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CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS: NHRA MELLO YELLO SERIES PRO WINNERS……. LEAH PRITCHETT IN TOP FUEL …… TIM WILKERSON IN FUNNY CAR………….JASON LINE IN PRO STOCK!

TOMMY JOHNSON JR HOPES TO REBOUND IN FRONT OF MAKE-A-WISH CROWD

 

 

TOMMY JOHNSON JR HOPES TO REBOUND IN FRONT OF MAKE-A-WISH CROWD

The last pass Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Make-A-Wish team made at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is one for the record books. Earlier this month Johnson made the quickest pass ever for a Funny Car, running 3.874 seconds at 325.77 mph. With high hopes going into the first NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing event of the season, Johnson qualified the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T at No.14, but made an early exit with a first round loss. “We had a rough weekend in Pomona. To run so well in testing and to struggle at the first race of the year was frustrating,” said Johnson. Three weeks later, Johnson is optimistic as he returns to Phoenix for the NHRA Nationals this weekend. “After the success we had there in testing running a 3.87, I’m expecting a big rebound for our team this weekend,” said Johnson. “We’ve already made several test passes at Wild Horse Pass this year, so my crew chief John Collins and assistant Rip Reynolds have a good handle on the set-up for the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger.” Also fueling Johnson to win at this weekend’s race is a large presence from the Make-A-Wish Foundation expected in the pits and in the stands. “It would make me very proud to take home the Wally in Phoenix since it’s the corporate headquarters of Make-A-Wish,” added Johnson. “We will have Make-A-Wish kids, their families and plenty of guests from headquarters at the track. We want to give them all something special to cheer about.”

BECKMAN OPTIMISTIC HEADING TO TRACK WHERE HE HAS EXPERIENCED SO MUCH SUCCESS IN HIS CAREER

 

BECKMAN OPTIMISTIC HEADING TO TRACK WHERE HE HAS EXPERIENCED SO MUCH SUCCESS IN HIS CAREER

Jack Beckman has had great success at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix. He has won the NHRA National event there three times in Nitro Funny Car: 2008, 2010 and 2011. For Beckman, each win was under entirely different circumstances. “I have won at Wild Horse Pass when the event was in the spring time and when it used to be held in the fall. I have won on a Sunday and also claimed a victory on a Monday when race day was rained out,” said Beckman. But there is still one win Beckman hasn’t experienced at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. He hopes this will be the weekend he crosses it off his list. “What I haven’t done is won the NHRA Phoenix event with my crew chiefs Jimmy Prock, John Medlen, Chris Cunningham and the Infinite Hero Funny Car. I want to make that happen.” Last week in Pomona, Beckman and the Infinite Hero team earned the No.1 qualifying spot, running 3.888 seconds at 326.16 mph Saturday at Pomona, Calif. Beckman went to the quarterfinals.  “This is a brand new car that doesn’t have that many runs on it. The more passes we make, my guys will zero in on what it wants under different track conditions. I’m so optimistic heading into Phoenix this weekend,” said Beckman. There is another reason Beckman is a fan of the NHRA Phoenix event. It holds fond memories for the 2012 Funny Car World Champion. “My very first NHRA national race was 1992 at Phoenix. I was driving a Super Comp dragster back then,” explained Beckman. “It was the first time I ever did a burnout in front of a crowd. This event is almost like going home for me.”

 

Kalitta looks for recent Phoenix success to continue after great start to NHRA season

 

 

Kalitta MotorsportsKalitta looks for recent Phoenix success to continue after great start to NHRA season

CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 24, 2015) – Kalitta Motorsports preview the CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz. This is the second race of 24 in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello NHRA season.

Worsham plans to deliver after recent success

Del Worsham, driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and defending 2015 Funny Car champion, left Pomona mere inches from earning his first Winternationals win, but is not looking at the loss as a disappointment. With so much recent success, Worsham is confident in his DHL Toyota team heading into the second event of the season.

Worsham, who has been a part of five of the last seven NHRA Funny Car final rounds, has been on a hot streak since the beginning of the 2015 Countdown for the Championship. In the last seven events, Worsham has earned a NHRA-best 20 round wins. The consistency in the Nicky Boninfante and Jon Oberhofer-tuned Camry led to round wins over Cruz Pedregon, his teammate Alexis DeJoria and John Force in the season opener.

