NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Nitro Shots: All Things Being Equal

It was a nice run for KB Racing, but all things end eventually. It would appear that something resembling parity has arrived in the Pro Stock ranks. It’s just in time for the start of the Countdown coming up, when points will be reset and everyone can catch up to their long-gone rivals. It could make for an interesting championship picture after all.

The first chinks in the Team Summit armor showed at the start of the Western Swing in Denver, when neither KB car made it to the final round. Up to that point, Jason Line and Greg Anderson, and sometimes Bo Butner, had their way with the field, competing between themselves for virtually every single Pro Stock win all season. Of the few other cars that had snuck their way into a final, none had won. Every win had gone to either Anderson or Line.

In spite of the domination, both drivers talked as early as late April about how they felt some stirrings that their rivals were starting to catch. It seemed at that time they were the only ones who thought so. Even through Chicago they looked invincible. Then the series went west and suddenly things changed.

After Denver, Anderson and Butner bounced back to make it to the finals in Sonoma, but Line remained off-song. Line and Butner made it to the semifinals in Seattle, but Vincent Nobile, one of the drivers who got by the KB squad to make the finals in Denver, once more got through, along with surprise contender Aaron Strong on the other side.

On to Brainerd, home race for Anderson and Line, and the story continued. Anderson and Butner fell in the second round, with Anderson going down against that pesky Nobile fellow and Butner bowing out against eventual winner Drew Skillman. Line made it to the finals, but he couldn’t put Skillman on the trailer either.

It had to happen sooner or later. The crews on these teams are too good at what they do to think they wouldn’t eventually get a handle on the new package, no matter how much of a jump KB had on them. No team in motorsports has ever managed to stay in front forever.

What’s News:

* The Traxxas Nitro Shootout will take place in a little over a week during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and the winners of the eight and final spot in Top Fuel and Funny Car, determined by a fan vote and lottery, will be announced next Wednesday, August 31st. Voting is open until 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday, August 30th. Eligible and needing your vote in Top Fuel are Richie Crampton, Terry McMillen, Clay Millican, or J.R. Todd. Funny Car drivers eligible for the vote are Jack Beckman, John Force, John Hale, Chad Head, Cruz Pedregon, and Del Worsham. Go here to place your vote. The number of lottery balls per driver is based upon the vote so the more fan votes, the more balls and the better the odds of being drawn for the spot.

NHRA 2016 Tammy O Foundation logy by Kenny Youngblood
(Logo: Kenny Youngblood)

* Jim Oberhofer of Kalitta Motorsports has established The Tammy O Foundation in celebration of his late wife, Tammy, who died of cancer in June 2013, a fund that will donate the proceeds raised from purchases of Oberhofer’s book, Top Fuel for Life. The book, released last year, celebrates the Oberhofer’s life together and in racing and talks about the struggles of Tammy’s battle with cancer and the lessons learned from the experience. Fans can purchase copies through the Team Kalitta website, trackside at the Patron merchandise hauler or at amazon.com.

The foundation will send funds to support organizations that were dear to Tammy including BRAKES, Pandas International, Racers for Christ, DRAW, and Infinite Hero Foundation.

Driver Profile: Drew Skillman

NHRA 2016 Charlotte Drew Skillman intros credit Toni Montgomery
Drew Skillman (Photo: Toni Montgomery)

Category: Pro Stock
Hometown: Greenwood, Indiana
Date of birth: Jan. 14, 1988
2016 car: Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro
Crew chief: Mark Ingersoll
Team Owner: Ray Skillman Racing

Career Highlights:
Career wins/runner-up finishes: 2/3
Best points finish: 5th, 2015
Career best ET: 6.471, Dallas, 2015
Career best speed: 214.38, Englishtown, 2015

2015 – Won first career race at St. Louis; three runner-up finishes; three-time No. 1 qualifier; advanced to final round in first career start at Pomona 1; Auto Club Road to the Future award winner for top performing rookie driver.

Follow Drew: @drew_skillman on Twitter, Drew Skillman on Facebook

Some things most people don’t know about Drew: Comes from a family of racers. His grandfather Ray Skillman and father Bill Skillman both raced. His father scored five wins in NHRA Stock and one in NHRA Super Stock in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Hey Y’All, Watch This:

Matt Hagan set a new national Funny Car elapsed time record last weekend in Brainerd during Saturday qualifying with a 3.8222 second, 333.82 mph pass.

Word of the Week: Wheelie Bars

The long rods ending in small wheels on the back of the cars. They are used to prevent excessive front wheel lift. The bars were shortened as part of the new 2016 Pro Stock package to actually allow the front wheels to lift more, allowing for more “wheels up” launches, something fans enjoy seeing.

NHRA on TV:

ProgramDate/TimeChannel
AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
QualifyingFriday, November 10, 6:30 PM ETFS1 (Live)
QualifyingSaturday, November 11, 6:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)
EliminationsSunday, November 12, 4:00 PM ETFS1 (Live)

The Frontstretch Countdown to the Countdown – Win a VIP NHRA Experience!

NHRA 2016 Overall Contest Graphic small

Click here for more information and to enter. Deadline to enter is 9 PM ET Monday, September 5, 2016.

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