NHRA BOLSTERS OILDOWN POLICY FOR 2015 MELLO YELLO SERIES SEASON
GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2015) – 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.
Monetary fines and point deductions continue to increase on a scale for each additional oildown violation. The 10th violation will result in an $18,000 fine and a 50-point penalty.
“We offer race teams considerable input on how to avoid oildowns,” said Graham Light, NHRA’s senior vice president of racing operations. “But the responsibility still lies with the team. In 2014, oildowns contributed to significant delays over the course of each race weekend. As we increase the number of live TV broadcasts, we have to make sure that our events stay on schedule.”
Monetary fines will be in effect at all 24 events but points penalties will be waived during the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“Fines are utilized for equipment purchases, personnel training, new technology and support of the NHRA Safety Safari,” Light said.
2015 NHRA Oildown Violation Penalties for Top Fuel and Funny Car
Violation Fine Points
First $1,000 -5
Second $2,000 -10
Third $4,000 -15
Fourth $6,000 -20
Fifth $8,000 -25
Sixth $10,000 -30
Seventh $12,000 -35
Eighth $14,000 -40
Ninth $16,000 -45
10th $18,000 -50
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
ORIGINAL PARTS GROUP RETURNS AS SUPER CHEVY SHOW SPONSOR FOR 2015 WITH FEATURE SEGMENT ON VELOCITY’S SUPER CHEVY SHOW PROGRAM
DECEMBER 10, 2014 – Longtime sponsor of the Super Chevy Show presented by Chevrolet Performance, Original Parts Group (OPGI) will return for the 2015 season and is ramping up the partnership by adding a feature segment on the new Super Chevy Show program on Velocity scheduled to air in October.
Each episode of the Super Chevy Show will feature the “OPGI Original Award” segment that will highlight a selected Chevelle or local Chevelle car club from each of the 12 Super Chevy Show events.
“We are thrilled to have Original Parts Group give our Chevelle enthusiasts a chance to have their cars featured on Velocity this upcoming season,” said Sara Griewing, Manufacturers Series Director
We know the hard work it takes to get a car ready for a show and we’re looking forward to seeing all the online submissions for the special OPGI Original Award and to present the special trophy to commemorate the victory and display the months between the event and when the episode airs”
To be considered for the OPGI Original Award feature segment at one of the 12 Super Chevy Show events, Chevelle owners and clubs will be required to submit an online application in advance. Online entries will be accepted for the 2015 season in January at www.superchevyshow.com. Winners will be contacted in advance and must be in attendance of the selected event in order to be eligible.
“Here at OPGI, we are proud of our long-standing participation in the premier national event for millions of Chevrolet enthusiasts. Offering something for everyone, from high-powered Chevy racing action to the best Bowtie show cars, the televised Super Chevy Show has become the best brand-specific event in the country” said OPGI Chief Operating Officer, Tony Genty.
In addition, OPGI will continue to support the Super Chevy Show by providing the participant goodie bags and other promotional items, as well as extend their tenure as the presenting sponsor of the Maple Grove Raceway (July 17-19) and Auto Club Famoso Raceway (November 7-8) events.
About Original Parts Group Inc.
Original Parts Group is the largest automotive restoration parts company in the United States. Original Parts Group has over 75,000 classic GM restoration parts and high performance accessories. They have the largest selection of Chevelle, El Camino, Monte Carlo, GTO, Le Mans, Tempest, Grand Prix, Bonneville, Catalina, Cutlass, 4-4-2, Skylark, GS, Riviera and Cadillac classic parts in the world. Dedication to research and development, product excellence, and outstanding customer service has helped us build this business into what it is today. Visit their web page at: www.opgi.com
About the Super Chevy Show
The Super Chevy Show tour is the premier national event for all Chevrolet enthusiasts offering something for everyone. From high-powered Chevy racing action to the spectacular show cars at the top NHRA and IHRA tracks across the country. The Series boasts one of the nation’s finest Performance & Restoration Midways for GM products, as well as a Swap Meet and Car Corral at most events. Kids are always welcome to take part in the free Revell Make ‘N Take activity each day to build their own model car to keep. The Super Chevy Show is widely considered the best brand-specific event in the country. For more information, visit: www.superchevyshow.com
Elon Werner, who directs the publicity and communications for drag racing’s biggest star, John Force, and Force’s championship team, today was announced as winner of the 2014 Jim Chapman Award for excellence in motorsports public relations.
