Dodge Stratus

NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car

For Immediate Release:

April 19, 2005

In The Winners Circle…

Clermont, Indiana – The Dodge Stratus Top Alcohol Funny Car, driven by Danny Townsend, chalked up a dominating win at Indianapolis Raceway Park, April 17. After only two qualifying runs, the car had a padlock on top qualifier honors, low elapsed time and top speed at the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series North Central Division event. On Sunday evening, Frank Parker, team owner, was answering his cell phone “Winners Circle, how may I help you?”

This was a complete turn-around from the car’s NHRA season debut, a month earlier, where it went out in the first round. Parker commented on that… “We were really excited about joining our team and were looking forward to making a good first impression. But the car still had some wrapping paper on it and we had no time for testing.” The three runs in Gainesville were enough to steer Parker’s crew in the right direction.

The Dodge Stratus is the first in TAFC to use a true “nitro” body, not an adaptation, and a McKinney alcohol chassis, purpose-built for the body. “I was disappointed, in Gainesville,” said Townsend, “but I could feel potential in the car. Here, our second qualifying run was right down Broadway, in the heat of the day, at a 5.708 and 253.99.” With that, Townsend strapped in, put a huge chunk of that potential on the pavement and ran away with the first round – in spite of the engine shutting down just before the lights. A piston and bent valve were changed and the car moved back into the staging lanes. Round two was a repeat – advantage, engine problem, win – but this time the engine problem was terminal.

With time till the final round winding down, Mick Snyder’s Torco Fuels crew pitched in to help get the Dodge Stratus up and running. Watching a complete engine rebuild, between the semi and final rounds, is a bit like...
Bar's Leaks Motorsports
Branch-Etterman Racing
media relations

For Immediate Release
April 20, 2005
Contact: Will Hanna/ Pro Race Communications

Branch misses win by .001 in Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Many times over the past few years, NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Tate Branch has been referred to as the 'best driver in Top Alcohol Funny Car not to have won a national event.' During this past weekend's Nationals at 'The Strip' in Las Vegas, Branch and the Bar's Leaks Repair It/ Branch-Etterman Racing team came just .001 of a second away from losing that title when Branch left .001 of a second too soon, giving his opponent Steve Gasparrelli the final round victory.

Branch, from Artesia, N.M., qualified his Dave Scheelk tuned Camaro tenth in the tough field with a 5.775 second elapsed time at 247.07 mph. In round one, he used a 5.803 at 247.47 mph to defeat Hank Coolidge and then a 5.830 at 245.72 mph to take out Bernie Harrington. After that round Scheelk found a problem in the tune-up that turned immediate results by dispatching Larry Miner in the semifinals with a 5.718 at 253.66 mph.

In his final round bout with Gasparrelli, Branch reacted just .001 of a second too soon, redlighting away a 5.750 at 253.61 mph. Gasparrelli ran a quicker 5.732 at 251.81, but had a much later .072 reaction time. Had Branch cut a perfect light (.000) he could have ran as slow as a 5.804 and won.

"I'm really disappointed I let the team down by redlighting," said Branch. "Dave [Scheelk], George [Etterman] and the team gave me a great hot rod. I don't really know why I redlighted. I was cutting good lights all day, then that light in the final. Maybe I rolled in a touch deeper. I've relived the run a 1000 times since Sunday, but I'm putting it behind me now. We're looking at it in a positive light. To make the finals after qualifying tenth in that field was really something. After the...
Top Alcohol Dragster
Point Standings
Position Driver Points N/D
01 Ashley Force 315 4/2
02 Chris Demke 232 2/2
03 Aaron Olivarez 231 4/2
04 Duane Shields 211 3/2
05 Jeff Wilson 208 3/2
06 Steve Federlin 176 2/1
07 Robert Perkins 170 2/2
08 Edwin Schmeeckle 164 2/2
09 Hillary Will 149 2/0
10 Randy Meyer 146 2/1
11 Ben Harper 137 2/2
12 Arthur Allen 116 1/1
13 Mike Austin 115 2/2
14 Guy Kelly 106 1/1
14 Joey Severance 106 2/0
16 Darryl Hitchman 105 2/1
17 Dave Hirata 95 1/1
18 Todd Datweiler 85 0/1
18 Shelly Howard 85 0/1
20 Larry Miersch 83 2/2
20 Gene Snow 83 2/1
22 Karl Brounkowski 74 1/1
22 Ken Perry 74 1/1
22 Bill Reichert 74 1/1
22 Jeff Veale 74 1/1
26 Jack Beckman 73 2/1
26 Arthur Gallant 73 2/0
28 James Thompson Jr 63 1/1
29 Mark Niver 62 2/2
30 Johnny Ahten 61 2/2
30 Dan Mercier 61 1/1
32 Michael Gunderson 53 1/0
33 Jon Capps 52 2/0
33 Jeffrey Isbell 52 1/1
33 Robin Samsel 52 1/2
36 Kevin Brown 51 2/1
37 Jeff Bohr 43 0/1
37 William Zivkovich 43 0/1
39 Dick Garlets 42 0/2
39 Ron Griffis 42 1/1
39 Randy Johnson 42 1/0
42 Vitali Kazakevich 41 1/1
42 Carl Magee 41 1/1
42 Brandon Pierce 41 1/1
42 Greg Tacke 41 2/0
46 Wayne Morris 40 1/1
47 Don Fiorelli 32 0/1
47 Clifford Whitley 32 0/1
49 Mark Albert 31 1/0
49 Richard Bourke 31 1/0

