Over the past several years we have dabbled with some posts keeping you up to speed with NHRA.  This year we will be adding posts from the NEMA website as well.


Enjoy the read!



Mopar Hemi Challenge 2015

Posted on: Wednesday, June 17th 2015



Glendora, Calif. (June 17, 2015) — For a 15th consecutive season, Mopar will underscore its commitment to Sportsman racing competition within the NHRA with the presentation of the Mopar HEMI® Challenge. The ever-popular annual vintage racing event will be staged during the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind., this year’s shootout will take place September 3-4 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.


The inaugural HEMI Challenge made its debut in 2001 on the quarter-mile track at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and showcases 1968 HEMI-powered Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas, the classic muscle cars that contributed to the Mopar brand’s legendary reputation and success at the drag strip.


This year’s edition celebrates the 15th anniversary of the heads-up shootout that shows off the coveted vintage vehicles and provides a $15,000 winner’s prize, a unique HEMI Challenge trophy, and a custom Mopar HEMI Challenge winner’s jacket. Cash prizes will once again be awarded to the top-16 qualified cars that advance to the elimination rounds on Friday, September 4.


Every participant in the Mopar-powered Super Stock/Automatic-HEMI (SS/AH) class participating in the HEMI Challenge will receive a 15th anniversary event hat, replica license plate, commemorative poster, and participant decals to display on their vehicle.


“The Mopar HEMI Challenge is a race that pays tribute to Mopar’s brand heritage,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO — Mopar Brand Service, Parts and Customer Care, FCA. “These competitors and fans are the backbone of drag racing, and we treasure their passionate support. It's this passion that has helped to make Mopar the brand that it is today.”


“The longevity of the program is a tremendous testament to the commitment MOPAR has to the NHRA and its racers,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president, sales and marketing. “The Mopar HEMI Challenge is yearly one of the most anticipated events for our sportsman racers. It is also a can’t miss event for NHRA drag racing fans and has grown to be a crown jewel in the NHRA.”


The first Mopar HEMI Challenge was won by Bucky Hess (2001), followed by drivers Richard Beshore (2002), Jerry Jenkins (2003), and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (2004). The winningest driver has been defending champion Charlie Westcott Jr., of Parma, Michigan, who has earned six career HEMI Challenge trophies, (2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014) with his father, Charlie Westcott Sr. (2009), Jim Daniels (2010) and Rick Houser (2007 and 2013) interrupting those victories with their own trips to the winner’s circle.


This year’s HEMI Challenge is scheduled to take place Thursday and Friday during the annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway, held from Sept. 2-7.


Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2015, Mopar looks to add to its streak of five NHRA World Championship titles in the Pro Stock (2012 and 2013) and Funny Car (2011, 2012, and 2014) categories in four years. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar’s Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge.


Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.


NEMA Wiscasset Update

Posted on: Monday, June 15th 2015
Cugini Nabs First NEMA Win; R. Bigelow Takes Down Big Wiscasset Lites Victory
Bridgewater, MA  - 
The Wiscasset Speedway put together a blockbuster evening for NEMA this past Saturday night, with packed stands, and fans eagerly awaiting the return of the Winged Warriors. At the end of the evening, a very happy Danny Cugini took down his first ever NEMA victory over five time champion Randy Cabral, and Ryan Bigelow took down the Lites victory.

In the NEMA feature, veteran Paul Scally took off from the pole position. Scally looked extremely strong, stretching his lead out to ten carlengths over the first half of the race. Behind him, Danny Cugini had worked his way up to second, but had not challenged Scally at that point. Randy Cabral had worked his way by John Zych for third, by the halfway point.

With eight laps remaining, Scally, who was over heating at the time, had his worst nightmare come true - a caution for a spin by Matt O'Brien. On the restart, Cugini powered by Scally to take the lead, and Cabral quickly got by for second.

"I had been trying to save my tires because it was a 30 lap race and my motor lagged a little on the restart. I saw Randy next to me (he restarted 3rd) and I knew the only way I was going to stay in front of him was to sail it in on the outside. Once we cleared Randy I figured I'd try for Scally in the same corner, I never lifted and cleared them both by turn 3. After that, I just tried to hit my marks," Said Cugini.

