Money Trail E.T. Bracket Series starts April 27 at Maple Grove Raceway

Paul Thimm Jr. was a winner at the recent Footbrake Nationals at Maple Grove.

Paul Thimm Jr. was a winner at the recent Footbrake Nationals at Maple Grove.

Maple Grove Raceway’s local racers will be featured this Saturday as the Sunoco Race Fuels Money Trail E.T. Bracket Series will be run for the first time in 2013. On tap for Sunday is the Universal Technical Institute High School Challenge, which gives aspiring mechanics and racers a chance to show what they’ve learned in front of their peers.

Saturday will be Opening Day for the ’13 Money Trail, the first of 17 races this season. This will be the 43rd season for the Money Trail, one of the oldest bracket series in the country.

These events pit local drivers in four different NHRA classes – Gold Rush Trailers Super Eliminator, Ciccarone Racing Products Pro Eliminator, P.C. Richard & Son Street Eliminator and Ray’s Yamaha Top Bike. Competitors race for points and a season championship.

They also compete for a chance to represent The Grove at the Summit Racing Series Northeast Division ET Finals, which will be held in September at Numidia, Pa. Winners from that event move on to the NHRA World Finals in November at Pomona, Calif.

Defending track champions are Barry Sauder (Ephrata, Pa.) and Rick Terkowski (Gilbertsville, Pa.) in Super; Paul Thimm Jr. (Mohnton, Pa.) in Pro; Paul Werner (Sinking Spring, Pa.) in Street; and Kyle Gockley (Mohnton, Pa.) in Top Bike.

Also racing during Money Trail events are Trophy cars – regular street cars – and Junior Dragsters, who will also be taking part in their own season points race.

Sunday’s UTI High School Challenge will give younger racers a chance to safely race their cars down The Grove’s quarter-mile strip and a chance to represent their respective schools.

Spring-Ford High School is the defending team champion. Bobby Mihalcik from High Point Baptist Academy won last year’s overall championship. Nearly 40 high schools from an area ranging from the Lehigh Valley to York were represented.

The High School Challenge will get underway Sunday morning with gates opening at 8 a.m. and time trials starting at 9:30. Race entry is $25, while spectators pay $15, juniors ages 13-15 pay $10 and children 12 and under are free.

Maple Grove Raceway’s 51st season includes events at the track every weekend between April and November. The 29th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals will be held Oct. 3-6.

For more information, contact Maple Grove Raceway at 610-856-9200 or visit

PSCA adds Xtreeme 8.5 class to April 26-28 Las Vegas event

Any PSCA racer that enters into two different PSCA classes and wins them both during Sunday Eliminations, will receive an extra $500 at the pay window.

Any PSCA racer that enters into two different PSCA classes and wins them both during Sunday Eliminations, will receive an extra $500 at the pay window.

The Pacific Street Car Association is gearing up for its next event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the PSCA/MagnaFuel Las Vegas Nationals on April 26-28.
The PSCA has added a new class to race at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to run during four special Saturday Night Shootouts along with the facility’s ET Bracket Series. The Xtreeme Outlaw 8.5, sponsored by Bad Idea Racing apparel is an 1/8th mile class that will see small-tired Outlaw 8.5 cars and PSCA’s naturally aspirated Hot Street Cars together for the first time in one eliminator class.
“We’ve set the bar pretty high over the years,” PSCA President Mel Roth said. “We’re not going to start slacking now. The PSCA/MagnaFuel Las Vegas Nationals is going to be an outstanding event and we’re looking forward to another great track prepped by the crew at The Strip and putting on another great show for our fans.”

TAD and TAFC Drivers to Hold Autograph Sessions at All NHRA National Events

Annie Whiteley drives the TAFC and husband Jim drives TAD, making for a real Top Alcohol family.  (Bob Johnson photo)

Annie Whiteley drives the TAFC and husband Jim drives TAD, making for a real Top Alcohol family. (Bob Johnson photo)

The Pro Sportsman Association (, in conjunction with Lucas Oil Products and NHRA, is working to get fans closer to the stars of Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car through autograph sessions at every national event, starting this weekend in Houston.

“This is a great way to promote alcohol racing and get our fan base more involved in what we do,” said PSA President and Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Ray Drew. “Wherever the alcohol cars are competing, we want to be available to interact directly with our fans. The PSA membership is growing, a series of hero cards will be available soon, and a lot of good things are happening.”

Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car drivers will be available for autographs in the Lucas Oil compound on the midway at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, immediately after the final qualifying session.

“The Pro Sportsman Association has been working with Lucas and NHRA to put together this program to promote alcohol racing, and they’re behind us all the way,” Drew said. “Houston is just the beginning.”

Head Restraints Needed for Sportsman Drag Racers?

Should Head and Neck Restraints be used in all the Sportsman classes of drag racing?

A dramatic answer to that question emerged from the Nationals in Las Vegas. Scott Hedlund, a Comp Eliminator driver, walked away from a 160 mph crash that nearly destroyed his Chevy Cobalt. He was wearing a HANS Device.

In a sad contrast, Derek Sanchez hit the wall at the same Las Vegas Motor Speedway track in his ’33 Ford and suffered a head injury. The 47-year-old Yuma, Ariz. driver died in a Las Vegas area hospital several days later after never regaining consciousness. A family member said the Super Gas driver had suffered a basal skull fracture – the kind of injury a SFI Certified Head and Neck Restraint is designed to prevent. Sanchez was not wearing one.

“We hope all competitors in Charlotte this weekend will choose to use a Head and Neck Restraint,” said Jim Downing, president of HANS Performance Products. “Sled tests have proven that a sudden stop of 42 miles per hour within milliseconds is enough to result in a fatal injury. It’s hard to predict when a racer might need a Head Restraint. But when the need occurs, a Head Restraint makes a big difference for drivers and their families.”

A corrugated box salesman from Anaheim Hills, Calif., Hedlund was back at work following his accident and contemplating repairs to his Chevy Cobalt that will allow him to return to drag racing later this summer. “I truly believe the HANS Device saved my life by saving my neck and head,” said Hedlund, whose car abruptly turned left at the finish line.

“I went in at a diagonal angle and I was conscious the whole time,” he continued. “Everything went into super slow-mo. I remember my head being pushed forward. I could feel the HANS stopping my head from going forward.”

The NHRA requires racers who clock 7.49 seconds or better in the quarter mile to wear a Head Restraint certified under SFI’s 38.1 specification. Neither Sanchez nor Hedlund’s cars were fast enough to require the drivers to wear one. In Charlotte this weekend, four of the classes competing are not required to use a Head and Neck Restraint.

“If you’re above 7.49 seconds, it’s your choice whether to wear a Head Restraint, which I don’t agree with,” said Hedlund. “I’ve always been one who believes everybody should wear one.”

At the IMIS Safety and Technical Conference in December of 2012, Downing presented a study based on the Charlotte Observer’s report “Death at the Track.” The HPP study found that 10 drag racing deaths could have been prevented by the use of SFI Certified Head and Neck Restraints in the years covered by the Observer’s study — 2001 to 2011. The majority of those drag racing deaths occurred in the Sportsman classes.

The HPP study and the summary of preventable deaths are available at

Drag racers among 2013 Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame inductees

BillyHuffThe Class of 2013 members in the Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame have been announced with several drag racers to be inducted: Kenny Cook, NHRA Pro Comp World Champion, Louisville, KY; Sherrill and Billy Huff (shown), two-time IHRA Pro Stock world champions and sportsman standout team, Shepherdsville, KY; and Jim Lyons, IHRA event Champion drag racer, engine builder and Championship Truck puller, Louisville, KY.

The new home for the Kentucky Motorsports Hall Of Fame is The Speedzeum located in the Owensboro Museum of Science & History, Owensboro, Ky. The Speedzeum is a gallery dedicated to motorsports, local racing history and the successes of Kentucky’s racing athletes.

The KMHOF Induction Ceremony will be held in October 2013. (photo courtesy

NHRA OKs Racepak use of wireless Bluetooth

The V500SD (left), Pro IIIA (center) and Pro III (right) are all approved by NHRA for Bluetooth upgrade.

The V500SD (left), Pro IIIA (center) and Pro III (right) are all approved by NHRA for Bluetooth upgrade.

The National Hot Rod Association has granted approval of Bluetooth technology to select Racepak data recorder models. The usage of Bluetooth technology eliminates the need for the traditional programming cable between the user’s PC and the Racepak data recorder, instead relying on a wireless Bluetooth communication link when updating a data recorder with new sensors or programming changes.

