SEMA eNews Vol. 13, No. 50, December 16, 2010

NHRA: Full Throttle Champs Pick Their BCS Bowl Favorites

NEWS NUGGETS

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CLAPP, COHEN NAMED TO NHRA BOARD OF DIRECTORS: NHRA Chairman of the Board Dallas Gardner announced that two new members have been elected to the NHRA Board of Directors—longtime NASCAR executive Ken Clapp and high-profile Los Angeles attorney Michael C. Cohen. Clapp and Cohen will join current board members Gardner, NHRA President Tom Compton, NHRA Executive Vice President Peter Clifford and NHRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Graham Light.

A pioneering race promoter on the West Coast, Clapp, a native of Danville, California, has a distinguished background in motorsports and has worked in a variety of executive positions at the sport’s top levels. In the late ’60s and early ’70s, Clapp served as the vice president of marketing and public relations for the Sears Point Raceway (now Infineon Raceway), which led to a two-year stint as the director of marketing and public relations for AutoWeek magazine. In 1977, Clapp purchased 12 racetracks throughout the West and managed those facilities until he joined NASCAR in an official capacity, serving first as the stock car sanctioning body’s vice president for western operations and later as its vice president for marketing and development. Clapp retired from NASCAR in 1999, but continues to serve as a senior consultant. Two of his biggest achievements were playing a key role in the creation of Sears Point Raceway and bringing NASCAR’s marque Cup Series to the Northern California road course in 1989. His first work in the world of drag racing came in 1969 when he helped promote a Funny Car event at Sears Point.

Cohen is a partner in Morrison and Foerster LLP, a major national and international law firm. He heads the Corporate Finance Practice Group out of the firm’s Los Angeles office. He has been practicing law for more than 38 years and specializes in corporate, real estate and other business transactions with a focus on mergers and acquisitions. Cohen, whose professional experience includes auto racing and other professional sports, cable television, print media, branded apparel and professional service companies, was named a Best Lawyer in America in the field of corporate law in 2009 and 2010. Prior to joining Morrison and Foerster, Cohen was managing partner and a member of the executive committee for the Los Angeles office of Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine.

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GEICO EXTENDS MARKETING PARTNERSHIP WITH NHRA: GEICO, the fastest-growing auto insurance company in the United States, has extended its marketing partnership with the NHRA, officials of the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning organization announced. As part of the multiyear agreement extension, GEICO will continue to receive multiple exposure and promotional opportunities at NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. The GEICO Trackside Team will entertain spectators during appropriate breaks in the racing action. The GEICO Gecko, the company’s popular mascot, will continue to visit the NHRA Manufacturers Midway at select events. GEICO will also continue to receive display space and have television advertising rights. GEICO will also continue to serve as primary sponsor for Morgan Lucas’ Top Fuel dragster and Karen Stoffer’s Pro Stock Motorcycle. For more information, please visit NHRA.com.

COPART INC. RENEWS AS OFFICIAL ONLINE VEHICLE AUTION OF NHRA: NHRA has announced that Copart Inc., a leading provider of vehicle auction services, will continue as the official online vehicle auction of NHRA. Copart has used NHRA’s race team hospitality platform and its affiliation with Kenny Bernstein Racing to drive buyer membership throughout the course of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season. As part of the multiyear agreement, Copart will continue to have a major presence at all the 22 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events in 2011 through trackside signage, public address announcements, corporate and race team hospitality and an inflatable at the top end of the race track. In addition, Copart will continue its team sponsorship of the Kenny Bernstein-owned Copart Top Fuel dragster driven by Brandon Bernstein in the NHRA Full Throttle Series. For more information, visit NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS KRAGEN O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 24–27, 2011: The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and 60th anniversary season of NHRA kicks off at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at the 51st running of this event. Defending event winners include Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); John Force (Funny Car); and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800/844-NHRA or go online to NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, please contact Director of Public Relations Michael Padian at mpadian@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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BRINGING DRIVER SAFETY TO SO CAL: Top Fuel pilot and B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) program founder Doug Herbert on a recent trip the organization made to the Southern California area to teach teen safe-driving: “It was great to be out in Southern California for schools. This year, we put almost 500 teens through the school in Pomona, and we’re saving lives. I’m so thankful for the support we’ve received from (NHRA President) Tom Compton and everyone at NHRA. Together we are making a difference.” Herbert was joined by NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series drivers Jeff Arend and Jack Beckman.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

NHRA FULL THROTTLE CHAMPS PICK BCS BOWL WINNERS: With the College Bowl season just kicking off, the world champions in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series turned in their picks for the five BCS bowl games, including the national championship game between Oregon and Auburn. Below are their picks:

Larry Dixon, Al-Anabi Racing dragster:
ROSE BOWL: Wisconsin
Reason: “It’s closer to my home than TCU.”
FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma
Reason: “I believe that UConn used up all of their skilled athlete coupons on the men’s and women’s basketball teams.”
ORANGE BOWL: Stanford
Reason: “Because I’m a California guy, and I can’t pick USC this year…or next year for that matter.”
SUGAR BOWL: Ohio State
Reason: “Because I have a few guys on the Al-Anabi team that hail from the Buckeye State, and I wouldn’t want to hear the wrath of picking against them.”
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP BOWL: Auburn
Reason: “Because one of my all-time favorite players, Bo Jackson, went there…and Bo knows.”

John Force, Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang:
ROSE BOWL: TCU
FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma
ORANGE BOWL: Stanford
SUGAR BOWL: Ohio State
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP BOWL: Oregon

Greg Anderson, Summit Racing Pontiac GXP:
ROSE BOWL: Wisconsin
Reason: “Being from the Midwest, I have to go with the Big Ten Team.”
FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma
Reason: “Oklahoma has a long and storied history of doing well in bowl games, while, to be honest and with no disrespect intended, I didn’t realize UConn had a football team of this caliber.”
ORANGE BOWL: Virginia Tech
Reason: “Although I’m not too familiar with Stanford’s team this year, I did have the chance to watch a couple Virginia Tech games and they seem to be a really good team, so that’s why I picked them.”
SUGAR BOWL: Ohio State
Reason: “Just like with the Rose Bowl, I have to go with the Big Ten team. Even though Ohio State isn’t playing for the national championship this year, that program is always one of the best in the country. Besides, Summit Racing is based in Ohio, so I’m just obliged to pick The Ohio State University.”
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP BOWL: Auburn
Reason: “For one thing, Auburn is just better. On top of that, they have the best quarterback in the game right now in Cam Newton. Finally, when you look at how they came back in their game against Alabama, you can see how they can just find ways to win.

LE Tonglet, Nitro Fish Suzuki:
ROSE BOWL: Wisconsin
FIESTA BOWL: Oklahoma
ORANGE BOWL: Stanford
SUGAR BOWL: Arkansas
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP BOWL: Auburn

DID YOU KNOW…

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…that NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series world champions Larry Dixon, John Force and LE Tonglet have been named finalists for the 2010 SPEED Performer of the Year? Seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher took home the award in 2009 and also finished runner-up in 2008. For more information, contact NHRA Media Relations at 626/914-4761 or visit the NHRA Media Center online.

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