With three laps remaining, Cabral appeared to narrow the distance between himself and Cugini, and Seth Carlson slipped by Scally. With two laps to go, Cabral had caught Cugini and slipped his nose under Cugini's left rear. The last lap proved to be one of the most exciting in recent NEMA history.

"The last lap was something else, I left a little door open and Randy did what any other race car driver would do and he stuck his car under me. I didn't want to give my first win away so I was on it 100% coming off of turn 2. Randy and myself made contact. Whether I pinched him off or he came into me, it was just good hard racing. His right front tire ended up on my exhaust header and we rode half the back stretch like that. The whole time he was on me all that was going through my head was 'how can we finish the race', I was turned right as hard as I could and I kept my foot in it and Randy having all his experience wheeled his car off and we made it through 3 and 4 for the finish, and I came out on top," said an elated Cugini.

Cabral crossed the line in second, happy with the finish, followed by Carlson, Paul Scally, John Zych, Jim Chambers, Avery Stoehr, Jim SantaMaria, Bethany Stoehr, Todd Bertrand, Alan Chambers, Steve Powers, Matt O'Brien and Ryan Bigelow.

In the Lites Feature, Ryan Bigelow started fourth and was able to get under Jim Chambers in the Chambers 21 going into three on lap one. He survived two restarts on lap 6 and 16 and both times was able to get a good jump and take down the win. Bigelow was driving the 32 car, regularly driven by his brother Scott, and last year's championship car.

"I would like to thank Scott (Bigelow) for giving me such a good car and of course my father for supporting my racing. Also have to thank my sponsors Bigelow Electric, Royal Tire and Stewart race engines," said a happy Bigelow.

He was followed across the line by Danny Cugini and Randy Cabral, Meg Cugini, Joey Payne, Jim Cataldo, Jeremy Decourcey, Dennis O'Brien, Jim Chambers, Anthony Payne, and Bethany Stoehr.

NHRA New England Dragway

Posted on: Sunday, June 14th 2015



EPPING, N.H.  – John Force picked up his second Funny Car win of the season Sunday at the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway.


Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) also took home victories in their respective categories at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Boston. All three winners of the event rank as the active wins leaders in their classes.


Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champ, raced to a winning performance of 4.160 seconds at 309.49 mph in his PEAK Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS, defeating No. 1 qualifier Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final. The victory was Force’s 143rd of his career, 99 ahead of second place Ron Capps. The win was Force’s first at New England Dragway following a runner-up at this event in 2013. With the win, Force now has a victory at every track that has appeared on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit.


“I had a great day,” said Force, who moves to third in points with the win. “I’m not going out of racing any time soon, but I was going to win at New England. I almost did the first year and this year I finally did.”


Johnson Jr. was appearing in his first final of the season. The No. 1 qualifier for the weekend, Johnson Jr. leaves Epping still searching for his first win since Bristol last June. He is now fifth in Funny Car points.


In Top Fuel, Schumacher went the distance as the No. 1 qualifier, running a 3.809 at 321.35 in his U.S. Army dragster during a final round win over three-time world champ Larry Dixon, who finished in 3.881 at 319.60 in his C&J Energy Services dragster. Schumacher, the defending and eight-time world champ, secured his second win of the season, second in a row at Epping and 79th of his career. The victory propels Schumacher to second in points.


“[Crew chiefs] Mike [Green] and Neal [Strausbaugh] did an outstanding job today,” said Schumacher. “I felt like I drove well today. Together as a team we went out and won. We did a great job, what a battle.” 


Dixon, whose last win came in 2011 at Phoenix, was appearing in his third final of the season and first at New England Dragway. He is now fifth in points.


Anderson drove his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to a 6.512 at 214.72 in the final round, defeating 2012 Pro Stock world champ Allen Johnson, who trailed with a 6.530 at 213.50 in his Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart. The win was Anderson’s third of the season and 77th of his career. Anderson, a four-time world champ who won last weekend at Englishtown while also beating Johnson in the final, has now won back-to-back races for the first time since 2011.


“My car has been fantastic,” said Anderson, who is now three for three in final rounds this season. “I’m absolutely having a ball. I’ve got a great race team behind me and they are doing a great job. I can’t wait to go to the next race.”


Johnson appeared in his second consecutive final of the season and he moved to fifth in points with the runner-up finish.


The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Bristol, Tenn. next weekend for the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 19-21 at Bristol Dragway.




Posted on: Friday, May 29th 2015


ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. — Antron Brown is approaching a massive milestone in his highly successful NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series career.


