Compiled by SEMA Editors
DEJORIA RETURNS TO TEQUILA PATRON LIVERY FOR 2016: Alexis DeJoria Racing is going back to its roots for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Operating out of the Kalitta Motorsports camp, The Patrón Spirits Co.-backed Toyota Camry Funny Car team will once again sport the iconic Patrón green as it returns to the distiller’s signature Patrón Silver label in 2016. Pilot of the 10,000-hp Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, Alexis DeJoria began her NHRA career in 2005 representing the ultra-premium spirits company’s Patrón Silver brand. Making her debut in a black-and-green Patrón Super Gas Corvette roadster, DeJoria turned heads in the recognizable color scheme as she progressed through the NHRA ranks, eventually making her highly anticipated Funny Car debut in 2011.
VALVOLINE, NOVA SERVICES TO PARTNER WITH SHANE GRAY FOR 2016: Pro Stock racer Shane Gray will carry the colors of Valvoline on the Gray Motorsports Camaro for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, along with backing from Nova Services at select events. Valvoline, a longtime partner of Gray Motorsports, has signed on for the entire year, and Nova Services, which specializes in serving the needs of the oil and gas industry, and has been a major player in the oil field since 1989, will sponsor Gray's Chevrolet Camaro for at least four races, including the season opener in Pomona—the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, February 11–14.
OBERTO BEEF JERKY PRIMARY SPONSOR FOR JIM DUNN RACING IN 2016: Oberto Beef Jerky will be the primary sponsor of the Jim Dunn Racing Funny Car for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Oberto will be displayed as the title sponsor on the Dodge Charger at 10 NHRA races beginning at the 2016 NHRA SpringNationals and will be a major associate sponsor throughout the entire season. Fans will be able to spot the familiar Oberto logo with its red, green and white colors in the NHRA pits on the Jim Dunn Racing hauler at all 24 events. Oberto Brands’ products are sold in most retailers across the United States. As part of the marketing sponsorship, the Jim Dunn Racing team and Oberto Funny Car will make appearances in numerous key markets to promote Oberto Beef Jerky.
He Said, She Said
“I was really impressed. It was a pretty awesome experience. I feel like my expectations were a little tainted by what other people had reported about EFI and I didn't know what to expect, but then to experience it first-hand with my guys, I'm very optimistic. Things went well, and I'm excited about the season. We accomplished a lot in one day, and we did that because of the preparation and hard work of all my Elite guys. The drivability is absolutely different. It's definitely challenging, but change always is. I couldn't have asked for a better first experience with it. We had a great track to test on, and with a brand-new race car and all the new EFI stuff, we went out and went right down the racetrack—no blips, no hiccups, nothing. It was great."
—Two time and defending Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders on her first test session of the season in her new Dodge Dart with new rules changes. The test took place at North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas, and the team made multiple passes down the track learning the new car. They will test again at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona, before the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals.
Inside the Numbers
2: Number of wins Shawn Langdon had during the 2015 season, both coming at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. At the season-opening event, Langdon defeated Antron Brown in the final driving for Alan Johnson Racing. At the final race of the season, Langdon again defeated Brown in the final but was racing on a temporary basis for Don Schumacher Racing. In the 2016 season, Langdon will campaign for DSR and the Red Fuel/Sandvik Coromant team. Langdon has 11 career wins and is the 2013 Top Fuel world champion.
‘“I'm very excited about this new chapter in my life,” he said. “Don gave me the opportunity to race with DSR in the Red Fuel/Sandvik car at the end of this season so I got a taste of racing for DSR. It was perfect to end the season the way we did at Pomona in the Finals. Hopefully that’s a sign of what's to come in 2016.”
Did You Know
MCCLELLAND AMONG 2016 MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME OF AMERICA INDUCTEES: Television personality and announcer Dave McClelland, the longtime former voice of the NHRA, will be one of seven motorsports figures inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America later this year. In addition to McClelland, the 2016 class of inductees includes AMA dirt-track motorcycle racer Everett Brashear, NASCAR team owner Richard Childress, former land-speed record holder Gary Gabelich, Indy and NASCAR team owner Chip Ganassi, former IndyCar driver and TV personality Sam Posey and former Indy 500 winner and sprint-car champ Bob Sweikert. Collectively, the illustrious group represents motorcycles, stock cars, sports cars, land-speed records, drag-boat records, drag racing and open-wheel racing. They will be enshrined at the 28th annual Induction Ceremony presented by Bridgestone, June 29 at Daytona International Speedway—the new home of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.