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Countdown update: Championship hopes brighten
WEEKLYneed to know this week
ith the clock winding down on the 2008 season, the championship hopes of Pro Stock racer
Dave Connolly and Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon got a little brighter in Virginia, both
jumping up from sixth to third place with their wins at the Virginia NHRA Nationals. Silver Dollar Raceway
Pedregon shaved his deficit from 115 points to 69 and Connolly from 94 to 77, each within the magic Reynolds, Ga. (Oct. 24-26)
80-point number. A driver can make up 80 points at a single race by winning the event while the driver
he or she is trying to catch loses in the first round. Last year, Doug Herbert overcame a 50-plus-point ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
deficit at the final race of the regular season to get into the playoffs, so a deficit of 69 or 77 points with Las Vegas (Oct. 30-Nov. 2)
two races left leaves a driver well within striking distance of a championship.
While Connolly and Pedregon stole the headlines in Virginia, the points leaders did their part to In next week’s National DRAGSTER
keep their grips on the series championships. Tony Schumacher won for the 14th time this season to all
but clinch his fifth straight and sixth overall title — all he needs to do is qualify in Las Vegas. Tim Sportsman coverage from Richmond; Divisions 2, 4 Summit
Wilkerson, meanwhile, defeated Ashley Force in a critical first-round match before Finals coverage; Las Vegas souvenir; Pro Stock Motorcycle mid-
falling in the semi’s to Pedregon, so he lost ground to Pedregon and runner-up Countdown analysis
Jack Beckman but remains the favorite. In Pro Stock, Jeg Coughlin was a
whisker from putting a stranglehold on the title before losing in the final Upcoming birthdays
to Connolly. Still, Coughlin more than doubled his advantage (from 32 to
Chris Karamesines (78, Nov. 11); Matt Smith (36, Nov. 11);
74 points) over second-place Kurt Johnson.
Pat Austin (44, Nov. 12); Sal Biondo (40, Nov. 13); Cory Lee
(49, Nov. 13)
DVD preview: Preorders are now This week in history
Tuning tandem Tim and Kim being accepted for the upcoming DVD
recounting the 2008 Countdown to the On Oct. 30, 1988, Terry Vance ended his Hall of Fame riding career
Richards to retire at year’s end Championship battle, and a preview clip after claiming his final Pro Stock Motorcycle title at the NHRA Finals
featuring Ashley Force’s historic first Funny in Pomona. Vance, who won 27 NHRA national events during his
Car win in Atlanta earlier this year is now career, defeated Russ Olmstead in the final round.
available. The 97-second clip includes racing
footage from the event and a never-before- Cunningham with tuning duties
seen interview with Force. Hosted by on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane
acclaimed NHRA announcer Bob Frey, the Shelby Mustang Funny Car.
2008 NHRA POWERade Denner, who has spent the last
Countdown to the Championship 12 seasons working within the