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Apr 18

Todd to drive Jesse James Firearms Unlimited Top Fueler in Houston

Master fabricator Jesse James will unite the two things Americans love most – guns and racing – when he introduces the new Jesse James Firearms Unlimited-sponsored Top Fuel dragster at the upcoming 2014 Mello …

Apr 17

NHRA announces marketing partnership with Pilot Flying J

NHRA has signed a marketing partnership with Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel plazas and travel centers in North America.
As part of the agreement, Pilot Flying J will have a presence at NHRA Mel…

Apr 17

Girl power on display at O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals in Houston

With many exciting storylines ongoing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series in 2014, one of the most prominent has been the girl power theme as the world’s fastest motorsport heads to the Lone Star State for the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals, April 25-27, at Royal Purple Raceway.
The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will duel it out at one of the circuit’s quickest and fastest tracks, located just minutes east of downtown Houston. Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised on ESPN2.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries has provided high-speed action to residents of Southeast Texas for 27 years. Royal Purple Raceway is only one of two venues in the state where fans can see 8,000-horsepower race cars battle it out during intense three-second runs at more than 300 mph for a chance at winning the coveted Wally trophy.
Long regarded as being the most diverse series in all of motorsports, the NHRA Mello Yello Series circuit has once again seen a female charge in each of its pro classes in 2014. Alexis DeJoria, Brittany Force and Erica Enders-Stevens have all made headlines in the early part of the season and drivers Courtney Force and Leah Pritchett are very close to making some noise of their own in the nitro ranks.
Houston has seen female success before in Funny Car with Ashley Force Hood taking the victory in 2009. Pro Stock Motorcycle racers Angelle Sampey and Karen Stoffer are both multi-time winners of the event. Force Hood is the only female driver to win a nitro class event at Royal Purple Raceway but there is a strong field of women in Funny Car ready to add their name to that win list.

Alexis DeJoria

DeJoria has made history with her powerful start to the 2014 season. The Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry driver rocketed to her first career win in Phoenix, becoming the fourth female to win a Funny Car event and the 14th female to win a Mello Yello Series event, and added a second win Las Vegas. In the season-opener at Pomona, DeJoria became the first female driver and only the ninth driver in Funny Car history to run a sub-four-second pass (3.997 seconds). DeJoria would love nothing more than to add a third win to her résumé in Houston.
Force Hood’s younger sister Courtney Force has three career victories in Funny Car, but will be looking for her first Houston win. The driver of the Traxxas Ford Mustang reached her first semifinal of the season in Gainesville and is looking for her first win since Epping, N.H., last June.
Brittany Force has proven she has what it takes to climb the mountain in Top Fuel, reaching her first career final at Phoenix. Force, the first Top Fuel driver in John Force Racing history, reached the final round in only the second start of her second full-time season, sending a strong message that the middle child of Funny Car legend John Force is ready to compete for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship.
Force is not the only female driver making headway in Top Fuel. Dote Family Racing’s Leah Pritchett has been fast early, posting career-bests for elapsed time and speed during her first two races of the season. Securing Houston-based Gumout Additives as a primary sponsor has been a major boost for Pritchett as she tries to become the next female driver to reach a final round and earn a victory.

Erica Enders-Stevens

Enders-Stevens, the current points leader, has quite the history in the Pro Stock category with seven career wins, becoming the first female in category history to win an event (2012 Chicago) and has raced on from there. She made history earlier this year in Gainesville, setting the Pro Stock national speed record with her 214.69 mph pass in qualifying. The Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro driver channeled that performance into a final round appearance at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals and a spectacular weekend in Las Vegas, where she won the K&N Horsepower Challenge and the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals. Enders-Stevens, a Houston native, won her first career NHRA national event at Houston in Super Gas competition in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and will be gunning to add a Mello Yello Series victory at her home track to her résumé.

NHRA’s female racers also are chasing an historic milestone 100th win in national event competition. The mark currently stands at 98.
In Top Fuel, Vandergriff secured his third career win in Houston last season, defeating eventual world champ Shawn Langdon. The driver of the C&J Energy Services dragster will face a tough field as he attempts to defend his win.
Langdon may have fallen to Vandergriff in the Top Fuel final, but he rebounded to take the 2013 Top Fuel world championship. The Al-Anabi Racing driver won seven races during his title campaign but would love to add a victory in Houston. Royal Purple Raceway may be just the place Langdon needs to turn his slow start to 2014 around.
Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel’s most decorated driver, has two wins in Houston. A third win here would tie him with the King of Speed Kenny Bernstein as the winningest driver in Top Fuel history at the track.

