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Racing News: TRAXXAS/Red Bull's Mitchell DeJong Makes History



Mitchell DeJong has claimed his eighth racing title in five years.


TRAXXAS/Red Bull's Mitchell DeJong Makes History
Fourteen-year-old Mitchell DeJong has claimed his eighth racing title in five years—two off-road titles in a single season—including the only 2011 back-to-back championship in the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series. From training off the track, coupled with track practice and midnight race-car simulator gaming sessions, his dedication has pushed this TRAXXAS/Red Bull athlete into the history books.

By the time Round 15 of the Lucas Oil Off-Road Racing Series was before him, Mitchell had surmounted more wins and podium finishes than any of his competitors, but still found himself in a tight points battle with his good friend and fellow DeJong SuperKart racer Mitch Guthrie Jr. Mitchell was dealt a shred of good luck on that final Round 15 race, and he stood on the podium as he accepted the 2011 Championship wreath before thousands of off-road fans.

For 2012, Mitchell will open a new chapter in his self-written adventure novel, by creating history once again as the youngest Class 1 Unlimited driver to race in the deserts of Nevada. Mitchell will contiue to compete in short-course racing and also race against seasoned veterans on the asphalt.

  The Castrol GTX Ford Mustang tuned and driven by Mike Neff recorded times of 4.116, 4.076 and 4.058 seconds on the opening day of testing at Palm Beach International Raceway.

John Force Racing Makes Progress on Day One of Testing
John Force Racing (JFR) began its 2012 campaign for an unprecedented 18th NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship last week at Palm Beach International Raceway. All four JFR Ford Mustang Funny Cars made passes and, at the end of the day, all four showed signs of progress and improvement. Two of the Funny Cars, those piloted by Mike Neff and Robert Hight, picked up where they left off in 2011 posting consistently quick times throughout the day. The Castrol GTX Ford Mustang tuned and driven by Neff recorded times of 4.116, 4.076 and 4.058 seconds on the opening day of testing. Hight started the day with a 4.100-second run in his Auto Club Ford and, in his final run, he was on a pass quicker than Neff’s 4.058-second pass when his Mustang drifted out of the groove at the top end.

John Force’s Castrol GTX HIGH MILEAGE Ford Mustang received a major overhaul in the off-season and, according to crew chief Dean “Guido” Antonelli, the only two parts that carried over into 2012 from last season were the short block and John Force. Throughout the day, Force’s Castrol GTX high-mileage Mustang stepped up in performance as the team worked through a number of issues.

Rookie driver Courtney Force made half passes to once again acclimate herself to her Traxxas Ford Mustang Funny Car and get used to the unrestricted power of the BOSS 500 motor. She tested throughout 2011 with the NHRA-mandated hardware to reduce power for start-up teams. Last week, she made three passes, which were pre-determined to be half-track runs. Every pass was straight and without incident.

Beckman Aims to Give DSR Second Straight Funny Car Championship
Jack Beckman tried to get a jump on his six Don Schumacher Racing teammates before they arrived last week at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida, for five testing days. He's practiced staging his Valvoline NextGEN Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars and tested his reflexes against the starting line Christmas tree and completed runs down the dragstrip—all without leaving his home in Norco, California, or even opening his eyes.

Beckman also is envisioning how he and crew chief Rahn Tobler can improve by one spot in this year's NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season. Beckman drove to three victories last year, two runner-ups and earned a number one qualifier. He also set the NHRA speed record at the fall event in Charlotte at 318.99 mph. Beckman was a strong contender for the championship, finishing second in points to teammate Matt Hagan in the final standings.

  Falken Tire is supporting Race Prep Racing, which will compete in the Ultra4 Class at King of the Hammers.

Team Falken to Support Race Prep Racing For King of the Hammers Off-Road Event
Falken Tire is expanding its motorsports involvement in the off-road arena through its support of Race Prep Racing—the husband-and-wife-managed team that will compete in the Ultra4 Class at King of the Hammers, which will be held the second week of February on public lands in Johnson Valley, California.

Over the first five years the race has run, it has evolved from 12 teams to more than 150 teams competing before thousands of fans, both live and online.
Richard and Kristen Carter of Simi Valley, California, form the team of Race Prep Racing and have previously competed in the event. They will be running on 37x12.50-R17 Falken WildPeak A/T tires, qualifying during the time trials February 7–8, and racing February 10.