Compiled by SEMA Editors
TODD LOOKING FORWARD TO FULL SEASON OF RACING: NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel standout J.R. Todd finished his 2014 season by racing in Pomona. He will start the 2015 season back at the historic drag-racing venue in Southern California with the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, February 5–8, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. For a driver who jumped into an ideal role with Kalitta Motorsports a year ago and will spend 2015 driving full time for the first time since 2008, that is a big deal. Todd is well aware of that, which has him as excited to start this season as any in his career.
"Competing in all 24 events is something that I have been looking forward to for a very long time now," said Todd, who finished second in Top Fuel in 2014 despite missing the first two events of the season. "There was definitely a period where I wasn't sure if I would ever get a shot at competing full time again. Now that I have the opportunity, I feel like I need to do everything possible to make myself a better driver and prove that I deserve to be out there competing with the best in our sport."
HEAD RACING ANNOUNCES TAYLORMADE SPONSORSHIP FOR CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS: TaylorMade Golf will sponsor the Head Inc. Toyota Funny Car team for the running of the 55th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona February 5–8. The sponsorship will reinforce the recent introduction of the company’s newest metalwood, the AeroBurner driver.
"We are excited about the opportunity to showcase the TaylorMade AeroBurner on our Toyota Funny Car and can’t think of a better parallel between the AeroBurner product attributes and the sport of NHRA,' said driver Chad Head. "This is a great chance for TaylorMade to introduce AeroBurner to the NHRA fan base both in Pomona and on the ESPN2 broadcast."
NHRA LUCAS OIL DRAG RACING SERIES RETURNS TO ESPN2 IN 2015: The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the NHRA’s Sportsman level racing series, will be featured in 16 one-hour shows on ESPN2HD in 2015. The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series coverage from select national events will air on ESPN2HD on a tape-delay basis as part of the NHRA’s relationship with ESPN, in its second decade as the exclusive home of NHRA drag racing. All 16 telecasts will air on Saturday or Sunday. The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series has a long-standing tradition of serving as a highly competitive developmental arena for the future stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
He Said, She Said
"We're the defending world champions, and it's a pretty awesome place to be. I guess it really hasn't completely sunk in because some days it'll just cross my mind, and I can't believe it. It's pretty cool. I've never been in that situation before, and we're really excited and honored to carry the No. 1 this year. It'll be a memorable year, and we're going to go to Pomona and give it our all and hopefully carry No. 1 into 2016 also. That's everyone's goal. I haven't gotten unfocused. What we accomplished last year doesn't change anything ever. It's a great accomplishment and really cool, but you can go from hero to zero really quick, week-in and week-out. I learned that a long time ago. We've got our work cut out for us, and we're going to swing for the fences just like we did last year."
—Erica Enders-Stevens on returning to the cockpit for the start of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season. Enders-Stevens is the reigning Pro Stock world champion on the strength of four wins in 2014.
Inside the Numbers
6: Career number of wins Tony Schumacher has at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Two of his wins have come at the season-opening event, and his last came in 2008. Schumacher has 77 career Top Fuel wins and is fourth on the all-time NHRA win list. "My goal is to go out and win as many races as I can every year each and every time. At the end of my career, I'll look back on the wins and I'll appreciate the sacrifice that we all made to get those wins and be proud of those moments," Schumacher said. "Things were different when Bob Glidden raced. It was different. There were different amounts of races per year. So comparing apples to apples is really impossible. People try to do that with ‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits, too, in Indy wins. It's a difficult thing to relate. Drivers are drivers. Now, back then they drove, worked on cars. It was so different. For me to sit back and try to compare myself to anyone, I'll let you guys do that. That's your job as the media. You can compare. You can make up those things and I'll read them, but I honestly at the end of my career I hope I have 500 wins. Right now I'm just trying to get No. 78, I think."
Did You Know
NHRA BOLSTERS OILDOWN POLICY FOR 2015 MELLO YELLO SERIES SEASON: Recognizing the need to reduce the number of oildowns at NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events that cause substantial time delays and negatively affect the entertainment value for fans and TV viewers, the NHRA has increased the monetary fines and points penalties associated with oildowns in the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories. Oildown penalties for all other classes will remain the same as they were in 2014. Each Top Fuel and Funny Car team will be fined $1,000 and receive a five-point deduction following its first oildown violation of the season. A second infraction will result in a $2,000 fine and a 10-point deduction. The third violation will bring a $4,000 fine and loss of 15 points.