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   Countdown update: Top 10 battles rage on
                                                                                                                           WEEKLYneed to know this week
                                                                                                                              What you
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      f the dozens of drivers who entered the 21st annual O’Reilly NHRA
      Summer Nationals outside the top 10, only one, Pro Stock veteran                                                                                                     Atco Raceway
   Warren Johnson, left with one of the coveted positions. The driver of the K&N                                                                                   Atco, N.J. (June 19-21)
   Filters Pontiac has had an up-and-down year, but he did just enough in Topeka
   — winning a round — to move around Johnny Gray and Larry Morgan and back                                                                                        Bandimere Speedway
   into the top 10. He is a scant three points clear of Morgan and Gray. Still, he is miles from the top. No                                                         Denver (June 19-21)
   class has as much disparity from top to bottom as Pro Stock, where three drivers in the top 10 already
   have 700-plus points and two drivers still haven’t accumulated 400. In Top Fuel and Funny Car, only                                                                 Pacific Raceways
   first-place Tony Schumacher and Ron Capps have eclipsed the 700-point mark, and at the other end,                                                                  Seattle (June 19-21)
   one has to drill down to 10th-place Joe Hartley (in TF) and 12th-place Robert Hight (in FC) to find a
   driver with less than 400 points.                                                                                                                                   Summit Racing
       One of the more interesting moves in Topeka was made by Clay Millican, who pulled to within 45                                                        Equipment NHRA Nationals
   points of Hartley for the 10th and final playoff berth in Top Fuel. But the real dogfight this summer                                                           Norwalk (June 25-28)
   figures to be in Funny Car, where two of the John Force Racing cars — Mike Neff’s Ford Drive One
   Mustang and Robert Hight’s Auto Club Ford Mustang — currently reside outside the top 10. It’s hard to                    This week on ESPN2
   believe that either of those cars would miss the playoffs, but who are they going to replace? The first
   two cars standing in their way — Cruz Pedregon’s Advance Auto Parts Toyota Solara and John Force’s                      United Association NHRA SuperNationals
   Castrol GTX Ford Mustang — have combined to win 16 of the last 18 Funny Car championships.                              June 13, 7-8 p.m. (qualifying); June 13, 11:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
                                                                                                                           (qualifying); June 14, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. (eliminations); June 17, 2-
                                                                                                                           4 a.m. (repeat eliminations).

Opening bell: NHRA, with more than a                                             with Team Marines will help               NHRA Race Day
dozen sponsors/partners whose companies are                                      generate additional marketing value       June 14, noon ET
traded on the New York Stock Exchange,                                           for Thompson’s sponsors by
has been invited to ring The Opening Bell at the                                 providing associations with active-        In next week’s National DRAGSTER
NYSE on Wednesday, June 10. NHRA President Tom                                   duty, retired, and future Marines and
                                                                                                                           Pro results from Chicago; Sportsman coverage from Topeka
Compton will be joined in ringing the bell by Coca-                              their families. The agreement will
Cola/Full Throttle executives Bea Perez and Ben                                  also help generate revenue for the
Reiling and IMG President George Pyne. NHRA                                      Wounded Warrior Project and the
                                                                                                                            Upcoming birthdays
drivers expected to participate in The Opening Bell          Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, two programs that              Rance McDaniel (69, June 19); Shirley Muldowney (69, June
ceremony and/or the day’s Car Show/Fan Fest in               provide support to those who serve and preserve our           19); Brian Self (35, June 19).
front of the NYSE include Top Fuel racers Morgan             freedoms. Sidelined for the first four races of the 2009
Lucas (Geico/Berkshire-Hathaway) and Antron                  season while searching for the proper funding,                 This week in history
Brown (Matco Tools/Danaher Corp.), Funny Car                 Thompson has been making weekly appearances and
drivers Bob Tasca III (Ford) and Tony Pedregon (Q            displays with her Buell V-Twin Pro Stock Motorcycle           In mid-June 1975, NHRA member tracks across North America
Horsepower/Royal Dutch Shell), and Pro Stock                 while meeting with prospective marketing p
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