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Crew Chiefs/Team Owners

DEAN ANTONELLI
Co-Crew Chief: John Force Racing (Ashley Force Hood)
Antonelli is a product of a system that has won 14 NHRA Funny Car world championships in the last 19 seasons. Although he grew up around racing as the son of the late Joe Antonelli, driver of Funny Cars and fuel altereds including "Nanook," the native of Tucson, Ariz., has spent his entire professional career at John Force Racing, studying the sport under the tutelage of all-star crew chiefs Austin Coil, Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, and Jimmy Prock. Antonelli also served as Team Leader on John Force's Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang before taking the helm of Ashley Force Hood's Funny Car in 2007. Antonelli now leads her team with co-crew chief Ron Douglas. His wife, Kelly, is Marketing Director at JFR, Inc.

 



LEE BEARD
Team Manager: Don Schumacher Racing (Tony Schumacher, Ron Capps,
Matt Hagan, Cory McClenathan, Jack Beckman, Matt Smith)
Beard has spent more than 30 years in drag racing. He has earned more than 50 wins as a crew chief in the Top Fuel and Funny Car ranks during his career. Beard began his career as an owner/driver in Top Fuel in the early 1970s. He has tuned for some highly successful drivers, including Jerry Ruth, Gary Ormsby, Pat Austin, Ed McCulloch, Cory McClenathan, Cruz Pedregon, Kenny Bernstein, Whit Bazemore, and Rod Fuller. In 1989, he tuned Ormsby to the Top Fuel championship and his cars have set national records in both Top Fuel and Funny Car. He was voted Crew Chief of the Year and Person of the Year in 1989 by Car Craft Magazine.

 



DONNIE BENDER
Crew Chief: Snake Racing (Spencer Massey)
Bender was promoted to crew chief at Don Prudhomme-owned Snake Racing following the retirement of Dick LaHaie after the 2005 season. In his first three seasons as crew chief, he guided driver Larry Dixon to finishes of seventh, fourth, and second place in the Full Throttle Series standings. Bender left Doug Kalitta's Top Fuel crew at the end of the 1999 season, where he was responsible for all computers and timers. Before racing, Bender worked in the oil industry for 10 years dealing with pipeline equipment.

 



KENNY BERNSTEIN
Team Owner: Kenny Bernstein Racing (Brandon Bernstein)
While he is largely known as one of only two drivers (Gary Scelzi) in NHRA history to win championships in both nitro categories and as the first to surpass the 300-mph barrier (Gainesville, 1992.), Bernstein also has left his mark in racing through his skill as a businessman. Bernstein, who returned to competition as a driver in 2007 for one year after retiring in 2002, continues to be the mastermind behind his son Brandon's team. He also continues his relationship with Budweiser, the longest active running sponsorship deal in motorsports. Bernstein, a six-time NHRA world champion (1985-88 FC, 1996, 2001 TF) has owned teams on the NASCAR and Champ Car circuits as well. He also was voted No. 6 on NHRA's 50 Greatest Drivers list in 2001 and filled in for son, Brandon, in the Budweiser dragster in 2003 after an injury sidelined the young driver.

 



KEN BLACK
Team Owner: KB Racing LLC (Greg Anderson, Jason Line)
The Las Vegas-based Black, who built Vegas General Construction into a multi-million dollar business, has found similar success in short order in NHRA, building one of the most successful Pro Stock racing teams in NHRA Greg Anderson won three straight Full Throttle Series championships (2003-05) and Jason Line earned the title in 2006.



 



NICK BONINFANTE
Co-Crew Chief: Kalitta Motorsports (Jeff Arend)
Boninfante is in his second stint at Kalitta Motorsports. He first worked for the team as a clutch specialist on team owner and drag racing legend Connie Kalitta's Top Fuel team in 1991 and 1992. From 1993 until 1996, Boninfante served as clutch specialist on Scott Kalitta's Top Fuel machine and won back-to-back world championships (1994-1995). Boninfante rejoined Kalitta Motorsports in August of 2008 as co-crew chief on the Doug Kalitta-driven Top Fuel dragster. Boninfante has worked with several NHRA contenders, including Ron Capps, Doug Herbert, Bob Gilbertson, and Bruce Litton. He helped guide Litton's dragster to the 2007 IHRA Top Fuel championship.

 



BRIAN BOZSUM
Co-Team Owner: Mohegan Sun/Rocklin Motorsports Buell (Matt Guidera)
Bozsum is co-owner with Vic Guidera of the Mohegan Sun/Rocklin Motorsports Buell ridden by Matt Guidera. Bozsum became involved in motorsports through Top Fuel bikes in 2000, while running a Chrysler dealership. His tribe, in Uncasville, Conn., owns and operates Mohegan Sun Casino, the casino that sponsors his NHRA Full Throttle motorcycle entry. He is a resident of Fresno, Calif.

