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  1. Forrest's last gift Longtime NHRA Super Stock racer Forrest Pierdolla passed away recently, and he was a hot rodder until the very end. 12 Dec 2018 Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor The Sports Report On Tuesday, Nov. 27, longtime NHRA Super Stock racer Forrest Pierdolla lost his long battle with cancer. The NHRA class racing community is a close-knit group, especially in the South Central Division where the Texas-based Pierdolla was one of it’s central figures for decades. A college football player who became a professional roofer, Pierdolla was better known to NHRA racers and fans for the 1968 Camaro Super Stock car that he raced along with partner Dan Reeves. The Pierdolla and Reeves Camaro wasn’t just one of the best-looking cars in Division 4, it was also one of the most competitive and it provided a number of memorable moments for Pierdolla including the 1987 Division 4 championship. Pierdolla also drove the Camaro to his lone NHRA national event win at the Texas Motorplex in 1991. At that event, Pierdolla defeated fellow Texan Keith Mawhee in the final round. He also drove to a runner-up finish at Houston Raceway Park in 1994, losing a tough final round to future Pro Stock kingpin Jeg Coughlin Jr. “Forrest had a light about him that drew people to him, leaving him with many lifelong, truly great, and loving friends,” said his wife, Mary Jo Pierdolla. “He was so blessed. Forrest was a kind, gentle, loving, caring, wonderful man, who was known to be a little hard-headed from time-to-time. For the people who knew him, they loved him, and knew they were blessed and their lives were better for having known him. He will be greatly missed." Pierdolla and Reeves began racing together when they were still in High School. Their Camaro was known as the River City Rat. A familiar sight at Alamo Dragway near San Antonio, the Camaro carried Pierdolla to a number of impressive wins during his career. In 1983, Pierdolla defeated Phil Webb in the Super Stock final at the now-defunct Green Valley Raceway. He also stopped his good friend, John Clegg in the final round of the Baton Rouge Lucas Oil Series event in 1987. In 1994, Pierdolla collected his third divisional win by beating four-time Super Stock champion Greg Stanfield in the final at Amarillo Dragway. In September, Pierdolla posted on his Facebook page about the unusual circumstances surrounding his 1983 Green Valley victory. “In our second year of NHRA Super Stock, Dan Reeves and I were there on Saturday morning,” he said. “We unloaded the car and made a couple of qualifying passes, I might add two tenths over our 10.75 index. Sunday morning brought nothing, but rain and the race was called and rescheduled for the following weekend. Well, that wasn’t going to work because my younger brother was getting married that Saturday night and we were in the wedding. “Fast forward to Sat afternoon of the race and wedding. Dan receives a call from our friend, Barney Morvits at Green Valley Dragway and he says ‘If y’all can get here by in the morning you are already on the elimination ladder for Sunday since y’all qualified last week.’ “What great news Except we didn’t feel so great since the bachelor party was last night. Second, Barney’s car hauler was in the shop with the entire driveline laying on the floor. We did have the new u-joints so after the wedding and reception Dan and I go to the shop and install the new u-joints and driveline back into the car hauler. We load the car up and went to Green Valley. A cold front had come in making the track about two-tenths faster, which was exactly what we needed. Not once that dad did we ever put a dial-in on the window. We just kept turning on the win light that day. We took a sound beating the rest of that season, but I loved every moment.” “Forrest and I were big rivals in high school,” Mary Jo recalled. “He was the star football player who scored the winning touchdown against my team, and I was the cheerleader. I did not like him! My brother had a race car and so did several of our friends from school. Forrest had a race car, and his was faster than any of ours. I did not like him at all, but everything was okay later in life. The rivalry was gone.” Throughout his career, Pierdolla’s prized Camaro wasn’t just known for being competitive, it was also considered one of the best looking cars in the Southeast Division and that was thanks in large part to Artie “Spook” Lund and Raymond “Rainman” Lund, and Joe Carrisales, who were responsible for the paint and lettering. As a final and most fitting tribute, Lund painted Pierdolla’s casket to match his race car and performed the job in less than five days. “Raymond was still in high school and worked at his dad’s shop to paint the car,” Mary Jo recalled. “The first helmet that he ever painted was Forrest’s. When Forrest got a new one, he gave the old helmet back to Raymond, and it still hangs on his wall. I called Raymond the night before Forrest died and asked him if he could paint a casket. The reason I had the casket painted was, he loved his car, and so did everyone else. He was do proud of that paint job. I couldn’t think of a more fitting goodbye gift to give him. I know he’s smiling down on us right now.” Wheelstand photos by J.M. Hallas
