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Goodyear, NHRA at Indy

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Lee Elder

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DeJoria wins Funny Car at US Nationals

 

            CLERMONT, Ind. (September 1, 2014) – The NHRA celebrated its rich history during the 60th running of the sanctioning body’s annual highlight event, the Chevrolet Performance US Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway.

            Alexis DeJoria’s victory in Funny Car celebrated both the sport’s present and future.

            DeJoria beat 16-time Funny Car champion John Force in the final round in a close, thrilling race that was decided by just .0358 of a second.

            Asked after the race if the enormity of the victory had struck her yet, DeJoria said, “I don’t think so. I’m wound up tight, like a two dollar watch.”

            Earlier in the weekend, Tony Schumacher won the Traxxas Shootout for Top Fuel, John Force won the Traxxas Shootout for Funny Car and Charlie Westcott won the Dodge Hemi Shootout. Ron Capps won the final round rain makeup for Funny Car for the previous race at Brainerd, Minnesota and Jason Line won the makeup race for Pro Stock.

            Force’s win in the Traxxas race was his second in three years and Force’s eighth special event victory.

            The ambient conditions at Clermont changed constantly during the six-day event. Rain drizzled frequently, the humidity kept the air thick and the sun played hide and seek so frequently that the track temperature changed constantly.

            “It was a challenging weekend for the teams,” said Goodyear’s Bryce Jones. “Our Goodyear Eagles performed very well under changing applications.”

            The Funny Car winner was one of four drivers to win a category on Goodyear rubber. The others included Richie Crampton (in Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Joe Santangelo (Competition Eliminator).

            DeJoria’s victory was her third career win but her first in the drag racing showcase. It marked the second time her car owner, Connie Kalitta, won the event. His previous victory came as a driver in 1994. DeJoria became the fourth woman to win at The Big Go in a professional category.

            Crampton said, “There’s nothing that compares with seeing that win light come on.”

            A native Australian, Crampton called his father shortly after winning and said the elder Crampton reported having a sleepless night.

            The win was the second of Crampton’s career.

            Gray won for the first time this season and his first time at Indy. “It’s big,” Gray said of the win. “Last year was the first year we’d won a round here. This year was the first year when I came here and (felt), ‘Okay, we’ve got a chance.’ ”

            Goodyear employs about 69,000 people at manufacturing plants and facilities in 22 nations. Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is among the largest tiremakers in the world and is the worldwide leader in race tire innovation.