FUNNY CAR ICON JOHN FORCE PROMISES TO BE AS MOTIVATED AS EVER AT CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS

February 3, 2015 by  
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POMONA, Calif. — Off the track, legendary Funny Car driver John Force has stayed busy over the last several months, changing car manufacturers, shuffling his team roster and adding a flurry of new sponsors heading into the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.

On the track, where Force really thrives, the 16-time world champion continues to be just as successful. He battled reigning Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan down to the wire a season ago, finishing second in points after a thrilling duel at Pomona.

A chaotic off-season ended on a strong note with an impressive test session in Phoenix, leaving Force primed for another go at a world championship. That journey starts with this weekend’s Circle K NHRA Winternationals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, and the reigning event winner Force promises to be ready in his 10,000-horsepower PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS.

“Driving is what I really do,” Force said. “When I got to testing everybody said my personality changed, because you get back into what you really love, and that’s driving a race car on the NHRA circuit. I can’t wait to get to the Winternationals. I’m excited because driving that car is what I’m good at it. Retiring is not an option to me. I love what I do. The car is what I do, and I’m ready to drag race.”

Khalid alBalooshi (Top Fuel) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) joined Force as winner’s last year of the race that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Force is certainly no stranger to victories at Pomona, winning 16 times overall and eight times at the Winternationals. To keep that stellar mark going, Force will have to deal with a loaded Funny Car class that starts with Hagan, who showed extreme poise throughout the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

The duel and brewing rivalry between Force and Hagan seemed to bring out the best in both, as Hagan won three races and advanced to four final rounds in the Countdown to the Championship. Force advanced to three final rounds during the six-race playoffs, but lost to Hagan in two of those outings.
That matchup figures to be one to watch during 2015, but Force also knows he can’t concentrate on just one driver in a deep and talented Funny Car field.

“I’m ready, but Hagan will tell you, if he focused on me and I’m focused on him, well then Cruz Pedregon or Robert Hight or Courtney or Ron Capps is going to go around us,” Force said. “So what do we do? We take them a day at a time. Robert Hight wants a championship as much as I do, and he knows how to do it.

“Courtney, she’s ready. She’s got a race car and she knows how to drive it. But there’s a lot of other kids out there that are overdue. Ron Capps has got a great team. Any day his could happen and it would be well deserved. We’ll be back in the hunt. It’s exciting times to watch this. I’m ready to rock and roll.”

Top competition seems to bring out the best in Force but so seemingly does a non-stop mindset off the track. Force and his John Force Racing team worked tirelessly to add new sponsors throughout the end of 2014 and into 2015, and that energy has had a strong effect on the entire team, which includes Hight, Courtney Force and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force.

All had strong showings at their test session in Phoenix and John Force hopes that carries over to memorable performances from his entire team in Pomona.

“We’ll have to see what we can do at Pomona,” Force said. “Testing was good. We’re a little overworked, but it’s starting to come together with a lot of good friends helping. Mike Neff heads our charge. He’s my new Austin Coil. He runs everything. But (crew chief) Jon Schaffer proved he could get the job done. (It’s a) young team, kind of an old guy over here, but it’s a balance and we work great together.”

That should continue to pay dividends as Force continues to adjust to the new Camaro. On the good side, it also gives Force reason to believe the car will run well when all of the kinks are ironed out.

“That (doesn’t) mean we’re going to run out and win a championship right off the bat, but we’ll be a contender, I’ll give you my word on that,” Force said.

The star-studded Top Fuel class is led by reigning world champion Tony Schumacher, who claimed his eighth world championship in 2014. Former world champions Antron Brown, Larry Dixon and Shawn Langdon as well as top challengers J.R. Todd, Spencer Massey, Doug Kalitta, class newcomer Dave Connolly and 2014 NHRA rookie of the year Richie Crampton will aim to prevent a ninth world title for Schumacher.

In Pro Stock, Erica Enders-Stevens reigned supreme in one of the most exciting championship battles ever, defeating Jason Line in a winner-take-all final side-by-side race of the year to claim her first world championship. Enders-Stevens, who became the first female Pro Stock world champion, will be looking to add to her 12 career victories but will face stiff challenges from the likes of Line, Allen Johnson, Shane Gray, Greg Anderson, Jonathan Gray and Vincent Nobile.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Feb. 6, with sessions at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Feb. 7, at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

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CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS FACT SHEET

WHAT: 55th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, the first of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Pomona, Calif. Track is located off I-10 at Fairplex Drive. Go north on Fairplex drive.

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 5-8

SCHEDULE:
THURSDAY, Feb. 5 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, Feb. 7 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, Feb. 8 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION:
Saturday, Feb. 7, ESPN2 will televise 90 minutes of qualifying coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Feb. 8, ESPN2 will televise three hours of eliminations coverage at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Saturday, Feb. 7, 11 – 11:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 1/ Transponder 01C
Sunday, Feb. 8, 9 – 9:30 p.m. (ET), AMC 1/ Transponder 01C
(3720 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.46147055 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.

