People, Places & Racing News

Racing News: Hart, Todd, Anderson and M. Smith Pick Up Wins at Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Hart, Todd, Anderson and M. Smith Pick Up Wins at Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals to Open 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag-Racing Series Season

Rookie Josh Hart won in his Top Fuel debut last Sunday, powering to the victory at the season-opening 52nd annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in his first career NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series start. J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the first race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Hart went 3.826 seconds at 323.66 mph in his 11,000-hp Burnyzz/Technet dragster to beat Shawn Langdon in the final round. In the Funny Car final round against Robert Hight, Todd earned his first win in nearly two years, 5.184 at 286.38 in his 11,000-hp DHL Toyota Camry. Pro Stock legend Anderson won for the 95th time in the class by going 6.602 at 209.33 in his Race Star Wheels Chevrolet Camaro to beat Troy Coughlin Jr. in the final round. Matt Smith went 6.785 at 200.65 in the final round to beat Ryan Oehler’s 6.869 at 196.53. It was Smith’s quickest run of the weekend and he topped 200 mph on every run in eliminations to win in Gainesville for a second straight year.

Rowdy Energy
Drivers Doug Kalitta, Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd are named Rowdy
Energy Athletes.

Rowdy Energy Drink to Power Team Kalitta

Kalitta Motorsports has announced that Rowdy Energy—the enhanced hydration energy drink created by two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch—will become the official energy drink of the multi-time world-championship-winning team in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series through a strategic marketing partnership in advance of the 52nd annual NHRA Gatornationals. Rowdy Energy branding will be featured on each Kalitta Motorsports vehicle and product will be available in the Kailtta Motorsports VIP hospitality area. Additionally, Rowdy Energy will have a presence on the helmets of drivers Doug Kalitta, Shawn Langdon and J.R. Todd, and all three have become official Rowdy Energy Athletes.

zMax Dragway to Host Limited Fans for 4-Wide Nationals

Officials with Charlotte Motor Speedway have announced a limited capacity for the NGK NTK NHRA 4-Wide Nationals event, set to return to zMAX Dragway, May 14–16. Under state and local restrictions, new safety protocols will be in place to ensure the health and well being of those in attendance. These protocols include health screenings for fans, contactless ticketing, socially distanced grandstand seating and cashless purchases. Attendees will also be required to wear approved face coverings at all times, except while actively eating and drinking. Limited grandstand seating will be in groups of up to six people properly socially distant from any other group. There will also be no trackside viewing along the fencing as part of this event.

zMAX Dragway’s modified race day protocols also include social distancing in concession and bathroom lines; enhanced cleaning and sanitation in high-touch, high-traffic public areas; added hand-sanitizer stations; and limited guests in suites. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit charlottemotorspeedway.com.

The Mint
 A Hummer EV, courtesy of The Mint 400.

The Mint 400 Announces New EV Class for 2021

Officials from The Mint 400, dubbed The Great American Off-Road Race, have announced the launch of an all-new electric vehicle (EV) class. The new class comes in response to requests by EV truck makers and owners eager to compete at the event. The new EV Class will be open to all electric vehicle manufacturers, makes and models initially and will be overseen by Mint 400 Technical Director Bill Savage. Separate dedicated EV classes based on chassis style and design are already being written for races beyond this year. The new Mint 400 EV Class will be the first in history for a traditional desert race in America, but not the first in the sport. The ACCIONA 100% EcoPowered vehicle became the only EV vehicle ever to complete the Dakar Rally in 2017. That, in turn, inspired Audi and the GCK e-Blast 1 to prepare EV vehicles to compete at Dakar, and the field is growing each year. For more information, visit themint400.com.

Mobil 1 Expands Relationship with TRD in NHRA with Sponsorship of Alexis DeJoria

Building on its return to the NHRA Series in 2020 with a technical partnership alongside Toyota Racing Development (TRD), ExxonMobil will expand its current team roster within NHRA to include Toyota Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria. ExxonMobil has enjoyed a partnership with Kalitta Motorsports, and will also continue that winning relationship into the 2021 season. Under the expanded agreement, ExxonMobil will supply DeJoria and her team with its drag-racing motor oil, along with other lubricants, while also providing engineering support throughout the season. In addition, ExxonMobil is continuing to develop next-generation lubricants to improve engine and gearbox performance while also continuing to support Kalitta Motorsports through its relationship with Toyota. With a fresh look for the 2021 season, DeJoria will get behind the wheel of her black-and-white Toyota Camry Funny Car with familiar sponsor ROKiT, as the 70th NHRA season gets underway officially at the 52nd annual NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida, March 12-14.

Jr. Late Model
The Jr. Late Model Spectacular Series (JRLMSS) aims to provide a
driver development program and allow drivers—ages 12 to 16—to
drive full-bodies Spec race cars. Photo courtesy of JRLMSS

Junior Late Model Series Set to Launch in July

A new racing series designed to lower the cost for young Late Model racers is set to launch this July at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Georgia. Dubbed the Jr. Late Model Spectacular Series (JRLMSS), the new series aims to provide a driver development program and allow drivers—ages 12 to 16—to drive full-bodies Spec race cars. JRLMSS will also help develop the drivers’ off-track talent with required bi-monthly webinars to teach the importance of building a brand to attract corporate marketing partners.

The series’ 2021 exhibition race schedule kicks off on July 31, at Crisp Motorsports Park, followed by a visit to Huntsville, Alabama’s Huntsville Speedway, for a 75-lap special on August 21. Then, competitors head to Timmonsville, South Carolina, for a Florence Motor Speedway event on October 16, followed by Veterans Motorplex’s 75-lap event on November 13, in Greenbrier, Tennessee. A four-race winter schedule in the Midwest and Southeast regions is also in the works, along with a four-race simulation competition hosted on iRacing. For more information, visit jrlmss.com.

For more racing news, visit Performance Racing Industry’s (PRI) website.