Infineon Raceway, one of the quickest tracks on the NHRA circuit, will host the 20th annual Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals from Friday through Sunday and, if things hold true to form, more records will fall.
Last year’s event marked one of the quickest in Infineon Raceway history, as six of eight track records were broken. Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher eclipsed the previous track mark with a 4.486-second pass, while David Grubnic set the Top Fuel speed record at 331.36 mph. This marked the fourth consecutive year that more than six track records were broken.
An NHRA national record was also set last year in the Sonoma Valley when Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson covered the quarter-mile in just 6.631 seconds. Anderson went on to break his own national record later in the year, but he still holds the Infineon Raceway elapsed time and speed records (207.82).
"Anytime you can run a national record, you certainly have something to be proud of," said Anderson, a two-time champion at Infineon Raceway (2004-05). "The track is fantastic. The Pro Stock drivers love it."
From pre-event parties to a 20th anniversary exhibit, there is sure to be something for everyone, including several tributes to the late Eric Medlen.
Wall of Fame Ceremony: Fresno native Gary Scelzi will be inducted into the Infineon Raceway Wall of Fame on Sunday during pre-event ceremonies, making him the third NHRA driver to be enshrined. He joins Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson (2005) and Funny Car driver John Force (2006) in the Wall of Fame, which was created in 2005.
Champ Cars on San Jose Streets: It’s a shame the Champ Car World Series and San Jose Grand Prix officials have never paid attention to what’s going on in the Sonoma Valley this weekend. The third annual San Jose Grand Prix will run in direct conflict with the NHRA at Infineon Friday through Sunday.
Defending race champion and three-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais of France is back in the Champ Car points lead after his win in Edmonton last weekend. Both his nearest competitors had problems in the Canadian race and Bourdais came from third place (two points behind first) to a 20-point lead.
Robert Doornbos of Holland and Minardi Team USA and Aussie Will Power of Team Australia/Walker Racing are Bourdais’ closest competitors. American rookie Graham Rahal, son of open-wheel legend Bobby Rahal, has been a top-10 competitor all year and finished third in Edmonton.
Ticket information is available by calling (408) 277-6290 or logging on to www.sjgp.com.
GINN: IT’s ABOUT SUCCESS
» Bobby Ginn learned quickly that winning takes a lot of money, and without solid sponsorships, it’s almost impossible. Faced with scaling back his program, Ginn instead merged his organization with Dale Earnhardt Inc. to form a four-car team that will debut this weekend. "I would not have been proud of putting a car out there that couldn’t compete," Ginn said.
THIS WEEK’S PIT STOPS
WHAT: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
WHEN: Sun., 10 a.m.
WHAT: Kroger 200
WHEN: Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
WHAT: Fram Autolite Nat’ls
WHEN: Sun., 11 a.m.
WHAT: Firestone Indy 400
WHERE: Brooklyn, Mich.
WHEN: Aug. 5
WHAT: San Jose Grand Prix
WHERE: San Jose
WHEN: Sun., 3 p.m.
WHAT: Hungarian GP
WHERE: Budapest, Hungary
WHEN: Aug. 5