Antron Brown

Brown hasn’t won in Houston since 2008, but his start to the season may be an indication that he is ready to lift the Wally once again in the Royal Purple Raceway winner’s circle. The Matco Tools dragster driver has piloted his Don Schumacher Racing machine to wins in Phoenix and Charlotte and a runner-up appearance in Gainesville. Early momentum is a must for Brown, the first African-American driver to win a major U.S. auto racing championship, if he wants to win a second Mello Yello Series title.
Points leader Doug Kalitta has perhaps been the most consistent driver to start the season. A win in Gainesville, runner-ups in Pomona and Las Vegas, a semifinal showing in Phoenix, and two No. 1 qualifying efforts has the driver of the Mac Tools dragster positioned firmly as a favorite to win his first championship. The 2003 Houston winner would love to add a second win this early in the season and prove himself as the driver to beat. Others to watch in the field will be Kalitta Motorsports teammate J.R. Todd, Steve Torrence, Spencer Massey, 2014 rookie Richie Crampton and Winternationals winner Khalid alBalooshi.
The 16-time Funny Car world champ, John Force, has seven wins in Houston, the most for any driver in a pro category. The driver of the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang hasn’t won at Houston since 2002 however, and will be looking to end the 12-year drought. Defending race winner Pedregon has three wins at the facility and would love to get his season going. Brother Tony Pedregon has four career Houston wins and would relish the opportunity to edge closer to Force’s record seven.
DSR teammates Ron Capps and Matt Hagan have had success at Royal Purple Raceway, with Capps winning twice and Hagan once in 2010. JFR’s Robert Hight – who won recently at Gainesville and Charlotte and leads the points – won the event in 2005 and his crew chief Mike Neff took the victory in 2012. That’s a good combination as Hight looks for his second win on the season and to move past Kenny Bernstein on the career Funny Car victories list. The two are currently tied with 30 wins apiece.
Kalitta Motorsports’ Del Worsham took the 2011 Top Fuel title here and will be looking to become the first driver to win at this event in both nitro classes. Jack Beckman, last year’s runner-up Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Bob Tasca III are a few of the other Funny Car competitors who are expected to compete for the victory.

Jason Line

In Pro Stock, Line is the defending Houston winner and is looking to regain momentum following two early race exits in Phoenix and Gainesville. The KB Racing driver won the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona and a win in Texas would be a good way to get the two-time Pro Stock world champ’s season back on track.
Mopar drivers Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. introduced their new Dodge Darts in Gainesville with Johnson taking the win. Coughlin has four wins at Royal Purple Raceway while Johnson is still searching for his first. Both are expected to be among the title challengers in Houston.
Vincent Nobile is a two-time winner at this event and hopes his past history here helps him secure his first win of the season. Odessa, Texas native Chris McGaha was the No. 1 qualifier for the first time in his career in Phoenix and will have added pressure as he races in his home state. Dave Connolly, Shane Gray, Charlotte winner Jimmy Alund and V Gaines will be a few of the Pro Stock drivers who figure to be in the title mix in Houston.
The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will make its second stop of the 2014 season at Royal Purple Raceway. New Yorker Mike Castellana stormed to victory at the season-opener in Gainesville and is looking to make it two in a row to open the season. Defending champion Rickie Smith reached the Pro Mod finals in Florida and a win at Houston could propel him toward a second consecutive championship crown. Defending event winner Clint Satterfield and 2012 champ Troy Coughlin will also be among those gunning for victory in the thrilling 250 mph doorslammer category.
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.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins Friday, April 25, with sessions at 4 and 6:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, April 26, at 12:30 and 3 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 28. Pro Mod qualifying is set for Friday, April 25 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, April 26 at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Pro Mod eliminations are scheduled for Sunday at 9:45 a.m.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, log on to www.royalpurpleraceway.com or call Royal Purple Raceway at 281-383-RACE (7223). Tickets for children 13 and younger are free in reserved sections on spectator side with paid adult tickets.

