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    Countdown update: Fields nearly set                                                                                                     TUNE-UP
                                                                                                                                WEEKLYneed to know this week
                                                                                                                                   What you
      even teams clinched playoff berths at the Toyo             (Cruz Pedregon, Matt                                            Upcoming events
    S Tires NHRA Nationals, and three others are
    virtual cinches, which leaves 13 teams competing
                                                                 Hagan, and Robert
                                                                 Hight) competing for                                                                                    Old Bridge Township
    for the final seven places in the Countdown to 1,            one spot are separated                                                                                         Raceway Park
    NHRA’s six-race playoff, with one regular-season             by less than two rounds.                                                                             Englishtown (Sept. 11-13)
    race left, the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals          The scenario in Pro Stock is similar, with three
    presented by Lucas Oil. Doug Kalitta and Mike                drivers (Rickie Jones, Warren Johnson, and                                                                   Atlanta Dragway
    Neff just need to qualify in Indy to secure their            Johnny Gray) separated by just 36 points, but                                                             Atlanta (Sept. 11-13)
    spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively,               only one will be left at the altar. In Pro Stock
    and Kurt Johnson just needs to make a qualifying             Motorcycle, five riders have a shot. Michael                                                                Tri-State Raceway
    pass to make the Pro Stock field. All of the others          Phillips made a monster move in Reading,                                                           Earlville, Iowa (Sept. 11-13)
    in contention for Countdown to 1 playoff berths              jumping from 11th to eighth with his runner-up
    will have to wait for the traditional Labor Day              finish. Junior Pippin still has a shot; he’s within                                                NHRA Carolinas Nationals
    Monday race day for their fates to be determined             three rounds of 10th-place Karen Stoffer. Shawn                                                       Charlotte (Sept. 17-20)
    (unless drivers behind them in the standings do              Gann and Steve Johnson are the others fighting
    not qualify). In Funny Car, the three drivers                for a spot.                                                     This week on ESPN2
                                                                                                                                Sept. 6, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (qualifying); Sept. 6, 5-7 p.m.
                        New ride: Eighteen-year-old              featuring exclusive starting-line seating, meals,              (qualifying); Sept. 7, 1-6 p.m. (eliminations); Sept. 11, 3-5 a.m.
                        Pro Stock Motorcycle rookie              beverages, a cash bar, and other amenities in a luxury         (repeat eliminations); all times Eastern
                        Katie Sullivan plans to                  atmosphere. Tickets are good only for the day issued.
                        compete at the Mac Tools U.S.            No rain checks, substitutions, or exceptions. Winner           NHRA Race Day
                        Nationals aboard a Suzuki leased         must present valid identification to claim prize.              Sept. 6, 11 a.m.; Sept. 7, noon
                        from Karen Stoffer and her
                        husband, Gary. “We weren’t               Breakfast: Six of NHRA’s greatest legends will                  In next week’s National DRAGSTER
                        planning on racing at Indy, but          be featured at the 2009 SEMA Show in Las Vegas
                        my dad [Charlie] talked to Gary          when NHRA highlights the 50th anniversary                      Sportsman coverage from Reading
and Greg Underdahl last week, and they made us an                of the Winternationals during its annual
offer that was too good to pass up,” said Sullivan, who          NHRA Breakfast. The SEMA Show draws the                         Upcoming birthdays
defeated Stoffer in Chicago for her first round-win.             industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to one         Byron Hines (60, Sept. 11); Jack Ostrander (71, Sept. 11);
“This bike should be very similar to the one that Jimmy          place and is set this year for Nov. 3-6 at the Las Vegas       Scott Palmer (46, Sept. 11); Craig Treble (44, Sept. 11); Jim
[Underdahl] has been riding, and he’s been running               Convention Center. The NHRA Breakfast will be held             Epler (52, Sept. 13); Jay Payne (60, Sept. 14)
very well lately, so I’m really excited about it.” Sullivan      Wednesday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 a.m. in Las Vegas Hilton
recently tested aboard a new Pro Stock Suzuki owned              ballrooms A and B. The NHRA Breakfast is open to                This week in history
by Dan and Mike Fields and expects to be on that bike            all registered SEMA Show attendees. The legendary
for the fi
								
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