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Reading: Round 19 preview

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Reading: Round 19 preview
Dec 10, 2006, 4:17 AM

CAPTAIN CHAOS, KENNY KORETSKY, IS BACK TO RACING AFTER ALMOST A ONE YEAR LAYOFF FROM DALLAS CRASH MOHNTON, Pa. -- Richboro, Pa. native Kenny Koretsky, owner of Kenny Koretsky Racing and driver of the Nitro Fish/Werner Enterprises Dodge Stratus ...

CAPTAIN CHAOS, KENNY KORETSKY, IS BACK TO RACING AFTER ALMOST A ONE YEAR LAYOFF FROM DALLAS CRASH

MOHNTON, Pa. -- Richboro, Pa. native Kenny Koretsky, owner of Kenny Koretsky Racing and driver of the Nitro Fish/Werner Enterprises Dodge Stratus R/T, has returned to the NHRA POWERade series after an accident in Dallas last season put him on the sidelines.

Koretsky was not sitting idly by as he nursed himself back to racing health from his accident with Bruce Allen in Dallas. He was running his team of racers under the flag of Kenny Koretsky Racing. Koretsky has a team of two pro stock cars driven by Dave Northrop and Mike Thomas, and one Top Fuel dragster driven by Clay Millican.

In the accident Allen's car went on its side, crossed into Koretsky's lane, and Koretsky's car slammed into the underside of Allen's car. Amazingly, Koretsky was able to get out of the car on his own, and spent a few days in the hospital recovering. Allen suffered some minor injuries and left the hospital the following day.

When Koretsky eventually returned to racing at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., Aug. 10-13, he not only was able to drive the car down the strip, but he qualified the car to race again on Sunday. He qualified 15th and then eventually lost in the first round to Pro Stock points leader Jason Line.

"I was a little nervous on Friday with the burnout and screwed it up a little bit," said Koretsky. "But, I was able to become more focused on Friday night and Saturday. I was waiting for a daylight race to come back to racing."

Koretsky had been mentally ready for racing, but physically he was still recovering. It took his friend Evan Knoll, who had been in an accident and got back to racing, to get him to realize that it was time to begin racing again.

Koretsky has raced so much at Maple Grove Raceway, site of the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals, Sept. 14-17, that he considers it his home track. He is still looking for his first professional win and hopes to get it in the $1.5 million race, which will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD, and is the 19th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

"Maple Grove is a great facility and George (Alan Case -- track vice president and general manager) does a great job there," Koretsky said.

Defending race winners include Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel); Tony Pedregon (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock), and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta has been dominant most of the season. Kalitta, leading the points chase since Denver, has posted five victories in his Mac Tools dragster this season. Melanie Troxel has raced to two victories in seven final rounds and led the standings for most of the season in her Skull Shine/Torco Race Fuels dragster. Three-time winner Brandon Bernstein and Rod Fuller, who has earned two wins, are certainly threats to win. Three-time and defending world champ Tony Schumacher earned his first victory of the season in June at St. Louis, posted a runner-up finish to rookie first time winner J.R. Todd at Denver and recently won the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, looks to be primed for a late season championship run in his U.S. Army dragster.

Funny Car has seen a change in leadership two times since Memphis, but following the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Ron Capps holds a 19 point lead over rival John Force. Capps has been dominant in his quest for his first championship with five wins, but other winners include three-time winner Pedregon, and a multitude of single-event winners, such as defending world champion Gary Scelzi, and U.S. Nationals winner Robert Hight.

Three-time world champ Greg Anderson had led the way in Pro Stock in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO until Denver when his teammate and three-time winner Jason Line. Four-time 2006 winner Dave Connolly is making a strong move late in the season. Kurt Johnson, Mike Edwards, and former two-time series champ Jim Yates are all ones to watch.

Last year's Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion, Andrew Hines, is sitting atop familiar territory after winning at Denver and Memphis. Other winners this year have included, Angelle Sampey, Antron Brown, Chip Ellis, Ryan Schnitz, and Matt Smith.

SCHEDULE: Professional qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2 and 5 p.m. on Sept. 15, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sept. 16. Eliminations start at 11 a.m. on Sept. 17.

TICKETS: For tickets, call (610) 856-7200 or www.maplegroveraceway.com. Tickets also are available at Ticketmaster.com.

ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise two hours of qualifying at 4 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 16. ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will air NHRA 2Day, a 30-minute weekly news magazine show, at 11:30 a.m. (ET), and three hours of eliminations coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on Sept. 17.

-credit: nhra

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