Richmond Funny Car notebook

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 PENNZOIL NATIONALS PRESENTED BY TRAK AUTO FUNNY CAR NOTEBOOK *Tough stuff: Al Hofmann has...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

PENNZOIL NATIONALS PRESENTED BY TRAK AUTO FUNNY CAR NOTEBOOK *Tough stuff: Al Hofmann has intensified his therapy regimen for his broken right arm, trying to get behind the wheel of his Pontiac Firebird as soon as possible. Earlier this month, Hofmann underwent four hours of therapy each morning and nearly two hours in the afternoon. The therapy has helped Hofmann regain strength in his arm quickly, but that strength has come with a price. "I've felt better, and I've felt worse," Hofmann said. "I was surprised at how much it takes out of you. I'm finding places that are sore that I never knew could be sore." *Quick learner: Randy Anderson won the Funny Car title at the Fram Nationals in just his fifth race in a professional category. He drove his Parts America Pontiac Firebird past six-time NHRA Winston champion John Force. Anderson, from Ontario, Calif., moved to Funny Car this season after racing in Top Alcohol Funny Car from 1992-96. His victory is one of the earliest by a Funny Car rookie. K.C. Spurlock won the 1990 Chief Auto Parts Winternationals in his Funny Car debut. *Dynamic duo: Randy and Shelly Anderson are the only brother and sister to each win an NHRA national event in a professional category. This was the first career victory for Randy, 32, while Shelly, 31, has four career victories in Top Fuel. *The dominator: John Force will try to remain unbeaten at Virginia Motorsports Park this weekend in the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Force won the first two Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto, beating Cruz Pedregon in 1996 and K.C. Spurlock in 1995. *Media mogul: Dynamic NHRA Winston Funny Car champion John Force just keeps attracting more and more media coverage, and some of it is coming from non-motorsports publications. A writer from music magazine Rolling Stone attended his first drag race at the Winston Invitational earlier this month at Rockingham, N.C., hanging out with Force for a story to be published in the magazine this summer. Force also is featured prominently in the new music video by country superstar Travis Tritt. The video for the song, "She's Going Home with Me," was scheduled to debut April 16 on Country Music Television. A longtime drag racing fan, Tritt attended Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School at Pomona Raceway in November 1996 and January 1997 to earn his NHRA Super Comp competition license. Force and Tritt will star in a one-hour television special, "Burning Thunder," airing at 3:30 p.m. (EDT) May 18 on The Nashville Network. The show, which directly precedes live coverage of the Mopar Parts Nationals, also will feature past and present NHRA stars such as Bernstein, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Warren and Kurt Johnson, Hill and his wife, Ercie, and Angelle Seeling. *Back at it: If you think that Al Hofmann has muffled his war of words with John Force after Force provided his luxury bus last month to transport Hofmann home from the hospital, think again. "I appreciate what John did for me, and I told him I'd lay off of him for three hours," Hofmann said. "Time's up." Hofmann and Force exchanged verbal jabs all last spring while Force laid the groundwork for a record-breaking Funny Car season. Hofmann contended that the two-car team of Force and Tony Pedregon gave Force an unfair advantage, a claim he continues to make. "I've got nothing personally against John, but I think he's taken it too far," Hofmann said. "He's spread himself too thin. There are 15 cars that can beat him on race day in this deal, not two or three like before. If he makes a mistake in the early rounds, he's going to lose." *On the mend: Al Hofmann isn't the only Funny Car driver recovering from a hospital stay as veteran Tom Hoover checked himself into North Memorial Medical Center in Minneapolis on April 3 for emergency heart-bypass surgery. Team crewman Cory Lee, a licensed Funny Car racer, is substituting for Hoover in the Pioneer Electronics Dodge Avenger. Hoover, 55, suffered from symptoms of an impending heart attack since after the Mac Tools Gatornationals in early March, Lee said. The diagnosis originally called for a triple bypass, but surgeons found that four grafts were necessary. *Schedule: Pro qualifying starts at 3 p.m. April 25 and continues at 7 p.m. that evening. Qualifying ends with sessions at noon and 4 p.m. April 26. Final eliminations start at 11 a.m. April 27. Federal-Mogul competition starts at 10:15 a.m. April 24. *Tickets: Tickets are available for the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto. Call Virginia Motorsports Park at (804) 862-3174 for ticket information. Tickets also can be purchased from Ticketmaster. *On TV: ESPN2 will televise two hours of same-day, final-round competition from the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto at 10:30 p.m. (EDT) April 27. ESPN2 also will show two hours of same-day, Friday-night qualifying at 11:30 p.m. (EDT) April 25.All-day, live coverage of final eliminations will be shown on ESPN pay-per-view from 10:30-6 p.m. (EDT) April 27. The telecast costs $14.95. Viewers must order the programming through their satellite or cable provider. -30- 4/14/97-RV3-057

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , John Force , Cruz Pedregon , Don Garlits , Cory Lee , Frank Hawley , Shelly Anderson