Heckel armed with new horsepower for Rusk

RUSK, Texas - After damaging their record setting engine at their last race at the Texas Motorplex, NHRA Competition Eliminator driver Shane Heckel was concerned about getting his potent 500 cubic inch engine repaired in time. Engine builder Taylor Lastor of TRE Racing Engines not only delivered Heckel a repaired motor for this weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Cherokee County Motorsports Park in Rusk, Texas, but found additional horsepower after letting Matt Bieneman of MBE Performance work with the cylinder heads.

Heckel, the current B/Dragster National Record Holder, from La Porte, Texas, hopes the new horsepower and hot weather will be the combination for his team's success this weekend.

"Taylor and the guys in his shop did a great job getting the motor repaired from the damage we did to it in Dallas," said Heckel. "Matt Bieneman from MBE Performance made some gains with our cylinder heads that turned into a pretty good power increase."

"It looks like the weather is coming to us," Heckel commented. "I think the small motors are going to suffer in the heat, and our 'rat' motor should still do good."

Heckel will also be able to enter the weekend with the peace of mind of knowing his daughter Brooke is in good health.

"My daughter has been fighting some kidney problems the last few months, and it's really been a strain on my mind," explained Heckel. "She just had surgery and she's doing good, so that will be a big load off my back going into this weekend. Hopefully we can get her a win."

Comp Eliminator racers will now receive four qualifying runs with two sessions on Friday and two on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to InsideCompRacing.com for the latest news in Comp Racing.

Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro Race Communications
Email: Will.Hanna@InsideTopAlcohol.com
Gruninger looking for progress in Topeka

<img border="0" src="http://insidetopalcohol.com/gruninger.jpg" align="left" width="200" height="150">TOPEKA, Kan. - Just a few short weeks following a semifinal finish at the NHRA Division 5 opener in Topeka, Kan., 20 year old Comp pilot Danny Gruninger returns to Heartland Park for this weekend's O'Reilly Summer Nationals. The licensed Pro Stock driver hopes to continue refining his sea-level tune-up in his B/Altered Chevy Cavalier this weekend.

Gruninger, from Morrison, Colo., has made strong test runs with his TRE Racing Engines powered entry in the high altitude of Denver, but is still working on making the adjustments for the added horsepower of the lower altitude. His team is excited about getting to put that horsepower to a national event surface.

"We never really got a handle on the track at the divisional here," said Gruninger. "We're looking to improve this weekend. We've made quite a few changes to the car, from gear ratios to clutch adjustments. We want to qualify in the top half of the field, which will be quite the task with all the hitters that will be here this weekend. Hopefully we can go some rounds and get me some seat time. We'd also like to go some rounds for our associate sponsor Visual Effects."

"With it being a national event this weekend, we should see some good track conditions," Gruninger continued. "We were a little slow to 60' last time out, so if we can pick that up, we should be on track."

Qualifying continues today for Competition Eliminator. Eliminations begin on Saturday with the first and second round, and final eliminations will conclude the event. Stay tuned to InsideCompRacing.com for the latest news in Comp Racing.

Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro Race Communications
Email: Will.Hanna@InsideTopAlcohol.com
Brogdon scores runner-up in Shreveport

GILLIAM, La. - Rodger Brogdon’s RoofTec Race team today worked their way towards yet another final round performance in 2006, at the LODRS event contested here this weekend. While the final round results didn’t see the team in the winner’s circle at the conclusion of the event, Rodger was happy with the overall results.

“I knew I had a great reaction time when I let the clutch out, but when it launched, she got all of the starting line. It carried the front end out well past the 60-foot cone, and when it finally set the front end back down, it was just a touch to the right of the groove. Easing it back into the center of the groove cost us some valuable time, and it showed at the stripe coming up just inches short, I thought I had him reeled in.”

Stats from the final round show that the race between the reigning division 4 champ, Brogdon, and the reigning division 5 champ, Michael Johnson, was everything it could possibly be between two championship contenders. Brogdon was better off the line with a .035 to .072 reaction time advantage, but Johnson car prevailed at the stripe with a 60 under, lap in comparison to Rodgers 55 under shot. Crunching all of the performance numbers, Johnson’s F/SMA prevailed by a scant eight thousandths at the finish line stripe, mere inches as the two cars hit the finish line at over 150 miles an hour.

Said Rodger after the race “While we always hate to lose a final round decision, we couldn’t have lost this weekend to any better people. Michael and his parents Cordis and Mary Johnson are some of the best people in the sport. It isn’t often that you give your final round competitor a hug and wish them the best before you climb into your respective cars.”

Next stop on the tour for the RoofTec team will be the LODRS event in Rusk, TX, as the team will miss the NHRA national events in Topeka and Joliet. Best friend and crew chief Pete Smallwood’s daughter...
ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS were the words heard today during a meeting of Competition Eliminator drivers at Red River Raceway just outside Shreveport, LA. The announcement was made in regards to a 2007 Division 4 Bonus Program that will come as an expansion of the initial bonus program launched in the division this year.

