SEMA eNews Vol. 18, No. 17, April 23, 2015

NHRA: Brown Races in Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity Race

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NHRA News

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BROWN RACES IN TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH PRO/CELEBRITY RACE: NHRA Top Fuel racer and current points leader Antron Brown took part in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro/Celebrity race on Saturday on the 1.97-mile street course in downtown Long Beach, California. Brown joined such celebrities as Alfonso Ribeiro, Dara Torres, Mark McGrath and Robert Patrick.

PEDREGON AIMS FOR ANOTHER STANDOUT TEXAS PERFORMANCE IN HOUSTON:
The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway always seems to come at an opportune time for Funny Car standout Cruz Pedregon. With the 28th annual edition of this event taking place April 24–26 just east of Houston, the timing once again seems to be right up for a possible breakout performance from Pedregon and his 10,000hp Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry.

"The Texas tracks have been good to me my entire career," said Pedregon, whose last victory in Houston came in 2013. "I’m not sure exactly where to put my finger on it, but it seems like after a few races, we seem to get it together, and that’s no different this year. We feel like we’re getting right at the right time." Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised live on ESPN2.

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TICKETS ON SALE FOR NHRA KANSAS NATIONALS: Tickets are now available for purchase for the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, May 22–24. The race is the eighth of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and the race will be televised on ESPN2. To purchase general-admission or reserved seats for the NHRA Kansas Nationals, log on to www.nhra.com/tickets or call the NHRA Ticket Sales Center, 800-884-NHRA (6472). General-admission tickets for children 12 and younger are free with any paid adult ticket. Students with valid ID can purchase tickets for 50% off at the event ticket office.

He Said, She Said

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"I’m so excited to be back in Houston. I have always enjoyed racing at the Houston track, and with Gumout based in the Houston area, the entire week is a big one for me. The Gumout folks have been tremendous partners with Dote Racing, and our team wants to have a strong showing for them. Getting to tour the NASA facility on Thursday is going to be a thrill for me. Being into speed as a racing driver, I want to see the behind-the-scenes of the space program. It’s so interesting and compelling."

—Top Fuel racer Leah Pritchett on racing in Houston at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries. Pritchett, who recently signed off on her husband’s Top Fuel license, raced to a quarterfinal finish in Pomona, California, and qualified fifth for the Gainesville, Florida, race.

Inside the Numbers

3: Number of wins three-time Top Fuel world champion Larry Dixon has at Royal Purple Raceway, which ties him with Kenny Bernstein for most career Top Fuel victories at the facility. Dixon won at the track at the discontinued fall race in 1999 and 2000 and scored his last win at the facility in 2010, when he defeated Antron Brown in the final. John Force has the most Funny Car victories (seven) at Royal Purple Raceway, which opened in 1998, and Warren Johnson leads the Pro Stock Category with six wins.

Did You Know

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LUPE TORTILLA MEXICAN RESTAURANTS TO SPONSOR ENDERS-STEVENS IN HOUSTON: Lupe Tortilla, routinely voted the top Mexican restaurant in Texas, will assume title sponsorship of the record-setting Pro Stock race car of reigning NHRA Mello Yello world champion Erica Enders-Stevens at the upcoming O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries at Royal Purple Raceway in Houston. Enders-Stevens is a Houston native who attended Spring-Cypress High School and Texas A&M University. She has been supported by Lupe Tortilla founder Stan Holt; his wife, Sheila; and their restaurants since she began her driving career at age 8.

"Stan has always been a part of racing and my personal life for as long as I can remember," Enders-Stevens said. "He has always been there for me, and I consider him and Sheila part of my family. Stan even performed the wedding ceremony when Richie and I got married."

View the complete 2015 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

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