The DHL team moves to the desert of Phoenix with a solid track record there as well. Before joining Team Kalitta, Worsham earned two wins at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in 2002 and 2004. Last season, Worsham qualified third and earned round wins over John Hale, Chad Head and Robert Hight, before coming up just short in the final. He returns to Phoenix looking for his latest win and plans on making that next step into the Winner’s Circle.

“The DHL team is rock solid and excited to be racing again,” said Worsham. “The Kalitta team as a whole has been strong in Phoenix and we come into the CarQuest Nationals confident that the DHL team is going to be one to beat for the Wally.”

Fans can meet Worsham as he signs autographs as part of the Mello Yello Powerhouse on noon Saturday.

Kalitta’s new rail has outstanding debut

Doug Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster, had an encouraging start to the new season as he debuted the new in-house Bounty Hunter Kalitta chassis to rousing success at the Winternationals.

Jim Oberhofer and the entire Mac Tools team continued to make gains throughout qualifying before setting a blistering pace in the final qualifying effort that nearly stole away the no.1 qualifying position. Kalitta rolled into Sunday as the no.2 qualifier and defeated Scott Palmer in the first round and the defending NHRA Mello Yello champion Antron Brown in the second round. That round win set-up an all Kalitta pairing in the semi-finals as Kalitta took on J.R. Todd in the first ever live round to air as part of the new Fox Sports NHRA television deal. Todd encountered problems, yielding the final round appearance to Kalitta. Although he came out on the losing end of a close final, Kalitta’s confidence is at a high as he transitions to the second race of the season.

“The work that went into Mac Tools team in the offseason was evident in Pomona,” said Kalitta. “Phoenix has been kind to our team the past two seasons, and we are hoping that this is our time to end up with the Wally.”

Kalitta was in last season’s Phoenix final round, just missing the Wally. He does own a Phoenix win as he celebrated victory in 2001. He also has an outstanding qualifying average at the track. Kalitta has two no.1 qualifying efforts in the past three seasons.

Kalitta is also milestone bound. A semi-final or better finish will help him become just the third driver to earn 550 round wins exclusively in the Top Fuel class and 12th driver overall in all NHRA pro classes. If Kalitta can find the Phoenix Winner’s circle, he will move past Kurt Johnson into 11th all-time in NHRA history for round wins.

Todd hopes his bright ride continues to turn heads in Phoenix

J.R. Todd, driver of the SealMaster Top Fuel dragster, had a strong start to the new season. With his best effort in Pomona since the 2014 season, Todd starts the season ranked fourth in the standings which already matches his 2015 season high. The Winternationals effort has Todd riding high leading into the second race of the season.

Todd struggled in day one of qualifying with a couple mechanical issues. However, Connie Kalitta and Rob Flynn turned the corner heading into Saturday and had a solid SealMaster machine going into race day. The driver was ready too as Todd had a solid light against his first round opponent, Brittany Force, and led to the stripe earning the first holeshot win this season in the series. He followed that up with a clean pass over Terry McMillen, before tire smoke saw him fall in the intramural battle versus his teammate, Kalitta.

Last season, Todd got his season kicked in gear in Phoenix. The team was strong throughout qualifying picking up multiple bonus points and a top three qualifying effort, before earning a first round win over McMillen. However, Todd is aware of the recent success for Kalitta Motorsports at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and is searching for more.

“I am definitely looking forward to returning to the track with the SealMaster ride,” said Todd. “We are planning on keeping this early momentum rolling.” That very cool SealMaster ride was just named as one of the top new schemes in the NHRA according to experts.

 

Todd will be a part of his first SealMaster Track Walk of the season as he walks the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park with fans prior to the race beginning on Sunday.

DeJoria’s ready for a return to the Winner’s Circle

Alexis DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car, will never forget this race just two seasons ago. DeJoria qualified fourth and moved through the field eventually reaching the final round versus former champion Robert Hight. DeJoria toed the line and took off. Hight smoked the tires, and the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry team were Funny Car winners for the first time.

Now two seasons later, DeJoria is ready for a return to victory. She started the season strong. In her 100th career event, DeJoria earned a round win at the Winternationals before coming up short against her teammate Worsham. DeJoria is also coming off a strong effort in Phoenix. One season after her first win, DeJoria returned to Phoenix and achieved a semi-final finish.

