Edited By SEMA Staff
LANGDON, C. FORCE, NOBILE TAKE SEASON-OPENING WINS: Courtney Force raced to victory in Funny Car last Sunday at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) also were winners at the first of 24 events in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Force, 24, powered her Traxxas Ford Mustang past NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger driver Ron Capps with a pass of 4.025 seconds at 317.12 mph to earn her second career victory. In Top Fuel, Langdon, 30, drove his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to the win with his pass of 3.721 at 322.27, defeating seven-time champion Tony Schumacher and the U.S. Army team. In front of a hometown crowd, Langdon said his second victory is so much sweeter than the first. Nobile, 21, rounded out the youngest trio to ever share the podium at an NHRA national event by taking the Pro Stock title over Jeg Coughlin Jr. Visit www.nhra.com for more on this story.
SCHUMACHER READY TO MOUNT ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RUN: U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher had an incredible 2012 season that brought him to within seven points of earning another world championship trophy. During the brand-new 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, the seven-time world champion is ready to go back to work with his U.S. Army team as they pursue another title. Riding the momentum from a runner-up finish at the season-opening event at Pomona, California, last weekend and three career victories at Firebird International Raceway, Schumacher is anxious to return to the NHRA Arizona Nationals, February 22–24. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) are the defending event champions at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, which will be televised on ESPN2 HD.
“We ran 330 mph for the first time there (Phoenix), and we’ve won there a lot,” Schumacher said. “We perform good there for the U.S. Army. I really enjoy going there. For one reason, it’s early in the year and the weather is wonderful and better in February than where I live near Chicago, where it’s 10 degrees. The fans are phenomenal and the fans have always been really good to us in Phoenix.”
NHRA PARTNERS WITH TEN80 EDUCATION AND THE U.S. ARMY: The NHRA, the U.S. Army, and Ten80 Education are kicking off 2013 by immersing students, educators and administrators from across Southern California in the real-life applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts and careers. The Ten80 Student Racing Challenge is a STEM curriculum and optional competition league adopted by schools in 29 states. Students will be put to the test as they work in teams and compete to optimize performance of high-tech tools, such as a 1:10-scale radio-controlled (RC) race cars, fuel cells, robots and (new for summer 2013) flight vehicles, including helicopters. Students across the nation, supported by Ten80’s coalition of engineers and educators, collaborate and compete through challenges that directly parallel the arduous preparation of real racing, engineering and executive teams.
“I couldn’t think of a better partnership to advance NHRA’s youth initiative," said Brett Lyons, NHRA marketing and education manager. "Joining forces with Ten80 Education and applying these STEM concepts to drag racing will get these students on the fast track to their future in a fun and educational way.”
Five regional kickoff events will be hosted by the NHRA, at NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events in Pomona, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Dallas. Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, and Antron Brown, driver of the Matco Tools dragster, will take part in these events as guest speakers.
DOLLAR GENERAL NAMED TITLE SPONSOR OF NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS: Dollar General, a small-box discount retailer, will become the title-rights sponsor of the first of two NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, North Carolina. The fourth annual Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals fueled by Full Throttle—the official energy drink of the NHRA—will be held at the track April 19–21, 2013. Considered by many as the greatest spectacle in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals fueled by Full Throttle is the only event on the annual 24-race schedule featuring the fastest-accelerating machines racing side by side in a four-wide configuration, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
“Our partnership with Dollar General provides a great opportunity to reach and expose the NHRA brand to a broad audience,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Dollar General has an excellent presence in the region and will be a strong activating partner in the marketplace.”
For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com.
K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE PEOPLE’S CHOICE VOTING BEGINS: People’s Choice voting for the K&N Horsepower Challenge—a special bonus event for NHRA Pro Stock teams—opened Thursday, February 14—the first day of racing for the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. NHRA fans can register to vote for their favorite Pro Stock driver who is not already qualified for the event that will be contested Saturday, April 6, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. The K&N Horsepower Challenge is a race within a race that pits the seven Pro Stock racers who have accumulated the most qualifying points since the last specialty event (July 2012) and one driver selected by fans in an online vote. The K&N Horsepower Challenge will feature three rounds of racing, and the winner will earn $50,000. In addition to voting for the eighth driver, fans can participate by entering the K&N Horsepower Challenge Sweepstakes. From the entries received, eight finalists will be chosen who will receive a trip for themselves and a companion to Las Vegas for the 14th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, April 5–7. Visit www.nhra.com for more on this story.
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 toward 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). For tickets, call 602-268-0200 or visit firebird.ticketforce.com.
AMALIE OIL NHRA GATORNATIONALS, Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, 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 toward 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). For tickets, call 800-884-6472 or log on to NHRATix.com.
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 5–7: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the fourth of 24 races on the circuit. Drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will earn points toward NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2012 winners of the event were Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-644-4444 or log on to www.lvms.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
NO BETTER WAY TO KICK OFF THE 2013 SEASON THAN WITH A VICTORY FOR SOPHOMORE SENSATION COURTNEY FORCE: It was a story-book ending for Funny Car driver Courtney Force as she took home the Wally at the season-opening O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winernationals to start her sophomore campaign. After a runner-up finish at the Auto Club NHRA Finals last year, Force was eager to start the 2013 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series off on a high note. It was a total team effort as she powered her Traxxas Ford Mustang to victory.
“It was kind of bittersweet finishing here [at the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in November] and not getting that win, then coming back and picking up where we left off and finishing our job. We got the win, and I’m just proud of my team.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
25: ANNIVERSARY OF NHRA’S YOUTH AND EDUCATION SERVICES PROGRAM: The NHRA’s Youth & Education Services (YES) program, presented by the U.S. Army, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2013 and continues to inspire and provide career guidance to thousands of high school and college students all across the United States. Created in 1989 as way to connect education and drag racing, the YES program is a one-day event held at 12 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events each season. The YES program demonstrates to young men and women the variety of career opportunities within motorsports, the U.S. Army and the automotive industry. The central themes of the YES program are the need for continued education; value of job-specific training; relevance of establishing clear, attainable goals; and awareness of the variety of career options surrounding motorsports. Visit www.nhra.com for more on this story.
DID YOU KNOW…
NHRA LAUNCHES 2013 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES SWEEPSTAKES: The NHRA will again give its fans an opportunity to become winners during the season as it unveiled the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sweepstakes. The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sweepstakes will allow one NHRA fan to win a brand-new retro-inspired Ford Mustang GT Premium—one of the most widely recognized, respected and desired musclecars in the automotive industry. The sweepstakes kicked off on February 14, during the start of the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season with the 53rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Fans can enter to win the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sweepstakes by logging on to www.nhra.com or at kiosks that will be set up at every NHRA national event track during the 24-race season. Entries close at midnight (EST) December 6, with winners announced thereafter. Residents of the United States/Washington, D.C., who are at least 18 years old can enter the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Sweepstakes. Visit www.nhra.com for more on this story.