Joliet summary

It Was A Great Ride -- Milford, Michigan -- The Top Alcohol Funny Car made its final bow of the 2005 season this past weekend. The theatre was Rt. 66 Raceway, in Joliet, Illinois, and the playbill was the Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA...

It Was A Great Ride --

Milford, Michigan -- The Top Alcohol Funny Car made its final bow of the 2005 season this past weekend. The theatre was Rt. 66 Raceway, in Joliet, Illinois, and the playbill was the Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals, in two acts. The troupe, managed by ParkerTech Racing Services, closed to excellent reviews and expectations of a hit season again in 2006.

Act One featured Danny Townsend as NHRA's Division 3 Top Alcohol Funny Car hero in the Jeg's All Stars thriller. Townsend, driver of the Dodge Stratus, was one of seven Division 3 Sportsmen drivers to qualify for the Jeg's event. Each was the top point scorer in his or her category and would face their counterparts from NHRA's six other divisions in individual and team competition. This was the first Jeg's invitation for ParkerTech Racing Services and the latest in a long string for Townsend.

All three Jeg's All Stars elimination rounds took place on Saturday, October 1st. Townsend and the Dodge Stratus enjoyed a solo performance in the first round, when their opponent suffered a mechanical failure and exited stage right. In the second round, Townsend upstaged Jay Payne with a .073 versus .264 hole shot. The final round matched Townsend against veteran leading man Frank Manzo. The hoped-for win was cut from the script, when Townsend missed his cue by a tiny margin and finished runner-up with a 5.673 to Manzo's winning 5.667.

The scene in Act Two was the Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals, on Sunday, October 2nd. Townsend had qualified ninth, with a 5.666 e.t. at 254.52 mph -- right in the middle of NHRA's quickest Top Alcohol Funny Car field in history -- and was pumped from his performance on Saturday. Frank Parker, team owner, had worked his crew well into Saturday evening, refreshing the Stratus from its Jeg's appearance. They checked every part and rehearsed for the 9:00 am Sunday curtain call.

When the curtain came up, the team was ready and anticipating an eventual scenery change to the Winners Circle backdrop. But the second act ended all too soon. Cy Chesterman, whose mechanical problem gave the first Jeg's round to Townsend, stole the scene from Townsend this time. Although the two cars seemed evenly matched, Chesterman won with a 5.672, 252.71 mph run against Townsend's 5.725, 251.81 effort.

With the curtain down and the show over, Frank Parker took time to talk about the weekend. "Our sponsors were here for their first-ever NHRA experience and got to see Danny go to the final round of Jeg's All Stars. We were confident that the car would go all the way on Sunday, but the dramatic change in humidity skewed our setup. supported and encouraged us all season. It was a great ride and we're looking forward to 2006."

Blake Wetherspoon, from, traveled from company headquarters in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles, for his first exposure to the high-powered excitement of NHRA drag racing. "I've followed Frank's accomplishments, but only by phone and ESPN2," he said. "He's been telling me I could never fully comprehend the sound and excitement until I attended a race myself. Well, I'm totally blown away by what I've seen, heard and felt here. Until now," Wetherspoon continued, "I didn't have a clear idea of what was necessary to campaign a car like the Dodge Stratus. Nor did I grasp the extent of the value we get from our sponsorship. From our point of view, ParkerTech Racing Services fielded the championship team this weekend."

The Ameriquest Mortgage NHRA Nationals Sportsmen elimination rounds will be televised by ESPN2 on October 9th, 1-2 pm EST and October 15th, 4-5 am EST. The Jeg's All Stars competition will be part of those broadcasts. provides sports enthusiasts, around the world, up-to-the-minute sports news, statistical information and safe, reliable sports betting, casino games, horse racing and poker. Learn more about, "Where the World Wagers," at Click on the Dodge Stratus image to see NHRA race action, crew photos, pit activities and more. is part of a publicly traded company on the London Stock Exchange (LSE:LNG). Click "The London Stock Exchange," on the website, or visit the corporate website,, for details.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Frank Manzo , Jay Payne , Danny Townsend