TRAXXAS TO SPONSOR COURTNEY FORCE’S 2012 FUNNY CAR DEBUT: John Force Racing (JFR) announced Tuesday that the youngest daughter of the Funny Car legend will be competing in the 7,000hp category alongside her JFR teammates, including father John, brother-in-law Robert and mentor Mike Neff. The 23-year-old followed in her sister Ashley Force Hood’s footsteps working her way up through the ranks by racing Super Comp and Top Alcohol dragster before she began testing her nitro-burning Ford Mustang in 2011. Already a skilled interviewee, reality TV star, spokesperson for Ford Motor Company’s Driving Skills for Life program, national marketing contest winner and fan favorite, Courtney will make her professional driving debut February 9–12 in the 52nd annual Kragen O’Reilly Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California.
In anticipation of her pro debut, she will continue to test this month at Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida in a Traxxas Ford Mustang prepared by veteran crew chiefs Ron Douglas and Scott Wible. It was also announced that while Courtney will be following in the footsteps of her father and older sister Ashley Force Hood in the Funny Car division, 25-year-old Brittany Force will start the season as test driver in the BrandSource Top Fuel dragster utilizing the JFR-built Ford BOSS 500 nitro motor that powers the JFR Funny Cars. Later in the season the team will evaluate the three-rail dragster and see what the future holds for Brittany.
BERNSTEIN SIGNED TO DRIVE MavTV/LUCAS OIL TOP FUEL DRAGSTER: Brandon Bernstein has been selected to drive the MavTV/Lucas Oil Top Fuel dragster for Morgan Lucas Racing in 2012 and beyond. Bernstein’s dragster—the same one driven by Shawn Langdon the last three years—will be tuned by longtime MLR crewmembers Joe Barlam and John DeFilippis. An 18-time national event winner, Bernstein already ranks fifth among active Top Fuel drivers in total number of victories and is tied for 10th with legend Shirley Muldowney on the all-time class list.
“I’m honored to have this chance to drive for MavTV, Lucas Oil and Morgan Lucas Racing,” said Bernstein. “It was a stressful holiday season, to be honest, as I assessed the limited opportunities out there. It wasn’t much fun, until today. Racing with my dad was a dream come true, and now I have a very unique chance to race with my second family—Forrest, Charlotte and Morgan Lucas. We raced with the Lucas Oil brand on our cars for many years, and it’s great to come back into the fold. I feel an immense amount of gratitude to them for giving me this chance.”
Aside from MavTV and Lucas Oil, the car will be branded with ProtectTheHarvest.com—an initiative spearheaded by Forrest Lucas. Lucas and Bernstein will begin testing for the upcoming season January 16 in South Florida.
JOHNSON HEADS 2012 MOTORSPORTS HALL OF FAME OF AMERICA FINALISTS; HERBERT TO BE INDUCTED INTO NORTH CAROLINE DRAG RACING HALL OF FAME: Pro Stock legend Warren Johnson has been announced as one of the drag-racing finalists for the 2012 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductees, heading a group, which includes three-time NHRA Funny Car champion Raymond Beadle, Funny Car builder and component designer John Buttera, pioneering Funny Car driver Jack Chrisman, announcer Dave McClelland and engine builder Ed Pink. Inductees will be announced early in 2012 and voted on by a panel of historians, retired competitors, journalists and prior living inductees. Previous drag-racing inductees include such names as Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Don Prudhomme, John Force, Kenny Bernstein and Wally Parks, just to name a few.
While Johnson waits to hear about his induction, Top Fuel competitor Doug Herbert will be inducted into the North Carolina Drag Racing Hall of Fame in Greensboro, North Carolina, January 13. Herbert will join legendary drag racers Ronnie Sox, Rickie Smith and Roy Hill as inductees.
“It’s an honor to be inducted in the Hall of Fame,” said Herbert. “To join some of my racing heroes is quite an honor, and I am really looking forward to it. When I initially heard of my induction, my reply was, ‘Hey, I have not retired yet!’ But I was assured that being inducted into the Hall of Fame does not mean that you are retired; it just means that you have contributed significantly to the sport of drag racing, and that I am happy to accept.”
For more on these two stories, log on to NHRA.com.
GLOBAL iPRINT NAMED OFFICIAL SPONSOR OF NHRA: Global iPrint, a premier printing and distribution company, has signed a three-year agreement to become the official print sponsor of the NHRA. Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, Global iPrint offers a number of printing services, including offset printing, digital printing, large-format printing, mailing services, bindery, specialty finishing and distribution. As the preferred printer, Global iPrint will provide a wide array of services to the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body. As part of the multiyear agreement, Global iPrint will provide exclusive incentives and programs for NHRA sponsors, teams and members in hopes of fully integrating its capabilities into the NHRA Drag Racing community. Global iPrint will receive advertising in National DRAGSTER as well as introductions by the NHRA to the entire racing community. For more information on this story, log on to NHRA.com.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS PRESENTED BY SUPER START BATTERIES, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 9–12, 2012: The 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series kicks off in Southern California. Defending event winners are Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, February 17–19, 2012: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its second stop of the season in Phoenix. Defending event winners are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 602-268-0200 or log on to firebirdraceway.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at email@example.com.
TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 8–11, 2012: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to historic Gainesville Raceway for the third stop of the series and season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Defending event winners are Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, contact senior communications manager Scott Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
NEWLY LICENSED: Al-Anabi Racing dragster pilot 2012 Top Fuel rookie Khalid alBalooshi on earning his Top Fuel license: “From where I started my racing career, it was a big jump to drive Top Fuel. I never thought Top Fuel was possible until three years ago when I tested A-Fuel dragster in (Florida). I could not have done it without the Al-Anabi team behind me. I am very happy to have the opportunity, and the team took such good care of me that I did not have time to be nervous. The team did a great job instructing me from the beginning of the process. I relied on the team and all of my years in racing to keep me calm.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
|Ron Capps after his 2009 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals win.
8: That’s how many Southern California drivers have won the season-opening O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in the Funny Car class in the past 10 seasons. Below is a list of the winners and their Southern California ties:
2011: Robert Hight, resides in Yorba Linda
2010: John Force, resides in Yorba Linda
2009: Ron Capps, resides in Carlsbad
2004: Jerry Toliver, resides in Canyon Lake
2003: Tony Pedregon, hometown is Torrance
DID YOU KNOW
…that the NHRA recently announced the first official doubleheader NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event in history, scheduled for the week following the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix? The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series doubleheader will consist of a standard race Thursday and Friday, February 23–24, followed by a regional NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event featuring Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car Saturday and Sunday, February 25–26. For more information on this event, log on to NHRA.com.