Indy ORP: Round 18 pre-event notes, schedule

55th ANNUAL MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS presented by Lucas Oil FACT SHEET WHAT: 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Professional competitors in four ...

55th ANNUAL MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS presented by Lucas Oil FACT SHEET

WHAT: 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, the 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Professional competitors in four categories earn points leading to 2009 Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world championships. Sportsman competitors in seven categories earn points leading to 2009 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, Clermont, Ind. From I-465, exit Crawfordsville Road (Hwy. 136). Head west for approximately four miles through the town of Clermont. The main entrance to the facility is on the left-hand side, one-half mile past Raceway Road.

COURSE: Quarter-mile drag strip, 1,320 feet (Top Fuel and Funny Car categories will compete to 1,000 ft. distance at this event); Track elevation is 700 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.

WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 2 through Monday, Sept. 7.

PURSE: Cash and contingency awards of more than $2 million.

SCHEDULE:

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2 -
Sportsman qualifying and time trials, 9 a.m.

THURSDAY, Sept. 3
Sportsman qualifying and eliminations, 8 a.m.

FRIDAY, Sept. 4
Sportsman qualifying and eliminations, 7:30 a.m.

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSION at 5:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, Sept. 5
Sportsman qualifying and eliminations, 7:30 a.m.

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at Noon and 5:45 p.m.

RINGERS GLOVES PRO BIKE BATTLE at 1:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:40 p.m.

SUNDAY, Sept. 6
Sportsman eliminations, 7:30 a.m.

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFYING SESSIONS at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

MONDAY, Sept. 7
Pre-race ceremonies, 9:30 a.m.

FINAL ELIMINATIONS at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:

Sunday, Sept. 6, ESPN2 HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute magazine show at 11 a.m. (ET).

Sunday, Sept. 6, ESPN2 HD will televise two hours and 30 minutes of qualifying coverage at 11:30 a.m. (ET).

Sunday, Sept. 6, ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 5 p.m. (ET).

Monday, Sept. 7, ESPN2 HD will televise a special one hour NHRA Race Day from the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at noon (ET).

Monday, Sept. 7, ESPN2 HD will televise five hours of eliminations coverage at 1 p.m. (ET).

2008 WINNERS: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car; Dave Connolly, Pro Stock; Steve Johnson, Pro Stock Motorcycle; Eddie Krawiec, Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle

MOST VICTORIES: Bob Glidden, Pro Stock, 9; Don Garlits, Top Fuel, 8; Don Prudhomme, Top Fuel and Funny Car, 7; Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel, 7; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock, 6; Dave Schultz, Pro Stock Motorcycle, 6; Ed McCulloch, Funny Car and Top Fuel, 6; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock, 5; John Force, Funny Car, 4.

BONUS RACE: A lucrative bonus race for Pro Stock Motorcycle will be showcased during the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil.

RINGERS GLOVES PRO BIKE BATTLE - a special bonus race offering $25,000 to winner, with rounds Saturday at 1:15, 5:30 and 7:40 p.m.; The race features the eight quickest Pro Stock Motorcycle riders from the last 24 races.

Defending winner: Eddie Krawiec @Most victories: Matt Hines, 4; John Myers, 4, Andrew Hines, 3.

NHRA offers a $10,000 Double-Up Bonus for any rider who can win the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle and the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. Past NHRA Double-Up Bonus winners of the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle: Reggie Showers, 2003; Antron Brown, 2000; Matt Hines, 1998 and 1999; and Jim Bernard, 1991.

EVENT HISTORY: The most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil has been contested annually since 1955. Originally known as "The Nationals" and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops at Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Detroit before eventually moving to O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in 1961. Past winners include "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, an eight-time winner in Top Fuel; Shirley Muldowney, 1982 Top Fuel winner; Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, a seven-time winner and one of a handful of drivers to win the event in both Top Fuel and Funny Car; and Bob Glidden, the legendary Pro Stock driver who dominated the race by advancing to the final round in 13 consecutive seasons from 1977-'89. The Indiana native won the event a record nine times. It is the only major motorsports event to be contested on Labor Day. In 2004 the event celebrated its 50th anniversary in memorable fashion with spectacular racing witnessed by one of the biggest crowds in NHRA history. Once again this year the regular season of the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship concludes at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil so teams will be racing hard to earn one of 10 available spots in each pro category for the playoff round, the Countdown to 1, which starts Sept. 18 in Concord, N.C.