 



AARON BROOKS
Crew Chief: Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing (Del Worsham)
Brooks comes to the newly minted Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing team from Roger Burgess' R2B2 Racing Funny Car entry formerly driven by Frank Hawley. Brooks and Hawley teamed up for just six races in 2008, but the two combined for a No. 1 qualifying effort in Charlotte. He will now work with renowned team owner Alan Johnson, former crew chief of the multiple world championship title-earning U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster team driven by Tony Schumacher.

 



VICTOR CAGNAZZI
Team Owner: Cagnazzi Racing (Jeg Coughlin)
Cagnazzi's approach to building a successful NHRA Pro Stock team mirrors the same principles his business 'team' used to drive $70+ million annually in sales at his family's New York City-based high-tech business applying the right people, resources, and technology to a goal, then working to reach and exceed those goals. After attending the New York Institute of Technology, Cagnazzi worked for his father's Long Island, N.Y.-based business. Partnering with his three brothers, the four spent two decades growing ISG into a successful computer infrastructure-and-software design and supply distribution company. Cagnazzi, a native of New York City, is a blend of high-powered business executive and sportsman. Complementing his corporate achievements, Cagnazzi has always been a racer at heart. Cagnazzi spent much of his youth competing in amateur drag racing events around the region. As his business interests grew, so did his involvement in the sport. In the early 1990s, Cagnazzi took steps towards a career as a professional drag racer and team owner. Since 1992, he worked his way up through several amateur and professional classes at the dragstrip, building a first-class team of engine, aerodynamic, and chassis experts. Cagnazzi built a headquarters for his racing team in Mooresville, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte. In 2007 he earned his first Full Throttle Championship with Jeg Coughlin, and the two repeated in 2008.

 



AUSTIN
COIL
Crew Chief: Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang (John Force)
Coil has directed John Force to 14 NHRA Funny Car world championships in the last 19 seasons. That makes 16 NHRA Funny Car titles for the Chicago native, who before joining Force in 1985, won back-to-back titles (1982-83) with his own Chi-Town Hustler entry driven by Frank Hawley. The Chi-Town Hustler, a car in which he was partnered with fellow Chicagoans John Farkonas and Pat Minick, was one of the dominant Funny Cars on the match-race circuit in the 1970s. When sponsorship of the Chi-Town Hustler dried up in 1985, Force came calling with an offer that brought Coil to California. The Coil-Force collaboration has produced 126 tour victories and made Coil the Car Craft Magazine Funny Car Crew Chief of the Year 12 times. Coil also won seven races with Hawley. Coil leads the highly regarded tuning staff of Bernie Fedderly, John Medlen, Jimmy Prock, Dean Antonelli, and Ron Douglas.

 



CHRIS CUNNINGHAM
Crew Chief: Tasca Motorsports (Bob Tasca III)
Cunningham joined driver Bob Tasca III in 2008 after logging years with Worsham Racing. He has more than 25 years of experience in the field of drag racing mechanics. Cunningham started his career with Gwynn Racing and has since played a vital role with several teams, including those of Alan Johnson, Whit Bazemore, and Jerry Toliver. After a lengthy career as a line maintenance mechanic at US Airways, Cunningham now concentrates on drag racing fulltime.



 



TOMMY DeLAGO
Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Matt Hagan)
DeLago has worked with names such as Connie Kalitta, Darrell Gwynn, Bob Gilbertson, and Don Prudhomme Racing in his years of experience in the assistant crew chief and crew chief position. He'll bring knowledge from those teams to Matt Hagan, a newcomer to the NHRA Funny Car category. DeLago first became interested in motorsports while growing up in California, where he and his family watched his uncle race professionally on flat-track motorcycles. As soon as he was old enough, DeLago went to the dragstrip to start his own racing career first through a friend's car, and then with his own. Eventually, as motorsports became ever more his focus, he left his work as an all-purpose mechanic at a hospital and found a job in motorsports.

 



RON DOUGLAS
Co-Crew Chief: John Force Racing (Ashley Force Hood)
After more than 10 years of working with veteran drag racers, Douglas accepted an entirely different challenge and point of view when he was hired to work with the then-rookie crew chief-driver tandem of Dean "Guido" Antonelli and Ashley Force Hood. Douglas crewed for such names as Doug Herbert, Dean Skuza, and Don Schumacher Racing on Funny Cars and Top Fuel dragsters before moving to John Force Racing. The similar leadership views and personality traits Douglas and Antonelli share allowed them to bond instantly and translate that good chemistry to their team, which propelled Force Hood to her first win in Atlanta last year. Force Hood became the first woman in NHRA history to win in Funny Car by defeating her father, John, in the final round.