With 49 career victories, the 2012 Top Fuel world champion is on the verge of becoming just the 10th driver to earn 50 wins. The 46th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals at venerable Old Bridge Township Raceway Park takes place June 4-6 and Brown, a Chesterfield, N.J. native, couldn’t think of a better location to earn the milestone victory in his 10,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster.


But just the fact that he is approaching such an incredible level is still hard for Brown to fathom.


“I can’t even believe I’ve won 49 races,” said Brown, who has 33 Top Fuel wins and 16 victories in Pro Stock Motorcycle. “There wouldn’t be a better place for me to get my 50th Wally than at Englishtown. That’s where it all started for me. I remember riding my dirt bike there and watching my dad and uncle race at Englishtown. There are so many great memories there.


“I’ve been so blessed to be with our Matco Tools/U.S. Army team. All my family will be out at Englishtown and sharing that moment with them would be more than I could ask for. But our team has to treat it like another race. We’ll just put our Matco Tools to use, keep our heads down and go from A to B.”


Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2. It is the ninth of 24 events during the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and Brown is already off to a fantastic start.


The current Top Fuel points leader, Brown was the first driver in the ultra-competitive class to win two events this season, picking up his 49th career victory in Atlanta. He was the No. 1 qualifier at the most recent event in Topeka before exiting with a second-round loss to three-time world champion Larry Dixon in a tremendously close race.


“We put forth our best shot,” Brown said. “It was a close race with (Larry) Dixon and they got us. We'll lick our wounds and go on to Englishtown and get back after it. All I know is it definitely makes our team a lot more hungry for Englishtown.”


Englishtown is certainly a track near and dear to Brown’s heart, but he’s looking for some recent success at the track. Brown hasn’t been to a final there since 2010 and is still after his first Top Fuel victory at the track.


He has two total wins at Raceway Park, both coming in Pro Stock Motorcycle, but will once again face a loaded field that starts with eight-time and defending world champion Tony Schumacher. Crampton claimed his first career win at Englishtown, becoming the 100th different driver to win in the category, and comes into Englishtown feeling good after winning the most recent event in Topeka.


Other standouts include Doug Kalitta, who won in 2000 and 2003, 2013 winner Shawn Langdon, 2011 Englishtown winner Spencer Massey, 2012 winner Steve Torrence, J.R. Todd and Brittany Force. But Brown will take plenty of confidence into the event thanks to a team that impresses him at every event.


“Out of all the teams I’ve been in racing with, (and) I’ve had some really good teams, but when you take all the guys we have with (crew chiefs) Brian Corradi and Mark Oswald, we have the brotherhood,” Brown said. “It’s a family. I couldn’t be prouder and more blessed to have a group of guys like I have right now.”


That has led to immense success, including three final rounds and two No. 1 qualifiers in 2015, and now has Brown close to a huge career milestone. To get it, Brown and his team will continue to do what has been successful and that is work together and work extremely hard.


“We put our heads down, we all work hard and put that effort in,” Brown said. “These guys are very thorough and that’s the making of the championship team. We know what it takes to win championships, we have to take it one race at a time, one round at a time. That’s what we do. We’re ready to get after it. I am just so blessed to be able to drive this car.”


In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon has three wins at the event and dominated the weekend at Englishtown last season, qualifying No. 1 and storming to the event win over Del Worsham. Four of John Force’s record 142 career victories have come in New Jersey, but he hasn’t won the event since 1999. Two-time and defending world champ Matt Hagan has enjoyed past success at Englishtown, winning the event in 2013, and others to watch in the class are points leader Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr., Alexis DeJoria, Courtney Force, Robert Hight, Jack Beckman, who won the most recent event and Atlanta winner Tim Wilkerson.


Greg Anderson leads the Pro Stock category with five career wins at Raceway Park, while teammate Jason Line has three wins in New Jersey. Defending world champ Erica Enders, who took over the points lead with a win in Topeka, is looking to add the Toyota NHRA Summernationals to her career victory total, while 2011 winner Allen Johnson, 1994 winner and recent Charlotte winner Larry Morgan, Las Vegas runner-up Vincent Nobile, Houston runner-up Chris McGaha, Shane Gray and Jonathan Gray also figure to be major players in the ultra-competitive factory hot rod class.