The Chapman Award is considered by many in the industry as the highest honor in racing public relations. It is named in memory of Chapman, the legendary PR executive and innovator, who worked with Babe Ruth and was named Indy Car racing’s “most influential man” of the 1980s. Chapman died in 1996 at age 80.
The announcement and presentation were made at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before Sunday’s NHRA national event by Michael Knight, chairman of the selection committee, and one of Chapman’s closest friends. The award is determined by a vote of national media members, most of who knew Chapman, and is authorized by the Chapman family. PR representatives from all forms of motorsports are eligible for consideration.
Werner not only works directly with the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion, but also Force’s rising-star driver daughters. Ashley Force Hood twice won the U.S. Nationals before stepping aside to start a family. Courtney Force has won eight Funny Car races while Brittany Force was last year’s top NHRA rookie in the Top Fuel class. Robert Hight, Force’s son-in-law, was the 2009 Funny Car titlist.
“Elon’s work in developing successful relationships with the media is reminiscent of Jim Chapman and so this honor is most appropriate,” said Knight, the longtime journalist/publicist and award rights-holder.
“Jim set the ultimate standard of professionalism, class and dignity. He knew that building good one-on-one professional relationships with journalists was important in good times and absolutely essential in bad times. That’s too often missing today in a communications age where an E-mail or text message or over-reliance on social media is incorrectly considered ‘relationship-building.’ Jim was a true ‘people person’ and knew nothing could replace a handshake, a face-to-face conversation, or the sound of another person’s voice.
“John Force has been NHRA’s greatest cheerleader for decades, working to create new fans and new customers for his sponsors. Elon has done more than coordinate the numerous interview requests for John. Just as importantly, he’s provided wise guidance to Ashley, Courtney, Brittany and Robert, as they have followed John’s example. Elon’s outreach to motorsports-oriented reporters, and well as to those in the mainstream media, has helped produce a vast amount of news coverage for the sport, Force and his team, and their corporate partners.”
Werner worked for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks before joining the Texas Motorplex as PR manager in 1993. He eventually became that track’s general manager. After positions with several Dallas-based sports agencies and coordinating media for a number of motorsports clients, he became John Force Racing’s PR director in 2007.
Significant national media placements have included Courtney Force’s ESPN The Magazine cover, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBS Sunday Morning, National Public Radio and virtually every major motorsports publication. Werner also has built JFR’s social media presence.
With longtime Force publicist Dave Densmore the 2007 Chapman Award winner, this is the first time that the honor has been earned by two people from the same racing organization.
Knight also announced that, as has happened before, the selection committee has chosen two equally-deserving Chapman Award recipients this year. Announcement and presentation of that person will be made next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
Established in 1991 by media and publicists within the CART series, the Chapman Award originally focused on achievement in CART. After a hiatus of several years, the award was resumed in 2004, with eligibility expanded to anyone working in racing PR.
Chapman started as sports editor or managing editor of several Southern newspapers before joining the New York Times. He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. He entered the PR business in 1946, as regional PR director for Ford Motor Co. in Detroit.
Soon thereafter, Chapman hired Ruth as consultant to the automaker’s sponsorship of American Legion Junior Baseball. They traveled together for more than two years for personal appearances and became close friends. Chapman was one of only three friends at Ruth’s bedside when he died in August 1948 and then officially announced Ruth’s death to the press corps that had maintained an around-the-clock vigil at New York’s Memorial Hospital.
Chapman proudly showcased several photos of Ruth in his office. One was inscribed: “To a pal that is a pal.” Chapman also displayed a framed letter, written on Ruth’s personal stationery from Memorial Hospital, dated July 13, 1948, inviting him to the July 26 premier of the film, The Babe Ruth Story. That letter read, in part, “That evening would not be complete without your being my guest. To you, Jimmy, I say you must be with me that evening.”
