CHEVROLET AT READING
32nd Dodge NHRA Nationals
Friday, Sept. 30-Sunday, Oct. 2
Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pennsylvania
FS1: Qualifying – 6 p.m. ET Friday (live)
FS1: Qualifying – 2 a.m. ET Sunday (taped highlights)
FS1: Eliminations and finals – 2 p.m. ET Sunday (live)
Chevrolet Drivers Carry Momentum Into Third Round of the Countdown
Every point is critical at Maple Grove Raceway as playoff reached midpoint
DETROIT (Sept. 28, 2016) – Chevrolet’s success this season in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock division has created a logjam of Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship contenders, each of whom carry momentum into the midpoint of the six-race playoff.
Overall, 11 Chevrolet drivers are in contention for championships in Funny Car, Top Fuel and Pro Stock entering this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pennsylvania.
Chevrolet Pro Stock drivers, who have won 19 of the 20 races, hold the top six spots in the Countdown standings, and seven of the 10. Every point earned is critical.
“I’m going to say the championship is not going to be clinched until we get to (season finale at) Pomona and hopefully I will still be in contention,” said Vincent Nobile, who is fourth in the standings and has advanced to the semifinals or better in five of the past six races in the Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS. “We’re all out there fighting and it’s the team that’s the most consistent and able to focus on every little detail that’s going to win this thing.”
Jason Line, who has an NHRA-high eight victories this season in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS, remained in first place in the standings following the event last weekend in St. Louis.
KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson, who set the Maple Grove Raceway Pro Stock speed record of 214.59 mph last October in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS, is second in the standings. Bo Butner, who advanced last weekend to his fifth final round of the season in the Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro SS, moved to third. St. Louis No. 1 qualifier Shane Gray (Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro SS) is fifth, followed by Chris McGaha (Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS), and Drew Skillman (Ray Skillman Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS).
Chevrolet’s season-long success was punctuated at St. Louis with Alex Laughlin earning his maiden Pro Stock national victory that also was the 250th in the division for the Bowtie Brand.
Chevrolet Motor Division expanded its footprint in NHRA in 1998 by entering the Pro Stock division with the 1998 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 driven by Larry Morgan, Kurt Johnson, and – in a limited schedule – Minnesota Timberwolves forward Tom Hammonds.
Interestingly, Bill Jenkins won the first two events of the inaugural 1970 Pro Stock season in a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro, and before the manufacturer’s formal entry into the class in ’98 the last victory for a Camaro came in 1985 when Joe Lepone Jr. ousted Bruce Allen in an all-Camaro final in the season finale at Ponoma, California.
Chevrolet also has recorded 118 Funny Car victories. John Force is the active leader with 15, including three this season. Force, who has driven the PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS to fourth place in the Countdown standings, has seven of his 146 career victories at Maple Grove Raceway.
In 2013, victory at the racetrack gave Force the points lead in the Countdown that he did not relinquish on the way to claiming his unprecedented 16th Funny Car championship.
“Every race in key in the Countdown,” he said. “We won the first one (at zMAX Dragway) but we struggled a little in St Louis. You want to have some momentum for the last three races, for sure. This Chevy hot rod will be in the mix.”
John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight, the No. 1 qualifier this past weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park in the Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS, was the No. 1 qualifier and reset the Maple Grove Raceway speed record of 329.24 mph last October. The 2009 Funny Car champion is seventh in the Countdown.
“Anyone still has a chance to win this Funny Car championship,” said Hight, who extended his streak of at least one No. 1 qualifier spot to 12 years. “We need to have a good race in Reading, but I think we can do that. I am excited to get to the track.”
Courtney Force, driving the Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS, is eighth in points in the Countdown.
Her sister, Brittany, has had success at Maple Grove Raceway the past two years in the Top Fuel division with final round and semifinal appearances. The driver of the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster was the No. 1 qualifier in 2015.
“I look at those races as learning experiences and I want to get those four round wins on Sunday this year,” said Force, who is in fifth place in the Countdown. “(Crew chief) Brian Husen and (tuning consultant) Alan Johnson have given me a great race car and I can’t wait to get to the track.”
Seven racers will drive their Chevrolet COPO Camaros in the Stock Eliminator class, including Dan Fletcher of Churchville, New York, who won the opener at Pomona, California, and David Barton of Robesonia, Pennsylvania, who won three of the four rounds of the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology Factory Stock Showdown.
FOX Sports 1 will telecast three hours of live eliminations and finals at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, along with an hour of qualifying live at 6 p.m. ET Friday. FS1 will telecast taped highlights of qualifying at 2 a.m. ET Sunday.
Chevrolet will welcome fans to its Chevrolet Performance Display during the weekend. It will include a number of Chevrolet’s award-winning production vehicles, examples of Chevrolet engines, and a selection of performance parts and accessories that are available for fans to purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer.