Compiled by SEMA Editors
PEP BOYS NAMED TITLE SPONSOR OF NHRA CAROLINA NATIONALS AT ZMAX DRAGWAY: zMAX Dragway and NHRA officials announced The Pep Boys—Manny, Moe and Jack—will be the title sponsor when the NHRA returns, September 12–14, at the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals—the first of the NHRA’s six-race playoffs, the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, which will be televised on ESPN2. The business partnership, constructed by Optimum Sports, is the first between Pep Boys, Charlotte Motor Speedway and NHRA.
KALITTA LOOKS FOR MORE OF THE SAME: Doug Kalitta has been successful and consistent during the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season. The next step for the Top Fuel points leader is replicating that effort during the upcoming NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Through 18 races, Kalitta has racked up nine final-round appearances, winning twice and only suffering two first-round exits. The reward is a 30-point lead heading into the Countdown to the Championship, which kicks off at zMAX Dragway.
With all eyes on Kalitta as he aims for his first career world-championship title in his 10,000-hp Mac Tools dragster, the laid-back Top Fuel star simply wants to keep a winning combination that has already been successful since the season started in February.
"I'm super proud of my guys, just all of them working together incredibly," Kalitta said. "We've got a good, consistent car, so we're really excited about taking this thing to Charlotte and starting the Countdown and hopefully repeating the performance that we've had pretty much all year. We've got something great, and everybody here has worked real hard at putting the people in the right places. It's a good effort, and we're pretty proud of what we've put together."
AMKUS RESCUE SYSTEMS NAMED OFFICIAL RESCUE TOOLS OF NHRA: AMKUS Rescue Systems has been named the Official Rescue Tools of the NHRA and Official Supplier of the NHRA through 2017. As the Official Rescue Tools of the NHRA, AMKUS logos will be prominently displayed on all NHRA Safety Safari presented by AAA trucks and trailers and team uniforms. The NHRA Safety Safari services the needs of race drivers and teams in the event of an emergency situation. In addition to prominent trackside signage, the company will participate in many other NHRA marketing opportunities, including official recognition in National Dragster—the NHRA’s magazine—and on NHRA.com. AMKUS also will receive feature status in all pre-race parades at NHRA national events.
He Said, She Said
"That track is special to me, there's no doubt about that. It's close to home and I usually have a whole pile of family and friends out there supporting me. But it's a track that we've done well at and that's huge for our confidence. We had a weekend off and that was great for our team but I'm so ready to get back in this race car. I really felt like we had the car to beat in Indy and I'm just ready to race again. It's kind of like we have a fresh start with how the points are reset. We just need to start out strong in Charlotte and take it one race at a time. Each time we pull the car out, no matter where we are, it just feels stronger. We had a great test before Indy and learned a lot and really had a strong car all weekend. We have some good data from last fall at Charlotte and I know Dickie and the team will be ready to roll come Friday."
—2011 Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan on racing at zMAX Dragway this weekend. Hagan has two wins and one runner-up finish at the facility in his career. The track is also where he became the first Funny Car racer to break into the three-second mark with his run of 3.995 seconds in 2011. Hagan begins the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship seventh in points.
Inside the Numbers
5: In the seven years of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, five of the seven No. 1 seeds heading into the Countdown have gone on to win the world championship. Tony Schumacher in 2008, Larry Dixon in 2010, Del Worsham in 2011, Antron Brown in 2013 and Shawn Langdon in 2013 all took home titles as the No. 1 seeds. In Funny Car, only once has the top seed won the championship in the Countdown era, which was John Force in 2010.
Did You Know
NEW ENGLAND HOT ROD REUNION ON TAP FOR EPPING: The coolest cars in the Northeast will be on display September 12–14, during the NHRA Motorsports Museum New England Hot Rod Reunion presented by AAA Insurance at New England Dragway. Three days of classic cars, nostalgic quarter-mile drag racing and honoring the legends of drag racing will take place at the scenic facility outside of Boston. The event comes to life September 12 at 8:00 a.m. as hundreds of vintage show cars pour into the facility for the start of the Show 'n' Shine, featuring a streaming parade of hot rods, classics and customs that will be on display during the event. Gates will open at 8:00 a.m. each day of the reunion.
View the complete 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.