Date published: February 5, 2010
The ever-revolving door of crewmember swaps and changes continued in January with two highprofile crewmembers moving teams. Todd Smith, who was with Don Prudhomme's team last season, moved to Brandon Bernstein's crew and will join Mike Guger as a co-crew chief behind Rob Flynn. Lanny Miglizzi, known throughout the pits as "the track whisperer," left Don Schumacher Racing and is now part of the John Force team.
Prior to leaving for testing, Robert Hight was given the honor of decaling his car with his new number, but though it looks like the No. 1 he earned, Hight says he saw something else going on the car. "I felt like I was putting a big target on the side of my car," he said. "Everybody guns for that, and that's what everyone's shooting for, including me the last few years."
Her father may have been at the announcement, but Ashley Force Hood might have been one of the last people to hear about the NHRA Four- Wide Nationals. "[A reporter] called my cell phone, and he's like, 'Hi, I just wanted to get your opinion on the big announcement.' I was like 'What big announcement?' I hadn't been on NHRA.com or anything because I had been switching computers, so I didn't have the Internet. The poor guy had to explain to me the whole announcement, then I had to come up with some kind of something. I was like, 'Oh, how stupid.' "
Everyone else may have known Troy Buff's final run at the NAPA Auto Parts National Time Trials wasn't going well right away when his engine burst into a huge fireball at the hit, but Buff himself didn't. "To me, it felt like it had a really good run going, and then next thing, I knew, it turned sideways, smoked the tires, and was lit up. After watching the video, we saw the fuel line break, and it poured fuel all over the right rear, which, obviously, turned the car and smoked the tires. Then, it banged the burst panels because it went lean, and that started the fire."
Team Mopar's Allen Johnson is testing the wheels of Pro Stock Mopar Dodge Avenger, running a third set of test sessions at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, where he recorded a best run of 6.54 seconds at 210.70 mph during19 runs over four days of testing Jan. 18- 21. "We've made quite a bit more progress since the last test sessions," said Johnson. "I felt we were pretty close to where we need to be. We tried quite a few different things, and I think we've got the car sorted out pretty well."
What is Bruno Massel up to? According to several reports, the reigning NHRA Comp champ is exploring the possibility of moving up to Pro Mod. Another widely circulated rumor has put him in a Comp dragster for 2010.
Former national champion John Calvert, who made history last season by driving the new Ford Cobra Jet Mustang to the Stock title at the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals, will attempt to repeat that feat this year behind the wheel of another new car, a '64 Ford Thunderbolt. Those who have seen the car in person report that it is a high-quality effort that should be one of the quickest Stockers in the country.
The team of Freddy Frey, Bob Rosetty, Bobby Frey, and "Big Al" Liebmann are bringing the legendary Frantic Ford Funny Car back to life as a Nostalgia Funny Car, which should be ready for competition in May or June. The recreation of the Frantic Ford is dedicated to the memory of the late Paul R. "Dodger" Glenn, the car's former driver. The new Mustang II will carry the same paint scheme again by the legendary Bob Gerdes of Circus Custom Paint. Lettering on the car will be handled by the talented brush strokes of Glen.