BROWN’S DRAGSTER AND FAMILY DRAGQUOIA ON DISPLAY AT L.A. AUTO SHOW: 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown's Matco Tools/Toyota Top Fuel dragster is on display at the L.A. Auto Show, as well as his DragQuoia, the Toyota Sequoia that Brown designed into a "family dragster" for the Toyota Racing Dream Build Challenge and captured the Sony Computer Entertainment America's Gran Turismo Award for Best Truck or SUV at the 2012 SEMA Show. In addition, NHRA fans can take photos at Toyota PitPass with a Toyota NHRA Funny Car and test their reaction time with a sensory game. The PitPass attraction will be located on Chick Hearn Way, December 7–9. Toyota Funny Car racers Del Worsham (December 8) and Alexis DeJoria (December 9) also will be doing autograph sessions for Toyota during the show.
NHRA STARS VISITING U.S. TROOPS OVERSEAS ON HOLIDAY TOUR: The third annual Summit Racing Equipment-sponsored holiday troop visit kicked off with an autograph session at the Panzer Kaserne PX shortly after the five drivers arrived in Stuttgart, Germany, November 24. Summit Racing NHRA Pro Stock drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line and Summit Racing/Bigfoot monster truck driver Dan Runte were joined by Harley-Davidson NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle riders Eddie Krawiec and Andrew Hines for the weeklong tour, which includes stops at U.S. installations in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Germany.
“These trips offer the brave men and women protecting our freedom while based far from home a bit of enjoyment, a break from their routine,” said Jim Greenleaf, Summit Racing motorsports and events manager. “We’re always excited about it, and based on the reception we’ve gotten in the past, so are the soldiers. This year, we are working with the people of Armed Forces Entertainment in conjunction with the Special Forces Association, which pioneered the program. Together, they have created some unique opportunities in places we’ve never visited.”
Having served in the U.S. Air Force, two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jason Line is excited about this year’s trip as it includes a stop at RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, England, home to the U.S. Air Force 422nd Air Base Group.
“After going to Germany for the last few years, it’s going to be interesting to go to the different bases,” Line said. “It will be a lot of fun to spend some time with the troops and bring them a little taste of home.”
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HOLIDAY CAR SHOW CAPS COAST-TO-COAST WEEKEND FOR FORCE: The 15th annual John Force Racing Holiday Car Show was a success even if the weather did not cooperate. Intermittent rain showers dampened some cars but not the spirits of the thousands of fans who turned out on Sunday. Toys once again piled up for the California Highway Patrol’s “CHiPs for Kids Toy Drive” and fans toured the 17-time NHRA Funny Car championship facility throughout the day. A number of John Force’s early Funny Cars were on display for the first time as well as the Destination Force Funny Car.
“I was really pleased with the turn-out and I knew Mother Nature wouldn’t stop us,” said John Force, 15-time Funny Car champion and host of the annual event. ”I want to thank our sponsors Auto Club of Southern California and System 51 as well as the men and women of the California Highway Patrol. Special thanks of course, goes to Funny Car champion Jack Beckman, Cory McClenathan, and Tom ‘Mongoose’ McEwen for signing autographs with all our JFR drivers.”
The Sunday event capped a four day coast-to-coast trek for Force who on Thursday morning was part of the 25th annual PRI breakfast with SPEED TV’s Dave Despain, host of WindTunnel. Force entertained and Despain, brought out some compelling answers from the winningest driver in NHRA in front of the capacity crowd of over 3,000 attendees. Immediately after the breakfast Force signed autographs and chatted with fans at the Ford Racing display before jumping on a plane to fly back to Los Angeles for a busy weekend.
For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com.
NHRA, ENDERS TO BE HONORED BY THE WOMEN IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE FOUNDATION: Lyn St. James’ Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation will honor NHRA and Pro Stock racer Erica Enders at its 10th annual Women in the Winner’s Circle Awards Friday, December 7, in Indianapolis. At the annual celebration, St. James will present the Leadership Award to NHRA President Tom Compton. Enders will receive the Outstanding Achievement Award after her history-making season by becoming the first woman to win in the Pro Stock class. She scored two No. 1 qualifying spots and won four races to finish fourth in the 2012 points standings.
“NHRA has a tremendous history of participation and success for women in racing, and I’m extremely proud of Erica, who is also a graduate of our driver development academy. Women now have victories in every national class of NHRA,” St. James said. “Unfortunately, she’s not able to be here due to the fact that she’s getting married this weekend, but I suspect she has her sights set on a championship in the future. NHRA has a commitment to cultural, technical and geographical diversity and has generated championships for drivers, such as this year when Antron Brown was the first African-American to win a Top Fuel championship, and dates back to Shirley Muldowney, the first driver ever to win three national championships in Top Fuel. We applaud their leadership.”
