Prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis set to once again showcase the very best in high performance for thousands of hot-rodding enthusiasts
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The world’s most prestigious drag race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, is set to once again provide its traditional offering of the very best in high performance for thousands of hot rodding enthusiasts. More than 950 competitors in 12 different racing categories will perform in front of the standing-room only crowd during the much-anticipated Labor Day weekend classic.
Drag Racing’s marquee event takes place at revered Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Aug. 29-Sept. 3. It is the 17th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for 2012 and the final of 17 regular season races. Following this event, the top 10 drivers in each pro category will be locked in for the six-race Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s post-season playoffs.
The 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus will be showcased nationwide on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD during more than 10 hours of coverage.
Each year at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, fans are offered a glimpse into the past with several exciting attractions and the 2012 edition of this legendary event, which will offer many additional events and special attractions to continue the celebration of NHRA’s year-long Nitro Generation theme, is no exception.
Throughout the weekend an incredible assortment of vintage hot rods will be on display in a special Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Car Corral. Several autograph sessions featuring many of the legends of the sport will be featured throughout the weekend as well.
A special Nitro Generation Track Walk also will be held, where prior to Monday’s pre-race ceremonies, many of the sport’s biggest stars will walk alongside fans down the historic dragstrip.
Fan-favorite Jet Cars and Wheelstanders will take to the track to make exhibition passes as part of the Friday and Saturday’s racing activities. As usual, one of the highlights of the spectacular pre-race show on Monday will feature highly-skilled skydiver Jason Peters soaring into Lucas Oil Raceway with an American Flag in tow while country music group Union Rose performs the National Anthem.
Throughout the years fans at Lucas Oil Raceway have cheered on drag racing immortals like “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, as they raced to the winner’s circle and etched their names into the NHRA record book. Today’s stars – such as eight-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner Tony Schumacher, four-time Funny Car winner John Force and six-time Pro Stock winner Greg Anderson – will be racing with plenty of determination to continue to build upon their legacies. For many of the competitors, the race has evolved into much more than an annual contest of speed. For those who seek to become a part of its mystique, winning the event has become a vital component of a great driver's resume.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Mike Neff (Funny Car); Anderson (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners in their respective categories.
This year’s edition of the famed event will feature intense side-by-side racing as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle compete for their share of the $2 million purse and battle for important world championship points as the event is the final regular season race and will set the top 10 fields for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. Perhaps more importantly, drivers will compete to earn a permanent spot in NHRA history, as a Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner.
Big bonus bucks will be on the line for qualified drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car as they battle in the Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be held on Saturday evening, while the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be contested Sunday afternoon. The winners in each Traxxas Nitro Shootout will earn $100,000.
Teams in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Series presented by ProCare Rx also will compete during the weekend. In addition, the world’s fastest Super Stock cars will race for bonus bucks and bragging rights during the intense Mopar HEMI Challenge.
Fans can get a taste of the excitement on Wednesday, Aug. 29th at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Fan Fest, which will feature a display of race cars at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The Fan Fest, which starts at 11 a.m., also will feature a premier autograph session with many of the top professional drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. In addition, a press conference will be held during the Fan Fest, where several news announcements will be made and the random lottery drawings for the No. 8 spots in the Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will be held.
The biggest, most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus has been contested annually since 1955. Originally known as “The Nationals” and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops at Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Detroit before eventually moving to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961.
The first of five qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31. Two sessions will be held on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 3.
Tickets are available for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. Tickets are available by calling (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRATIX.com
• ON TV:
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise more than 10 hours of coverage of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. Three hours of qualifying coverage and coverage of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will air at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 2. Two additional hours of qualifying coverage and Traxxas Shootout for Funny Car highlights will also air on Sunday, Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. (ET). Eliminations for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus will be featured during six hours of coverage on Monday, Sept. 3, starting at noon (ET).
• TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUTS:
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus also will feature two Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. The first one will feature eight qualified Top Fuel drivers on Saturday, Sept. 1 with rounds at 4 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be held on Sunday, Sept. 2 for the eight qualified drivers, with rounds at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Winners in each Traxxas Nitro Shootout will earn $100,000.
• LUCAS OIL SERIES:
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus also will feature competition in all categories of the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and eliminations begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30 and continue through Monday, Sept. 3.
• NHRA PRO MOD SERIES presented by ProCare Rx:
NHRA’s popular Pro Mod touring series will make its seventh start of the 10-race 2012 season at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. The series features some of the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars, with an eclectic mix of vintage and late-model body styles, in quarter-mile competition. The first qualifying session will be Friday, Aug. 31 at 4:30 p.m. Qualifying will continue on Saturday, Sept. 1 with sessions at 2 and 5:30 p.m. The final qualifying session will be Sunday, Sept. 2 at 2 p.m. and the first round of eliminations begins Sunday, Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. and will continue on Monday, Sept. 3 at approximately 2:30 p.m.
• ON THE WEB:
Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com
. Visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
2011 EVENT WINNERS:
Antron Brown, Top Fuel; Mike Neff, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock; Hector Arana Jr., Pro Stock Motorcycle
Bob Glidden, Pro Stock, 9; Don Garlits, Top Fuel, 8;Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel, 8; Don Prudhomme, Top Fuel and Funny Car, 7; Warren Johnson, Pro Stock, 6; Dave Schultz, Pro Stock Motorcycle, 6; Ed McCulloch, Funny Car and Top Fuel, 6; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock, 6; John Force, Funny Car, 4; Larry Dixon, Top Fuel, 4.