 



ROB DOWNING
Crew Chief: Ken Black Racing LLC/Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac GTO (Greg Anderson, Jason Line)
Downing will continue his tuning efforts in 2009 for the three-time NHRA Full Throttle world championship car driven by Greg Anderson and the 2006 Pro Stock championship-winning car driven by Jason Line. Downing joined the KB Racing LLC team prior to the 2003 season and guided Anderson to a then record-breaking campaign. The team earned 12 victories and established 19 track records en route to the 2003 championship before upping those numbers to 15 wins in 19 final rounds with 16 No. 1 qualifying awards in 2004. In 2005, he again tasted championship glory with Anderson, and in 2006 helped Line realize his championship dream. Downing started his drag racing career with Mark Pawuk's Pro Stock entry in 1998. After spending one season as a crew member, he was promoted to crew chief in 1999. Downing stayed with Pawuk through the 2002 season, earning two victories in six final-round appearances. In 2001, Downing was honored as the Pro Racing Crew Chief of the Year by Car Craft Magazine. Downing graduated from the University of Nebraska with a mechanical engineering degree in 1993 and worked as a project engineer until he started working on the NHRA circuit.

 



JIM DUNN
Team Owner/Crew Chief: Jim Dunn Racing (Jerry Toliver)
A pioneer of the sport of drag racing, Dunn began racing in Southern California in the 1950s, first as a driver and later as one of the most experienced and dedicated team owners and crew chiefs in the business. The Long Beach, Calif., native guided Kenji Okazaki, Frank Pedregon, and Tony Bartone to victories and is regarded as one of the most respected mentors in the sport. Dunn earned two victories as a driver and nine wins as a team owner/crew chief. Dunn retired from driving in 1990 to focus his efforts on his duties as crew chief and team owner.

 



JIM DUPUY
Crew Chief: Vandergriff Motorsports (Bob Vandergriff Jr.)
Soft-spoken, hard-working Jim Dupuy joined the Top Fuel team of Bob Vandergriff Jr. at the start of the 2006 season as crew chief. Dupuy assembled the car and team in just six short weeks before the season-opening Winternationals. After taking over the tuning responsibilities of the Joe Amato-owned, Morgan Lucas-driven team in St. Louis in June of 2005, Dupuy led the team to one No. 1 qualifier award, two final-round appearances, and a fifth-place finish in the NHRA Full Throttle Top Fuel points battle, in his first year as crew chief. The son of retired NHRA Director of Competition Lynwood Dupuy, Jim began his racing career at the age of 15 years old working for his uncle in his machine shop. When he was old enough to race, Dupuy was busy running in Super Comp and later began to compete in Competition Eliminator. He has worked on numerous Top Fuel and Funny Car teams, along with his brother, Wayne, producing horsepower for several of the best drivers, including the likes of Phil Burkart Jr., Todd Paton, Jim Epler, Cristen Powell, Johnny Gray, and the late Darrell Russell. Dupuy's loyalty and hard work ethics were demonstrated as he chose to pass up many individual offers in order to keep his team intact when Joe Amato retired from drag racing at the end of the 2005 season. Dupuy was introduced to Vandergriff by a friend and brought the team over to run the inaugural season of the UPS Top Fuel team and has stayed on since then.

 



BERNIE FEDDERLY
Co-Crew Chief: John Force Racing (John Force)
Fedderly, a member of the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame, shares with legendary tuner Dale Armstrong the distinction of being one of only two crew chiefs to have won NHRA series championships in both Funny Car and Top Fuel. Before coming on board with John Force and Austin Coil in 1992, Fedderly won the 1983 NHRA Top Fuel championship with driver Gary Beck and car owner Larry Minor. He first came to prominence in 1980, when he and fellow Canadian Terry Capp combined their talents to claim the Top Fuel championship at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. From there, Fedderly moved to the Larry Minor team in 1982, serving as crew chief for Beck and for Funny Car driver Ed "Ace" McCulloch. Coincidentally, Fedderly began the 1992 season with Minor and driver Cruz Pedregon, who beat Force for the championship that year. Fedderly and Coil guided Force to his 14th NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car world championship in 2006.

 



ROB FLYNN
Crew Chief: Kenny Bernstein Racing (Brandon Bernstein)
Flynn replaces Tim and Kim Richards, longtime tuners for the Bernstein family rail. He comes from David Powers Motorsports, which he joined in August of 2005. Having spent more than 30 years in drag racing, Flynn has worked with the likes of Scott Kalitta, Connie Kalitta, Ed McCulloch, Jerry Toliver, Del Worsham, Cruz Pedregon, Bob Vandergriff, Doug Herbert, and Gary Densham. The native of Edmonton, Alta., has tuned racers to victories in four categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car).