Top Alcohol Funny Car
Point Standings
Position Driver Points N/D
01 Jay Payne 264 4/1
02 Steve Gasparrelli 244 2/2
03 Tate Branch 233 3/1
04 Dennis Taylor 190 2/2
05 Bob Newberry 149 2/0
06 Mark Billington 128 1/1
07 Doug Gordon 127 2/2
07 David Ray 127 2/0
09 Larry Miner 117 1/1
10 Frank Manzo 116 2/0
10 Danny Townsend 116 1/1
12 Cy Chesterman 115 3/0
12 Johann Wernhart 115 2/2
14 Bret Williamson 105 2/2
15 Mark Woznichak 104 2/2
16 Brian Hough 95 2/0
17 Shawn Jones 93 2/1
18 Mick Snyder 85 1/1
18 Jackie Stidham 85 1/1
20 Ron August Jr 84 2/0
21 Steve...
Plumbing Concepts Racing
Accelerated Motorsports
Media Relations

For Immediate Release April 17, 2005
Contact: Randy Fish

Tough Conditions in the Desert

ANAHEIM, CA — The desert southwest once again provided a host of challenges for Dennis Taylor’s Plumbing Concepts Team during the NHRA Nationals. The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway played host to hot temperatures and single-digit humidity with nothing but a blazing sun to heat the racing surface. In spite of it all, the Plumbing Concepts Top Alcohol Funny Car blasted through qualifying in fine fashion. Friday’s attempts painted a picture of consistency, as Dennis posted a 5.79 second run at 246.80 mph and a 5.74 at 248.52. That was quite an accomplishment, as track temperatures soared to almost 130 degrees.

The desert dished up even more heat on Saturday, as the air temperature rose into the upper 80s. After checking his weather instruments before the last qualifying session, Crew Chief Ora Vasquez noted, “It’ll be difficult to go any quicker today.” As a result, the final qualifying shot produced a safe 5.81 at 245.27. The ultimate plan seemed to come together, as the Plumbing Concepts Camaro ended up in the number six position when qualifying wrapped up. Analyzing the progress on Saturday afternoon, Dennis said, “We’re very pleased with our consistency and being in the top half of the field shows we’re in the game. This is an extremely tough group of cars here. Even the guys who missed the cut are all serious contenders at every race they enter.”

It was early evening when the Top Alcohol Dragsters kicked off eliminations, leaving the Funny Cars to run in slightly cooler air while the blistering track temperature also began to level off. Taylor was in the third pair of Alcohol Funny Cars, as defending Lucas Oil Series Champion Cy Chesterman and strong runner Tate Branch both advanced in...
Girl Power Racing scores first ever national event win at the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. The team is off to a strong start this season winning seven out of eight rounds contested. They have also qualified on the pole for two out of two races this year.

The dragster was strong through qualifying and four rounds of competition. The Bucky Austin-tuned Girl Power dragster ran low 5.40’s all weekend. They had the lowest ET and top speed of the entire Top Alcohol field. “I think everyone was a little surprised when we ran nearly 267 MPH in the heat of the day when the corrected altitude was 4800 ft.” Will also noted that the Red Line Oil that they use allows them to consistently turn high speeds without hurting any parts.

The key race came in the final round when they paired up against Joey Severance. “I know that the Severance team is tough and Joey is a good driver. We had no margin for error.” In front of a capacity crown the Girl Power Dragster took the stripe by about a car length and a half.

“I pulled up to the starting line and there were so many people. My crew had done their job and it was my turn to do mine. I love pressure situations; I have to stay focused and just do my job.”

