NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES RETURNS TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO OPEN 2015 SEASON WITH CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS
POMONA, Calif. — The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will kick-off another season in sunny Southern California with the tradition-rich Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 5-8, at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Celebrating its 55th running, the iconic season-opener has always been on the top of every NHRA driver’s list of dream races to win on the Mello Yello circuit. Drag racing’s biggest names have reigned supreme at the facility located at the L.A. Fairplex, also home to the Los Angeles County Fair.
The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will once again attempt to get off to a lightning quick start at one of drag racing’s most revered events. 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.
In Top Fuel, reigning world champion Tony Schumacher will be looking to defend his crown. Schumacher, an eight-time world champion, will once again pilot the U.S. Army dragster for Don Schumacher Racing in 2015. He closed the 2014 season in style with victories at three of the six Countdown to the Championship events and clinched the championship during qualifying of the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals in November. Schumacher is a two-time winner of the Circle K NHRA Winternationals.
Former world champions Antron Brown and Larry Dixon, as well as top category challengers J.R. Todd, Spencer Massey, Doug Kalitta, 2014 NHRA rookie of the year Richie Crampton and category newcomer Dave Connolly, will all be racing fast to prevent Schumacher from adding to his category-leading win total and winning another series crown.
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. Hagan, who won his first championship in 2011, will return to the controls of his 10,000 horsepower Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing. He was the Winternationals runner-up last season event and is a two-time defending winner of the NHRA Finals at Pomona. He is looking for his first victory at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals.
The Force-Hagan rivalry has been intense the last few seasons with both competing for the world championship and finishing first and second two seasons in a row. Fans are being treated to a Funny Car rivalry that is poised to enter the legendary status of the Force-Cruz Pedregon rivalry of the 1990s.
Force is not resting on his laurels however. He is determined to win his 17th championship and will be looking to repeat his season-opening win. He will be joined by Tommy Johnson Jr., teammate and daughter Courtney Force and teammate Robert Hight in their attempt to wrestle the championship away from Hagan.
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 and third female to win a title in the NHRA professional ranks, returns in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro and will be looking to add a win at the season-opening event to her collection of 12 career victories.
Line, a two-time world champion, is the defending and three-time winner of the Winternationals. Past world champ Allen Johnson and Gray Motorsports teammates Shane Gray and Jonathan Gray will all figure to be major factors in both the Circle K NHRA Winternationals and the 2015 championship hunt.
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.NHRATIX.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
* * *
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
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.
Saturday, Feb. 8, ESPN2 will televise qualifying coverage. Please check local listing for time.
Sunday, Feb. 9, ESPN will televise eliminations coverage. Please check local listing for time.
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
Top Fuel – 3.704 sec. Morgan Lucas, Nov. ’14 and 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
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.NHRATIX.com.
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
NHRA CHAMPION DRIVER AND CREW CHIEF DALE ARMSTRONG: 1941-2014
Legendary NHRA crew chief and mechanical wizard Dale Armstrong died Nov. 28 from complications of sarcoidosis at his home in Temecula, Calif. He was 73.
As a driver, Armstrong won 12 NHRA national events – including three victories at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals – with a series of alcohol-burning dragsters, funny cars and altereds during the 1970s, but the 1975 Pro Comp national champion and former nitro Funny Car national record holder is perhaps best known for his many mechanical and technological breakthroughs while serving as crew chief for Kenny Bernstein.
Armstrong has been widely credited as the first Funny Car crew chief to use wind-tunnel testing and data recorders. He also pioneered the development of the lockup-style clutch, dual-source fuel-delivery system and dynamometer testing for nitromethane-burning racing engines.
As crew chief for Bernstein, Armstrong was the architect behind four NHRA Funny Car world championships (1985-’88) and provided the tune-up for drag racing’s first 300-mph run in 1992. Four years later Armstrong made history again by leading Bernstein to the 1996 Top Fuel world championship, giving Bernstein the distinction of being the first driver to win NHRA series crowns in Top Fuel and Funny Car.
Of his many accomplishments in NHRA drag racing, Armstrong once said that the speed-barrier-breaking effort in Top Fuel would always be his most cherished.
“Being the crew chief on the first car to run 300 means more to me than any national event win or any championship,” Armstrong said at the time. “There isn’t any question at all. People will forget what years we won the championship, but they’ll never forget when the first 300 was run and who did it.”
Following his record-breaking run with Bernstein, Armstrong continued his successful career, tuning Don “The Snake” Prudhomme’s Top Fuel dragster, and later serving as chief tuner for Jerry Toliver’s Funny Car. He recently worked as a tuning consultant, most notably for John Force Racing.
Armstrong, a native of Alberta, Canada, was inducted into the Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1995, the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2010. In 2001, he was named No. 10 on the list of NHRA’s top 50 drivers during the sanctioning body’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Armstrong is survived by his wife, Susan Arnold; daughter, Tracy Walsh; son, Brad Armstrong; sister, Phyllis Fabian; and five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.