Compiled by SEMA Editors
ENDERS-STEVENS IN SEARCH OF HOMETOWN VICTORY IN HOUSTON: Erica Enders-Stevens is easily the most successful woman in NHRA Pro Stock history. After a stellar 2012 season behind the wheel of her GK Motorsports Chevy that produced four wins in seven final rounds and a fourth-place points finish, there is one thing that would make her even more proud: to win a Wally in front of her hometown crowd at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway.
“It would be amazing to win at home,” Enders-Stevens said. “We were able to get it done in Super Gas at the national event in 2004. I’m hopeful that we can seal the deal in Pro Stock as well. Not only am I from Houston, but my sponsors are also. It would be twice as special.”
O'REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRINGNATIONALS FEATURED LIVE ON ESPN2 THIS WEEKEND: This weekend, when NHRA fans tune their televisions to ESPN2 for coverage of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries from Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, they will be watching the racing action live. Saturday and Sunday race coverage on ESPN2 will showcase live programming of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series—a step that the NHRA hopes will lead to more live telecasts. For more on this story, visit www.nhra.com.
ROCKY BOOTS AND NHRA CONTINUE RELATIONSHIP: The NHRA has entered into an agreement with Rocky Brands for promotional rights at select NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events in 2013. As part of the agreement, Rocky Brands will have display space at select events and the right to conduct a national promotion. The national promotion will be centered on the final race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season—the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, November 7–10. Rocky Brands will utilize advertising, promotions and point-of-sale materials at approximately 2,500 retail locations to support the national promotion. Details on the promotion, including how fans can sign up and participate, will be announced in the near future. Visit www.nhra.com for more on this story.
O'REILLY AUTO PARTS NHRA SPRINGNATIONALS, Royal Purple Raceway, April 26–28: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to the Lone Star State for the sixth of 24 events of the 2013 season. Vincent Nobile enters as the man to beat as a two-time defending champion. Royal Purple Raceway was also the site of his first Pro Stock win in 2011. Nobile has special memories at the track and remembers winning the event well.
“The best memory of it all was seeing my dad at the top end after we had won. I instantly broke down into tears because it has been a goal of my father’s to win an NHRA race for 20 years, and we finally accomplished it together.”
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), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle). For tickets, call 281-383-7223 or visit www.royalpurpleraceway.com.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT NHRA SOUTHERN NATIONALS, Atlanta Dragway, May 3–5: Greg Anderson comes into the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals as a four-time winner at the event and defending champion. The Charlotte resident has years of experience at the track and knows many of the nuances of the facility.
"I worked for 12 years with Warren Johnson, and that's where we tested all the time. He may have been inside the car, but I was right outside and so I've had a lot of experience with that racetrack,” Anderson said. “I think that's one of the main reasons we've been able to run there ever since we first formed this KB Racing team. Even though it's not our home track, it was mine for 12 years. It's another one of our favorites."
The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals is the seventh race of the 2013 season and drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will earn points toward the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. The 2012 winners of the event were Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock). For tickets, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.atlantadragway.com.
NHRA KANAS NATIONALS, Heartland Park Topeka, May 17–19: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Heartland Park Topeka for the 25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 17–19. The eighth event of the 24-race season will feature competition in three professional drag-racing categories—Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock. The 2012 winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event were David Grubnic (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock). The race action will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD. To purchase tickets to the NHRA Kansas Nationals, contact Heartland Park Topeka at 732-446-7800 or www.HPT.com.
HE SAID, SHE SAID
LEADING THE HERD IN FUNNY CAR: "You start fresh every year with a new slate. I've had so much success at Don Schumacher Racing so early in my career. We just came off a world championship in 2011 and we came out and fell right on our face (last year). That's brutal. You're expected to rise to the occasion and it just wasn't there. The biggest thing that I learned from that was keeping my guys' morale up. That taught me a lot last year, to go through that struggle. It was very, very humbling. When we get these wins, you really have to enjoy them because they aren't easy to get." Funny Car racer and cattle farmer Matt Hagan on his first win since the 2011 season and the first time leading the Funny Car points since his championship year of 2011.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
6.471 seconds: The national elapsed time record set by Pro Stock racer Mike Edwards during the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. He was the previous record holder at 6.473. Edwards went on to win the race and collected 20 valuable bonus points for setting the record. “It does feel satisfying to close the deal,” said Edwards, who finished first in each of the first two rounds of eliminations. “We’ve had numerous opportunities, and anytime you can run really good and win, it’s a phenomenal day. We ran good, but we were really conservative," Edwards said. "I’ve been shooting myself in the foot, but today, I thought if we get beat it’s not going to be because we squared the tires up and not because of the lame-brained driver we have. I’m off to a better start than my championship season."
DID YOU KNOW…
The wins by Spencer Massey in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan in Funny Car at the Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals marked the third time this year Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates have raced to the winners circle. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Ron Capps (Funny Car) first did it at the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix and Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Johnny Gray (Funny Car) did it at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville. In the 203 event wins DSR has recorded they have "doubled up" 35 times.