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Racing News: Yokohama Tire Corp.’s Formula Drift Title Defense Begins at Long Beach, April 4–5

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Michael Essa will pilot the Essa Autosport BMW E46 M3 on a segment of the Long Beach Grand Prix street course.

Yokohama Tire Corp.’s Formula Drift Title Defense Begins at Long Beach, April 4–5
The 2014 Formula Drift season starts April 4–5 in Long Beach, California, and Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) will try to defend its title with reigning champion Michael Essa. YTC and Essa captured the 2013 Formula D crown. He will pilot the Essa Autosport BMW E46 M3 on a segment of the Long Beach Grand Prix street course. YTC is also partnering with D1 veteran Kuniaki Takahashi in his A’PEXi Lexus SC430, as well as up-and-coming Ryan Kado in his Gryphon AutoLab Nissan 350Z.

In addition, all three YTC-sponsored teams are scheduled to participate in the Motegi Racing Super Drift Challenge during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend, April 10–11. The cars will compete under the lights on Friday and Saturday evening and be on display throughout the weekend.

Powerbuilt Tools to Offer New Award for Racers
Powerbuilt has announced support for the teams in the Nitto Tires United States Touring Car Championship (USTCC) with the creation of a special award at each race during the 2014 season. Eligible teams can win the Powerbuilt Tools Award with the prize being a Powerbuilt ½-in. deflecting beam professional torque wrench. The USTCC season will start April 5, 2014, at Buttonwillow Raceway just north of Los Angeles. The teams will have seven races across the West Coast finishing at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, California.


16-Year-Old Super Late Model Driver Jordan Ives Wins $50,000 "Search for a Champion" Sponsorship
Jordan Ives won his first race at age four. Twelve years later, the 16-year-old has landed a $50,000 grand-prize sponsorship in the “Search for a Champion” contest from Federal-Mogul’s Champion sparkplug brand. Ives was one of 15 finalists from among nearly 400 grassroots racers who submitted videos describing how a Champion sponsorship would help them dominate the competition in 2014. More than 243,000 members of the “Performance Driven” Champion online community cast votes in the contest.

Ives won eight Late Model races and was Norway Speedway’s “Rookie of the Year” in 2012. He was selected “Most Improved Driver” after finishing in the top 10 in points in Super Late Model competition in 2013. He plans to campaign his 2012 Chevrolet Monte Carlo Super Late Model car throughout the midwestern United States this year. In addition to the grand-prize sponsorship, Federal-Mogul also awarded $5,000 sponsorships to each of the 15 finalists, for a total of $125,000 in grassroots support from the Champion brand. Watch Ives’ video that led him to this win.

Kalitta Motorsports’ Top Fuel Driver Doug Kalitta shares a moment with SealMaster franchise owner Jerry Britt, who offers the brand’s full line of pavement maintenance products and equipment.

SealMaster partners with the NHRA and Kalitta Motorsports for 2014 NHRA Top Fuel Drag Racing Series
SealMaster, a manufacturer and distributor of pavement maintenance products and equipment, has announced its sponsorship of the 2014 NHRA Top Fuel Drag Racing series. The company is also sponsoring Kalitta Motorsports’ two 10,000-hp Top Fuel dragsters driven by Doug Kalitta and David Grubnic.

As part of the NHRA agreement, SealMaster will have a presence at all 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events across the United States. Through its onsite presence, SealMaster will receive promotional video spots on the track big screen, conduct hospitality for corporate guests, will have track bannering rights and will host onsite promotional displays at select events. Additionally, the marketing partnership designates SealMaster as the title sponsor of the NHRA Track Walks, which take place in the morning prior to eliminations. During the Track Walk, an NHRA driver or legend of the sport leads spectators in a roundtrip walk of the dragstrip, from the starting line to the finish line and back.

Irwindale Weekly Racing "Opening Night" 2014 Whelen All-American Series Swings Into Action
Irwindale Speedway kicks off its 2014 championship season with a night of NASCAR racing, Saturday, April 5, with four divisions and five exciting race events utilizing both of the track's "twin-ring" half- and third-mile oval courses. In the Lucas Oil Late Models, 2013 series champ Ryan Partridge will lead the charge back to Irwindale's half-mile with Toni McCray and Andrew Porter both in pursuit. For more information and tickets, visit

The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX2299 will headline the second annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show, Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Le Mans-Winning ’64 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe to Headline Second Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show
Almost 50 years after its historic victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX2299 will return to Southern California to headline the second annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show, Saturday, May 17, 2014. Hosted by Carroll Shelby International, the Carroll Shelby Foundation, Carroll Shelby Licensing and Shelby American Inc., the single-day event will take place at the future home of the Carroll Shelby Automotive Museum at 19021 S. Figueroa St., Gardena, California. The event will feature a Ford and Shelby car show, awards ceremony, an expert panel and the Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe that brought the United States its first victory in 1964. The tribute will benefit the foundation and new museum.

Nitto Tire Becomes Official Partner of TORC
Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. has announced its partnership with The Off-Road Championship (TORC) for the 2014 season. The Nitto team will sponsor short course world champion Ross Hoek, pilot of the #10 ’14 Toyota Tundra Race Truck, in his 2014 Pro 4x4 (Pro4) Championship campaign. TORC kicks off its 2014 season on April 5–6 at the Primm Valley Off-Road Raceway located just miles outside of Las Vegas. TORC is broken down into three classes of PRO Trucks—Pro Light, Pro 2WD (Pro2) and Pro 4X4 (Pro4). Competing in the Elite Pro4 class, Nitto team driver Hoek's ’14 Toyota Tundra is powered by an unrestricted V8 making more than 850 hp and just less than 600 lb.-ft. of torque.

For the 2014 season, TORC will be broadcast by NBC Sports alongside NASCAR, Formula 1 and IndyCar. In addition to the race broadcasts, NBC Sports will bring fans behind the scenes and provide them with a look at the world of TORC through a docu-reality TV series chronicling the stories of the off-road racing teams and the drivers.