 



MIKE GREEN
Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Tony Schumacher)
Green joined Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car team 10 races into the 2001 season and departed shortly after the 2002 campaign began. He went to work on the Darrell Gwynn-owned Top Fuel dragster driven by Andrew Cowin for the remainder of the '02 season. With Green on board, Cowin ended a lengthy winless streak in eliminations and was the runner-up once and a semifinalist four times. Before the end of the '02 season, Green was inked by Prudhomme to rejoin the Skoal Racing team to make the tuning decisions in 2003 for the Funny Car driven by Tommy Johnson Jr. Green began his career in 1986 and in 2008 made the move from Prudhomme's camp to Don Schumacher Racing, where he was at the helm for Cory McClenathan.

 



VIC GUIDERA
Co-Team Owner: Mohegan Sun/Rocklin Motorsports Buell (Matt Guidera)
Vic Guidera is the father of his team's rider, Matt Guidera. His own driving and building career spanned go-karts, sprint cars, and open wheel racing before Vic decided to field a drag bike around the same time he opened his first Harley-Davidson dealership (now Harley-Davidson of Rocklin, Calif.) in 1975. He now owns three dealerships, including the Rocklin location and stores in Folsom, Calif., and Amador County, Calif. His first drag bike was a 1984 lowrider that had a successful run in the All Harley Drag Racing Association. Vic Guidera is co-team owner with Brian Bozsum.

 



ALLEN HARTLEY
Crew Chief/Team Owner: Hartley Racing (Joe Hartley)
Allen Hartley will tune the Top Fuel entry driven by his son, Joe. Allen Hartley started his own drag racing career in the 1960s, in a Camaro. He soon purchased a front-engine dragster from Shirley Muldowney and fielded that entry until he stopped racing in the mid-1970s. After 20 years away from the sport, he came back in the 1990s with the twin-engine "Double Vision" alcohol car before jumping up to Top Fuel in 2000. He has experience in both the Lucas Oil and Full Throttle Series.

 



BYRON HINES
Team Owner: Vance & Hines Motorsports (Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec)
When Byron Hines got back from his tour of duty in Vietnam, he quickly found a career in racing. Hines met up with Terry Vance, and the two have formed one of the most successful programs in drag racing. Hines helped tune Vance to 24 victories. Hines also put some time in as a rider, earning one victory (Topeka, 1992) in less than two seasons of competition. The duo formed Vance & Hines Motorsports, producing engines for several NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle teams as well as equipment for motorcycle racers all over the world. Once Vance retired, the two stayed in the industry and continue to produce winning results. Hines helped guide his oldest son, Matt, to three NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world championships and 30 wins in seven seasons of racing before Matt retired after the 2002 season. With Byron Hines playing the role of engineer and tuner, the Vance & Hines team introduced Harley-Davidson into drag racing in 2002 with GT Tonglet as the lead rider. The youngest Hines, Andrew, made his racing debut midway through the 2002 season. Andrew won three consecutive Full Throttle Series world championships the first championships for a Harley-Davidson entry (2004-06). The first Harley to have factory support, the Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team features Hines and Krawiec on the V-Rod squad.

 



MATT HINES
Crew Chief: Vance & Hines Motorsports (Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec)
After spending a highly successful seven years competing in the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, Matt Hines made the transition to assistant crew chief in 2003, helping his father tune his younger brother's Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson V-Rod. As a racer, Hines became the first NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer to earn the NHRA championship in three consecutive seasons (1997-99). He earned 30 career wins in 47 final rounds along with 44 No. 1 qualifying awards. Hines took the victory at the final race of his career (Pomona 2, 2002) before dedicating his time to engineering improvements for the V-Twin entries. With his help, the factory Harley-Davidson riders have earned 17 wins as well as three consecutive series championships from 2004-06, and one in 2008 (Krawiec).

 



MARK INGERSOLL
Co-Crew Chief: J & J Racing (Allen Johnson)
Like so many of NHRA's greatest tuners, Ingersoll went to the track first as a child, where he watched his father, Buddy, win multiple titles in several sportsman categories. Ingersoll began his first full-time job with an NHRA Full Throttle Series team in 1992, with Steve Schmidt. He started with "odds and ends," like driving the team truck. In 1995, Ingersoll became Schmidt's crew chief. He worked with drivers Darrell Alderman and Scott Geoffrion before joining current driver Allen Johnson in 2001, where he took the helm for Richie Stevens Jr. as well. Ingersoll has plenty of experience behind the wheel, too, with thousands of testing and competitive runs to his credit. In 2007, he was voted "Best Crew Chief, Other Than My Own" by Pro Stock drivers polled by National DRAGSTER. He will serve as co-crew chief with Jeff Perley.