In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines took home his second Englishtown victory last season en route to his fourth career world championship. Hines is currently second in points to teammate and Bayonne, N.J. native Eddie Krawiec, a 2012 winner of this event. Former Englishtown bike winners Matt Smith, Angelle Sampey, Shawn Gann and Michael Ray will all be in pursuit of more success at the event. Meanwhile, Hector Arana Jr., Karen Stoffer, LE Tonglet and Scotty Pollacheck are among a group of riders who are ready to claim a breakthrough E-town victory.


The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will hit the track for its fourth race of the 2015 season. The Toyota NHRA Summernationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the sport earn their racing stripes.


As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.


Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, June 5, with sessions at 4 and 6:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, June 6, at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 7.


To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at (732) 446-7800 or visit For more information about the NHRA visit


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Posted on: Saturday, May 23rd 2015

In the Lites division, Anthony "the Tornado" Payne, son of legendary Joey "the Jersey Jet" Payne, looked very strong from the start of the day, winning his heat race. Payne, who drives for NEMA charter family, the Scrivani's - had come close previously, but had not tasted his sweet first victory until this past Saturday. Payne started fourth in the feature event, and quickly worked his way to the front of the field. He looked to have the dominant car as the feature went on, despite the always strong Scott Bigelow, who came charging through the field, with NEMA regular, Danny Cugini in tow.

Payne went on to cross the line victorious, followed by Bigelow, Cugini, Meg Cugini, and Randy Cabral. Payne thanked his sponsors - the Jarrett family, crew, his parents, and the Scrivani family in victory lane.

"It was a great feeling putting the famed Scrivani 21 back in victory lane. There have been so many great drivers in that seat I'm proud to be one that has a win now. The car is really good at most tracks we go to, but Saturday the car was really good from the first practice. The heat win built my confidence and I knew I had a good shot to win the feature. I liked Evens Mills and felt comfortable in 2014 and came back more confident in 2014 and knowing I had a shot to win. This wouldn't be posible without the Scrivani family and the support of the Jarrets, Jim Susi, Dave Shore. Thanks to my family for all their support," said the young Payne.

The Lites division resumes its schedule at the New London Waterford Speedbowl on June 6th, and both divisions the following weekend at Wiscasset Speedway.



Posted on: Friday, May 22nd 2015

The Northeastern Midget Association is a club that boasts a loyal group of drivers and owners, but on this Friday night at Chemung Speedrome (NY) it was a couple racers that have been recognized for their skills in another open wheel machine that took the victories.

2012 and 2014 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby has dabbled in the NEMA car on occasion when he has weekends off, and appeared to be the car to beat from the beginning after dominating his heat race. The Milford, Connecticut driver would have to start fifth in his feature and contend with a relative newcomer to the full-powered Midgets for the top spot early on.

Massachusetts driver Danny Cugini fought off Coby for several laps, but when the caution displayed on lap 11 for an incident Cugini's car would also slow and never come back to life. With Cugini on the sidelines, it was all Coby up front holding off teammate Todd Bertrand in the race that was shortened to 20 laps due to time constraints.

"(Danny) was gaining on me in certain spots and I was gaining on him, and I think in the long run I would have run him down," Coby told powered by JEGS. "I think I was better than him in three and four, which were the critical corners here. When he broke and the track is covered in speedy dry, you don't know who is going to be fast after that. Our car kind of settled in and it was pretty consistent the rest of the way."

Despite this being only Coby's second start at Chemung and eighth in a NEMA Midget, there are some similarities that drivers used to wheeling the Tour-Type Modifieds can pick up on.

"A lot of the sensations in these cars are kind of like running a Modified at Bristol," Coby explained. "It's just really fast and you have to react quickly. They handle really well, but when they get out of shape it's different from a Modified. It's like you kind of wheel them around to save them and jerk the car around a little bit. I think once you drive one of these cars once or twice and you learn more from these guys on how they like to go and what adjustments they make, a good handling car is a good handling car no matter if it's a Late Model, Modified, a Midget, or a Go Kart. If it handles right through the corners, as a driver, you get the same feeling."

Coby was driving for the champion owner from 2014 and annual supporter of the series, Tim Bertrand. He additionally had some help from the defending champion driver Randy Cabral, who helped install the motor they ran for the event. Coby's start in a Bertrand-prepared Midget began a few short years ago with a test session at Waterford Speedbowl (CT).

