Skelly, Lin added to NHRA Technical Team

NHRA Senior Director-National Technical Operations Don Taylor announced that Jim Skelly and James Lin have joined his Technical Department staff.

Skelly had spent more than 10 years working in technical roles with NHRA’s POWERade Series and Xplōd Sport Compact Series before accepting this new position as the technical communications specialist for Sportsman Racing. “It’s great to be home,” Skelly said.

In his new position, Skelly will apply his expertise and experience to rules making, clarification, and interpretation, focusing on the Lucas Oil Series and the Summit Series. In addition, he will join the Technical Department team in providing telephone customer support to racers.

“Sportsman racing is the core of the NHRA, and we need to have the right people at the other end of the phone to answer competitors’ questions and establish the rules,” said Taylor.

Lin joins NHRA as an electronics specialist, and he will be working with the POWERade and Lucas Oil Series. He will be primarily responsible for sanctioning body rules and inspection as well as policing procedures, data analysis, and equipment specification for race vehicle electronics in all NHRA competition classes.

“James brings a huge diversity of experience with electronics in all kinds of racing,” Taylor said. “There isn’t much he hasn’t seen before. He’s a master at looking at data and telling exactly what a car or motorcycle is doing.”

Lin, who will additionally be responsible for training NHRA field personnel on related issues involving Sportsman racing, comes to NHRA after five years as the owner of James Wiring Consulting, a motorsports electronics company in Montclair, Calif. Lin was responsible for engine calibrating with fuel injection and design of mil-spec wiring harnesses.

“I’m happy to join NHRA,” Lin said. “After working in the electronics field with many different types of...
Treadwell and Butner score wins

Welcome to our newest feature - the Comp Weekend Wrap Up. Here we'll take a look at the past weekend's action. This past weekend we saw a rarity with two national events going on at the same time. Back east was the Jegs Northern SPORTSnationals while the Fram-Autolite Nationals were going on out west in Sonoma.

Sonoma was a nice escape for the racers from the heat we've seen all year. Well, except for a few indexes. Glen Treadwell was able to come away with the win over former two-time champ Dean Carter.

Jirka Kaplan stole the show in qualifying with a monster .78 under pass out of his blown small block BB/AM. Eventual winner Treadwell wasn't far behind with a .73 under blast out of his potent F/EA.

The big surprise of round one was David Beckley finding his groove against Vegas winner Tom Mettler in round one. Beckley, who had struggled in qualifying, unloaded a .62 under blast with a .008 light to take out Mettler, who was perfect on the tree, but to no avail with a .52 under pass. The cool conditions made more than a few competitors get 'dirty' on their way into round two.

J.D. Zink would be the next giant killer with his A/ND, taking out No. 1 qualifier and last week's Seattle winner Kaplan. Kaplan fell well off his torrid qualifying pace, opening the door for Zink's -.52 under pass to score. Doug Lambeck and Jim Cowan slugged it out in a .58 to .53 under contest with Lambeck coming out on top.

For Sunday, all eyes were on Treadwell and Deceglie. Both were clean going into the third round, with more than enough muscle to punish their index. Deceglie got out of shape and crossed the centerline, while Treadwell sacrificed a penny to the index gods with a .61 under pass. Meanwhile, the always-potent Rob Harrison was clean going into the semi's.

In the semi's, Treadwell gave up another penny in a .51 under pass to defeat Phoenix winner Doug Lambeck. The big surprise...
Heckel hopes size matters on 'the Mountain'

MORRISON, Colo. - The saying 'bigger is better' doesn't always hold true, but when it comes to NHRA Competition Eliminator at Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver, historically, it has proved true. During this weekend's Mopar Mile High Nationals held there, Comp Eliminator driver Shane Heckel hopes to 'outmuscle' the competition with his 500 c.i.d. Chevy Powered B/Dragster.

Heckel, who helps run the family business HHH Car Ports and his chassis shop, Ballistic Racecraft in LaPorte, Texas, feels the high altitude track is like a home away from home for his big cubic inch dragster and hopes to regain the form that he had earlier in the year.