 



ALAN JOHNSON
Team Owner: Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing (Del Worsham, Larry Dixon)
Before achieving his dream of owning his own team, Alan Johnson emerged as one of the most innovative and successful crew chiefs in NHRA Top Fuel racing. He ended his crew chief career after earning a fifth consecutive Full Throttle Series Top Fuel world championship with driver Tony Schumacher, his longtime pilot. Although 2008's ending was one to remember, the 2006 campaign will be forever remembered for "The Run," a final-round, national record-setting run at the last race on the final pass that gave the U.S. Army team the championship title. The memorable 4.428 second pass is being regarded as the greatest single run in NHRA history by many drag racing historians. Johnson was hired by team owner Don Schumacher in 2003, after the Tony Schumacher-driven U.S. Army dragster struggled in the first nine events of that season. The hire immediately paid off as Johnson guided the Army dragster to a win in his first event. Schumacher earned the Top Fuel trophy four times in 2003 en route to a third-place finish in the standings with Johnson's help. Johnson and Schumacher earned a record 10 Top Fuel victories en route to the championship in 2004, and then the duo won nine races in 2005 on the way to another world title. The 2007 season was another miracle finish for Schumacher, who claimed the inaugural Countdown to the Championship title on the final run of the final race of the year. Johnson also guided Gary Scelzi to three NHRA championships (1997-98 and 2000). During the early 1990s, he and his late brother Blaine dominated Top Alcohol Dragster competition, winning four consecutive championships and five straight NHRA divisional crowns. Away from the track, Johnson owns and operates Alan Johnson Engineering in Santa Maria, Calif., which specializes in building cylinder heads for automobile, motorcycle, and boat racing teams.

 



CONNIE KALITTA
Team Owner/Crew Chief: Kalitta Motorsports (Doug Kalitta, Jeff Arend)
A lot more than elapsed times have changed since the days when Connie Kalitta raced a 1951 Willys on an abandoned Michigan airstrip for pink slips. One of only a handful of racers from the early days still active in the sport, he has had a front row seat for some of the more significant developments that have helped shape the sport of drag racing. While flatbed trailers and front-engine dragsters have been replaced by semis and 7,000-horsepower nitromethane-burning machines, one thing remains the same Kalitta's desire to win. In addition to 22 NHRA final rounds with 10 wins as a driver, Kalitta also has three Full Throttle Series world championships to his credit. The first came in 1977, when he served as crew chief for Shirley Muldowney when she became the first and only female Top Fuel champion in NHRA history. The other two came as team owner of Kalitta Motorsports when his son, Scott, earned NHRA Top Fuel titles in 1994 and 1995. Tragically, Scott died after a racing accident in Englishtown in 2008. Continuing the family name will be Connie's nephew, Doug Kalitta, who will be at the wheel of the camp's Top Fuel dragster. The uncle-nephew duo has combined for 30 victories, finishing second in the point standings in 2003, 2004 and 2006. When he is not at the track, Kalitta keeps busy running Kalitta Leasing and Kalitta Air. Based at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Air transports cargo worldwide, utilizing several B-747s. Kalitta Leasing specializes in buying, selling, and leasing aircraft and aircraft-related equipment.

 



FORREST LUCAS
Team Owner: Morgan Lucas Racing (Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon)
This president of Lucas Oil Products took over ownership of the Lucas Oil Racing Top Fuel dragster, piloted by his son Morgan, in recent seasons. The Lucas name is already branded across the drag racing spectrum as the title sponsor of the Full Throttle Series event in Brainerd and the entire sportsman series (the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series), among other motorsports and the NFL (as title sponsor of the Indianapolis Colts' new stadium). Lucas Oil Products has established itself as an industry leader in lubricants and fuel treatments.

 



ED McCULLOCH
Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Ron Capps)
As a driver, McCulloch was one of the best ever, producing 22 victories 18 in Funny Car and four in Top Fuel. Six of his victories came at the prestigious Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, five of those in a Funny Car. Today he is one of the most experienced crew chiefs in the sport. In 2006, he simultaneously received chemotherapy treatments and tuned Ron Capps's Brut Dodge Charger to within points of a Funny Car championship. He and Ron advanced to the Countdown to 1 in 2007, again just shy of their first world championship title together. He joined Don Schumacher Racing in 2005 after spending much of the previous five seasons tuning the Funny Car driven by Ron Capps for lifelong friend Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing team. There, McCulloch produced five victories in three seasons. In 2002, McCulloch guided the Green Skoal team to its third consecutive top 10 finish in the Funny Car standings.

