SEMA eNews Vol. 18, No. 29, July 16, 2015

NHRA: Long-Term Partnership With Fox Sports Announced

Compiled by SEMA Editors

NHRA News

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NHRA ENTERS LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP WITH FOX SPORTS: NHRA and FOX Sports officials have jointly announced that starting in 2016 the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will be televised by FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with four events airing on the FOX national broadcast network during each season of the long-term agreement, providing the motorsport with live coverage of a majority of its events. FOX Sports, which is already the home to high-profile races in NASCAR, Monster Energy Supercross, the FIM MotoGP World Championship, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the fully electric FIA Formula E Championship, among others, will significantly expand on its annual motorsports coverage when it adds NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series programming to the lineup next season.

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SCHUMACHER, JOHNSONS, ARANA JR. TAKE CHICAGO WINS: Tony Schumacher raced to a milestone 80th career victory in Top Fuel last Sunday at the Lucas Oil Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by General Tire at Route 66 Raceway. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were victorious in their respective categories at the 13th of 24 events in the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. Schumacher pushed his U.S Army dragster to the winner’s circle with a 3.844-second pass at 320.20 mph, beating Larry Dixon’s 3.932 at 298.93 in the final round. The win was Schumacher’s third victory of the season and a category-high fifth in Chicago. Schumacher, the eight-time and defending world champ, now sits five victories from tying Pro Stock’s Bob Glidden for third on the all-time wins list in any NHRA Professional category.

"That was a fun race," said Schumacher, who moves into the Top Fuel points lead with the win. "Our crews are so good and win so many races. There are no easy races. Just proud to be in the position we’re in. When we’ve had to win and it positively had to be done, we’ve been great at that. You have to be great every day and you have to be better than that some days."

NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES BEGINS FAMED WESTERN SWING IN THE MILE-HIGH CITY: The NHRA Western Swing, one of the toughest stretches for competitors on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour, begins its 2015 edition in the mountains of Colorado with the 35th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 24–26, at Bandimere Speedway. The event is the 14th of 24 events during the 2015 season. A fan favorite on the Mello Yello Series circuit, they will flock to Bandimere Speedway to cheer on their favorite drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle. J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending event winners. ESPN2 will provide television coverage of qualifying and eliminations at the event.

He Said, She Said

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"I'm excited and honored that Richard [Freeman] and his guys thought of me. This program needs no introduction. Erica [Enders] showed everyone in the class what that car and team are capable of last year and to follow in her footsteps will be a tough chore, but it's a challenge I accept with a big smile. It's going to be a unique situation for me where I'm sort of just a hired driver with no stake in the operation other than my passion and will to win. I'm certainly cognizant of my supporting role to what the team is trying to accomplish again this year and I'll do all I can to help them reach their goals. Richard and I have been buddies forever and it was fun to drive his car back in ’06. Ever since then we always joke around about racing together again and when this deal came along I guess all the pieces just fell into place for us to go ahead and do it again."

—Jeg Coughlin Jr., a five time Pro Stock world champion, on his return to the factory hot-rod category for three races in 2015 with Elite Motorsports. Coughlin will drive for team owner Richard Freeman and team with 2014 Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, California, the NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle and the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. Coughlin drove for Freeman in 2006 at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in in Competition Eliminator.

Inside the Numbers

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6: Number of Funny Car racers that have secured a spot in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car after Tommy Johnson Jr. won the Lucas Oil Route 66 Nationals last Sunday. Johnson joins Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, John Force and Tim Wilkerson as drivers who will compete in the event. There are two positions open for Funny Car competitors before the event takes place at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. Johnson raced in the specialty event in 2014 and was defeated in the first round by Alexis DeJoria.

Did You Know

NHRA DRIVERS AT CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF INDIANAPOLIS: Indianapolis-based NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series drivers will be featured at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, July 17, as part of the Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit. Those drivers include Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (FunnyCar), Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Cruz and Tony Pedregon (FunnyCar) and Drew Skillman (Pro Stock). The Hot Wheels: Race to Win exhibit uses Hot Wheels cars and tracks to demonstrate racing concepts and what it takes to stand in the winner’s circle. Those in attendance will be afforded all-access with these drivers from 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m. for Q&A sessions, autographs and photos.

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