SEMA eNews Vol. 15, No. 9, March 1, 2012

NHRA: Drivers Prepare for Tire Kingdom Gatornationals and East Coast Opener

NEWS NUGGETS

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DRIVERS PREPARE FOR TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS AND TRADITIONAL EAST COAST OPENER: With two races already in the record books for 2012, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, Florida, for the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com, March 8–11—the traditional first stop of the season on the East Coast and the season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Top Fuel points leader Antron Brown looks to continue his string of consecutive final-round appearances and perhaps earn his first win at the historic track. In his 14 years of competition in both the Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes, Brown has raced to two final-round appearances at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, but never a win. Respective Funny Car and Pro Stock points leaders Mike Neff and Greg Anderson also hope to keep their final-round streaks alive for 2012. Neff enters the event as the defending race winner, and Anderson looks to race to his third Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals title. Anderson lost in the final round in 2011 to teammate and eventual Pro Stock world champion Jason Line. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE CLASS PREPARES FOR SEASON-OPENING RACE AT TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS:

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  Eddie Krawiec Hector Arana Jr. Matt Smith

While the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock classes will be making their third stops of the season at historic Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville (Florida), the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com has always been the traditional season opener for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class. Riders in the two-wheel class will get their first taste of 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing when they hit the track at more than 190 mph. None is more prepared than defending world champion Eddie Krawiec, who hopes to start his season off right by racing to his third consecutive Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals win.

Krawiec’s 2011 victory was the beginning of a season in which he scored four wins in seven final-round appearances and three No. 1 qualifiers en route to his second NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle world championship. 2011 second-place finisher and Auto Club Road to the Future Award winner Hector Arana Jr. will be one of the top competitors in the two-wheel class hoping to take the title from Krawiec. Arana will be joined by a slew of competitive riders, including his father—a former world champion—as well as former world titlists Matt Smith, Andrew Hines and LE Tonglet, fan favorite Karen Stoffer, and notable rookie riders Anne Hansen, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck. For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to NHRATix.com.

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NAPAFILTERS.COM NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR OF TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS: NAPAFilters.com has joined the NHRA as presenting sponsor of the 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville March 8–11. NAPA Filters set the standard for filtration quality in 1966, and now with the launch of its all-new NAPAFilters.com, NAPA Filters is raising the bar by creating a comprehensive product information and instructional website. Designed for do-it-yourself and do-it-for-me customers as well as for those who purchase a wide range of heavy-duty and industrial filters, NAPAFilters.com is dedicated to keeping all kinds of vehicles and equipment running at peak performance.

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MAC TOOLS ANNOUNCES MULTIYEAR PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP DEAL WITH KALITTA MOTORSPORTS: Mac Tools—a hand-tools manufacturer—plans to return as a primary sponsor of the Doug Kalitta-driven Kalitta Motorsports Top Fuel dragster. The partnership will begin at the 2012 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis and run through the remainder of the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and continue through the 2013 and 2014 racing seasons. The company made the announcement last weekend at its annual sales conference—the Mac Tools Tool Fair. Mac Tools distributors and their families were on hand to show their support as Brett Shaw, president of Mac Tools, made the announcement at the kickoff meeting for the Mac Tools Tool Fair.

Kalitta Motorsports and Mac Tools have celebrated a long-standing relationship that dates back to 2001, when Mac Tools began serving as the primary sponsor on Kalitta’s Top Fueler through 2008. In 2012, Mac Tools entered its 12th year as an associate sponsor for the Ypsilanti, Michigan-based multicar team, which also includes the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Jeff Arend, the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster driven by David Grubnic and the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Alexis DeJoria.