 



JASON McCULLOCH
Crew Chief: Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing (Larry Dixon)
McCulloch comes to Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing after six highly successful seasons with Don Schumacher Racing, where he was the assistant crew chief on the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster driven by Tony Schumacher. He gained experience in the sport in the 1980s when he served as crew member for his father Ed McCulloch's team, owned by Larry Minor. Larry Dixon was also on that team. Ed McCulloch is crew chief for Don Schumacher Racing's Funny Car entry, driven by Ron Capps.

 



JOHN MEDLEN
Crew Chief: John Force Racing (Mike Neff)
After spending most of the 2007 season organizing and managing the John Force Racing safety initiative named for his son, Eric, Medlen returned to competition as crew chief to Funny Car driver Mike Neff in 2008, guiding him to a season that earned Neff rookie of the year status. Medlen, who won an NHRA Full Throttle championship in 2003 with former driver Tony Pedregon, relocated to Indianapolis in 2007 to oversee the work of the Eric Medlen Project, guide the team's growing in-house parts production, and especially the development of a Ford-branded engine for use in the Funny Car and Top Fuel classes. A former race car and race boat driver, Medlen is best known as a designer, fabricator, and tuner. In the mid-1980s, he began building clutch systems of his own design for several Top Fuel teams. He later developed one of the first multi-lever clutch systems and a fuel volume control device. He most recently was involved in cylinder head development projects. As a crew chief, he has won 32 NHRA tour events in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, winning six times in three full seasons with Eric, who in 2007 succumbed to injuries suffered in a testing accident in Florida.

 



JIM OBERHOFER
Crew Chief: Kalitta Motorsports (Doug Kalitta)
Oberhofer has been with Kalitta Racing for 20 years, serving as crew chief, handling team manager duties, and dealing with daily operations. He is a second-generation drag racing enthusiast whose father campaigned a Jr. fueler as well as a Top Fuel dragster in the 1970s. Oberhofer got his first job in drag racing in 1983 when he was hired by Kalitta Motorsports to be a part-time crew member. His brother, Jon, also is a crew chief for Kalitta Motorsports.

 



JON OBERHOFER
Co-Crew Chief: Kalitta Motorsports (Jeff Arend)
Oberhofer, like his brother, Jim, crew chief on Doug Kalitta's Top Fueler, has been involved with NHRA Drag Racing for most of his life. While growing up in Plano, Texas, Oberhofer watched his quarter-mile heroe,s including his dad, Dave, who spent some time behind the wheel of a front-engine Top Fuel rail, and dreamed of someday pursuing his own drag racing ambitions. Oberhofer, just like his brother, has worked his way from the bottom-end up.


 



TODD OKUHARA
Co-Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Cory McClenathan)
Okuhara has been building race cars since his childhood. Born and raised in Hawaii, where Okuhara's father owned a machine shop, he spent much of his high school days rebuilding engines. The training began to pay off in 1993, when Okuhara relocated from Hawaii to build short blocks and work on cylinder heads for famed Hawaiian tuner Roland Leong. Since then, Okuhara has paved his way to his own success in drag racing. He moved over to work for Don "the Snake" Prudhomme in 1994, for "Snake's Final Strike" tour. He continued in Top Fuel from 1995-96 working on Larry Dixon's crew. He made the transition to the Funny Car class in 1998, tuning for Ron Capps as an assistant crew chief. Okuhara remained with Prudhomme Racing until mid-season 2005, when he joined Don Schumacher Racing to be assistant crew chief for Whit Bazemore's Matco Tools Funny Car. For 2006, Okuhara remained the assistant for the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger R/T for the first six races, then was promoted to crew chief beginning in Atlanta. Eight races later, Okuhara claimed his first win as a crew chief, when Whit Bazemore defeated Ron Capps in the final round in Seattle. He also tuned former Super Comp champion and former Top Fuel driver Jack Beckman to a win and both ends of the national record at the end of 2006 before replacing Mike Neff at the helm of Gary Scelzi's ride.

 



JEFF PERLEY
Co-Crew Chief: J & J Racing (Allen Johnson)
Perley returns to the Pro Stock category after a short hiatus from the sport and will be co-crew chief with Mark Ingersoll. He served four championship seasons with KB Racing (from 2003-06) and worked with Kurt Johnson from 1997 to 2001. Perley started his NHRA tuning career in the Top Alcohol Dragster category, and he spent three years with Gary Parks before going to Pro Stock.