2014 EVENT WINNERS: Khalid alBalooshi, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Jason Line, Pro Stock

MOST VICTORIES: John Force, FC – 7; Bob Glidden, PS – 7; Greg Anderson, PS- 5; Don Garlits, TF- 5; Warren Johnson, PS – 5; Don Prudhomme, TF/FC – 5; Larry Dixon, TF- 4

TRACK RECORDS:
Top Fuel – 3.704 sec. Morgan Lucas, Nov. ’14; 330.15 mph by Doug Kalitta, Feb. ’14
Funny Car – 3.965 sec. and 324.12 by John Force, Feb. ‘14
Pro Stock – 6.480 sec. and 213.67 mph by Erica Enders-Stevens, Nov. ’14

NATIONAL RECORDS:
Top Fuel – 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ‘12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car – 3.965 sec. and 324.12 mph by John Force, Feb. ’14, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.464 sec. and 215.55 mph by Erica Enders-Stevens, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.

TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.

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NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES POINTS INCREASED FOR PRESTIGIOUS CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS

January 28, 2015 by  
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GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 27, 2015) — The NHRA competition committee today announced a points increase for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competitors at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.

Drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be racing for their share of points using a point-and-a-half scale at the tradition-rich Labor Day event held annually at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The winner of the race in each pro class will claim 150 points. The runners-up will earn 120 points; the semifinalists will earn 90 points apiece; the second round finishers will earn 60 points each; and the first round finishers will all claim 30 points.

A maximum of 208 points is available at the event to a single racer in each Mello Yello Series category through the points increase, which also includes 15 points to each driver who makes at least one qualifying attempt. In addition to 165 points for winning and making a qualifying attempt, the maximum also includes 20 points for setting a national record, 8 points for earning the No. 1 qualifying position and a max total of 15 points for earning 3 qualifying bonus points in each of the five qualifying sessions.

The move promises to add even more excitement to the final regular season race that has produced plenty of drama and emotionally-charged performances in recent seasons. NHRA teams frantically try to gain maximum points at the event in hopes of securing one of the top 10 positions in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoff.

“With more points up for grabs we certainly expect to see a lot of movement throughout the top 10s in each of the Mello Yello Series classes on the final day of the regular season,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president of racing operations. “The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is already one of the most pressure-packed events on the circuit and we expect that level of excitement to increase significantly with this points increase.”

The 61st Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7, which also features the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel and Funny Car, will be televised via 10 hours of coverage on ESPN and ESPN2.

Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals points structure
Winner: 150, Runner-up: 120, Semifinalist: 90, Quarterfinalist: 60, First round finisher: 30
All drivers, one qualifying attempt: 15, National E.T. record: 20, Qualifying position points: 1-8, Qualifying bonus points: 1-3 per session

NHRA National Events points structure (all races except Indianapolis)
Winner: 100, Runner-up: 80, Semifinalist: 60, Quarterfinalist: 40, First round finisher: 20
All drivers, one qualifying attempt: 10, National E.T. record: 20, Qualifying position points: 1-8, Qualifying bonus points: 1-3 per session

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.

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Texas Diesel Nationals Event Info

January 27, 2015 by  
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Click Here for 2015 Texas Diesel Nationals Event Info

TDN-2015-Poster-Web-2
Texas Diesel Nationals Host Hotel

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DAVE CONNOLLY EAGER FOR TOP FUEL DEBUT AT CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS

January 22, 2015 by  
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POMONA, Calif. — Dave Connolly is just two weeks away from making his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel debut when the 2015 season begins with the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 5-8, at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Needless to say, the longtime Pro Stock star is more than thrilled to experience his first race behind the wheel of his 10,000-horsepower C&J Energy Services dragster at the tradition-rich season-opener at the fabled Southern California dragstrip.

“The season is right around the corner and that’s pretty exciting,” Connolly said. “I’ve been able to experience a lot, getting that first full pass and I’ve really grown to appreciate the car. These Top Fuel cars are the baddest things on the planet. There’s no way to prepare for it. These cars are so impressive. They just set you back in the seat the whole way down the track.”

Connolly will be competing against the best in Top Fuel as the NHRA’s top stars look to start the 2015 campaign in memorable fashion. Khalid alBalooshi (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the race that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Connolly is certainly a familiar name for NHRA fans, compiling an impressive 26 wins during a highly-successful Pro Stock career. Three of those victories came a year ago when Connolly finished third in the points standings. But when Bob Vandergriff announced his retirement after the 2014 season, he looked to Connolly to take over driving duties.

