There isn't another drag race with the prestige of the National Hot Rod Association's U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. The quarter-mile specialists have already competed in 15 national events, all leading to a shot at Indy gold. When the dust cleared after six days of intense competition, Goodyear collected six trophies, five for the points-paying competition and another in a special exhibition event.
Tony Schumacher is currently the hottest driver in the Winston Top Fuel division, and he kept his momentum going with a strong win, defeating Doug Herbert, Larry, Dixon and Kenny Bernstein to get to the finals, where he met and defeated the surprising Gary Clapshaw in the finals. Schumacher also leaves Indy with the points lead after Gary Scelzi was ousted in the first round.
Jim Epler learned a few things from Budweiser Shootout where he lost to John Force. The Phoenix-based driver put them to use, winning the Winston Funny Car division over Whit Bazemore. "I've always dreamed of winning in Indy," said Epler. "Especially after yesterday when I got so close. But winning today is even better because the points are on the line and it's a national event win. This is such a huge career builder for me."
Jeg Couglin Jr. got back on the winning track, scoring his seventh Winston Pro Stock win of the season, Bob Panella padded his points lead in Pro Stock Truck and Jeff Taylor won the biggest event of his career in the Competition Eliminator division.
The International Hot Rod Association conducted its biggest meet of the year a week earlier, with the Mopar Parts World Nationals at Norwalk, Ohio, and Goodyear Eagles were on 12 of the 15 class winners. Clay Millican thanked his new sponsor by earning the No. 1 qualifier position and then trouncing the field for the win. In addition, Millican sliced a big chunk out of Paul Romine's lead and now sits in third place, just 63 points out of first and 17 behind Bruce Litton in second.
Goodyear swept the other pro categories, Quain Stott won the Pro Modified class, Steve Stordeur claimed top honors in Nitro Harley, Scott Weney defeated Von Smith in Funny Car, Jon Montecalvo earned the win in Pro Stock and Mike Decker topped his challengers in Pro Outlaw.
Bill Newall (Top Sportsman), Scott Stillings (Top Dragster), Doc Bilbrey (Modified), Bennie Ulmer (Quick Rod), Marc J. Caruso (Hot Rod) and Anthony Bertozzi (ET) won the right to call themselves world champions in the Sportsman categories.
Every streak must come to an end, and the Goodyear-shod GM Goodwrench Corvette team is hoping that they can keep their new streak alive. The Corvettes had yet to win in American Le Mans Series competition while setting new track records on two continents. On the new Texas Motor Speedway road course, the Corvette of Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim failed to collect the pole, but did one better. Fellows took the lead on the first lap and never gave it away. The Canadian driver continued to expand the margin before handing the driving chores to Pilgrim, who built on Fellows' cushion to post a three-lap victory over the Oreca Viper team.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Corvette program and the entire Goodyear team that contributed to this thrilling win," said Bob Shaffer, Goodyear marketing manager, sports car racing. "Now that the Corvette team has its first win, Goodyear certainly hopes that winning is contagious and we can contribute to more wins this season."
The Pennzoil World of Outlaws continued their West Coast swing at Calistoga Speedway in the San Francisco Bay area. Jac Haudenschild dominated both preliminary races, both run on Saturday night following inclement weather on Friday. "The Wild Child" was on his way to winning Sunday night's "A" Feature when the right front radius rod broke, sending him into the Turn One wall. Mark Kinser was Goodyear's top finisher in third place.
Paul McMahan has jumped back into the points picture in the Gumout Racing Series. After suffering through some midseason misfortune, McMahan is slicing away the points deficit one race at a time. A week after his win at Williams Grove, McMahan scored his fourth win of the season at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo.
On the short tracks, Sunday's CASCAR Castrol Super Series National finale at Delaware Speedway Park brought tears of joy to nearly everyone at the facility. Al Turner grabbed the lead on lap 210 and pulled away over the final 90 laps to grab the win over Steve Robblee and Dave Whitlock for an all-Goodyear sweep. Turner was joined on the podium by his son James, who underwent emergency surgery in June to remove a tumor.
The championship race was a bit of a bust as all the contenders broke. Peter Gibbons broke his motor on lap 219, leaving him 30th in the race. That was enough to give the Goodyear-equipped racer the championship by 21 points after Don Thomson Jr. (mechanical), Kevin Dowler (accident) and Carl Harr (accident) also dropped out.
Goodyear kept the pressure on its competitors in the NASCAR Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series at Tri-City Raceway in West Richland, Wash. After winning a record sixth-straight Bud Pole award, Gary Lewis won his third race in a row and is looking for his second title of his career. Gooodyear-equipped cars took the first four spots on the grid and were the only four cars under the 18-second mark. Late in the race, Lewis trailed John Dillon, but the pressure resulted in Dillon's car going loose. Lewis saw his opportunity on lap 89 and grabbed the lead, cutting his points deficit to just 41 as the season winds down. Kevin Hamlin finished third on Goodyears and Joe Benedetti was fifth.
Goodyear also swept through Salt Lake City as Bobby Dotter won the NASCAR Winston West Series. Goodyear Eagles led every lap of the Bank One 250 at Rocky Mountain Speedway and were on seven of the top-10 finishing cars. The result gave Goodyear its sixth series win in 10 races with two remaining and fourth bias-ply win in seven short track races. Dotter's win moved him into second place in the series points behind Brendan Gaughan.
At USA International Speedway, Derrick Kelley edged David Pletcher by .001 of a second to win his first USAR Hooters ProCup Series race since last November, also at Lakeland, Fla. The two ran side-by-side over the final three laps, recording the closest finish in the series' history. Hal Goodson, Stacy Puryear and Trent Owens rounded out the all-Goodyear top-five.
Catch up on all the latest information from Goodyear Racing on our revised website, www.racegoodyear.com. The site covers NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch Grand National and Craftsman Truck series; NHRA and IHRA drag racing, Pennzoil World of Outlaws, major sports car competition and numerous weekly short track stock car programs in the United States and Canada.