Enhancing a successful bonus program launch in 2006, the expansion comes through the efforts of Texas businessman Rodger Brogdon and his RoofTec Racing/Brogdon Racing Engines programs. The 2006 program has grown to see the dispersion of over $20,000 to competitors at LODRS events in Division 4 competition, and will find Rodger matching sponsorship dollars in a one-to one basis up to $50,000 in 2007.

In 2006 the sponsorship from Kent Services & Trucking, Barnett Automotive Group, EasTexas Race cars, PolyDyn engine Coatings, T & E Auto Haulers, Ballistic Race Craft, Southern Sandblasting & Coating and Custom Truck & Trailer all joined Brogdon Racing Engines to launch the first in-division bonus funding that has since been copied by several other divisions in the NHRA. The enhanced funding for 2007 comes about from Brogdon’s support as well as additional sponsors (such as Johnson Truck & Trailer) looking to join a program that has garnered racers and fans attention across the country.

In 2007 the Division 4 Comp Bonus Program will also expand from seven to eight events with the inclusion of Bonus Fund monies also being dispersed at the Jeg’s.com SportsNationals in Belle Rose LA. With a minimum of $100,000 in the purse structure, over $12,000 will be dispersed at each of the eight events contested in the division, with every car that qualifies being eligible to take home a portion of the purse. All any racer has to do to race for the additional purse is register at the RoofTec Racing trailer at any of the Division 4 LODRS events or Jegs.com SportsNationals, as the Bonus Fund program is open to racers from across the country. Bonus Fund...
Fourth stop on the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in division 4 competition hits the track this Friday at Red River Raceway, just outside Shreveport LA. For Rodger Brogdon and the RoofTec team out of Houston, this race is yet another step in the continuing chase for the 2006 NHRA Comp Eliminator championship.

Since starting the season off with a win at No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, LA Brogdon has been leading the points in his home division, and clinched his third straight Jeg’s AllStars berth with a third round showing at the last LODRS event in Ennis TX. This weekend’s event will also mark the return of the second team car that was missing in Ennis, after loaning an engine to customer and Ennis runner-up Keith Mawhee. With both cars back on track Rodger and team driver Brian Self will generate twice the information for crew chiefs Pete Smallwood and Scott Benham to work with to chart a course to the final round on Sunday.

Comp eliminator drivers have also been notified of a meeting this Friday morning at the RoofTec team pit area to discuss the proposed 2007 division 4 bonus program. With recent discussions revealing the potential for better than $50,000 on tap, all drivers and car owners are certainly expected to attend.

RoofTec Racing’s Division 4 Top-10 sponsorship will also see the continued supply of VP Race Fuel to the current top ten in the division points chase. Drivers Ernest Watson Sr. (2nd), Jeff Miller (3rd), Charles Watson Jr. (4th), Chase Williams (5th), Craig Bourgeois (6th), Joe Swindoll (7th), Joey Tanksley (8th), Brian Self (9th) and Chris McGaha (10th) will all share in the free fuel to the point’s leaders.

Race updates will be available on-line at insidecompracing.com as well as dragracecentral.com throughout the weekend.
Due to delays in the re-paving process at Auto Club Famoso Raceway, the Lucas Oil Drag Series event originally scheduled for May 19-21 has been rescheduled to August 25-26.

The event will feature a unique format in that Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car will get three qualifying passes on Friday at 3, 6, and 9PM and run eliminations on Saturday evening beginning at 5PM. All other categories will receive two runs on Friday beginning at 10AM, one Saturday morning, with eliminations beginning at 2PM.

The track will host a test and tune on Thursday, August 24 from 3-9PM.
Gruninger makes semifinals in Topeka

<img border="0" src="http://insidetopalcohol.com/gruninger.jpg" align="left" width="200" height="150">TOPEKA, Kan. - Danny Gruninger, one of NHRA Competition Eliminator's young guns, opened his 2006 season with a semifinal finish during this past weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. Gruninger was forced to lift in his semifinal bout with eventual runner-up Michael Johnson when his B/Altered Cavalier made a hard move towards the centerline.

Gruninger, 20, from Morrison, Colo., struggled in the rain-shortened qualifying, but made the field in the 23rd position with a pass of 7.274 seconds which put him .426 under the B/A index. In round one, Gruninger used a great .005 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to score a holeshot win over heavy-hitter Doug Engels with a 7.218. In round two, he defeated Shaun Vincent with a 7.203 and then defeated Division 5 Comp legend Tom Schmidt in the quarterfinals when Schmidt fouled-out.

In his semifinal bout with Johnson, the No. 1 qualifier who had received an eleven-hundredths index hit in the previous round, Gruninger held a .016 to .023 starting line advantage, but gave Johnson the easy win when his mount made a hard move to the centerline.

