Compiled by SEMA Editors
2017 LUCAS OIL DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE RELEASED: For the 16th season, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will compete at top-flight NHRA Drag Racing facilities across the country for the 2017 season. The upcoming 2017 schedule will feature 45 divisional events with a minimum of six in each of the seven divisions. There will also be 26 regional events featuring the 260-mph Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes.
“The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing series is the very best of sportsman racing, which highlights the foundation of the NHRA,” said NHRA president Peter Clifford. “This series allows fans to enjoy drag-racing competition at many levels, often showcasing future stars in classes where many pro racers began their careers. We’re extremely thankful for everything the Lucas family does to support this series and are excited to see another great season of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in 2017.”
WINTERNATIONALS, GATORNATIONALS TICKETS ON SALE NOW: Tickets for two of NHRA’s most tradition-rich events—the Circle K NHRA Winternationals and the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals—are now available for purchase. The 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals—the season-opening event of the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series—will be contested February 9–12 at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The event will be fans’ first opportunity to see the new cars and paint schemes and meet the drivers who will race at speeds of more than 330 mph in an attempt to add their names to the NHRA record book’s list of NHRA Winternationals victors. A win at the opening event can mean great momentum for drivers as they chase NHRA Mello Yello world championship glory during the 24-event season that crisscrosses the United States.
WORSHAM TO REJOIN FAMILY-OWNED FUNNY CAR TEAM: 2015 NHRA Funny Car champion Del Worsham will leave Kalitta Motorsports and rejoin his family-owned Funny Car team.
“It was a hard decision to leave a championship-caliber team such as Kalitta Motorsports,” said Worsham. “However, there is so much unfinished business with my family’s team and I felt now is the time to do it. I am excited to see what the future holds. I cannot thank Connie Kalitta enough for giving me a shot in Scott’s car, and helping me achieve one of my ultimate goals: a Funny Car championship. I also want to thank Jim O [Oberhofer], Jon O [Oberhofer], Nicky Boninfante, the ‘YellaFellas’ and my Kalitta Motorsports teammates.”
He Said, She Said
“We knew going into Dallas we could run really well. We had some misfortune early on. Nobody really knew about it. We tried to keep everything a big secret. But we knew for sure that we had the bike to beat. Here’s the thing. In the past years, the Harleys would run you down. They couldn’t 60 foot, but they could run you down. Now Vance & Hines has worked so hard to give us the power to be able to compete. With Tim [Kulungian] tuning the bike, everything started clicking. We knew they couldn’t 60 foot with us. If they can’t 60 foot with you and they can’t run you out the backdoor, you’re going to win races.”
—Jerry Savoie, who captured his first world championship on a strong showing in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. He raced to two wins and one runner-up finish. He also had three consecutive No. 1 qualifying positions to close the season.
Inside the Numbers
86: Number of career wins Pro Stock racer Greg Anderson has following the conclusion of the 2016 season. He recorded eight wins on the year, including the season-ending event in Pomona. While he came up short for his fifth world championship, his win total moved him up in the NHRA record books. He passed Bob Glidden for second in the all-time Pro Stock win list and trails leader Warren Johnson, who has 97 victories. His career win total moves him to third on the all-time win list behind John Force with 147 and Johnson. The season-ending victory was the 11th for Anderson at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
“It came down to the final race of the year. Jason is the world champion and I won the race. What a dream,” said Anderson. “To break Bob Glidden’s record is obviously fantastic. That’s something I never considered, could think about or imagine. Now that it’s happened, it’s just unreal.”
Did You Know
ELITE MOTORSPORTS AND MOPAR TO PART WAYS IN 2017: Elite Motorsports and Mopar have announced that they will end their partnership at the end of the 2016 racing season. Elite Motorsports drivers and multi-time world champions Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Erica Enders both competed with Mopar-backed Pro Stock Dodge Darts in 2016.
“I want to thank everyone at Mopar and Dodge, from the top executives to the engineers on to the people helping us at the races for their hard work and dedication,” said Elite Motorsports team owner Richard Freeman. “My guys should be commended. They basically worked around the clock with pretty much zero days off for the entire season, busting their butts to try and give Erica and Jeggy competitive racecars. We look forward to a fresh start into 2017.”