The "NITRO BABES" pose for a shot with a fan at he drag races!

The “NITRO BABES” pose for a photo with a fan at the drag races!

Sequel to popular Lost Drag Strips to be released

 

CT550 Cover Image

Sequel to popular Lost Drag Strips to be released

FOREST LAKE, Minn.—Fresh on the heels of the best-selling book Lost Drag Strips comes a new look at other long-lost and forgotten drag racing facilities from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. In the first volume, the author examined the birth of drag racing and its subsequent popularity that invaded every city and community across America. The first volume was great, but readers demanded more! Lost Drag Strips II picks up where the first volume left off, covering even more tracks with archival photos of racing in the tracks’ heyday, the cars that ran there, and coverage of the tracks as they exist today. This volume also includes some of the tracks that survived, those that fought off the economic demons and the urban sprawl and continue to run today. Tracks in this volume include: Fort Wainwright/Racing Lions Motorsports Park, Avenue G Drag Strip, Fremont/ Baylands Drag Strip, San Fernando Drag Strip, Fontana Drag City, Inyokern Drag Strip, Kahuku Air Strip, Las Vegas Speedrome, Continental Divide Raceways, SRCA Drag Strip, Southwest Raceway, Willow Run Raceway, Minnesota Dragways, KCTA Drag Strip, Detroit Dragway, Niagara Airport Dragstrip, New York National Speedway, York US 30 Drag-O-Way, South Mountain Raceway, State Capitol Dragway, La Place Dragway, Yellow River Drag Strip, Thunderbolt Dragway, and more.  Scotty Gosson worked his way from wrecking yards to rod and custom shops as a mechanic and fabricator. His involvement in drag racing and landspeed racing led to a successful career in the print industry, where he is a popular magazine feature freelancer. His work has appeared in Drag Racing USA, Hot Rod, Car Craft, Rod & Custom, Hot Rod Deluxe, and Goodguys Gazette. Other CarTech books by Scotty Gosson include America’s Coolest Station Wagons; Rat Rods–Rodding’s Imperfect Stepchildren; and America’s Wildest Show Rods of the 1960s & 1970s. The 8.5 x 11” paperback (ISBN: 978-1-61325-223-9) features 176 pages packed with 249 photos. This April 2016 release may be ordered for $29.95 plus $6.95 shipping and handling by calling CarTech at 1-800-551-4754 or by visiting www.cartechbooks.com/lost-drag-2.

Alexis DeJoria Racing Qualifying Report- 56th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals

 

Alexis DeJoria Racing Qualifying Report- 56th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals

Drag RacingAlexis DeJoria, Driver:  It feels good to be back in my Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry. This race is a milestone for me- it marks my 100th pro start in a nitro Funny Car. It’s a dream come true and couldn’t be better. I’m with the best group of people I could possibly be with. It’s the first race of the season and I just can’t say enough about my team. I have so much faith in them. I’ve never felt more confident and more solid in this race car than I do now. I just have to give a lot of respect to my guys for that. I think this year is going to be incredible.  We had three really good qualifying runs this weekend- a 4.02, a 4.04 and on this last one, we finally got into the three’s [seconds]. We’re sitting fourth and we’re in the top half of the field, pretty feeling solid. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.

John Force Racing ready for championship chase

 