"After three or four laps that I took it out he told me that I was running some of the fastest lap times he had seen there," Coby said. "We have played around with some different engine combinations and different chassis. He and I are good friends so we hang out anyway outside of racing and talk business together a lot, and so when we can race together it's fun. Nice to start off the season with the NEMA guys with a win and I'm happy for them. They work hard and it's nice to see them get a trophy."

In the more underpowered NEMA Lites division, a first time driver in the car who is no stranger to success at the facility picked up a convincing win. Candor, New York's Jimmy Zacharias touched wheels once and then passed Thompson Speedway (CT) opener winner Scott Bigelow for the lead coming to five laps to go.

For Zacharias, Friday was the first time he ever sat in a Midget racecar. The opportunity came when owner Russ Stoehr and family were looking for a driver with track experience to pilot their machine. That experience turned out to make the biggest difference.

"They called and asked me to drive, and I'll drive anything with a steering wheel and four wheels," Zacharias said. "We got here for early practice and knowing the track, unlike these guys coming here for their first time, it was a big advantage to me. After practice they all started coming over to me asking questions about the track. Having the speed, having the control of the cars, and the knowledge of the track and where to be was the big factor with the win tonight."

According to the multi-time track champion, even Coby came over to ask for some tips prior to the green flag. Zacharias noticeably ran a lower line through the corners than his NEMA Lites competitors, which was exactly the same as he would run in his Modified and proved to be beneficial.

"No matter what you drive here it's the best way to get around this place," Zacharias added. "I don't care if it's a Legends car, Bandolero, Four Cylinder, Midget, or Modified. It's all going to be the same. You have to figure out how to get around it and being that I have raced here since I was 11 years old it has really been a big factor in how I get around this place."

Zacharias was thankful for the opportunity, and hopes to get the chance to do it again sometime after winning in his initial NEMA Lites start. The tight-knit organization of teams was also a positive.

"They were a great group of people to work with," Zacharias said. "That's what racing is about; helping each other out and I feel as though I gave them enough knowledge to help each other out, and we put on a show for the fans."

Zacharias later went on to gain the lead on the first lap of the weekly Sunoco Modified feature, which was also cut short to 37 laps due to track curfew. He went on to dominate the remaining circuits for his second victory in the division during the young 2015 season.



Posted on: Saturday, April 11th 2015

The Northeastern Midget Association has long considered Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) the ultimate "separate the men from the boys" facility. With times in the mid 19 second range, Saturday's first ever NEMA Lites appearance at the facility, taking place on a beautiful Spring day - left no doubts on the table. Scott Bigelow in his #32 Bigelow Electric / BEAST / Honda Powered entry, was victorious when it was all said and done, besting the sixteen NEMA Lites competitors in the pits.

The action started fast & furious right out of the gate. In the first heat, Christian Briggs in his RAM-Bull Racing entry jumped out into the lead from the pole, and dominated the event. Paul Bigelow came through the field to finish second, followed by Briggs' teammate Juris Kupris. In heat 2, the racing action was wheel to wheel, right from the drop of the green. Paul Scally, debuting his new Drinan chassis jumped out into the lead, but by the end of the heat race, it was a three way race for the win between Scally, Stoehr, and Modified Tour regular Bobby Santos. Scally came out victorious by a half a carlength.

Briggs and Stoehr led the field to the green in the feature. Stoehr quickly jumped out into the lead, followed by Briggs and Scally. Scally overtook second, and a short time later, both Bobby Santos III and Scott Bigelow had begun their march to the front. Briggs retired while running fourth around the halfway mark, and Stoehr, Scally, Bigelow and Santos all diced for the top positions, with Bigelow making a strong move for the lead on the back stretch, and Santos following.
Scally's hope for a win came to an end when an oiling issue brought out the red flag, and ended his day. On the ensuing green flag, Santos' car would not restart - and the already strong Bigelow had smooth sailing ahead of him. NEMA and NEMA Lites regular Danny Cugini made a fantastic run at the end of the feature, getting past Stoehr, but did not have the steam to catch Bigelow.

At the finish, it was Bigelow taking down the win by a comfortable margin, followed by Cugini, Stoehr, Paul Bigelow and young star Anthony Payne with a strong top five run. Juris Kupris, Meg Cugini, Kevin Park, Santos and Scally rounded out the top ten.


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