Sears Point hosts Division 7 event

SONOMA, Calf. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) -- There will be no limit to the speeds that can be reached on the lightning-quick quarter-mile drag strip at Infineon Raceway during the Bank of the West NHRA Division 7 Summernationals, July 4-6. This event...

SONOMA, Calf. (IMMEDIATE RELEASE) -- There will be no limit to the speeds that can be reached on the lightning-quick quarter-mile drag strip at Infineon Raceway during the Bank of the West NHRA Division 7 Summernationals, July 4-6.

This event will kick off the second half of the season for competitors in Division 7 of the Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series, which spans coast-to-coast with seven divisions. Qualifying will take place on Friday and Saturday (July 4-5), with final eliminations set for Sunday (July 6) at 8 a.m. There will be drag racing in eight categories.

Morgan Lucas enters the event leading the premier Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD) standings. The 19-year-old from Riverside has one victory in three Division 7 events and boasts 229 points. Mark Niver, from Phoenix, sits in second place with two victories and 202 points, while Mission Viejo's Darren Nicholson (178) is third.

Doug Gordon (Paso Robles) has nearly a 100-point lead over second-place Ed Marx (Discovery Bay) 262-160 after three Division 7 events for Top Alcohol Funny Car. Steve Gasparrelli is both the defending Division 7 champion and the defending champion at Infineon Raceway for TAFC. The West Covina resident currently sits in third place in Division 7 with 128 points.

"We can just fly down that track, that's for sure," said Gasparrelli. "I love that drag strip, especially after all the work that's been done. It is one of the top five tracks in the entire nation."

"If the weather conditions are right there is no doubt that we can set some records there in July," said Duane Shields, who is both the defending Division 7 champion and the defending champion at Infineon Raceway for TAD. "I can't wait to get down there."

Neither can Bucky Austin, who set the national speed record for the Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series in TAFC at Infineon Raceway in 2002 at 260.46 mph. The record has since been reset by Frank Manzo (262.33). Austin races in Division 6 (Pacific Northwest), but will make the trek down from Washington to the Sonoma Valley for the Summernationals.

Infineon Raceway features a potent combination for dragsters: the strip is just 15 feet above sea level, and the drag strip features a 660-foot concrete launch pad. If the conditions are cool, Austin says he can better Manzo's current record.

"That place is one of the top three tracks I've ever been on," said Austin. "That track will produce national records if the conditions are right. I can guarantee you that."

There will certainly be excitement on the drag strip July 4-6 when the top divisional drivers on the West Coast invade Infineon Raceway for a piece of the $158,145 purse. The entire 45-race, $6.5 million Lucas Oils Drag Racing Series will span coast-to-coast in 2003.

Division 7 encompasses California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii and Baja California (Mexico), but drag racers from all over the country will venture to Sonoma for a chance at a national record. Top Alcohol Dragsters and Top Alcohol Funny Cars boast 3,500 horsepower and can reach speeds in excess of 250 mph in under six seconds over the quarter-mile drag strip. More than 450 competitors are expected to compete at the Summernationals.

WHAT: NHRA Division 7 Bank of the West Summernationals. #WHEN: July 4-6.
WHERE: Infineon Raceway.

TICKETS: 800-870-RACE, www.infineonraceway.com, www.ticketmaster.com.

-spir-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Manzo , Morgan Lucas , Duane Shields , Bucky Austin , Doug Gordon