Bristol: Hillary Will preview

Hillary Will wants team to celebrate 4th at Bristol in winner's circle NORWALK, Ohio (July 4, 2007) -- Bristol Dragway is now ready to host the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series as the seventh annual NHRA O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals...

Hillary Will wants team to celebrate 4th at Bristol in winner's circle

NORWALK, Ohio (July 4, 2007) -- Bristol Dragway is now ready to host the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series as the seventh annual NHRA O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals unfolds on the newly resurfaced quarter-mile track this weekend, July 6-8. The original date of May 18-20 was postponed due to construction problems.

Hillary Will, driver of the KB Racing-owned, Kalitta Motorsports-managed Top Fuel dragster, wants to celebrate with her team in the winner's circle and gather points toward a spot in the elite eight drivers that will move to the second segment of the Countdown to the Championship.

"Our KB Racing team really needs a reason to celebrate. It's been a tough couple of weeks at Kalitta Motorsports both on and off the track," said Will. "This Sunday, we hope to be celebrating a win at Bristol.

"The guys on my team didn't even get to celebrate the Fourth of July. They drove back from Norwalk Sunday night after the race and have spent every day of the holiday week diligently working in the shop. They will spend July 4th on the road again, driving to Bristol Dragway. I want nothing more than to be able to celebrate, relax and enjoy our first win on Sunday night.

"Our KB Racing Pro Stock teammate, Greg Anderson, got his very first win at this race track. Obviously he has gone onto to a great career. Our dragster is running great right now and we are confident the KB Top Fuel team can follow Greg's example and secure our first win here also."

Even though a rare tire issue ended Will's opportunity for a possible win last weekend in Norwalk, Ohio, when the team found a bubble on the tire just prior to the burnout for the second round and decided to err on the side of safety and not run, Will is still in the hunt for one of the eight spots in the first segment of the championship chase. Despite the unexpected loss, Will picked up a few additional points on the top eight drivers and now is just 49 points behind the much sought after eight positions that will make the cut and advance to the Countdown to Four segment of the Countdown to the Championship. (For a brief description of the Countdown to the Championship, see below.)

With six races left in the first segment of the countdown, the top five Top Fuel drivers in NHRA POWERade points seem fairly secure in their bid to move to the next segment. But from six through 12, it's a toss up. Looking at the Top Fuel standings you find "Hot" Rod Fuller in first with 786 points. Fuller is followed by Larry Dixon in second with 688 points; J.R. Todd in third (677); Brandon Bernstein No. 4 (671); and Tony Schumacher is fifth with 655 points. Will's Kalitta Motorsports teammate, Dave Grubnic is six with 533 points. Then there is only a gap of 133 points back to Grubnic's teammate Doug Kalitta in 12th with 466 points

On the bubble in the top eight is Melanie Troxel with 519 points, who trails Bob Vandergriff in seventh by five points. She is followed by Whit Bazemore (ninth) who is 7 points behind Troxel. Then come Cory McClenathan (No. 10), 32 points out of eight; Will (No. 11), 49 points behind Troxel; and Kalitta, 53 points back.

It will be a nail biting time during the next six races and there will be little breathing room as the six races will be run over seven weeks -- four races (Bristol, Denver, Seattle, and Sonoma, Calif.), a week off, then two races (Brainerd, Minn., and Reading, Penn.).

-credit: kbr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Whit Bazemore , Doug Kalitta , Greg Anderson , Melanie Troxel , Brandon Bernstein , Bob Vandergriff , Rod Fuller , Hillary Will , J.R. Todd