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Fri, 13 Oct 2006, 12:57 PM

Rain-Delayed Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals Set to Go this Weekend at VMP
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2006 Auto Imagery, Inc.


Doug Kalitta
NHRA POWERade Series world championship battles will resume in three professional categories this weekend at Virginia Motorsports Park during the rain-delayed Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals. Heavy rains that saturated the Mid-Atlantic region last weekend forced NHRA officials to move the $1.6 million event to Oct. 13-15. The race, which will be telecast on ESPN2 HD (Sunday, 7-9:30 p.m. ET), is the 21st of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

The event marks a return to the NHRA POWERade Series schedule for Virginia Motorsports Park after a five-year hiatus. Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) were winners at VMP in 2000, the last time the track hosted the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body.

NHRA POWERade Series points races are intense in all three professional categories that are scheduled to compete here. Doug Kalitta holds a 52 point lead over Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel, while Brandon Bernstein is third, 62 points back.

John Force
"With only three races left this year, every single point counts, so we certainly want to qualify well and hopefully go some rounds," said Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster who has earned a category-leading five victories this year. "We should see some great performances at VMP. The track is very close to sea level and the weather is supposed to be cool. I know our Mac Tools team will be trying to put up some big numbers for the fans."

In Funny Car, 13-time world champ Force holds a 1 point lead over Ron Capps. However, the hottest driver in the class may be Robert Hight, winner of two of the last three events. Hight sits 35 points back in third place.

"We've got a car that can win this thing," said Hight, who drives the Jimmy Prock-tuned Auto Club Ford Mustang in the Force Racing stable. "Now we have momentum and we control our own destiny. That's all we could ask for."

Jason Line
Jason Line leads three-time defending world champ and KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson by 56 points in Pro Stock.

Anderson will have to be on his game to wrestle the series lead away from Line, who recently lowered the national E.T. record to 6.609 seconds at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO.

"When racing does get underway, I have to have a perfect weekend if I'm going to catch up to Jason," said Anderson, a three-time winner this season in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. "No, make that a perfect three races. And while most people think either Jason or I have it locked up, we can't forget that there are still several other drivers with a chance at the championship. That's why I've got to be at the top of my game. There's no room for a bad race."

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