Compiled by SEMA Editors
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES DRIVERS TO VISIT TROOPS IN MIDDLE EAST: Once a year since 2011, Operation Appreciation has brought a taste of home to American troops stationed overseas. Sponsored by Summit Racing and Armed Forces Entertainment, Operation Appreciation sends some of motorsports’ best drivers to talk racing and cars with our servicemen and women. This year, Operation Appreciation returns to Kuwait to visit the troops during the last week of November. After a full racing season, Summit Racing NHRA Pro Stock drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line; Summit Racing/Bigfoot monster truck racers Dan Runte and Larry Swim; and Harley-Davidson NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racers Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec look forward to the trip and the chance to visit our troops.
J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES SET TO RACE AT NHRA KANSAS NATIONALS: NHRA officials have announced that the 12th additional race for the J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will be contested at the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, May 19–21. J&A Service, a leader in oil and gas well-servicing exploration, had signed an agreement to extend their series sponsorship of the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series earlier this year. Along with the sponsorship extension, it was announced the 2017 racing schedule would add two new events to expand to 12 for the coming season.
VICTORY MOTORCYCLES RETURNS TO PARTNER WITH MATT SMITH RACING FOR 2017: Victory Motorcycles will return to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series in 2017, as the company will again partner with two-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Smith and his successful Matt Smith Racing team. Victory joined the NHRA in 2015 with Smith and has been running a two-motorcycle team for the last two years, with Smith's wife Angie also racing a Victory Gunner.
“It means a lot to me that Victory is coming back,” Matt Smith said. “We've been developing a new motor for the last several months, and we’re doing new bodywork for the 2017 season. We should be even better next year.”
He Said, She Said
“There’s a lot to be done before next March, and I’m excited about the challenge. It’s not going to be easy, and we all know that and everyone on the team understands how much work this is going to be. Angelle [Sampey] is going to be an amazing team manager, and she’s been working nonstop since we decided to start our own team, and it’s already started paying off. Chris Rivas is joining our team to handle all the tuning along with providing knowledge and advice. Having another person with as much experience and ambition is only going to elevate the team and bring everyone up to that next level that we all want to be on.”
—Cory Reed on the work Team Liberty Racing has done since the final race. Reed and Sampey will compete Victory-manufactured motorcycles with Chip Rivas serving as the crew chief.
Inside the Numbers
3: Number of wins Brittany Force claimed during the 2016 season. Her first win came at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals when she defeated Terry McMillen in the finals.
“My breakout moment in the 2016 season was my first win at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida,” said Force. “I had been chasing that first win since my rookie season in 2013, and finally capturing that is something I will never forget. That day is one of the proudest moments in my career and was also JFR’s first Top Fuel win and first-ever double-up win with teammate Robert Hight.”
Force also raced to two runner-up finishes during the season and two No. 1 qualifying positions.
Did You Know
FIREBIRD RACEWAY COMPLETES UPGRADES AND IMPROVEMENTS: The new crew at Firebird Raceway outside of Boise, Idaho, has completed upgrades and improvements at the facility—work that began at Firebird following the final event of the season in late October. A-1 Quality Concrete earned the bid to handle the concrete finishing, which involved 220 tons of concrete over a 430-ft. distance from behind the starting line and down track to create a full concrete surface “wall-to-wall” to the 600-ft. mark. Additionally, this fall, new asphalt went into several pit-area roadways and at the head of staging. Compulink also installed the new TruSTART system and added start-line dial in boards.