Legendary drag racer Paula Murphy was with the Girl Power Team from start to finish. Murphy is a mentor and an inspiration to Will.

Will’s first win came at the same event that racing legend and team owner Don Prudhomme scored his 100th career win. “We only need 99 more wins and we will tie Prudhomme.”
Mc Millen's Amalie Oil InstiGator Teams Up With NAPA At The "Rock"

Rockingham, NC - Terry Mc Millen and the Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car will team up with area Carolina NAPA dealers at IHRAs 35th Annual Spring Nationals contested April 22-24 at the Rockingham Dragway. Currently second in the IHRA Hooters Racing Series points race, Mc Millen, an IHRA fan favorite will be available to meet fans and sign autographs while the InstiGator funny car is on display from 10:00AM - 5:00PM this Thursday (April 21) at Barnes Motor & Parts Company in Rockingham. Barnes Motor & Parts Company is located at 728 East Broad Avenue.

"We had a lot of fun and success with this program in San Antonio," stated Mc Millen. "NAPA is quality parts and service and Amalie is 'better than it has to be'. I know I can find Amalie Oil for my car at area Carolina NAPA Auto Car Centers in Charlotte and High Point North Carolina and Columbia South Carolina." The InstiGator team is expecting over 300 NAPA associates at the Rockingham Dragway.

Last year, Mc Millen qualified sixth at "The ROCK" and raced to a semi final appearance at an event that saw three world records reset. "This may be the fastest racing surface we'll see all year," explained Mc Millen. "We're certainly excited about all of the NAPA folks that will be present to see this great race."

Mc Millen added, "Our success can be contributed to the outstanding help from companies like Amalie Oil, Torco Race Fuels, Flatout Gaskets, NGK Spark Plugs, MSD, Vintage Trailers, Performance Graphics, Powershield Coatings and Crane Cams, we couldn't do this without them."

Terry Mc Millen is a veteran IHRA driver. He and his wife Rhonda are team owners of Hoosier Thunder Motorsports, a multi-car drag racing team based in Elkhart, IN. Mc Millen, a fan favorite in the Hooters IHRA Drag Racing series, competes in the 12 IHRA events contested in the US and Canada. Terry and the InstiGator Funny Car are featured in...
For Immediate Release

Atchison and JET Equipment and Tools announce Partnership

London, Ontario “Back to Back” IHRA Funny Car World Champion Rob Atchison is pleased to announce the addition of JET Equipment & Tools Ltd., as official tool supplier to Atchison Racing. “JET Equipment and Tools have a 48 year history of providing Canadians with quality tools and equipment,” stated Rob Atchison. We join an established racing program that currently has IHRA Pro Mod racer Rick DiStefano and West Coast Pro Mod and former IHRA Pro Mod racer Glen May along with many other prominent teams.

“We are extremely happy and proud to be a part of Atchison Racing,” stated JET Equipment and Tools marketing director Bill Jeffery. We have been impressed with the Atchison Racing operation and their winning record for some time. Rob Atchison and the Atchison Racing Team are not only one of Canada’s most successful racing teams but great ambassadors for IHRA Drag Racing, Canada and now JET Equipment and Tools”.

. “Last year we qualified # 1 at the Spring Nationals on Friday and then I became extremely ill on Saturday with food poisoning” stated Rob Atchison. I was so sick the IHRA Medical Team had to give me IV’s to hydrate me. I never got another lap in the car to gain any data until Sunday when I was a little better but I lost in the first round to Chris Sipple after the car went into violent tire shake on launch. Mark Thomas won the race he widened his points lead to the point where we had to play “catch up” all year. I expect there to again be a huge car count in all classes at “The Rock” because Rockingham is a great facility. With the new track surface they have I can see Funny Car qualifying extremely tight for the new eight car field format. We had a lot of help from a lot of Funny Car teams including runner-up Terry McMillen and his crew at Texas just so we could make the final. In the heat of the moment I might not been able to individually to thank them all but they all...
Scelzi Doubles Pp in Vegas
Courtesy of Judy Stropus

LAS VEGAS -- Gary Scelzi will double up this weekend at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving his usual mount, the Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car, in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, as well as an Alcohol Funny Car in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

"I'll be doing double duty and that's going to be exciting," said the three-time Top Fuel champion who is seeking his first Fuel Funny Car crown. "I haven't driven an Alcohol Funny Car in nine years, but the priority is the Mopar/Oakley Dodge. That's the car we need to win in and the other one is just fun. And it's only a one-race deal.