"Denver has always been like our second home track," said Heckel. "We usually do pretty well there. We found some mechanical issues that slowed us at our last race, so we hope to be back on track. We really want to get out of the funk we've been in the last few races."

"This race is usually a battle of the big motor cars, so we look forward to the competition," added Heckel. "They just need to put up a sign for this race that 'Your motor needs to be this big to ride this ride."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Comp Eliminator cars. Eliminations begin on Saturday, and will conclude on Sunday. Stay tuned to for the latest news in Comp Racing.

Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro Race Communications
Summertime and the Fourth of July weekend in the rolling hills of east Texas, with stands alongside the road selling freshly picked peaches and homegrown watermelons. Temperatures in the 90-degree range, and enough moisture in the air to generate some late day “pop-up” showers, sounds like this past Saturday in Rusk, TX. Racers found themselves back in town for the conclusion of the postponed final eliminations of the NHRA Lucas Oil divisional event at Cherokee County Motorsports Park.

Rodger Brogdon and his Houston based RoofTec Racing team returned to CCMP to continue their work towards securing the 2006 Comp Eliminator national championship. With the first round of eliminations having been completed two weeks ago before the rains came that delayed the event, it was a matter of getting one checkout pass down the track then going straight into round number two of eliminations. Brogdon and team driver Brian Self (“Lump”) both knew that the way the ladder was structured, it would be possible for an all RoofTec team final, but getting there wasn’t going to be easy, as the competition they would need to go through was some of the best the sport has to offer.

In the quarter final rounds of eliminations Rodger was able to take the win in a battle of Super Mod cars, as he dispatched young Clark Smiley with a .007 light, running a .531 under lap, at 8.399 147.99 mph, over Smiley’s 8.958 152 mph challenge. Meanwhile “Lump” was looking at a serious challenge from one of the sports best, David Rampy, with the winner of the match up receiving a bye run into the Comp Eliminator final round. The race lived up to everyone’s expectations, as Self went .011 on the tree to Rampy’s .020 reaction time, then proceeded to run a 8.669 155 mph lap (-.571) to just nip Rampy’s 7.355 179 mph shot (-.555) with a true margin of victory of .025.

The semi finals saw “Lump” advance with his single, shutting it off early knowing that if team owner Brogdon didn’t take the win in his...
Heckel heads back to Rusk for round 2

RUSK, Texas - What was originally scheduled to be a two race swing has turned into a three week swing as NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Shane Heckel heads back to Cherokee County Motorsports Park in Rusk, Texas, for this week's resumption of the rain delayed Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event held there. The race was postponed due to rain after the first round of eliminations.

Heckel, who helps run the family business HHH Car Ports and the family chassis shop Ballistic Racecraft in LaPorte, Texas, comes into the event fresh off of last weekend's O'Reilly Midwestern Nationals in St. Louis, which was the week after the original Rusk event. Despite losing in the first round in St. Louis, Heckel is optimistic about his chances coming back to a track he is more familiar with in his B/Dragster.

"We never caught up with the track conditions in St. Louis," said Heckel. "In qualifying the starting line was pretty bad, then it was real good on Sunday, and it just drove through the clutch. We ran pretty good in Rusk a few weeks ago, so hopefully we can pick up where we left off. We're going to get there early on Friday and test a few things."

Heckel qualified No. 4 in Rusk with a 6.744 (-.546 under the index), and received a competition single in the first round when his scheduled opponent Adam Hickey left the grounds. Heckel is slotted to run Clark Smiley's F/Super Mod in the second round.

"We're definitely not looking past the second round," stated Heckel. "We just hope to get around Clark and worry about the next round if we get there. Clark has a good car and I know he has good power because he runs a TRE engine just like we do. That car has done better every lap down the track, so we're not taking them lightly."

Eliminations will resume on Saturday. Stay tuned to for the latest news in Comp Eliminator.

Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro Race...
The NHRA O’Reilly Nationals contested every year at Gateway International Raceway just outside St. Louis are normally contested under trying atmospheric conditions. Hot temps and humid air are the norm in late June along the mighty Mississippi. This year though, the humidity and the temperatures were much more tolerable, and Rodger Brogdon, team driver Brian Self and the rest of the Comp Eliminator field were taking advantage of what mother nature was offering.

The two Super Mod cars of Rodger Brogdon Racing were part of a very tough 48-car Comp Eliminator contingent that eventually required a run of at least .50 under just to make the final field of 32. Once qualifying had ended Rodger Brogdon was second only to the unique DD/AT of Bruno Massel, and team driver Brian Self was situated in the 11th qualifying position.

In round one of eliminations, Brogdon was .008 on the tree but “DewCo” Don Winget pushed hard forcing Rodger to go .57 under the index to be able to advance to the second round. Other round one pairings saw numerous other drivers hitting their index, and the list of those going home early was loaded with familiar names. RoofTec Racing team driver Brian Self was joined by Comp hitters David Rampy, Shane Heckel, #1 qualifier Massel, defending event champ Joey Tanksley, and the A/ED’s of Wayne Henderson and Robert Bailey, just to name a few.

By the time the quarterfinal contestants rolled under the tower, everyone had wounded their indexes, and the carnage continued though the final four pairings. By the time the semi-final pairings were determined, Brogdon’s RoofTec Racing Chevy Cavalier had hit the index .17 and Rodger knew that Tony Stephenson would be tough in the semis, having only hit the C/AA index for .05. The other semi final pair would see Todd Patterson (down .08) taking on the L/AA of Chad Voges (.07 under).

With Brogdon and Stephenson (#2 & #3 in the final 2005 standings) squaring off, you knew that this semi final match up...
As the 2006 POWERade tour reaches the seasons accepted mid-point, Rodger Brogdon’s RoofTec Racing Comp Eliminator team heads for St. Louis this weekend for the O’Reilly Midwest Nationals, intent on adding to their top ten points standing.

While Brogdon’s team has been absent from the national event tour since their runner-up showing at Houston back in April, the team has been earning championship points on the divisional level, with a runner-up at the recent event in Shreveport, LA, and a number 1 qualifying effort at last weekends rain delayed (final eliminations re-scheduled for July 1st) event in Rusk, TX.

For Rodger Brogdon and the other competitors in the Lucas Oil drag racing series points chase, the NHRA mandates that the competitors can only claim their best three events out their first six national events. For Brogdon’s RoofTec team, St. Louis will make their third national event of the season, halfway through their points earning events at the mid-point of the season. While Brogdon is currently well entrenched in the top-10 points standings, a solid showing this weekend will certainly enhance the ability to improve on last years #2 ranking.

The race pre-entry list shows over 50 entries that will be vying to make the 32-car comp field this weekend. Qualifying alone may take it’s toll on some of the teams, but with the second RoofTec team car driven by Brian Self (aka "Lump"), crew chiefs Pete Smallwood and Scott Benham should be able to gather sufficient data to help propel both cars through the afternoon and evening rounds of this unique afternoon into evening contested event.

As Rodger says “The comp in Comp Eliminator stands for competitive, and with the field assembled for this week’s event we’ve got to be ready to take on the best the category has to offer.” “Right now, both cars are really running well, so as long as Lump and I do our jobs behind the wheel, we should be as competitive as anyone out there.”

Qualifying sessions for...
Gruninger reaches final on 'The Mountain'

MORRISON, Colo. - Up and coming NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Danny Gruninger made his first career final in front of his hometown friends and family during this past weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver. In addition to making the final, the Gruninger Motorsports B/Altered Chevy Cavalier was awarded Best Engineered car of the event.

Gruninger, 20, who lives just miles from the track in Morrison, qualified his TRE Racing Engines powered B/Altered, which is nearly identical to Pro Stock, sixth in the field with a 7.570 second pass that put him .620 under his class index. In round one, he received a bye when his opponent Wade Oman could not make the call, then took out Joe Mozeris in round two with a 7.657 (-.533).