Connolly jumped at the opportunity and will be one half of what appears to be a championship-minded team with three-time champ Larry Dixon driving the team’s second car. Vandergriff will serve as the team’s owner and Connolly has already been impressed with how quickly the team, led by crew chief Kurt Elliott, has come together.

“I’ve got a lot to learn but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the team Bob has put together,” Connolly said. “Larry and I will have two great cars. A big positive is the team chemistry. It’s been great and that goes a long way. I feel like we’ve got all the right parts and pieces in place.”

Connolly also knows his first season in Top Fuel will be filled with challenges as he tackles the immense task of trying to harness the power of a 320-mph dragster. He made seven test runs in December and followed that up with another successful test session earlier this month, making his first full pass and reaching the 3.70s for the first time.

By the time the season opens in Pomona, Connolly will have more than 20 runs in the dragster. That’s enough for the comfort level to increase but Connolly admits there is still a long way to go.

“Really, until you sit in one you don’t realize the amount of ground you cover in such a short time,” Connolly said. “You have to stay ahead of the car and that’s hard to do when you’re going more than 300 mph. Hopefully after 20-30 laps it will start to slow down and it already is a little bit. It’s just going to be a work in progress.”

That work in progress means staying patient throughout the process. It may be difficult for a veteran like Connolly to accept, but he knows making small strides early could pay big dividends down the road, namely during the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

“When you’re setting goals for yourself you have to learn to walk before you run in these cars and I understood that going in,” Connolly said. “I knew there would be a learning curve and that’s the way it is.”

The learning curve gets a little steeper when the vast talent of the Top Fuel class is thrown into the mix. It’s led by reigning world champion Tony Schumacher, who claimed his eighth world championship in 2014. Former world champions Antron Brown, Dixon, and Shawn Langdon as well as top challengers J.R. Todd, Spencer Massey, Doug Kalitta and 2014 NHRA rookie of the year Richie Crampton will aim to prevent a ninth world title for Schumacher.

Connolly hopes to be in that mix as well, but just getting to compete in the Top Fuel ranks has brought a level of excitement that figures to remain high throughout the 2015 season.

“This is humbling and I’m very blessed to have an opportunity like this,” Connolly said. “In my opinion racing in Top Fuel is the pinnacle of NHRA drag racing. Top Fuel cars are the fastest cars on the planet and to drive and experience it, it’s pretty incredible. I’m just going to make the best of it and give it my all.”

In Funny Car, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan claimed his second world championship at the season-ending race last season, dethroning 16-time world champion John Force in Pomona. Hagan, who won his first championship in 2011, will try to thwart off a list of perennial stars in the loaded class, including John Force, Courtney Force, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon, Tommy Johnson Jr., Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson.

In Pro Stock, Erica Enders-Stevens reigned supreme in one of the most exciting championship battles ever, defeating Jason Line in a winner-take-all final side-by-side race of the year to claim her first world championship. Enders-Stevens, who became the first female Pro Stock champion, will be looking to add to her 12 career victories at the controls of her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, but will face stiff challenges from the likes of Line, Allen Johnson, four-time series champ Greg Anderson, Shane Gray, Jonathan Gray and Vincent Nobile.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Feb. 6, with sessions at 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Feb. 7, at 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.nhra.com/tickets. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

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PDRA SEASON OPENER, MARCH 20-21, 2015

January 12, 2015 by  
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PDRA SEASON OPENER, MARCH 20-21, 2015

WHAT: Texas Motorplex will host the PDRA Texas Nationals for the first time on March 20-21, 2015. The all Pro Mod show will feature the quickest and fastest 1/8-mile race cars in the world. The 10-event national tour kicks off at the historic Motorplex with more than 200 professional teams vying for valuable championship points.

The PDRA was founded in 2014 by an elite group of racers committed to bringing credibility and stability to the sport of 1/8 mile drag racing. Jason Scruggs, Tommy Franklin, Gene Hector, and Roger Henson started the PDRA to preserve a viable door-slammer series that would benefit the fans, marketing partners, racers, and all those affiliated with the professional drag racing industry.

WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas. Track is located on Hwy. 287, two miles west of Ennis, between Interstates 35 and 45.

WHEN: March 20-21, 2015.

SCHEDULE: Wednesday, March 18: RACER PARKING from 2-9 p.m.

Thursday, March 19: Test-n-tune from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (open to the public)

FRIDAY, MARCH 20 – Gates open at 8 a.m.

SATURDAY, MARCH 21 – Gates open 8 a.m.

TICKETS: FREE PARKING ALL WEEKEND

THURSDAY, MARCH 19: TESTING ONLY, Tickets are $10

FRIDAY, MARCH 20: $30 for adults

SATURDAY, MARCH 21: $30 for adults

CONTACT: Texas Motorplex: (972) 878-2641, www.texasmotorplex.com

www.pdra660.com

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For event information or tickets please call 972-878-2641
or 1-800-MOTORPLEX (1-800-668-6775)