SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 4, January 26, 2012

NHRA: Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Kicks-Off In 2 Weeks

NEWS NUGGETS

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TRAXXAS JOINS LIST OF NHRA OFFICIAL SPONSORS; SPONSORSHIP INCLUDES TOP FUEL AND FUNNY CAR SPECIALTY RACE PROGRAMS: The NHRA has announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with Traxxas—a leading manufacturer and seller of high-performance radio-controlled vehicles. The agreement designates Traxxas as the “Official Radio Controlled Performance Products of the NHRA” and will fully integrate the Traxxas brand into all aspects of the NHRA, including extensive multi-media rights, broadcast elements and a strong on-site presence, including interactive displays, signage and entertainment features. The sponsorship includes new Top Fuel and Funny Car specialty “race-within-a-race” programs, both sponsored by Traxxas. The specifics of the specialty programs, including locations for each event, will be announced at a later date. Traxxas will provide $260,000 to fund the two programs, with the Top Fuel and Funny Car specialty race winners receiving $100,000 each.

As part of the agreement, Traxxas will have a major role during NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series telecasts on ESPN, including advertising both in the qualifying and eliminations shows, with broadcast enhancements, including an in-show sponsor feature and race ticker. Traxxas will maintain a significant presence on NHRA.com and plans to provide outreach to NHRA members with special members-only offers. Earlier this month, Traxxas announced it will become the primary sponsor for Courtney Force, who will make her debut in the Funny Car class in 2012 in a Traxxas Ford Mustang. The much-anticipated arrival of John Force’s youngest daughter to the Funny Car category will result in one of the most exciting Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award battles in NHRA history. For more on the story, log on the NHRA.com.

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2012 NHRA FULL THROTTLE DRAG RACING KICKS OFF IN TWO WEEKS IN POMONA: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns in just two weeks as the 2012 season begins at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for the 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, presented by Super Start Batteries, February 9–12. The NHRA’s season-opening event will be every NHRA fan’s first opportunity to see all of the new cars and new paint schemes for the 2012 season and meet all of the drivers who will be racing at speeds of more than 320 mph in an attempt to join the list of O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals champions. A win at this event can mean great momentum as drivers pursue NHRA Full Throttle world championship glory during the 23-event season that crisscrosses the United States. All of the biggest stars in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will be on hand to blast their way toward the finish line and keep the fans on the edge of their seats.

Seven-time Top Fuel world champion Tony Schumacher will be behind the wheel of his famed U.S. Army dragster and will be joined by fellow Top Fuel competitors Morgan Lucas, Antron Brown, Brandon Bernstein and Spencer Massey. Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan will defend his title in 2012 behind the wheel of the Aaron’s/Mopar Dodge Charger. Meanwhile, a host of hungry competitors will try to start the new season with a victory, including NHRA legend John Force, Robert Hight, Mike Neff, Ron Capps, Cruz Pedregon, Jack Beckman and rookie drivers Courtney Force and Alexis DeJoria. Defending Pro Stock world champion Jason Line will defend his 2011 Winternationals victory against such competitors as Greg Anderson, Erica Enders, Mike Edwards, Allen Johnson, Vincent Nobile and Jeg Coughlin, who will make his much-anticipated return to action after sitting out the 2011 season. For tickets to the 52nd O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATIX.com.

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HIGHT, SCHUMACHER SHOW STRONG PERFORMANCES IN PRE-SEASON TEST: Former NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing world champions Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) posted the best numbers during pre-season testing last week in Florida, as teams geared up for the season-opening O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, presented by Super Start Batteries, February 9–12, at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Hight recorded the best time in Funny Car Saturday when he powered his Auto Club Ford Mustang to a 4.034-second pass at 316.67 mph. He was followed closely by Don Schumacher Racing driver Jack Beckman, who drove his Valvoline NextGen Dodge Charger to a 4.037-second run at 312.35—the second quickest pass of the test session. Hight’s teammate Mike Neff had the third quickest run in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang at 4.058 at 211.63, while defending world champion Matt Hagan posted the fourth quickest run of the test session when he powered his Aaron’s Dream Machine Dodge Charger to a 4.062 at 315.71.

In Top Fuel, seven-time world champion Schumacher sat at the top of the group with his run of 3.761 at 324.28 in his U.S. Army dragster. Al-Anabi Racing driver Shawn Langdon, who tested earlier in the week, posted the second quickest run of the test with a 3.784-second run at 322.48 mph in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster. Schumacher’s teammate and 2011 Top Fuel world champion runner-up Spencer Massey had the third quickest time of the group with a run of 3.792 at 309.84 in his FRAM dragster. Matco Tools dragster pilot Antron Brown and Al-Anabi Racing rookie Khalid al Balooshi both came in fourth with 3.794-second runs.

NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing drivers and teams will now head to Southern California in two weeks for the beginning of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season with the 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, February 9–12, at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATIX.com.

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FRAM GROUP RENEWS MULTILEVEL SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM WITH NHRA: FRAM Group has renewed its official sponsorship agreement with the NHRA. As part of the multitiered contract, FRAM automotive filters has extended its designation as the official filter of NHRA and sister brand Prestone will continue its status as the official antifreeze/coolant of the NHRA. Both the FRAM and Prestone brands have been major sponsors of the NHRA dating back as far as 1985.

As NHRA official sponsors, the FRAM and Prestone brands will receive visibility at all NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events. As official sponsor, the brands will have a major presence in the ESPN2 telecasts each race weekend via commercial inventory and in-show sponsor features. In addition, the brands will be showcased on site at the events with display space, signage and bannering rights, commercial inventory and features on the trackside JumboTron and inflatables around the event facility. Both FRAM and Prestone will maintain their current level of participation in the NHRA’s Contingency Program. FRAM and Prestone intend to activate their NHRA involvement by utilizing the official logo on select products. In addition to their involvement with the league, FRAM and Prestone are the primary sponsors on the FRAM/Prestone Top Fuel dragster driven by Spencer Massey. For more on this story, log on to NHRA.com.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

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 NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, contact Director of Media Relations Anthony Vestal at avestal@nhra.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 abaca@nhra.com.

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 NHRATIX.com. For media credentials, contact senior communications manager Scott Smith at ssmith@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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THREE’S COMPANY: Top Fuel pilot Bob Vandergriff Jr. on adding J.R. Todd and possibly Larry Dixon to his C&J Energy Services team in 2012: “I’m excited about trying to bring Larry Dixon to our team. He provides me another great fit with our team and we are working hard together to present that program to various agencies and companies right now. Between J.R., Larry and myself I would have the drivers to compete against (Don Schumacher Racing) and (Alan Johnson/Al-Anabi Racing). Now it’s just up to me to go find the funding.”

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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Morgan Lucas won the 2011 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals
  

7: There have been seven different Top Fuel winners in the past seven years at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals. There have also only been seven Top Fuel drivers in the history of the event who have claimed more than one O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals title.

DID YOU KNOW

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…that the NHRA Originals vintage T-shirt program has now expanded to Nordstrom and J.C. Penney stores around the country? Currently available in all 114 Nordstrom stores nationwide is the NHRA retro logo of the national championship drag races in Indianapolis in 1961 (pictured above). With an anticipated on-floor date of March 2, J.C. Penney intends to make available six designs specifically targeted toward the youth market in 54 stores nationwide. For more on this story, log on to NHRA.com.

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