  2. NHRA releases 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule for 2018 season NHRA announced its 24-race 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, featuring intense racing action at tracks across the country. Millions of fans will witness sensory-overloading side-by-side racing action where winners and losers can be separated by mere inches at speeds exceeding 330 mph. All 24 events during the busy season will be aired exclusively on FOX Sports and for selected events on the FOX broadcast network, with live and near-live coverage of most of the events. Over 575 hours of programming will feature action from Friday and Saturday qualifying rounds and Sunday finals. The lineup for the four-race back-to-back stretch that starts the slate of busy racing action in the summer months will change in 2018. The Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway moves earlier to May 31- June 3. The NHRA New England Nationals at scenic New England Dragway outside of Boston moves later to July 6-8. The 2018 season will begin at the venerable Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California with the NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 8-11, and closes at the renowned dragstrip with the final race of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Nov. 8-11. Following the season-opener, the series returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix for the NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 23-25. After the Phoenix race, NHRA teams will traverse the country to the traditional East Coast opener at Florida’s Gainesville Raceway for the fan-favorite Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 15-18. Teams will then travel back to the West Coast for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at Las Vegas, April 6-8. An early season three-race swing featuring events in the southern states will follow: the NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston (April 20-22); the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. (April 27-29); and the NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Georgia (May 4-6). Heartland Park Topeka, which has featured record-breaking racing and is one of the fastest tracks on the tour, will host the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties, May 18-20. Following the Route 66 NHRA Nationals (May 31 – June 3) the teams will move east for the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., June 7-10. The NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 15-17 returns to Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway on Father’s Day weekend and the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals will be hosted June 21-24 at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The tour will power to New England Dragway (July 6-8) before traversing the country to start a three-race stretch on the west coast. The historic NHRA Western Swing kicks off with the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at scenic Bandimere Speedway in Denver, July 20-22. The teams will then head to Northern California for the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 27-29) at Sonoma Raceway, then finish the Western Swing near Seattle at Pacific Raceways with the NHRA Northwest Nationals, Aug. 3-5. NHRA Mello Yello Series teams will then head to Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway, for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 16-19, meeting some of the most dedicated fans in the country. Final positions for the sport’s playoffs, the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, will be secured at the world’s most prestigious drag race, the 64th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 3, the last race of the regular season. The six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship gets underway in mid-September with three consecutive weeks of racing: the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 14-16); the Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. (Sept. 20-23); and the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis (Sept. 28-30). The playoffs then head west at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas (Oct. 11-14); the NHRA Toyota Nationals in Las Vegas (Oct. 25-28); and the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, where world champions will be crowned in Southern California Nov. 8-11. 2018 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE NHRA Mello Yello Series Regular Season Feb. 8-11 NHRA Winternationals Pomona, Calif. Feb. 23-25 NHRA Arizona Nationals Phoenix March 15-18 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals (PSM) Gainesville, Fla. April 6-8 DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals Las Vegas April 20-22 NHRA SpringNationals Houston April 27-29 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals (PSM) Charlotte, N.C. May 4-6 NHRA Southern Nationals (PSM) Atlanta May 18-20 Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals Topeka, Kan. May 31-June 3 Route 66 NHRA Nationals (PSM) Chicago June 7-10 NHRA Summernationals (PSM) Englishtown, N.J. June 15-17 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol, Tenn. June 21-24 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals (PSM) Norwalk, Ohio July 6-8 NHRA New England Nationals Epping, N.H. July 20-22 Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals (PSM) Denver July 27-29 Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals (PSM) Sonoma, Calif. Aug. 3-5 NHRA Northwest Nationals Seattle Aug. 16-19 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (PSM) Brainerd, Minn. Aug. 29-Sept. 3 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals (PSM) Indianapolis NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Sept. 14-16 NHRA Carolina Nationals (PSM) Charlotte, N.C. Sept. 20-23 Dodge NHRA Nationals (PSM) Reading, Pa. Sept. 28-30 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals (PSM) St. Louis Oct. 11-14 AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals (PSM) Dallas Oct. 25-28 NHRA Toyota Nationals (PSM) Las Vegas Nov. 8-11 Auto Club NHRA Finals (PSM) Pomona, Calif. (PSM) – Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle
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