NHRA SCREAMIN’ EAGLE NITRO HARLEY-DAVIDSONS TO BE FEATURED AT LAS VEGAS, BRISTOL EVENTS: The always-entertaining NHRA Screamin’ Eagle Nitro Harley-Davidson exhibitions will be featured at two NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events in 2012, the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 30–April 1 and the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers in Bristol, Tennessee, June 15–17. The NHRA Screamin’ Eagle Nitro Harley-Davidson exhibitions will feature eight-bike fields and will be showcased on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of each race weekend. The high-powered, nitromethane-fueled Nitro Harleys can reach speeds of more than 200 mph and are always a huge hit with fans. To purchase tickets for the 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, March 30–April 1, or for more information, call Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 702-644-4444, or log on to www.LVMS.com.

For tickets for the 12th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, June 15–17, log on to www.bristoldragway.com or call 423-989-6900.

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NEW JERSEY AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHAMBER BESTOWS HONOR ON BROWN: On a weekend when Antron Brown was winning his 32nd NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series national event in Phoenix, his father and brother were on the other side of the country accepting an award that meant as much to him as the Wally he received at the track. The 35-year-old native of Chesterfield, New Jersey, was honored Saturday night, February 18, at the second annual Circle of Achievement Awards Gala in New Brunswick, New Jersey, by the African-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey Inc. for contributions to the community and accomplishments as an athlete. Brown, who lives near Indianapolis with his wife, Billie Jo, and their three children, has won 16 titles in Top Fuel and 16 in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

The African-American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African-American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activities in New Jersey and via interaction with the National Black Chamber of Commerce Inc. Others receiving the honor at the Hyatt Regency were Dr. George A. Pruitt, president, Thomas Edison State College; Paula Dow, New Jersey attorney general; and Fredrick S. Humphries Jr., vice president, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft Corp.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

TIRE KINGDOM NHRA GATORNATIONALS PRESENTED BY NAPAFILTERS.COM, AUTO-PLUS RACEWAY AT GAINESVILLE, March 8–11:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series heads to historic Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville for the third stop of the series and season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. Winners from 2011 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.

SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, March 30–April 1:
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Sin City for the fourth race of the season. Defending event winners are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Mike Edwards (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-644-4444 or log on to www.LVMS.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Zak Elcock at zelcock@nhra.com.

NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX DRAGWAY, April 13–15: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series makes its first of two stops of the season in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the only four-wide national event. Winners from 2011 are Del Worsham (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or log on to charlottemotorspeedway.com. For media credentials, contact Media Relations Manager Alex Baca at abaca@nhra.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID   INSIDE THE NUMBERS  
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Pro Stock driver Jason Line has won the past three Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com.
6/8: The Pro Stock KB Racing duo of Greg Anderson and Jason Line has won six of the last eight Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com titles.

Only two other drivers, Jeg Coughlin and Tom Martino, have won the race since 2004. Line is hoping to win his fourth consecutive Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals title when the series heads to Gainesville next week.

NEVER ENOUGH TIME: Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Hector Arana on preparing himself and his son Hector Jr. for competition at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com—the season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle class: “Right now, we are way behind schedule. I wish we had two more weeks. But the first race of the year is always the hardest one, getting all the ducks in line and ready. We have plenty to do, but I am looking forward to it. I always have.”  

Below are the drivers and when they’ve won:

Jason Line: 2011
Line: 2010
Line: 2009

Jeg Coughlin: 2008
Greg Anderson: 2007
Tom Martino: 2006
Line: 2005
Anderson: 2004
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DID YOU KNOW

… that NHRA drivers Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca, Jack Beckman, Bob Vandergriff, Hillary Will, Leah Pruett and Cassie Simonton will team up with the Harlem Globetrotters when the team visits Gainesville, Florida, March 7, in advance of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals presented by NAPAFilters.com, March 8–11, at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. The drivers will be featured during the game at the nearby Stephen C. O’Connell Center and take part in a jersey swap with the Harlem Globetrotters and other exciting game activities. The NHRA will offer a special ticket discount to those who attend the Globetrotters game and want to attend the weekend’s event at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. Simply present your Harlem Globetrotters ticket stub at the Auto-Plus Raceway gate and receive $5 off admission. For more information, log on to NHRA.com.

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