The Women in the Winner’s Circle Awards is the foundation’s major fundraiser, celebrating the success of women in racing, helping them build strong ties with each other and with the motorsports community, and honoring those who have provided leadership and opportunities for women in racing. The event will be held this year in conjunction with the International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) at the Indiana Convention Center. A VIP reception is set for 5:00 p.m., and the dinner and awards celebration will begin at 6:00 p.m. Individual tickets for $125 and table reservations for $1,000 for the event are still available. Guests will have the chance to meet and visit with many of America’s top female racers and industry leaders. Attendees who reserve a table will have the honor of a driver sitting at their table.
For more information about the Women in the Winner’s Circle Foundation or the 10th Annual Awards Celebration, log on to www.lynstjames.com.
O’REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA WINTERNATIONALS, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, February 14–17: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for the start of the 2013 season with new colors. After a dramatic ending to the 2012 season, drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock are looking to pick up where they left off and bring more heat to the track for the season-opener. The 2012 winners of the event were Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock).
NHRA ARIZONA NATIONALS, Firebird International Raceway, February 22–24: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series makes its second stop of the 2013 season just south of downtown Phoenix. Drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will earn points towards the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season points standings. The 2012 winners of the event were Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock).
NHRA GATORNATIONALS, Gainesville Raceway, March 14–17: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series makes its third of 24 stops of the 2013 season in the sunshine state of Florida. Drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will earn points towards the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2012 winners of the event were Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
HE SAID, SHE SAID
HEAD WILL TURN DRIVING REINS OVER TO SON CHAD IN 2013: After a successful introduction to nitro racing last year in the Nostalgia Funny Car ranks, Chad Head will take over the controls of his father Jim’s Funny Car in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series in 2013.
“I’m more excited about this than anything in my life,” said Jim, a veteran of more than 30 years in the sport, including in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Top Alcohol Dragster, and a two-time U.S. Nationals champion. “I don’t feel that for the last 10 years I’ve done justice to my Funny Car racing. Driving detracts from tuning, and tuning detracts from driving. I got away with it for a lot of years before the cars became as complicated and difficult to tune as they are today. Now it’s more than I can handle. I won’t let my ego get in the way. It’s time. Now I’ll get to stand on the starting line and watch my car go down the track with a competent driver that’s also my best friend.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
16: TOP FUEL CHAMPION BROWN A FINALIST FOR 2012 SPEED PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: 2012 NHRA Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown is one of 16 racers from 13 styles of racing from throughout the world to be nominated for the seventh annual presentation of the Mario Andretti Trophy as the Speed Performer of the Year.
"This might be one of the most difficult decisions to date," said Andretti, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and Formula One world championship. "Every year, a few racers seem to elevate themselves above the rest, but this is a season loaded with extremely strong and passionate performances that all deserve consideration."
Brown is joined by 2010 Speed Performer of the Year Sebastian Vettel (F-1), Fernando Alonso (F-1), Brad Keselowski (NASCAR), Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP), Casey Stoner (MotoGP), Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar), Kyle Larson (USAC), Sammy Swindell (WoO), Sebastien Loeb (World Rally), Andre Lotterer (World Endurance Championship), Max Biaggi (World Superbike), Scott Pruett (Grand-Am), Donny Schatz (World of Outlaws), Josh Hayes (AMA Pro Superbike) and Ryan Villopoto (Supercross).
Representing both four-wheel and two-wheel efforts across the globe, the Mario Andretti Trophy goes to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on the sport's biggest stages, and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class. For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com.
DID YOU KNOW…
FORD’S SECOND ANNUAL TOURNAMENT OF OVALS LAUNCHES DECEMBER 1: Ford Racing launched its 2nd annual Tournament of Ovals—a social voting game on its Facebook page, starting December 1. The play-in games took place December 1, featuring David Ragan vs. Aric Almirola in the NASCAR bracket and Toomas Heikkinen vs. Mads Østberg in the rally/action sports bracket, and will run throughout the month. A champion will be crowned on New Year’s Eve. NHRA's first pair was December 3 (Bob Tasca III vs. Mike Neff). Fans cast more than 25,000 votes last December, when fans and drivers alike lobbied and rallied the fan bases in search of the crown. Thirty-four Ford Racing drivers were selected to play from four disciplines: stock car racing, NHRA Drag Racing, road racing and rally/action sports. The two play-in games will eliminate two drivers, setting the field of 32. NHRA round-one pairings: Bo Butner vs. Courtney Force; Tasca vs. Neff; John Force vs. Larry Morgan; Tim Wilkerson vs. Robert Hight.
Fans can vote directly within the Ford Racing Facebook page, Facebook.com/OfficialFordRacing.