JFR READY FOR WINTERNATIONALS THIS WEEKEND FORCE READY TO CHASE CHAMPIONSHIP No. 17 STARTING IN POMONA POMONA (February 9, 2016) — John force racingThe winningest driver in NHRA history is ready to get the 2016 NHRA season started with the 56th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. John Force, the 16-time Funny Car champion, will be racing under the PEAK Antifreeze banner all season behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. This weekend Force will be looking to win the historic season opening race for the eighth time. “I am excited about getting the season started. We had a great week of testing in Phoenix and my PEAK hot rod is ready. My crew chief Jon Schaffer and my team have worked hard over the off-season and we will be ready for the Winternationals,” said Force, the 2014 Winternationals winner. Last season Force picked up two wins and finished in the Top Ten but by his own admission it was an off season. This season Force has dedicated himself to keeping the competitive fire burning starting with the first race of the season. “I told my sponsors that we will be racing for the championship. We have been in the championship hunt until the last day of the season for just about twenty years. We came up a little short last season but we had so much new stuff going on I didn’t know how it would turn out. I had a whole new team and they did a really good job. Jon Schaffer showed he can lead this team and working with Mike Neff my lead crew chief we have a really good group,” added Force. Prior to last season John Force Racing had won the last five Winternationals with John Force accounting for three of those wins. Force won in 2014, 2012 and 2010. Teammates Robert Hight and Courtney Force accounted for the other two wins in 2011 and 2013 respectively. JFR has also collected fifteen No. 1 qualifiers at the Winternationals including five of the last six top spots. That kind of strong start to the season has seen a JFR Funny Car in the winner’s circle eleven times to start the NHRA season. Since 1995 Force has only failed to qualify in the top half of the field one time, a No. 11 start in 2013. Over that span of twenty-one years Force qualified in the top three twelve times. Last season saw John Force lead the charge to add sponsors and new partners and this season he has the benefit of continuity and stability going into the race season. “We expanded our relationship with PEAK to the full season and I am excited to be racing this blue PEAK Chevrolet Camaro plus we are bringing on some new B to B (business to business) partners through that relationship,” said Force. “You’ll see me in my blue PEAK firesuit all season and hopefully a lot of the time we’ll be in the winner’s circle with my car or Robert’s Auto Club Chevy or Courtney Traxxas Chevy. I am also looking forward to seeing the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster hit the track and go some rounds.” HIGHT WANTS TO PUT FOCUS ON STRONG START IN 2016 POMONA (February 9, 2016) — Robert Hight and the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team are on a mission in 2016. The 2009 Funny Car champion is looking to bring more focus and determination to the chase for his second NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship. That is quite a statement for a driver that has won at least two races and qualified No. 1 at least once every single season of his professional career. “I don’t think I have ever been more focused on getting a season started than I am on this season. I think my team had a good off-season working on some things with the rest of the crew chiefs to give us a great chance to start strong in 2016. Last year we had a semi-final finish at the Winternationals and I would love to get my fourth win at Auto Club Raceway this weekend,” said Hight, a three-time Winternationals winner. In 2011 Hight won the season opener and he picked up his previous two wins at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals in 2006 and 2008. In addition to his three wins with the Auto Club team Hight also has three No. 1 qualifiers to his credit. After career quick times at testing in Phoenix Hight is confident in his teams chance to getting off to a good start this weekend. “We had a good testing session in Phoenix last weekend. I made my quickest run ever, 3.885 seconds at over 329 mph. It was a great run and I felt it just pulling the whole way down the track. Hopefully conditions will give us a chance to run that quick at Auto Club Raceway,” said Hight. Testing started off slowly for Hight but his team stuck with their plan and over the course of the first two days worked their way to a competitive tune up. “We had a ton of things to come in here to test and it took us seven runs to get the application right to go down the track. We didn’t get to test everything that we wanted to but once it went it was fast. We figured out some of the good things that we wanted to test but not everything,” said Hight. “I also believe with how we finished the end of the year at Pomona what we learned here is going to make us so much better when we get back to Pomona. I am so excited to get to the Winternationals. We made career best runs here and we are in the ballgame.” Hight knows racing in front of his hometown fans and sponsors will provide a great opportunity to start the season on the right foot. “I have a great sponsor with the Automobile Club of Southern California and they will have a huge display at the Winternationals. The whole team will go to the Auto Club stage on Saturday and spend time with the fans. I love having sponsors like Auto Club at the race because you see them in the pits and the staging lanes and it just keeps you motivated. I know if we get into the winner’s circle there will be a lot of people to celebrate the win,” add Hight. COURTNEY FORCE LOOKING FOR SECOND WINTERNATIONALS TITLE POMONA (February 9, 2016) — The off season was incredibly long for Courtney Force after wrapping up her toughest season since her 2012 Funny Car debut. It was a rocky year that tested the Traxxas team with highs and lows. Force qualified on the pole at two events (Pomona and Charlotte) and had a runner-up finish in Norwalk, Ohio. She posted a new career-best ET of 3.933 seconds in qualifying at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at the end of the year. Unfortunately, the 27-year-old suffered fifteen first-round losses at the wheel of her Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car in 2015, ultimately taking away a highly sought after position in the Countdown to the Championship. Despite a winless season, Force kept a firm hold on the record for most Funny Car wins in a season by a female (four) and most Funny Car wins overall for a female Funny Car driver with seven career tour victories. “I think I’ve become mentally stronger as a driver going into my 5th year of racing and have learned through all the ups and downs. I think any mistake you make as a driver is only for the better and you can take some much away from that if you choose to look at it with a positive attitude, and that’s what I’m doing this season,” said Force. Force is ready to make a comeback with her Traxxas team for the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series tour and she has already seen an improvement. The team recently tested their Chevrolet Funny Cars in Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and after struggling on their first few attempts, the young driver was making impressive full pulls which led to a career-best 3.890 seconds at 323.89 mph. “This season we are pushing hard to get our car back in that top 10 since we missed that opportunity last year. We are going to fight hard at every race with that as our primary focus. Obviously we have high hopes of having a race car to chase that championship, but we are going to take this one race at a time. We have a couple new guys on my team and have Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson as co-crew Chiefs this year so I am eager to get started! The season opener at the Force family’s home track in Pomona, Calif. will be the first event for new Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS Funny Car co-crew chiefs Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson. Both Hood and Thompson were assistant Crew Chiefs until this year. “I think our team made some huge progress this past week during testing in Phoenix. I think we have a better handle on this car than we did last year going into Pomona so that is giving us some confidence. When we ran my career best during testing and the car showed some consistency on the runs, it made me really excited for the upcoming season,” said Force. BRITTANY FORCE AND MONSTER ENERGY TEAM READY FOR FIRST RACE OF SEASON POMONA (February 9, 2016) — Brittany Force, the 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year, is looking to continue to build momentum off of a strong finish last year. Entering her fourth professional season the driver of the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster team has a new crew chief but has the same drive to get into the winner’s circle. Over the off-season two-time Top Fuel champion crew chief Brian Husen joined JFR as crew chief for the Monster Energy team and world class tuner Alan Johnson will act as a tuning consultant. Husen describes the tuning relationship perfectly saying he is the quarterback and Alan is the coach. “Teaming up with Alan Johnson and Brian Husen as my crew chief has been great. They have made a lot of changes to this Monster Energy dragster. They run a whole different system that what we used to run. It takes some time to adjust to that and I am learning the car. It is starting to feel like home. We ran a couple of 3.72s and I am ready to get to Pomona,” said Force. Force is looking for her first round win at the historic Circle K NHRA Winternationals. In the past three seasons Force has qualified No. 15, No. 8 and No. 8 but has not advanced out of the first round. Her past performance won’t distract for her focus going into the first race on the heels of testing. The young driver likes to idea of going straight from testing to the first race of the season. “Not only does it help me as a driver I think it helps the whole team. We have all had a long off-season and coming to Phoenix and making good runs every day is what we needed to do to get prepared for the season,” said Brittany Force. The test session in Phoenix was very beneficial to Force and the Monster Energy team as they posted consistently quick times, including the quickest elapsed time for the category on Saturday a solid 3.712 second pass. “That is the one thing I am most excited about. I want to get the season started and get back into that racing groove. We have a new team and I am excited to get the season started,” added Force. In the past two seasons Force has raced to final rounds each season with last year being a break-through year. Force raced to into the Countdown to the Championship and with the season winding down was as high as No. 3 in the points before settling into the No. 7 finishing position. Her six final round appearances and four No. 1 qualifiers have the lone JFR Top Fuel driver poised to pick up her first win. “I know that we have been close to that first win and I have so much confidence in this team I know we will be ready starting this weekend,” said Force. “Having the support of Monster Energy has been great. They came on board last year in Atlanta so this will be their first Winternationals and I can’t wait to have them with us for a whole season.”

Mike Dunn new president of IHRA

Mike Dunn

IRG Sports + Entertainment™ (IRGSE), proud portfolio company of TPG; parent company to the International Hot Rod Association™ (IHRA); one the fastest-growing professional racing circuits globally, today, announced that Mike Dunn has been installed as President of the IHRA organization in advance of the complete reorganization of the company and its various operations. Dunn, one of the most successful drivers and team organizers in the history of motorsports, joins the IHRA after spending the last 14 years as the face of major league professional drag racing for ESPN. Read More →

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