In 1950, Chapman left Ford to start his own PR firm. One of his first clients was Avis founder Warren Avis. Chapman devoted much of his time to financial PR, which he once called his “favorite form of PR,” and helped companies get recognition among analysts and even gain admission to the New York and American stock exchanges.
Chapman’s first venture into motorsports was in 1951, when he joined with NASCAR founder Bill France to promote the Motor City 250. The race was part of Detroit’s 250th birthday celebration, a Chapman client. In 1967, Chapman entered Indy Car racing with client Ozzie Olson’s Olsonite sponsorship of Dan Gurney’s team, which later featured Bobby Unser as driver.
“Jim was one of the most innovative and imaginative PR men ever to grace a pit lane,” said Gurney. “Jim practically invented most of what is now considered routine sponsor PR work. He was the first, as far as I know, who thought of putting up a sponsor hospitality tent alongside a racetrack (at the old Riverside International Raceway), filling it with extravagant race car ice-sculptures, beautiful food and beautiful people from the business, sports and movie industries. He started an ‘open house’ tradition in Ozzie’s hotel suite in Indianapolis, where journalists could rub shoulders with John Wayne or (astronaut) Scott Carpenter.”
Chapman also directed Olsonite’s sponsorship of the Driver of the Year award. He orchestrated all the details, including the media panel voting, and an annual luncheon at New York City’s famed ‘21’ Club. That gathering was considered so prestigious it was routinely attended by leaders of all the major U.S. sanctioning organizations regardless of what series the Driver of the Year competed in.
Chapman’s greatest professional acclaim came from 1981-1992, as director of CART series sponsor PPG Industries’ program. Chapman was instrumental in raising PPG’s prize fund from $250,000 to more than $3.75 million at the time of his retirement in February 1993. The all-female PPG Pace Car Driving Team was another Chapman innovation, as were the PPG Editors’ Days, when he brought business and feature writers to the tracks for lunch, pace car rides, and driver interviews.
In 1982, Chapman negotiated a landmark sponsorship for PPG with then- Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Joe Cloutier, which formally made the Indy 500 a points-paying event in the PPG Indy Car World Series, an arrangement that continued through the 1995 season. “That was one of the most satisfying moments of my career,” Chapman recalled. “Roger Penske, among others, told me it was the best thing that had ever happened to CART.” In addition to a major contribution to the prize fund, PPG later became sponsor of the $100,000 Indy 500 pole award, and paid a special winner’s bonus in the early years of NASCAR’s Brickyard 400.
“With Jim, when he says ‘jump,’ we just ask ‘how high?,” Indy 500 winner and PPG Cup champion Al Unser Jr. said on behalf of his fellow drivers. “And we do it right then.”
Indy Car Racing magazine named Chapman the sport’s “most influential” man of the 1980s, saying he turned “a public relations assignment into an art form.” After his retirement, Chapman continued to consult PPG, and agreed to Mario Andretti’s personal request that he serve as honorary chairman of Andretti’s “Arrivederci, Mario” farewell tour in 1994.
Chapman’s professional achievements earned him vast recognition. The mayors of Detroit and Long Beach, Calif., presented him proclamations and the key to each city. In 1993, Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh named him Sagamore of the Wabash, the state’s highest honor. He served as president and/or director of more than 30 Michigan and Detroit-area civic and charitable organizations. Chapman became active in the civil rights movement in the 1950s and represented the Detroit Urban League and United Negro College Fund in several controversial situations. He admitted to shedding “buckets of tears of joy” when Willy T. Ribbs became the first African-American driver to qualify for the Indy 500 in 1991.
“The true honor of this award is not the plaque,” Knight concluded. “The true honor is having your name forever associated with that of the great James P. Chapman.”
