SEMA eNews Vol. 16, No. 10, March 7, 2013

NHRA: Girl Power on Display as Mello Yello Series Heads to Florida

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NEWS NUGGETS

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GIRL POWER ON DISPLAY AS NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES HEADS TO FLORIDA: While much hype has been given to a certain female stock car racer for posting a top 10 finish at the Daytona 500, it has been business as usual in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Two female drag racers—Courtney Force and Erica Enders-Stevens—have posted back-to-back victories to open the 2013 season. It is the first time in NHRA history that two women have opened a season with consecutive victories. Force, 24, powered her 8,000hp Funny Car to break all of her male competitor’s hearts—including Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca and Ron Capps—and win at the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona, California, on Valentine’s Day weekend. Last weekend in Phoenix, Enders-Stevens, 29, rallied to take the Pro Stock victory over Mike Edwards in the final round. Enders-Stevens used a reaction-time advantage to beat event top-qualifier Edwards in the 200-mph factory hot-rod category.

“We’re not out here just to race against the boys,” Force has said. “We’re here to beat the boys.”

Perhaps it will be Leah Pruett, Alexis DeJoria, Brittany Force or Katie Sullivan who will win the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals and continue the early-season girl power theme, March 14–17 at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville. Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Edwards (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending event winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event, which will be televised on ESPN2HD. Tickets are available online at www.nhratix.com or by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at 800-884-NHRA (6472). For more information about the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, visit www.nhra.com.

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INDIANA-BASED NHRA CHAMPIONS HONORED AT MOTORSPORTS DAY AT INDIANA LEGISLATURE: NHRA teams based in Indiana were honored during Motorsports Day at the Indiana Legislature, Tuesday, March 5, in Indianapolis. This celebration of racing included a tour of the Indiana State House and a private meeting with Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Motorsports Day at the Indiana Legislature recognized that in 2012 all major auto-racing championships, excluding stock car, were captured by teams headquartered in Indiana. Don Schumacher Racing driver Antron Brown (Top Fuel), who won his first championship in 2012, and three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Eddie Krawiec of Vance & Hines were in attendance and recognized for winning their respective championship titles in 2012.

“I feel very fortunate and blessed to be honored by our state. It’s a great, great honor. I’ve lived around Brownsburg and now in Pittsboro where Billie Jo and I are raising our kids,” Brown said. “I grew up in New Jersey, but Indiana has become my home. Brownsburg is the hub of NHRA professional drag racing and home for our Don Schumacher Racing organization. Being recognized by the Indiana Legislature for being the NHRA Top Fuel world champion is very special to me, my family and our Matco Tools team.”

Several NHRA executives were on hand during the event, including Glen Gray, NHRA vice president of technical operations, Wes Collier, general manager of Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and Scott Smith, NHRA senior communications manager. NHRA owns and operates Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and annually conducts the NHRA U.S. Nationals at the multi-purpose facility. Visit www.nhra.com for more on this story.

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TICKETS ON SALE FOR SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS IN LAS VEGAS: Eight racers in the Pro Stock category will take center stage during the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals as they take part in the K&N Horsepower Challenge. The specialty event will be held Saturday during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), April 5–7—the fourth of 24 events in the 2013 season. An NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event is a celebration of automotive performance and one of the most fan-friendly events in all of sports. When the series visits The Strip at LVMS, families can take advantage of a ticket special: Children 12 and younger will receive free admission with a paid adult. Every ticket purchased for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals is a pit pass, which offers an unrivaled look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics “twirl the iron” between rounds. Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock drivers will battle on the track all weekend for the Wally trophy. Robert Hight (Funny Car), Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) are the defending winners of the event that will be televised on ESPN2HD. For tickets, call Las Vegas Motor Speedway, 800-644-4444, or log on to LVMS.com.

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UNDERDAHLS LAND SPONSOR, PLAN FULL PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE SEASON: Jimmy Underdahl and his father, Greg, plan to compete at all 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events with their Vance & Hines-powered Suzuki after signing a sponsorship agreement with E-Z Go Golf Carts and its subsidiary, Bad Boy Buggies. They join a sponsorship program that includes Suzuki Extended Protection. The 2013 Pro Stock Motorcycle season begins at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

“We’ve been busy this winter,” said Greg. “Jimmy and I have completely rebuilt his bike. We stripped it down to the frame and rewired it and changed a lot of things. This is the first bike that he’s had that was built exactly for him. We built the bike not knowing if we’d be able to race in all the events this season, but with E-Z Go, Bad Boy Buggies and Suzuki Extended Protection, we are going to be able to make this work. We’re both really excited to get to Gainesville and see how we stack up against everyone else.”

For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com.


COMING ATTRACTIONS

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 the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock classes will earn points toward the 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 LVMS.com.

DOLLAR GENERAL NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS, zMAX Dragway, April 19–21:
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to the Bellagio of Dragstrips in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the fifth of 24 events. Drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will compete in a four-wide configuration and earn points toward the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season points standings. The 2012 winners of the event were Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-455-FANS or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.

HE SAID, SHE SAID

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DESPITE TOUGH START TO SEASON, ENDERS-STEVENS REBOUNDS WITH WIN IN PHOENIX: After claiming career victory No. 5 in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix, Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens continues to run down the competition each and every week. Winning races is no easy task no matter what motorsports events drivers compete in, but she manages to do so with such grace and determination. Despite stock car driver Danica Patrick making headlines that weekend, Enders-Stevens and team made their own when they brought home the Wally. “I am really proud of how Danica did qualifying for the Daytona 500 and I knew that was going to be talked about for a really long time,” Enders-Stevens said. “For my guys and our team, GK Motorsports and KLR Group, I couldn’t be more proud. Coming off of a year like we had last year and starting the season like we did this year, it’s kind of a gut check in the sense like ‘Man, are we ever going to be able to get it done again?’ Granted we’re only two races in, but we worked our butts off all off-season, especially since my team didn’t test a lot. They proved that they can pick up right where we left off and I’m excited.”


INSIDE THE NUMBERS

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3: CONSECUTIVE VICTORIES PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE RACER EDDIE KRAWIEC HAS EARNED AT AMALIE OIL NHRA GATORNATIONALS: Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson rider Eddie Krawiec has been on a hot streak when it comes to competing in the traditional season-opening race for the Pro Stock Motorcycle category. The defending world champion will be looking for his fourth consecutive victory when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville for the 44th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 14–17. For more information on this event, visit www.nhra.com.



DID YOU KNOW…

BEACON DRAGWAY JOINS NHRA MEMBER-TRACK ROSTER: Beacon Dragway in Paducah, Kentucky, is the newest addition to the NHRA member-track roster. The track is being reopened by Top Fuel driver Keith Murt, who operates Murtco Inc.—a mechanical and underground utility contractor in western Kentucky—and Dr. Blane Grow, both of whom are lifelong developers in the area. Major renovation to the property began last fall and will be completed before the spring opening. Test 'n' tune and fun and grudge racing is being scheduled on Thursday nights and the track’s points-racing series on Saturday nights, and a number of special events are planned throughout the season. New concrete starting-line pads have been installed, the racing surface has been repaved, a new tower has been erected and new track lighting, TSI computer timing system and scoreboards are being installed. The airpark office is being remodeled as a hospitality center, and one of the hangars is being renovated into an eat-in or carryout concession complex. Fans will enjoy viewing from pitside elevated grandstands, and extensive paving of additional pit parking is scheduled for completion as soon as weather permits. For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com.

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