FAST FACTS: The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil is the final round of the Countdown to 10, the regular season segment of NHRA's Full Throttle Series Countdown to the Championship. The top 10 teams in each pro category following this event will advance to the Countdown to 1, the playoff round of the Countdown to the Championship, which starts Sept. 18 in Charlotte, N.C.... Tony Schumacher has advanced to the last seven Top Fuel final rounds at the event and is a nine-time U.S. Nationals finalist (winning seven)... Schumacher's first career start came at the U.S. Nationals in 1996 and the then rookie posted a runner-up finish to Cory McClenathan... Pro Stock phenom Greg Anderson has won the race five times in the past eight seasons... Five female drivers representing three professional categories are pre-entered for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. Angelle Sampey, a two time winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle, and Shirley Muldowney, who won the race in 1982 in Top Fuel, are the only women to win the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil in a pro category ...John Force, 14-time NHRA Full Throttle Series world champion and winner of a record 126 events, has won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil four times, his last coming in 2002... "The Professor" Warren Johnson has six Pro Stock victories at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, but none this decade. His last victory at the event came in 1999 when he defeated his former crew chief Greg Anderson in the final round.

TRACK HISTORY: In 1958, led by Tom Binford, Frank Dickie, Rodger Ward and Howard Fieber, 15 Indianapolis-area businessmen and racing professionals invested $5,000 each to fund the development of what would become O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The group purchased a 267-acre farm about seven miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and developed a multipurpose auto racing facility. The original intention in creating O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis was to design a 15-turn, 2.5-mile road course. Nearly as an afterthought, and as an insurance measure against economic problems, the investment group decided to incorporate a quarter-mile drag strip into the long straightaway of the 2.5-mile road course design. Constructed with assistance from the NHRA, the drag strip was the first of the three courses to be completed, with the facility's first event held on the strip in the fall of 1960. During the 1960 U.S. Nationals in Detroit, a handshake agreement between Binford and NHRA founder Wally Parks promised that the event would move to O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in 1961. The historic three-year pact was signed and sealed under a tree in Detroit Dragway's pits, and O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis eventually became the home of NHRA's biggest annual event. The NHRA purchased the entire facility in 1979. The first major improvement came in 1983 with the construction and dedication of Parks Tower, the four-story drag strip tower. In 1998, new grandstands, suites and a tower complex on the front straightaway were completed at the oval track at a cost of nearly $2.5 million, which included the repaving of the entire oval surface as part of a three-phase facility improvement project. In 2001, NHRA and O'Reilly Raceway Park constructed a new drag strip racing surface, replacing the strip with a 660-foot concrete pad and laying new asphalt on the remainder of the track and shutdown area. Prior to the 2003 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, eight new luxury suites were added along the top of the west-side grandstands of the drag strip, giving fans a unique perspective of the action on the famed quarter-mile track. In 2006, new soft barrier walls were added to the oval. In 2007, the track announced its first track entitlement with O'Reilly Auto Parts. The track - formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park - is now known as O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. During the last offseason, a new main track office building was constructed near the track entrance.

QUICK QUOTES:

Tony Schumacher, Chicago, U.S. Army dragster, seven-time U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner: "It's pretty obvious I look forward to the U.S. Nationals each season. When you've had the kind of success the U.S. Army team has had in Indianapolis over the years, you definitely have to circle Labor Day weekend on the schedule. Of course, you can't forget about the importance of the race -- it is our Super Bowl and everyone wants to win there. I've been reminded I'm within one win of tying Don Garlits for the most Top Fuel U.S. Nationals victories. You can be certain we're going to go after that mark. Winning in Indy would also allow us to build some momentum for the Countdown to 1 which starts in Charlotte two weeks later."

Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster, two-time U.S. Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle winner; is seeking his first win at the event in Top Fuel; also enters the race as Top Fuel points leader: "Indy is the one race we all want to win. Next to winning the championship, it's the biggest accomplishment a team can have in NHRA drag racing. I've been fortunate enough to win twice on the bikes and Mike Ashley, our team owner, won in Funny Car a few years back with Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) calling the shots on his Funny Car. We're having a great season so far and hopefully we can be in the top three coming into Indy for the Countdown (to the Championship). That's really our goal, to be in the top three heading into Charlotte. Tony (Schumacher) and Larry (Dixon) have dominated Indy in Top Fuel this decade and hopefully we can upset their U.S Nationals party and put this Matco Tools dragster into the winner's circle at O'Reilly Raceway Park. They've been the story all season and we liking flying under the radar too."

Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Dodge Charger, winner of five races this season and second in the point standings: "Historically it's the race to win. You hear everybody talk about it every year: If you could only win one race it's the race you definitely want to win before your career is over. Our goal is to go into Indy and leave Indy leading the points and gain those additional 20 points for being the regular season point leader. My NAPA Auto Parts Dodge crew chief Ed McCulloch has won Indy so many times that he understands Indy more than anybody. I've tried to downplay it over the years to try to make it so I didn't get too emotional about the race, but it means everything to a driver to be able to win the U.S. Nationals. It's what our sport was kind of built on years ago when all the drivers came from all over the country to try to win Indy. It's the biggest race. Being a race that's run on Monday, there's so much more to that race that makes it stand out from anything else. And now being the last race before the Countdown, it gives that race a little more importance than it had last year. "

Jeg Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt, two-time U.S. Nationals Pro Stock winner and current Full Throttle Series Pro Stock points leader: "There is no other race like Indy. I have watched the sport progress over the years and the careers unfold of some of the greatest drivers and teams in the sport's history at that race. My goal from a very young age was, one, to race Indy, and two, to win the greatest drag race on earth -- the U.S. Nationals. Fortunately, our family has had a fantastic run at the historic event. All five of us (also Jeg Sr, John, Troy, Mike ) have reached the final at Indy; collectively bringing home the Wally on six different occasions. ORP gives you a special 'vibe' when you pull through the gate. It's a vibe that makes you and your team dig even further down to achieve yet another Indy triumph. There's just no other race like it."

Eddie Krawiec, Indianapolis, Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, 2008 Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle winner and current Full Throttle Series Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader: "Indy is a race that I look forward to and Indy is where I call home now and is also the place I got my first big NHRA win in the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle. It's the one time a year that during qualifying we get to race for big money with no pressure. I would love to put my Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod into the winner's circle for back-to-back wins and keep the Vance & Hines winning streak alive. Then come Monday it's all business. It's the one win everyone wants and is the hardest to get."

TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available at ticketmaster.com, nhra.com, and oreillyracewaypark.com.

GENERAL ADMISSION (includes pit pass) - Wednesday: Adult, $10, Junior (6-12 years), free; Thursday: Adult, $14, Junior (6-12 years), free; Friday: Adult, $35; Junior (6-12 years), $10; Saturday: Adult, $46; Junior (6-12 years), $10. Sunday: Adult, $49; Junior (6-12 years), $10. Monday: Adult, $49; Junior (6-12 years), $10; Child (5 years and under), free in general admission and pit areas each day.

RESERVED (includes pit pass) - Friday: Adult, $45; Junior (6-12 years), $20; Child (5 years and under), $10. Saturday: Adult, $54-$58; Junior (6-12 years), $18-$22; Child (5 years and under), $8-$12. Sunday: Adult, $57-$61; Junior (6-12 years), $20-$24; Child (5 years and under), $10-$14. Monday: Adult, $57-$61; Junior (6-12 years), $20-$24; Child (5 years and under), $10-$14.

-credit: nhra

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Greg Anderson , Reggie Showers , Bob Glidden , Don Garlits , Cory McClenathan , Don Prudhomme , Mike Ashley , Andrew Hines , Steve Johnson , Robert Hight , Angelle Sampey , Eddie Krawiec