this time.



NASCAR mourns death of Series driver Ted Christopher




Ted Christopher 2001 By Purple Dart - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https

NASCAR Statement On Ted Christopher


“We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft’s pilot,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.


“As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots. He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country. He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”








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