 



JIMMY PROCK
Crew Chief: John Force Racing (Robert Hight)
Prock joined an exclusive fraternity in 2001 when he directed veteran Gary Densham to Funny Car victories in Memphis and Dallas, to become just the 10th crew chief to win races in the sport's top two categories. He enjoyed his biggest day at the 2004 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, where he directed Densham to the double-up bonus as winner of both the U.S. Nationals and the Funny Car bonus race. After guiding Densham to eight wins in four years for John Force Racing, Prock has won 11 times in his four seasons with Robert Hight, who was the 2005 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future winner. Prock distinguished himself as a Top Fuel crew chief, first with Cory McClenathan during his "Cinderella run" of 1992 and later with five-time NHRA series champ Joe Amato, with whom he won 18 times. A Detroit native, Prock grew up in drag racing as the son of 1970s and 1980s Funny Car driver Tom Prock.

 



DON PRUDHOMME
Team Owner: Snake Racing (Spencer Massey)
A true legend of the sport, Prudhomme begins his 15th season as an owner in 2009, after logging 32 seasons behind the wheel as one of the top drivers of all time. He earned two championships as a team owner when driver Larry Dixon claimed the 2002-03 Top Fuel titles. As a driver, Prudhomme earned four NHRA championships in a Funny Car during the 1970s and claimed 49 victories in 68 final-round appearances (35 FC wins, 14 TF wins). Of those victories, seven came at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. He was the first Funny Car driver to break the 250-mph barrier and the first driver to clock a run quicker than 5.2 seconds. Off the track, Prudhomme gained notoriety in the 1970s when Mattel Toys introduced the "Mongoose (Tom McEwen) and Snake" Hot Wheels car sets, helping to introduce the sport of drag racing to a more mainstream audience. Prudhomme has not stopped rewriting the NHRA record books despite leaving his role as a driver to become a team owner.

 



DON SCHUMACHER
Team Owner: Don Schumacher Racing (Tony Schumacher, Ron Capps,
Matt Hagan, Cory McClenathan, Jack Beckman, Matt Smith)
Remembered as one of the most fierce match racers to ever compete in a Funny Car, Schumacher was also one of the early stars of organized competition, winning the 1972 Coca-Cola Cavalcade of Stars Championship, the 1973 AHRA world championship, five titles including the 1970 U.S. Nationals and nine IHRA event titles. His popular Plymouth Barracuda Funny Car, dubbed "Stardust," held countless records in all of drag racing's arenas. As a car owner, Schumacher's record was even more impressive. His engine, clutch, and aerodynamic advancements made his Funny Cars the leading performers in the country, and his safety innovations, such as roof-mounted escape hatches, reduced the threat of fire-related injuries at a time when many Funny Car drivers suffered serious burns. In 1974, Schumacher retired from the sport to develop his family business, Schumacher Electric Corp., one of the world's leading manufacturers of battery chargers. He returned to the sport in the 1990s with son Tony behind the wheel. In July 1998, the duo introduced a new Top Fuel team with sponsorship from Exide Batteries. In 1999, the combination proved successful when the team won the NHRA Top Fuel championship. In 2000, the team unveiled the U.S. Army as their new sponsor and remains one of the most competitive teams on the circuit. They are now six-time and defending Full Throttle Series world champs.

 



PHIL SHULER
Co-Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Cory McClenathan)
This South Carolina native raced motorcycles before transitioning to crewman on the NHRA Full Throttle Series with Scotty Cannon in 1999. He rejoined the multicar operation at Don Schumacher Racing after several years with John Force Racing and is currently one of the minds behind the power of Cory McClenathan's ride.

 



ROY SIMMONS
Crew Chief: Cagnazzi Racing (Jeg Coughlin)
Behind every championship driver is a championship-caliber crew chief, and in the case of four-time world title holder Jeg Coughlin, that man is tuner Roy Simmons, who has led Coughlin to multiple Pro Stock titles. Raised in the Morrison suburb of Denver, Simmons got the drag racing bug at an early age, but it was his aptitude as a machinist that solidified his career on the quarter-mile. Simmons took the knowledge he gained working on Patriot missile warheads, military tank parts, and atmospheric research equipment to make naturally-aspirated racecars go quicker. His first big job in racing had him fabricating parts and working on the crew of former Pro Stock racer Mark Rodenburge. Soon thereafter, he was crew chief for Pro Stock Truck campaigner Todd Patterson, which ultimately led to his job at Jegs Racing at the end of 2001. Together with Nick Ferri, Simmons started an in-house engine program for Jegs, where he worked closely with family patriarch and drag racing legend Jeg Coughlin Sr. The effort paid handsome dividends as Jeg Coughlin Jr. captured the '02 title. Separated again in 2004 when Coughlin joined Schumacher Racing and Simmons went to Victor Cagnazzi Racing, the two were reunited again in the fall of 2006 under the VCR umbrella.

