April 29th, 2013 / Author: BTS
Cristina (L) and Dani (R) of the Wheeler sisters perform in Ocala.
The Wheeler Sisters brought their cute smiles and great voices to Ocala on Saturday at Tuscawilla Park, where there was a celebration for Earth Day/Arbor Day. The sun wasn’t the only thing shining as these two sisters from Lancaster, California wowed the crowd singing their hit singles “This Is Gonna get Ugly” and “Whiskey Please” and also doing a few of their favorites such as Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town and Brooks and Dunn. This duo is making a buzz in country music, with their unique sound which is derived from beautifully blended harmonies with a balanced rich tonal quality that only family bands can create. Cristina 29 and Dani 22, who make up this duo say they grew up listing to all kinds of music but fell in love with country music and just living a dream. Cristina tried out for American Idol and made the cut to 100 and says she didn’t let that bother her. She says when you really love music it’s in you no matter what you do. Both sisters who live in Tennessee still hold a full time job as servers in a restaurant while chasing their dream. Their father is well known for his onion farm in California , called Wheeler Onion’s. Christina says that if she wasn’t doing country music, she would still be working on the farm, while Dani would be working in event planning. The sisters are on Ocala Records label and can be found on their website, wheelersisters.com.
April 27th, 2013 / Author: BTS
Written By: Richard Burton
After a highly-successful season that featured the first-ever national ranking in school history and the highest state ranking, the College of Central Florida softball team continued to receive postseason accolades on Friday when the FCSAA All-State Teams were announced.
CF’s Amy Szymanowski earned first-team all-state as an infielder, while Tori Stamper was selected to the second-team as a pitcher.
Szymanowski set the single season and career record for CF this season as a freshman with 13 homers.
The freshman from Land O’Lakes Sunlake High School hit .331 and knocked in 40 runs, to go aliong with 34 runs scored, 53 hits and 11 doubles.
Szymanowski added 11 doubles for CF, which outhomered its opponents 37-10.
In the race for the Mid-Florida Conference Player of the Year, Szymanowski was runner-up behind FSC-Jacksonville’s Riley Carter.
Meanwhile, Stamper, a sophomore out of Williston High School, went 18-10 on the mound and had an impressive 1.12 ERA.
She set the CF school record for career wins in March with her 31st victory in the circle and enters the state tournament with 33.
Stamper and Szymanowski lead the Patriots into the FCSAA State Tournament against Indian River State on May 3 in Pensacola.
April 24th, 2013 / Author: BTS
Bob Vandergriff Racing will have three cars competing at the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway this weekend. JR Todd will be driving a third Top Fuel Dragster for the team.
“Our goal has been to get JR back on the track,” said Bob Vandergriff Jr. “We‘ve been consistently working to secure sponsorship for our third team and I’m excited to have Total Equipment and Service back on board.”
“It’s great to be back in a Top Fuel Dragster,” said Todd. “Bob has been working hard to help put something together for me. It’s ironic that my return will be in Houston; that was my first race back last season after a 3 year hiatus.”
JR has won 6 NHRA National events, earning the title of Rookie of the Year in 2006. In 2012 he competed in 7 races for Bob Vandergriff Racing, qualifying at all the events and clocking career bests for time and speed.
The NHRA Spring Nationals will be extra special for C&J Energy Services. This is the home track for the company and all three dragsters will be sponsored by companies under the C&J Energy Services umbrella. Bob Vandergriff Jr. will drive the C&J Energy Services dragster, JR Todd will be behind the wheel of the Total Equipment and Service dragster and this week Clay Millican will be piloting the Casedhole Solutions dragster with Parts Plus taking the role as an associate sponsor.
Also new in Houston this weekend, all three BVR cars will have Valvoline represented on their Top Fuel dragsters.
“The Valvoline team is excited to become a sponsor of Bob Vandergriff Racing. They have a proven track record of providing great benefits to their sponsors, making it a great partnership,” said John Noal, vice president of Valvoline’s International and Commercial Business. “We are looking forward to a long business relationship with Bob Vandergriff and his teams both on and off the track. This includes providing quality lubricants to their primary sponsor, C&J Energy Services, and its subsidiaries, Total Equipment and Service and Casedhole Solutions.”
“Having three cars will give us more information, making BVR more competitive,” said Vandergriff Jr. “We hope to bring home a win for C&J Services and Valvoline in Houston.”
April 17th, 2013 / Author: BTS
His concern was understandable, and it had nothing to do with the most unique format for an event during the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Unlike the rest that traditionally pair cars on a two-lane dragstrip, the Four-Wide is just what it sounds like: four Funny Cars across four lanes that produce 40,000 horsepower when each ignites.
Beckman wasn’t worried about being in a foursome that produces more horsepower than an entire field of 43 cars in a NASCAR Cup stock car race.
Although Beckman’s Valvoline NextGen/MTS Mail for Wounded Warriors team wasn’t broken, but Capps’ team was. When Capps failed to qualify for the previous race at Las Vegas, team owner Don Schumacher moved Beckman’s longtime crew chief and crew over to the Capps team.
After finishing 2011 as runner-up in the championship race, Beckman, a Southern California native and resident, arrived at zMAX with a different crew, new racecars and a new crew chief in Todd Smith, who had never had led a Funny Car team but was a veteran Top Fuel Dragster tuner.
“The Four-Wide is where we all started together last year,” Beckman said. “It was a tremendous amount of uncertainty; brand new racecar, a new crew for me, a new driver for the crew and for Todd, a new style of car.
“There was a different guy strapping me into the car, different guy backing me up after the burnout. And multiply that by us running cars four wide.
“It was borderline overwhelming. There was so much change. There almost just wasn’t time to think about it or to dwell on it. We just had to figure out how this was going to work so we could get our car down the racetrack.”
The Smith-led team and Beckman did just that.
The Valvoline team qualified fifth at the Four-Wide and advanced to the second round. By the time the team returned to zMAX Dragway in the fall for the traditional two-wide event, Beckman was third in points with six events left in the season.
Two events after the Four-Wide, he won his third title of the year and advanced to the championship rounds in two of the season’s last four events during a span during in which he set NHRA national records for elapsed time (3.986 seconds) and speed (320.58 mph). All that added up to winning the season championship by a slim margin of two points over Capps.
And it began at the Four-Wide.
April 17th, 2013 / Author: BTS
Top Alcohol Funny Car competitor Cassie Simonton and her KonRodzRacing.com team enter this weekend’s 4-Wide Nationals with an intense hunger for speed. The Minnesotan driver set career-best numbers at this event last year before a bizarre first round exit. Now the Randy Anderson-led group is eager to return to the record-setting zMax Dragway to make more team history.
“We struggled a little bit at Gainesville but Charlotte has always been a good track to us. We’re excited to get back there. We want to make up for what happened there last year. We ran career-best numbers throughout qualifying but we had some bad luck first round – parts breaking that prevented us from starting the car. We want to go there and make up for that this weekend,” Simonton said, referencing a rare problem with the car’s fuel system that kept the team from taking advantage of a first round bye at last year’s 4-Wide Nationals.
The Toronto, ON-based team is also looking to bounce back from a dismal showing at the season-opening Gatornationals last month.
“We struggled in qualifying but we made it down the track first round. Randy found something that he was really excited about so I’m confident that we have that figured out now,” Cassie stated optimistically.
Competition will be tough. TAFC teams from around the country are expected to show up to take advantage of the first-class facility nicknamed the “The Bellagio of Drag Strips”. Simonton is confident that her car and team will give her everything she needs to thunder down one of the four lanes at zMax.
“Randy worked on a lot of things over the winter and came up with a lot of great ideas that he’s going to put out there for this weekend. If the conditions are right and the temperatures are right, we might be able to go out there and run our first forty. It might be hot or it might be cool enough for us to improve our career-bests and get into the forties.”
Team owner Spiro Kontos is proud to announce that Bell Helmets will be providing new helmets for team driver Cassie Simonton starting this weekend. Another new sponsor, Mooresville, NC-based Off Axis Custom Paint, will apply a unique paint scheme on the new skid lids. Kon Rodz Racing also welcomes CRC Automotive to their growing list of supporters. CRC will provide the team with a variety of their high-quality product solutions, including CRC BRAKLEEN®.
TAFC qualifying at the Fourth Annual Dollar General 4-Wide Nationals starts Friday, April 19, with sessions at 10:30 AM and 1 PM. Final qualifying is at 12 PM Saturday, followed by first round of eliminations around 5 PM. Eliminations continue on Sunday.
Kon Rodz Racing is a NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car team owned by Canadian businessman Spiro Kontos. Minnesota native Cassie Simonton drives the team’s familiar orange and purple KonRodzRacing.com Monte Carlo Alcohol Funny Car in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Spiro, Cassie, and the entire Kon Rodz team are grateful to the quality companies that support their racing program; Sadi, Lucas Oil, NGK Spark Plugs, Goodson, BAE, Goodyear, Clevite, Mac Tools, Artist ButchM, ithreesixty Music Infused Apparel, Flaming River Industries, Sparco USA, Aerodine Composites, Mid-Ontario Truck Centre, Bell Helmets, Off Axis Custom Paint, and CRC Automotive.