In his next two rounds, Gruninger had to rely on quick reactions to take holeshot wins. Gruninger's quarterfinal opponent would be the potent B/Altered Automatic of Lou Ficco, where Gruninger used a .016 to .056 starting line advantage to take the win by a mere .007 of a second with a 7.691 (-.469) to Ficco's quicker-but-later 7.658 (-.502). In the semifinals, Gruninger used a near-perfect .009 reaction time against Bill Kent's game .038 to hang on for another win with a 7.670 (-.490) to Kent's 7.526 (-.504) in his C/Dragster with the margin of victory only .015 of a second.

After living by the 'sword' in the two previous rounds, Gruninger pulled the trigger .049 of a second too quick, giving Clint Sallee's B/Dragster the automatic win.

"We're definitely pleased with the results," said Gruninger. "I guess I got a little too amped for the final. The car hooked a little harder and was four-hundredths better to 60 foot than it had been all weekend, so that didn't help the redlight. It was pretty cool to be able to go to the final here at our home track; we had a lot of people in the stands. We...
The fifth stop in the season points chase in Division 4 competition in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing series is being contested this weekend in Rusk Texas, and for the RoofTec Racing team of Rodger Brogdon, the results at the conclusion of qualifying are mixed.

For team owner Brogdon, the number one qualifying spot finds his name next to it for the first time this season. After a previous best number 2 qualifying position at the season opening event in Belle Rose, LA, Brogdon muscled up a .633 under lap in the heat and humidity of east Texas to lead the 21 car comp field. Rodger’s EasTexas race cars Chevy Cavalier was a bracket car through three rounds of qualifying, with runs of 8.30, 8.30 and 8.297 to claim the top spot

Team driver Brian Self found qualifying to be a true roller coaster ride. First round of qualifying found the lower end of Lump’s engine developing a serious case internal distress, necessitating a road trip of 400 plus miles to Scott Benham’s shop to pick up the teams third engine. After a late Friday night return, early Saturday morning found the RoofTec crew installing the new bullet in Brian’s Cavalier.

With a four-hour rain delay early Saturday afternoon, Comp qualifying was cut short after the third session. Fortunately the RoofTec crew was able to get Lumps car prepped along side Rodger’s and even with a run that was far from perfect, Brian was able to get the car down track .366 under the index, with a run that left a lot on the table.

The two RoofTec team cars are on opposite side of the Comp Eliminator ladder, and race day plans are calling for a final round match-up. With the quality field of competitors on hand this weekend (and so long as Mother Nature doesn’t interfere) the RoofTec crew and drivers are planning on a busy Sunday afternoon and an early Sunday evening departure, after winners circles photos are completed.
Gruninger shooting for hometown win

MORRISON, Colo. - After several strong outings to start the year, NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Danny Gruninger hopes to score his first win of the year in front of his hometown fans during this weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver. After making strong test runs earlier in the year at Bandimere, Gruninger and his team plan to rely on that data for success this weekend.

Gruninger, 20, who lives just miles from the track in Morrison, Colo., competes his 2004 Chevy Cavalier in the B/Altered category. The class is a very close cousin to Pro Stock, with a 452 cubic inch motor instead of the Pro Stock 500. Other than the cubic inch difference, the car is nearly identical to a legal Pro Stocker. In fact, the car Gruninger competes formerly competed in Pro Stock with V. Gaines behind the wheel. Gruninger, who is licensed for Pro Stock, plans to compete in that class later in the year.

"We just plan to go back to the setup that we went fast with in testing," said Gruninger. "We're making a few minor changes, but for the most part, the car is the same. We just want to be consistent and try to go rounds. We're real happy with going rounds at the two races we've been to this year, especially since we haven't made a real clean run yet."

The fact this weekend's race is at his home track adds fuel to the fire.

"This is our home race, so we really want to do good," stated Gruninger. "We've got a few sponsors, friends and family that will be out this weekend, so hopefully we can get a win for them."

Qualifying begins on Friday for Competition Eliminator with two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to for the latest news in Comp Racing.

Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro Race Communications