NHRA ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF NHRA WORLDWIDE NETWORK; YAS MARINA CIRCUIT IN ABU DHABI FIRST AFFILIATE TRACK: NHRA announced last week the creation of NHRA Worldwide Network, a program that will enable drag-racing facilities around the world to conduct events under the NHRA banner. By becoming a part of the NHRA Worldwide Network, a facility will be able to use the specially designed “Worldwide Drag Racing” NHRA oval for broad promotional purposes and will be able to draw on NHRA’s decades of experience and history.
The first track to be associated with the program will be the dragstrip currently being built within the confines of the Yas Marina Circuit, located on Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
NHRA Worldwide Network tracks will follow the NHRA Rulebook and will be assigned an account director for advice and consultation. The track will have access to NHRA’s technical department in the United States and may also request training at the track site. Tracks can also participate in any of NHRA’s Division Tech Seminars, SFI certification and training seminars, and emergency-response training seminars. NHRA will establish a link to the track’s website from NHRA.com and be listed in a newly created Worldwide Affiliation directory of National DRAGSTER and www.NHRA.com.
“Organized drag racing is conducted throughout the world and we have been receiving many inquiries regarding how facilities outside of North America can become affiliated with NHRA,” said Tom Compton, the association's president. “NHRA Worldwide Network provides drag-racing facilities around the globe with unique benefits and identification with NHRA.”
For more information, visit. www.NHRA.com.
LONGTIME NHRA BOARD MEMBER AND FIRST NATIONAL DRAGSTER EDITOR DICK WELLS (1934–2010) DIES AT 75: Dick Wells, the first editor of National DRAGSTER and a longtime member of the NHRA Board of Directors, died late Monday night from complications after heart surgery last November. He was 75.
A member of both the NHRA board of directors and the NHRA Wally Parks Museum board of directors, SEMA Industry Hall of Famer Wells began his long and storied career in motorsports as National DRAGSTER’s first editor in 1960.
“Dick loved the NHRA and everything about drag racing and the world of performance,” said Dallas Gardner, NHRA chairman of the board. “His passion led him to a lifetime of contribution that, simply put, made things better. His efforts and influence touched everyone. He was a great part of the leadership that saw the sport grow to what it has become today. We will miss him for his participation, but we will miss him more as a friend.”
As the original editor of National DRAGSTER, Wells laid the foundation for what would become drag racing’s most famous publication. He joined the NHRA Board of Directors in 1979 and has been an important force behind the scenes of the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body since then.
“NHRA lost one of its most loyal and trusted advisors and friends in Dick Wells,” said Tom Compton, NHRA president. “He was an integral part of NHRA in the early days and has been a guiding force for NHRA ever since. Dick loved NHRA and was an ambassador like no other for the sport. On behalf of his NHRA family, we send our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.”
After his tenure at National DRAGSTER, the hot rodder from Lincoln, Nebraska, later moved on to editorial positions at Hot Rod and earned the title of executive editor at Motor Trend. As Petersen Publishing Company’s director of special events, Wells produced what many believe to be his greatest contribution to the automotive industry: the first SEMA Show in 1967 at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.
Wells, who also began the Street Rod Nationals and was the first active president of the National Street Rod Association, is credited with the massive street-rod movement in the United States. In 2007, he retired from the position of vice president of corporate projects at SEMA, where he also served as executive director in the '70s. He has been honored many times over for contributions to the automotive industry. He was named SEMA Person of the Year in 1977 and was inducted into the SEMA Industry Hall of Fame in 1993.
He was presented the International Specialty Car Association (ISCA) Founder’s Award in 1994 and the Street Rod Marketing Alliance Industry Recognition Award in 1996, and was among those honored with the NHRA Pioneers Award in 2001. Last year, he was inducted into the Nebraska Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
BROWN, CAPPS STRONG AS TESTING ENDS IN SOUTH FLORIDA: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers completed their final few passes this last weekend as pre-season testing in South Florida came to a close. Teams will have two more opportunities in both Phoenix and Las Vegas to collect some last-minute data and post a few more runs before the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season kicks off with the 50th annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals, February 11–14 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
In the Top Fuel class, Antron Brown clocked a solid selection of 3.81-second runs during the test session and even posted a blistering speed of 322.11 mph.
“Testing went good for our [Don Schumacher Racing (DSR)] Matco Tools team,” said Brown. “This was a true test for our team. We tried a lot of new things. We’re getting adapted to how the other DSR cars run, and we got a lot of good data.”
In Funny Car, Ron Capps held some of the quickest passes as the testing session came to an end and posted numerous runs in the 4.09- and 4.10-second range.
“I feel great, the NAPA Dodge is running great, Ace [crew chief Ed McCulloch] is happy, and we also learned some things that don’t work, which is as important as learning what does work,” said Capps.
Capps and Brown were joined by numerous drivers from the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series during testing, including such drivers as seven-time and defending Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher, two-time world champion Larry Dixon, Morgan Lucas, Shawn Langdon, Cory McClenthan, David Grubnic, Del Worsham, Bob Tasca, Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan and Jeff Arend, just to name a few. To see how some of your drivers fared, visit www.NHRA.com.
KRAGEN O’REILLY NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, FEBRUARY 11–14: The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will kick off in sunny Southern California with the 50th anniversary of the Winternationals. Defending event winners include Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); and Jason Line (Pro Stock).
NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, FEBRUARY 19–21: The traditional second stop on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing tour, competitors will head to the Valley of the Sun for the second race in the 2010 season. Defending event winners include Antron Brown (Top Fuel); Ron Capps (Funny Car); and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock).
NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, MARCH 11–14: The traditional season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to this historic event in the swamp lands of Florida. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Bob Tasca (Funny Car); Jason Line (Pro Stock); and Hector Arana (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
THE CHARACTER OF THE TEAM: Funny Car driver Jack Beckman on just how important a team is in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing: “I don’t think winning defines the character of the teams; I think the character of the teams defines winning.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
4: That’s the number of father/son driver combinations that have won the historic NHRA Winternationals over its 50-year life. Below you will find a list of the father/son combinations and the years each won.
- Larry Dixon Sr. (1970) and Larry Dixon Jr. (2003, 2002, 1998) – Pictured
- Connie Kalitta (1967) and Scott Kalitta (2005)
- Don Schumacher (1973 in Funny Car) and Tony Schumacher (2008, 2004 in Top Fuel)
- Warren Johnson (2003, 1997, 1994, 1993, 1987) and Kurt Johnson (2001)
DID YOU KNOW…
…that Snap-on Tools will expand its partnership with two-time NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car world champion Cruz Pedregon and in 2010 will serve as the primary sponsor for his NHRA Funny Car team. “I am thrilled and honored to be expanding our partnership with Snap-on,” said Pedregon. “We have had a tremendous relationship for 18 years, and Snap-on has truly been a first-class partner every step of the way.” For more information, visit www.NHRA.com.