“The use of Bluetooth will eliminate the issue of stringing a programming cable from the trailer to the race car, creating a safer and less complicated pit area,” explained Todd Paton, Racepak’s Pro System and Sales Manager, “while simplifying the process of sending programming changes to the data recorder.”

To upgrade your Pro III, Pro IIIA and V500SD, contact Racepak at 949-709-5555 for details.

NHRA sportsman classes at Charlotte, NC

NHRA sportsman classes at Charlotte, NC

Pomponio Wins Again; Reichert Back To Winning Ways

Dan Pomponio continues to dominate the Top Alcohol Funny Car class and is four for four in 2013 while Bill Reichert grabbed the win in Top Alcohol Dragster at the Dollar General NHRA Four Wide Nationals fueled by Full Throttle at zMax Dragway on April 21.

Pomponio (shown) led the list of NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series winners picking up his second national event win to go along with a pair of divisional wins. The Berlin, N.J., racer ran 5.50’s throughout eliminations including a 5.563-second pass at 260.36 mph to beat Dale Brand in the final. Brand went 5.816, 259.96. The win extends Pompoino’s 2013 round record to 14-0.

Reichert, who is a five-time national champion in the alcohol dragster class, beat Matthew Cummings in round 1, No. 1 qualifier Randy Meyer in the second round and recent event winner Rich McPhillips in round three to advance to the final.

LODRS at Texas Motorplex

LODRS at Texas Motorplex

Lopez takes second divisional win

In the final results from the Texas Motorplex and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, Texas racers took home eight of 10 trophies led by Bill Kent in Comp Eliminator and Norman Marsden in Super Stock.

Bill Kent

Kent, Midland, Texas, clicked off a 6.689 second lap at 189.95 mph in his ’66 Chevy II to beat Denver City, Texas, racer Clark Smiley while Marsden won a close race against former Lucas Oil national champion Larry Stewart.  Marsden got the advantage at the start and held on for the win.


Gateway reduces ‘Megabucks’ race to two days this weekend but increases purse

Officials for Gateway Motorsports Park have adjusted the schedule for this weekend’s Spring Megabucks Super Pro Showdown and the Spring Mini No Box Battle due to heavy rain, flooding and high winds that are expected to carry over until mid-day Friday in the St. Louis area. With a great forecast for sunshine and temperatures in the high 60′s on both Saturday and Sunday, racers will be eligible to compete for a possible $7,500 to win per day in Super Pro.

“We want to provide our racers with the best conditions possible to launch the Megabucks program and today’s weather and the unfavorable forecast throughout the day on Friday was going to create a tremendous challenge,” said Gateway Motorsports Park Senior Vice President Chris Blair. “We can’t control the weather but we are trying to create the best possible racing weekend.”

The original Mega Bucks payout would pay $5,000 to win and $2,000 for runner-up in Super Pro for each of the three days if a minimum of 150 entries were received. The event will now pay $7,500 to win and $3,000 to runner-up based on a minimum of 150 entries. The Mega Bucks format will offer racers four tech card color choices and a racer can enter the same car one time in each color group (four event entries possible). The final four cars in each color group will face off in the final sixteen.

The Pro/Sportsman event purse will remain $1,200 to win as single day entries had been offered for $50 per car.

Spring Sportsman Open at St. Louis

Spring Sportsman Open at St. Louis

Scott Cook (far lane) and Ashley Marie Bach.  (Chris Bralley photo)

Cook tops JEGS Quick 64, Landolt and Tyler win in Super Pro and Pro

Pro Sportsman dragster driver Scott Cook actually didn’t qualify for the elite 64-car field but got into the field as the first alternate. That bit of racing luck was all the Festus, Missouri, racer needed and once in the field he put on a driving clinic, winning both the JEGS Quick 64 and the NHRA Super Comp classes at the April 13-14 National Open at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Gateway also ran the track’s first bracket point race of the season in conjunction with the Open and local racers Ray Landolt and Kevin Tyler won in Super Pro and Pro, respectively. The event was the official kick-off for the 2013 racing season for new track manager Chris Blair and the event also the 25th anniversary of the JEGS NHRA eighth-mile “Super Quick” Series.