 



GARY STOFFER
Crew Chief: Jonco Motorsports (Karen Stoffer)
Although Gary Stoffer backs his wife, Karen, as tuner of her GEICO Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle, Stoffer's racing memories stretch "as far back as I can remember," from bicycles, to motorcycles, to cars. In the late 1970s, Stoffer became hooked on drag racing when he saw his first Super Chevy Show at Orange County Raceway. In 1986, Stoffer began bracket racing on a motorcycle and has been involved with NHRA since. He currently races a '68 Pontiac Firebird Super Gas entry in five to six events per year.

 



STEVE TARTAGLIA
Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Matt Smith)
Tartaglia has a lengthy history with Don Schumacher Racing, where the West Orange, N.J., native worked with riders Antron Brown and Angelle Sampey. He has more than 30 years of experience in motorcycle mechanics and machining, including racing a competitive Pro Stock Motorcycle for more than eight years. Prior to arriving at Don Schumacher Racing in 2003, Tartaglia had previous employment stops at Performance Cycles, Orient Express, Star Racing, Ward Performance, Cope Racing, and Vance & Hines Racing.

 



RAHN TOBLER
Crew Chief: Pedregon Racing (Cruz Pedregon)
Tobler, who guided driver Cruz Pedregon to a thrilling 2008 Full Throttle Series world championship title, has been involved in the sport of drag racing for more than three decades. Tobler, who joined Kalitta Motorsports in 2004 and switched to Cruz Pedregon's stable three years later, got his start in racing with the Stevens & Venables Top Fuel team in 1971, working his way up from tire-wiper to mechanic. In 1976, he joined forces with Marvin Graham, who won the 1974 U.S. Nationals Top Fuel title. The duo of Graham and Tobler captured the Professional Drivers Association (PDA) Top Fuel championship in 1976. A year later, the Los Angeles native went to work for Shirley Muldowney's Top Fuel team. As Muldowney's crew chief, Tobler tuned the first lady of racing to 18 victories and three Top Fuel championships. Tobler also wrenched Muldowney to eight AHRA and three IHRA event victories and an AHRA Top Fuel championship in 1981.

 



DICKIE VENABLES
Crew Chief: Pedregon Racing (Tony Pedregon)
Venables earned his racing stripes working for and with some of the biggest names in the sport, including Shirley Muldowney, Don Prudhomme, Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta, Gary Ormsby, Whit Bazemore, and Cory McClenathan, but he's earned two world championships, including the 2007 title, with Tony Pedregon. Although he always fancied himself as a "dragster guy" having worked primarily on Top Fuel dragsters, he acquired a new appreciation for Funny Cars in 2000 when he signed on to work with John Force Racing. In 2002 when co-crew chief John Medlen was sidelined for one race for medical reasons, Venables distinguished himself by directing Tony to a wire-to-wire victory in Seattle that paved the way for the team's run to a second-place finish in the Funny Car point standings. He helped Medlen guide Pedregon to the 2003 NHRA Funny Car world championship and made the move to Pedregon Racing in 2004.

 



JIMMY WALSH
Crew Chief: Morgan Lucas Racing (Morgan Lucas)
Walsh has more than 25 years of experience in NHRA Drag Racing. In 2006, Walsh helped Top Fuel rookie phenom J.R. Todd secure three victories and a ninth place points finish in the NHRA Full Throttle Series. In Denver, Todd raced to his first career victory, becoming the first African-American to win an NHRA Top Fuel race. Walsh spent 20 seasons with Joe Amato's race team prior to joining Dexter Tuttle's operation, and joined nitro legend Kenny Bernstein with the Monster Energy/Lucas Oil Dodge Charger in 2007 before moving to the Morgan Lucas team in mid-2008.

 



JOHNNY WEST
Crew Chief: Don Schumacher Racing (Jack Beckman)

West has been involved in NHRA Drag Racing for most of his life. The Phoenix native is a former Funny Car team owner and driver. He has worked with a long list of drag racing greats that includes Roland Leong, Doug Herbert, Kenny Bernstein, Tommy Johnson Jr., and Scott Kalitta.


 



JAMIE YATES
Crew Chief: Jim Yates Racing (Jim Yates)
The son of two-time NHRA Full Throttle Series Pro Stock world champion driver Jim Yates, Jamie took over crew chief duties for his father's race team in 2002. Jamie holds a Pro Stock license and has driven a second car for the team in past seasons. Prior to joining the team fulltime, Jamie studied engineering at the University of Maryland.





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