TOYOTA SECURES SPONSORSHIP OF ENGLISHTOWN NHRA FULL THROTTLE EVENT: Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A has expanded its participation in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing by becoming the title-rights sponsor of the event at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. The 43rd annual Toyota NHRA SuperNationals will be held May 31–June 3.
“Toyota is proud to expand its NHRA involvement with this title-sponsorship initiative,” said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager.
In addition to becoming the sponsor of the Englishtown event, Toyota will have an advertising presence in the ESPN2 broadcasts of NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing with commercial inventory, an in-show sponsored feature, and race ticker. Toyota will also increase its national footprint in the sport and expand its on-site display visibility at various races. Toyota sponsors three Top Fuel teams and three Funny Car teams. Al-Anabi Racing, Don Schumacher Racing and Morgan Lucas Racing will field Top Fuel dragsters for drivers Khalid al Balooshi, Shawn Langdon, Morgan Lucas, Brandon Bernstein and Antron Brown. Cruz Pedregon Racing, Tony Pedregon Racing and Kalitta Motorsports participate in the Funny Car class. An all-new ’12 Toyota Camry Funny Car body will be showcased by four drivers: Cruz Pedregon, Jeff Arend, Tony Pedregon and 2012 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award candidate Alexis DeJoria. For more information on this story, log on to NHRA.com.
AARON’S EXTENDS FOR SECOND YEAR WITH DSR; JOINS 2011 CHAMP HAGAN: Aaron’s has extended its partnership with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) through the 2012 season and will be the primary sponsor for NHRA Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan’s Dodge Charger R/T. Aaron’s will be the primary sponsor for Hagan at 13 NHRA national events and the primary sponsor on Antron Brown’s Top Fuel dragster for four events during the 23-event NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season.
“It’s really exciting to kick off the season as the champion with Aaron’s on our car,” said Hagan. “They have the Lucky Dog, and I sure hope he brings me some luck.”
DSR will sport Aaron’s colors for 17 events, which is two more than last year. Other associate sponsors for Hagan’s Charger will be Mopar and Freightliner. DSR Funny Car driver Jack Beckman will display sponsorship from Valvoline NextGen this year on his Dodge Charger R/T. For more information on this story, log on to NHRA.com.
GARLITS 80TH BIRTHDAY RAT ROAST FUNDRAISER TO BE HELD DURING WINTERNATIONALS: Drag racing’s biggest birthday party is about to happen…and it will be big! The greatest driver in NHRA history is celebrating his 80th birthday. And to mark the occasion, a special Don Garlits 80th birthday “Rat Roast” charity event will be held Saturday evening, February 11 at the Sheraton Fairplex during the weekend of the 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries, February 9–12 at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The “Rat Roast” is being presented by the NHRA, with proceeds to benefit the Quarter Mile Foundation, whose mission is to collect and archive the history of the sport of drag racing and related aspects of the high-performance aftermarket.
The Quarter Mile Foundation focuses on capturing the first person, oral histories of the greatest pioneers and legends of the sport. The event will be held at the Sheraton Fairplex on the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds and will include silent and live auctions, including one-of-a-kind memorabilia items. Individual tickets for the Don Garlits 80th birthday “Rat Roast” are $80, with a limited number of 10-people VIP tables available for $2,500.
To buy tables to the event, contact Rachelle Litwin at NHRA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 626-250-2269. For individual tickets, go to www.NHRATIX.com and click on the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals ticket page and scroll down to the Special Don Garlits 80th birthday “Rat Roast” charity event. For tickets to the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to www.NHRATIX.com.
B.R.A.K.E.S. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BENEFIT DINNER SET FOR FEBRUARY 24: Put on the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe)—a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to teen safe driver training—will host its inaugural Southern California Benefit Dinner February 24 at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California in Pomona. The night will include a special program, dinner, cocktails, silent and live auctions and celebrity guests. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit Doug Herbert’s Put on the B.R.A.K.E.S., which provides free hands-on driver training to teens. Since 2008, B.R.A.K.E.S. has trained more than 3,000 students from 19 states and two countries. The program has a waiting list of several hundred students.
“Our goals are to double the number of teens we train in 2012, alleviate the waiting list, expand into other states and be nationwide within the next three to five years,” said Herbert.
Those interested in sponsoring or attending the inaugural Southern California Benefit Dinner should log on to www.putonthebrakes.org or call the B.R.A.K.E.S. offices at 704-720-3806.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS PRESENTED BY SUPER START BATTERIES, AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA, February 9–12: 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 www.NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at email@example.com.
NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, FIREBIRD INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, February 17–19: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS, GAINESVILLE RACEWAY, March 8–11: 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 www.NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, contact senior communications manager Scott Smith at email@example.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
RECORD-SETTING PRE-SEASON: Al-Anabi Racing dragster pilot Shawn Langdon after running a career-best 3.784 seconds during pre-season testing in Florida: “It’s been great to come out here and run so well right off the bat. These guys are awesome, it feels great to be a part of this team. They’ve set the bar with their performance over the past two years so I’m going to do the best job that I can in the driver’s seat. It’s definitely going to be a fun and exciting year with the competition out here.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
6/8: KB racing Pro Stock duo Greg Anderson and Jason Line have won six of the last eight season-opening O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries. Mike Edwards (2010) and Dave Connolly (2005) are the only non KB Racing drivers to have won the event in Pro Stock since 2004.
DID YOU KNOW
…that a special track walk featuring many of the families that were featured in the “2012 NHRA Full Throttle Real families Calendar” will be held Sunday before pre-race ceremonies at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona? The event that kicks off the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season will also include a display of Nostalgia Cacklefest Cars, a display of all the 2011 Twilight cruise winners from the Wally Parks Motorsports Museum and a Junior Dragster display in honor of the 20th anniversary of the NHRA Junior Drag Racing League.
For tickets to the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to www.NHRATIX.com.