PEAK® Antifreeze + COOLANT and BlueDEF® Diesel Exhaust Fluid BRANDS DRIVE JOHN FORCE INTO THE 2015 SEASON AND BEYOND WITH PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT
PEAK® Antifreeze + COOLANT and BlueDEF® Diesel Exhaust Fluid BRANDS DRIVE JOHN FORCE INTO THE 2015 SEASON AND BEYOND WITH PRIMARY SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT
Las Vegas, Nev. (November 1, 2014) – John Force Racing and PEAK announce today a new agreement with its PEAK Antifreeze + Coolant and BlueDEF brands serving as a primary sponsor for John Force during the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and beyond. Under the agreement, PEAK Antifreeze + Coolant and BlueDEF will be the primary sponsor of John Force’s Funny Car for a majority in the 2015 season as well as continuing as a major associate sponsor on Robert Hight, Courtney Force, and Brittany Force’s cars.
“I’m committed to continuing to lead a championship team and PEAK has proven a similar commitment to the NHRA. Thanks to PEAK Antifreeze + Coolant, I won’t be hanging up my hat from this sport anytime soon,” said John Force, 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion and CEO of John Force Racing, Inc. “Not only does PEAK provide high quality automotive products for American families like mine, but they’ve proved to be a valued partner on and off the track. I’m so grateful that they’re supporting me, my team and all the fans out there who love drag racing.”
PEAK’s expanded relationship with the 18-time NHRA Mello Yello championship team builds on its status as a major associate sponsor of all three of John Force Racing’s Funny Cars and the JFR Top Fuel Dragster since February 2014.
“We’re honored to be behind John Force and JFR for the 2015 season and beyond,” said Bryan Emrich, Chief Marketing Officer for Old World Industries, which includes the PEAK Antifreeze + Coolant and BlueDEF brands. “PEAK chooses partners that exude the same passion and personal character of hard work that our company upholds. After working with John over the past year, it was clear that he and his family are a great fit for our company, allowing us to make the decision to step up and ensure John keeps racing for many more years to come. He is an icon in this sport and a fan favorite and we are lucky to be tied with such a great championship winning organization.”
PEAK has been actively involved in motorsports for more than 30 years, showcasing the excellence and competitive quality of its products through the NHRA, NASCAR, and other motorsports series important to its customers. In 2013, PEAK entered into a multi-year agreement with the NHRA, naming PEAK Antifreeze, BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid, and HERCULINER® truck bed liner kits as official sponsors of the NHRA. Additionally, in 2013 PEAK kicked off its Sportsman’s program with NHRA championship drivers, including Jay Payne, Duane Shields, Dan Fletcher, Sherman Adcock and Tony Fuller.
For more information about John Force Racing and PEAK’s winning partnership, please visit peakauto.com/force.
Photo credit Richard Shute/AutoImagery.com
About John Force Racing
John Force Racing, Inc., based in Yorba Linda, Calif., and Indianapolis, Ind., is a professional sports dynasty, one that has earned 18 Mello Yello championships and claimed 237 professional tour victories. Led by team owner and driver John Force, a 16-time Funny Car Champion, 1996 Driver of the Year for all of American motor racing, and 2011 International Motorsports Hall of Fame inductee JFR is additionally comprised of Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang, 2009 Funny Car Champion and 2005 NHRA Rookie of the Year; Courtney Force, driver of the Traxxas Ford Mustang and 2012 NHRA Rookie of the Year and Brittany Force driver of the Castrol EDGE Top Fuel Dragster and 2013 NHRA Rookie of the Year. For more information, please visit johnforceracing.com.
About Old World Industries
Old World Industries, LLC is among the largest privately-held companies competing in the automotive aftermarket. The Northbrook, Illinois-based company enjoys a presence in various consumer and commercial product categories in more than 50 countries worldwide. Old World’s brands include a full line of PEAK® automotive products including Antifreeze + Coolant, Motor Oil, Washer Fluid, Electronics and Wiper Blades; BlueDEF® Diesel Exhaust Fluid and equipment; SIERRA® Antifreeze; Fleet Charge® Heavy Duty Fully Formulated Antifreeze + Coolant; Final Charge® Heavy Duty Global Extended Life Antifreeze + Coolant; SmartBLADE™ Premium Wiper Blades; and HERCULINER® Truck Bed Liner Kits. For more information, please visit peakauto.com and PEAKHD.com.