Chad Head, who has also worked for Al-Anabi Racing, IndyCar and NHRA, has soaked up as much knowledge as possible and continues to be a student of the sport in almost every respect.
“I’m watching the video after every run, talking to dad, talking to the crew guys and just trying to get familiar with what is happening,” Head said. “Right now, the team and crew chief are making me look good and I’m just fortunate to be here. We’re showing up to do the best job we can every time we go out there, and I’m having a good time with my dad.”
The Summit Racing Equipment Nationals also marks Head’s first race in his home state, but he said getting caught up in that would be a mistake.
“I have to treat it like any other race,” Head said. “The Bader family just does a wonderful job with the event and it’s always a first-class race, but we just have to go out and do our job. We’re working on our hot-weather setup and it’s just a matter of getting comfortable and finding the right fit.”
Those in attendance will watch the continuation of the tight points battle in Top Fuel with recent Chicago winner Tony Schumacher leading the points standings and three-time season winner Shawn Langdon lurking in second. Massey, Antron Brown, Bob Vandergriff and Steve Torrence have all won events this season and will be looking to add another win to the ledger, and other contenders include Doug Kalitta, Khalid alBalooshi, Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein, and Chicago runner-up Clay Millican.
In Funny Car, racers will continue their battle for the top points position, currently held by Chicago winner Matt Hagan, but which multiple drivers — including Johnny Gray, Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon — have also occupied this season. John Force and his daughter Courtney have both won races, and the elder Force, who has yet to win at Norwalk, is riding a three-race final round streak and has surged from 10th to third in the series standings in the last three weeks. Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham and 2012 world champion Jack Beckman also will be searching for a victory in Ohio in the tightly-competitive class.
Pro Stock continues to be an ultra-competitive category featuring points leader Mike Edwards, who has three victories this season, and 2012 Pro Stock world champion Allen Johnson, who recently picked up his third win of the season as well. Ohio native Jeg Coughlin, who won last weekend in Chicago, and Shane Gray, who is poised to win his first race of the season, are also top contenders, along with Vincent Nobile, and the Summit Racing Equipment team of Jason Line and Greg Anderson.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle category has featured outstanding racing all season with a field that is separated by thousandths of a second. With three wins and the points lead, Hector Arana Jr. will be looking to hold off a tough field of competitors that includes first-time event winner John Hall, two-time season winner Michael Ray, Scotty Pollacheck and Hector Arana Sr.