"We just had a hard time getting a hold of the track all weekend," said Gruninger. "We're still happy we went rounds at our first race of the year. We just had a hard time getting a handle on the right clutch combination for the slick track. We thought we had a good shot against Johnson in the semi's because he had used up a lot of index in the round before. It just got out there and moved hard towards the centerline, and it just wasn't worth risking getting any looser to not lift."

The next race for the Gruninger Motorsports team will be in the same setting of Heartland Park Topeka for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals on Memorial Day Weekend. There...
Gruninger geared up to make 2006 debut in Topeka

<img border="0" src="http://insidetopalcohol.com/gruninger.jpg" align="left" width="200" height="150">TOPEKA, Kan. - NHRA Competition Eliminator pilot Danny Gruninger will kick off his 2006 campaign during this weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series opener at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. The 20 year old former Jr. Dragster pilot plans to not only make a hard run at the Division 5 Comp Eliminator title in his B/Altered Chevy Cavalier, but will make his professional debut later in the year in Pro Stock.

Gruninger, who lives just over 2 miles from the famed Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., recently completed his Pro Stock license hopes the experience he is gaining in his B/Altered, which is nearly identical to a Pro Stock car will prepare him to make the jump to the professional ranks.

"Racing in Pro Stock has always been my goal," said Gruninger. "Since our car is almost identical to a Pro Stocker, hopefully I'll be ready to step up when the time comes or if an opportunity to drive for another team presents itself."

Gruninger is also quick to point out despite having his eye on the future, he hasn't lost focus on the task at hand, running Comp Eliminator this weekend in Topeka.

"We are hoping to be a contender in Comp Eliminator not only in Division 5, but on a national level," stated Gruninger. "Taylor Lastor of TRE Racing Engines has given us some good horsepower, so we're really looking forward to this year. We're going to run eight to ten Comp races this year, and hopefully run one or two races in Pro Stock. We've run some strong numbers in testing here at Bandimere, so hopefully we'll be right in the thick of things this weekend in Topeka."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Competition Eliminator cars, with two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to InsideCompRacing.com for the...
Final eliminations at this weekends LODRS event at the Texas Motorplex found the RoofTec racing team of Rodger Brogdon clinching their third Jeg’s AllStars berth in a row.

While the event win eluded the RoofTec team, by advancing to the quarterfinals, Brogdon was able to once again secure inclusion in the Division 4 AllStars team. Entering the weekend, the Comp eliminator spot on the team had turned into a two-car battle, with A/D driver Shane Heckel a close second in the points. With Heckel going out in the first round of eliminations, the path was cleared for the RoofTec team to secure the prestigious position.

Once eliminations had concluded, Joey Tanksley’s C/D had move into second place in the Jeg’s AllStars points chase, and did so based on the Kent Services and Trucking sponsored cars quarter final showing.

Team RoofTec’s day came to a conclusion in the third round, when Keith Mawhee drove his F/AA to an upset win over Brogdon’s C/SM. Mawhee was working his way through the field from the 26th qualifying position, and was doing so with an engine on loan from none other than Rodger Brogdon! With Brogdon Racing Engines soon to start supplying engines to racers, initial customer Mawhee was reaping the benefits of a very competitive power plant. Getting their car to work with the Brogdon horsepower took a few rounds to get sorted out, but when they did, they did so against the man that was providing the power for them to work with. Said Rodger after the race “It’s frustrating to get beat by your own engine, but rewarding to know that we can supply winning horsepower to our customers.”

Next stop for the RoofTec team will be the upcoming LODRS event just outside Shreveport LA in mid May. That event will be the final warm-up before the Jeg’s AllStars event at Route 66 Raceway outside Chicago in early June.
Friday afternoons Comp qualifying session at the Texas Motorplex saw a new format tried for the first time in NHRA LODRS history, as qualifying was conducted (just like eliminations) on a handicap basis based on class index.

The idea for handicap style qualifying was first presented during a division 4 drivers commission meeting earlier this year, and after discussions with Bob Brockmeyer at Compulink it was decided that, electronically, the idea was capable of being implemented. After discussion among the drivers and an almost unanimous vote of approval, today saw the first opportunity for the drivers to give the new format a try.

Being able to showcase to the fans the handicap style of eliminations, rather than the quicker car always getting there first during normal qualifying sessions was the inspiration behind the concept. The idea was received with so much enthusiasm in the pits, that the Stock and Super Stock categories are going to implement it as well. With one session completed, tomorrow’s additional qualifying sessions will continue to be run under the same format.

While the new qualifying concept is in it’s infancy, discussions and reviews are certain to continue. But preliminary response has been tremendous, and the opportunity to present a better show to the fans and spectators is always a step forward.

Special thanks need to be extended to Division 4 director Craig Hutchinson and the entire Division 4 staff, as well as Bob Brockmeyer at Compulink for the ability to reach beyond the norm and look to continue to enhance our sport.