The most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil has been contested annually since 1955. Originally known as “The Nationals” and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops at Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Detroit before eventually moving to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961. Past winners include “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, an eight-time winner in Top Fuel; Shirley Muldowney, 1982 Top Fuel winner; Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, a seven-time winner and one of a handful of drivers to win the event in both Top Fuel and Funny Car; and Bob Glidden, the legendary Pro Stock driver who dominated the race by advancing to the final round in 13 consecutive seasons from 1977-’89. The Indiana native won the event a record nine times. It is the only major motorsports event to be contested on Labor Day. In 2004 the event celebrated its 50th anniversary in memorable fashion with spectacular racing witnessed by one of the biggest crowds in NHRA history. This year during the NHRA’s Nitro Generation celebration, there promises to be major drama as the event will be the last race during the NHRA Full Throttle Series regular season, and the top 10 drivers in each of the four classes will be determined for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the final of 17 regular season Full Throttle Series races. Following conclusion of this event the top 10 drivers in each Full Throttle Series category will qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs that begin Sept. 14-16 at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C.… Tony Schumacher is a 10-time U.S. Nationals finalist in Top Fuel (winning eight)… Schumacher’s first career NHRA start came at the U.S. Nationals in 1996 and the then rookie posted a runner-up finish to Cory McClenathan… Pro Stock dominator Greg Anderson has won the race six times in the past 11 seasons… Six female drivers representing all four professional categories are pre-entered for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals… John Force, 15-time NHRA Full Throttle Series world champion and winner of a record 134 events, has won the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals four times, his last coming in 2002… Pro Stock’s Bob Glidden is the winningest driver in the history of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, with nine victories… The event also will feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx.
WHAT TO WATCH:
The Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will offer $100,000 to the winners in special bonus events for qualified Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers… Tony Schumacher, who is third in the series with win one win, is seeking a record ninth Top Fuel victory at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals; with a win he will break his current tie with “Big Daddy” Don Garlits for most U.S. Nationals Top Fuel wins… A victory by Schumacher would tie Pro Stock’s Bob Glidden for most U.S. Nationals victories with nine… Four-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson, the defending world champion and third in the series points entering the event, is seeking his seventh Mac Tools U.S. Nationals victory… Erica Enders became the first female to win a Pro Stock race in NHRA history in Chicago and captured two more victories in back-to-back fashion at Seattle and Brainerd. At Indy she'll be going for three wins in a row… Reigning NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Motorcycle champion and points leader Eddie Krawiec is riding a hot streak into the event, as he has entered the winner’s circle six times this season aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley Davidson… Two other drivers riding momentum into the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals are Antron Brown in Top Fuel and Ron Capps in Funny Car, who both took over the points leads in their categories at Brainerd. Brown has won four events, while Capps has three wins this season… Sophomore drivers – Pro Stock’s Vincent Nobile and Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Hector Arana Jr. – enter the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in the top 10; Nobile has won two races this season while Arana Jr. has posted two runner-up finishes.
In 1958, led by Tom Binford, Frank Dickie, Rodger Ward and Howard Fieber, 15 Indianapolis-area businessmen and racing professionals invested $5,000 each to fund the development of what would become Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The group purchased a 267-acre farm about seven miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and developed a multipurpose auto racing facility. The original intention in creating Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis was to design a 15-turn, 2.5-mile road course. Nearly as an afterthought, and as an insurance measure against economic problems, the investment group decided to incorporate a quarter-mile drag strip into the long straightaway of the 2.5-mile road course design. Constructed with assistance from the NHRA, the drag strip was the first of the three courses to be completed, with the facility’s first event held on the strip in the fall of 1960. During the 1960 U.S. Nationals in Detroit, a handshake agreement between Binford and NHRA founder Wally Parks promised that the event would move to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961. The historic three-year pact was signed and sealed under a tree in Detroit Dragway’s pits, and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis eventually became the home of NHRA’s biggest annual event. The NHRA purchased the entire facility in 1979. The first major improvement came in 1983 with the construction and dedication of Parks Tower, the four-story drag strip tower. In 1998, new grandstands, suites and a tower complex on the front straightaway were completed at the oval track at a cost of nearly $2.5 million, which included the repaving of the entire oval surface as part of a three-phase facility improvement project. In 2001, NHRA and Lucas Oil Raceway constructed a new drag strip racing surface, replacing the strip with a 660-foot concrete pad and laying new asphalt on the remainder of the track and shutdown area. Prior to the 2003 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, eight new luxury suites were added along the top of the west-side grandstands of the drag strip, giving fans a unique perspective of the action on the famed quarter-mile track. In 2006, new soft barrier walls were added to the oval. In 2007, the track announced its first track entitlement with O’Reilly Auto Parts. In 2011, the track announced a new track entitlement with Lucas Oil Products. The track – formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park – is now known as Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. During the winter of 2008, a new main track office building was constructed near the track entrance.
Top Fuel - 3.735 sec. by Del Worsham, Oct. ’11, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C
Funny Car - 3.995 sec. by Matt Hagan, Sept. ’11, Charlotte, N.C.; 318.99 mph by Jack Beckman, Sept. ’11, Charlotte, N.C.
Pro Stock - 6.477 sec. by Jason Line, Oct. ’11, Reading, Pa.; 213.91 mph by Jason Line, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
PS Motorcycle - 6.750 sec. by Eddie Krawiec, March ’12, Gainesville, Fla.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.
Top Fuel - 3.776 sec. by Larry Dixon, Sept. ’10; 324.83 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. ’10.
Funny Car - 4.026 sec. by Cruz Pedregon, Sept. ’11; 315.19 mph by Jack Beckman, Sept. ’11.
Pro Stock - 6.538 sec. by Jason Line, Sept. ’11; 211.03 mph by Greg Anderson, Sept. ’11.
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.815 sec. by Andrew Hines, Sept. ’10; 196.76 mph by Hines, Sept. ’10.