"I'm looking forward to this weekend. A lot of people from my hometown of Fresno will be here and it would be nice to make a move in the points," said Scelzi, who is 10th in the NHRA POWERade Funny Car point rankings after four races.

Scelzi is the only driver to have won in all four of NHRA's top classes - Top Fuel Dragster, Top Fuel Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car - and was in a battle for the Top Fuel Funny Car championship at the end of 2004. He admits he's having a slow start this season, having won only three rounds so far, after establishing his career-best speed and ET at the opening race, of 4.717 at 331.53 mph.

"Our Mopar/Oakley Dodge has been good all year," he said. "We've just had no racing luck. I'm not making any excuses. It'll change. I've seen these movies before."

Scelzi is the defending Funny Car champion of last season's second race at The Strip in October, where he beat John Force, against whom he still holds the lead in round wins, 9-7. Spring conditions this weekend just may match those of last fall.

"I'm assuming it's going to be pretty cool. Normally, it's still fairly cool in Vegas this time of year, even with the sun out. And we know we can run as hard as anybody," he said.

"Vegas is a great race track. We really...
Team Castrol Pre-Race Package/Ashley

Contact: Mandie Yorio
John Force Racing, Inc.

For Immediate Release
Points Leader Following a Force-ful Path

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – It took Ashley Force half a season to get really
comfortable in the cockpit of the 275 mile-an-hour Castrol/Hot Wheels dragster she
began driving last season for Jerry Darien and Ken Meadows, the driver development
specialists whose alumni include current NHRA professionals Gary Scelzi, Brandon
Bernstein, Frank Pedregon and Morgan Lucas.

Once she achieved a comfort level, however, the 22-year-old daughter of drag racing legend John Force began winning with her father's documented precision.

The upshot is that the former high school cheerleader no longer can sign her autograph cards, "Ashley Force, zero wins," a takeoff on her dad's habit of
personalizing his own cards with the number of current victories in his record-breaking resume.

In fact, at her present pace, she might one day eclipse the elder Force's imposing records for tour victories (115) and series championships (13 and counting).

After all, Force didn't win his first race until he was 37. His daughter rolls into The
Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this week's sixth annual
Nationals having already won three NHRA national events, albeit it in the Top Alcohol
Dragster division, the drag racing equivalent of NASCAR's Busch Series.

Like her father, she comes into the race as the national points leader in her class.
Nevertheless, despite her expanding performance portfolio (she has gone to the finals in five of the last eight POWERade tour events she has run), the future Force is in no hurry to move up in classification; nor is her dad anxious for her to do so.

"She still needs seat time," Force said. "Anybody can drive a car from A to B

"ROCK" Solid Determination For Mc Millen

Terry Mc Millen and the Amalie Oil InstiGator Funny Car, powered
by Torco Race Fuels, race into Rockingham North Carolina for the 35th
Annual IHRA Spring Nationals (April 22-24) with "rock" solid
determination for a win. Mc Millen brings the momentum of a final round
appearance at the Amaile Oil Texas Nationals contested earlier this
month in San Antonio.

The Rockingham Dragway ("The ROCK") is the second stop on the 12
race Hooters Racing Series and one of IHRAs fastest tracks. Last year's
race saw three world records reset during the event. "There's no doubt
that we'll see some great times and speeds at "The ROCK" again this
year," stated Mc Millen. "We're producing more horsepower than we ever
have with these Crane Cams, I expect we'll have some fast passes."

Just seven points out of first place, Mc Millen hopes to improve
on the best start of his Funny Car career. Last year, Mc Millen
qualified sixth at "The ROCK" and raced to a semi final appearance
before bowing out to event winner and 5-time IHRA Champion Mark Thomas.
Co-Crew Chief Tad "TV TAD" Heflick thinks his team is ready. "We're
working as hard as anyone right now." Fellow tuner, Co-Crew Chief Brent
"Skinny" Lidgard agrees, "We stayed in Texas an extra day just to test.
We've improved our 60ft times and that will pay dividends in

"The incremental improvements that we are seeing is very
encouraging and exciting," exclaimed team co-owner Rhonda Mc Millen.
"I'm not a fortune teller, but I see 'iron' in our future, " she said
(referring to the IHRA Iron Man trophy). "He can't elude us much

Terry Mc Millen added, "Our success can be contributed to the
outstanding help from companies like Amalie Oil, Torco Race Fuels,
Flatout Gaskets, NGK Spark Plugs, MSD, Vintage Trailers, Performance
Graphics, Powershield Coatings and Crane Cams, we couldn't do this
without them."