Countdown to the Championship Challengers making a charge as Full Throttle Series stops in PA.
Auto-Plus NationalsFive-time NHRA Full Throttle Series world champion Joe Amato, a hometown favorite of fans in Pennsylvania, will headline NHRA’s 2011 visit to Maple Grove Raceway for the 60th Anniversary season running of the Auto-Plus® NHRA Nationals.
Highlighting the season-long NHRA Legends program will be one of NHRA’s most colorful characters and a local Legend in Amato, who enjoyed a very successful NHRA career. Amato is Top 10 all-time in three major NHRA Full Throttle Series categories – he ranks seventh in Series championships (5) and No. 1 qualifiers (56) and t-eighth in wins (52). The Pennsylvania native was also named the No. 9 driver on the NHRA Top 50 drivers list that was compiled in 2001.
Iconic Pro Stock driver and tuner Grumpy Jenkins will also being joining Amato throughout the weekend. Jenkins is one of the most recognizable figures on the circuit, rarely if ever seen without his trademark stubby cigar, Jenkins racked up 11 wins as a driver, but he famously made his bones as an engineer. He was ranked eighth on NHRA’s list of all-time greats in 2001 because “no other individual has contributed more to the advancement of normally aspirated engines for quarter-mile competition than the legendary “Grump.””
Larson was renowned for his match-racing acumen and he also won the 1989 NHRA Funny Car world championship. Lombardo, who won the 1976 Pro Stock title, was one of only three drivers (Don Nicholson and Lee Shepherd were the others) not named Bob Glidden to win a Pro Stock world championship during Glidden’s reign from 1974-1989.
The weekend’s 60th anniversary-themed festivities will include autograph sessions with all eight of the NHRA Legends as well as a car corral featuring some of NHRA’s legendary and historic vehicles.
With the stop at Maple Grove Raceway being the third of the Countdown, drama is sure to be high and racing to be intense as the battle for the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle championship in all four professional categories will be in full swing. The performance in the Countdown will make or break any driver’s chance at winning the championship so the pressure will be on as the teams head to Reading.
“We love running at Reading,” Matt Hagan, driver of the DieHard Charger said. “It’s a great track and, considering we’re in the Fall, it’s probably going to be fast. We’re looking to go rounds, gain points and improve our Countdown position.”