Valvoline Racing News -- July 17

NASCAR: Big Brothers Donations Top Half-Million $ In the remarkably short period of 17 months, Valvoline's NASCAR team-related effort has raised over a half-million dollars for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Mark Martin's ...

NASCAR: Big Brothers Donations Top Half-Million $

In the remarkably short period of 17 months, Valvoline's NASCAR team-related effort has raised over a half-million dollars for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Mark Martin's performance in the Valvoline Ford Taurus, combined with contributions from NASCAR fans and Valvoline, has brought the current total donated to $520,301 -- believed to be the most raised in the shortest time frame for such a motorsports sponsor-team cause-related effort. This "Caring Hands" program started at the 1999 Daytona 500. Valvoline donates $5,000 for every Winston Cup race Martin wins, $2,500 for each pole, $1,000 for a top-five finish, and $20 per lap Martin leads. There also are a series of trackside events where the public can participate and the Valvoline Online Racing Auction on eBay earlier this year raised $150,000.

NHRA: Amato Wins Comeback Race

Five-time Top Fuel champion Joe Amato, who missed the Winston Showdown while recovering from eye surgery, returned to competition by winning last Sunday's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Colorado's Bandimere Speedway. Amato qualified the DynoMax/Valvoline/Keystone Automotive dragster No. 2 and defeated reigning Top Fuel titlist Tony Schumacher in the finals for his NHRA record 51st career Top Fuel victory. Three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Matt Hines red-lighted against Angelle Seeling in the finals on the Eagle One Suzuki. Ron Krisher red-lighted in the Pro Stock semis in the Eagle One Pontiac Firebird.

Special Report: Is Pole an Advantage in Drag Racing?

The advantage of winning the pole position in NASCAR or Indy-type racing is apparent. Starting ahead of anywhere from 20-to-40 other cars means avoiding traffic and potential early-lap incidents. The pole in a NHRA Winston Drag Racing event -- achieved by lowest elapsed time in four qualifying runs -- carries less obvious benefits. Valvoline and Eagle One drag racers explain why being No. 1 going into final eliminations is important. Joe Amato (DynoMax/Valvoline/Keystone Automotive dragster, five-time NHRA Top Fuel champion, No. 1 qualifier three times this season): "You get the $4,000 bonus money and the maximum number of qualifying points. The main thing is it should give you the edge in the first round (of final eliminations) because you run against the 16th qualifier and have lane choice. There are bragging rights, sure, but if you get too caught up in being the fastest guy, that means you're closer to the edge. The closer you are to the edge, the easier it is to smoke the tires (lose traction) and get in trouble. Sometimes it's safer if you're back in the pack a little bit because you have more of a cushion. In this business, it's too easy to beat yourself." Matt Hines (Eagle One Suzuki, three-time NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, No. 1 qualifier four times this season): "Qualifying No. 1 definitely helps because it puts you on the good side of the ladder (of 16). You race the 16th qualifier in the first round. I think I qualified No. 1 three times before I won a race, so you can win from any position." Ron Krisher (Eagle One Pontiac Firebird, currently second in NHRA Pro Stock points, No. 1 qualifier three times this season): "Anywhere in the top half (first eight qualifiers) gets (first round) lane choice and that can be a tremendous factor when you're talking about a couple hundredths-of-a-tenth-of-a-second. These fields are packed so tight, any edge you can get is important, and lane choice definitely can be an advantage."

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Series NASCAR Cup , NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher , Mark Martin