From right, Clay Millican, Doug Stringer. Lance Larsen, and David Grubnic. NHRA Mello Yello…
Don Schumacher Racing will pair two of its newest and most experienced hires, veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock and friend and co-worker John Medlen, with 2011 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series champion “Fast Jack” Beckman for a full assault on the 2015 championship.
“I feel like Santa made an early stop and left three wonderful gifts under the tree,” said Beckman, who again will be driving a Dodge Charger R/T. “It’s been a while since we started the season knowing we had funds for the entire season, and to find out Jimmy Prock was coming on board, I never thought in my wildest dreams I would be driving for him one day. Then the third gift was when Santa dropped John Medlen off. John and I have a very special history. I’ve emceed the Eric Medlen Nitro Night Charity dinner for Sonoma Raceway the last two years and have become very close to John and his family.
“Having those two guys up in our crew chief’s lounge is just unbelievable. I feel when I go in there I’m going to want to ask for their autographs.”
Prock won Funny Car championships at John Force Racing in 2009 and 2013, and Medlen won it in 2003 with driver Tony Pedregon at JFR.
Beckman and DSR’s other six teams will test in Florida in mid-Janary in advance of the 2015 season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-8 in Pomona.
Resurfacing under way at zMAX Dragway
Monday, December 08, 2014
Since its grand opening in 2008, officials at zMAX Dragway have prided themselves on creating the best drag racing facility – with the best track surface – in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. After six years of NHRA national record performances and unparalleled fan entertainment, zMAX Dragway will resurface all four lanes in preparation for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, March 27-29, 2015.
After consulting with experts from across the country, zMAX Dragway opted for what is ultimately best for the fans: a total repave of the racing surface that annually hosts two NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. The project, which began this week, will include an entirely new concrete surface across all four racing lanes of “the Bellagio of Dragstrips,” from the starting line to 700 feet downtrack, and asphalt from 700 feet beyond the finish line.
NHRA President Tom Compton noted, “When you combine design, facility assets and the overall fan experience, zMAX Dragway is as good as it gets. It’s developed an iconic status in such a short time, and I expect that to grow even stronger through the years.”
Racers like 16-time Funny Car champion John Force and current Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens also weighed in.
“The Bellagio of Dragstrips” has been one of our favorite places to race,” Force said. “Fans love seeing three-second runs and 300-mph passes at zMAX Dragway, and we love putting on a great show. Bruton Smith will always take care of the fans and the racers, which is why we love him.”
“Bruton has the finest facilities in the country, and I’m glad they made the decision to resurface the track,” Enders-Stevens said. “This will be a huge positive for all of NHRA. Bruton and his staff go above and beyond, and we’re appreciative for what he’s done for our sport.”
The completion date of the project depends on a number of factors, including weather, but all work will be complete in advance of any testing before the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, where track officials expect more of the record-setting speeds that zMAX Dragway has produced in the past.
“After a thorough investigation of the surface chipping we experienced in September, we’ve determined this is the very best course of action for the fans and the competitors,” said Marcus Smith, president and chief operating officer of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. “We’ll get this project done in time to test in March, and look forward to the record-breaking speeds zMAX has become known for at the Four-Wide Nationals.”
NHRA.com will provide updates and photos as the project progresses.
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