Apr 17

Lincoln Technical Institute renews as Official Technical School of NHRA

Lincoln Technical Institute, a leading and diversified career-oriented school, has renewed its multiyear agreement as the official technical school of the NHRA. Lincoln Technical Institute also will participate in the NHRA Youth & Education Services (Y.E.S.) presented by U.S. Army at select NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
‘This renewal marks the continued successful partnership with Lincoln Technical Institute, a nationwide leader in post-secondary education and the NHRA,’ said Gary Darcy, senior vice president of sales and marketing, NHRA. ‘Their involvement with NHRA provides them an excellent platform to connect with potential students in a dynamic and energetic environment.’
As part of the multiyear agreement, Lincoln Technical Institute will have an extensive on-site presence including trackside signage, bannering rights and guardwall signage at each of the 24 national events held across the country. The company also will be included in the broadcast commercial inventory during the ESPN2 telecasts.
At select events during 2014, Lincoln Tech will take part in the NHRA Youth & Education Services presented by the U.S. Army. In its 26th season, Y.E.S. is the only full-time event dedicated to educational programing for high school and college aged students. Lincoln Tech will receive on-site recognition at the selected events as well as the opportunity to invite schools and youth groups to participate in the program.
Since opening its first campus in Newark, N.J., in 1946 to provide career training for returning World War II veterans, Lincoln Technical Institute has evolved into a place for post-secondary education. With a network of 38 campuses in 17 states, the Lincoln Group of Schools’ Diploma, Degree and Certificate programs emphasize experiential learning and employability. The faculty and staff are committed to the mission of helping students to achieve personal and professional success, by placing the tools they need to be successful right in their hands.

Apr 15

Three live broadcasts highlight 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series TV schedule

The NHRA, in conjunction with broadcast partner ESPN, will feature three live broadcasts during the remainder of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Hosted by Dave Rieff and analysis by Mike Dunn, the first live event will air on ESPN with th…

Apr 15

NHRA Member Track News: Douglas joins, Pacemakers renews

Two NHRA Member Tracks, one brand new and the other a longtime staple, have committed themselves to the NHRA Member Track network.
Douglas Motorsports Park, an eighth-mile facility located in Nicholls, Ga. has become a NHRA Member Track, while Pacemake…

Apr 15

Al-Anabi team featured in H2 series Rise Of The Machines

The Al-Anabi Racing Team and 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world champion Shawn Langdon will be featured prominently in an episode of Rise of the Machines, a 10-part series airing on H2. The ‘Ultimate Dragste…

Apr 13

Mello Yello points standings

Apr 13

Brown, Hight, Alund, Hines win NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Schedule | Tickets | Entries | Results

Team reports | Photos | Points

Robert Hight became the first two-time Funny Car winner at the fifth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals after his win at zMAX Dragway on Sunday.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jimmy Alund (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took home victories during the fifth event on the 2014 Mello Yello Series schedule.
Hight took the 2012 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and returned in style to Charlotte once again. The 2009 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car world champ was the winner of the fall Charlotte race last season and won his second consecutive event with his 4.074 second pass at 311.34 mph in the Auto Club Ford Mustang.
“This has been a great weekend,’ Hight said. ‘We love coming to zMAX Dragway. What a better place to bring potential sponsors than this facility. John and I getting to the final made it that much more special. It’s my fourth final in a row and we’ve only missed two rounds in Pomona to start the season.”
Coming into the final, the JFR driver was 0-4 against Alexis DeJoria, one of the other three final round drivers, including losses to the Patron XO Cafe Funny Car in the finals of Phoenix and Las Vegas this season.

Robert Hight

Antron Brown

‘You would think three Ford Funny Cars in the final would be pretty good odds,’ Hight said. With the way she’s been running and winning races it’s no gimme. That was a big one.’
John Force finished as runner-up in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang while DeJoria and Tim Wilkerson were credited with semifinal finishes.
It was Hight’s second win of the season in four final round appearances with both wins coming over Force. With the win, Hight increases his points lead over Force to 53 points.
Brown secured his first career victory at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, piloting his Matco tools dragster to a 3.800 pass at 317.42 mph. The 2012 Top Fuel world champ took out runner-up and No. 1 qualifier Shawn Langdon, J.R. Todd and Doug Kalitta to secure his second win of the season.
“My guys gave me an incredible race car,” Brown said. “Everybody’s competing on such a high level right now, and you just want to be on time because I know for sure that us as drivers all we can do is screw it up once we get up to the starting line. You just want to be on point. You want to be on time, and you just want to give it all you have.’
Brown, a member of the Don Schumacher Racing stable, went up in the final against two Kalitta Motorsports entries and an Al-Anabi Racing entry, a juggernaut team final in Top Fuel.
“When you go into a final and there’s two Kalitta cars and an Al-Anabi car, it’s pretty much stacked against you because the Kalitta team and Alan [Johnson]‘s team work together,’ Brown said. ‘It’s like running three teammates car against one, so they definitely had the advantage, but you go out there and do what you do. We just keep our head down and keep it to the grind, and we put our best foot forward today, and we were able to edge out and become the victors.”
The Don Schumacher Racing driver leaves Charlotte second in points, 25 behind Kalitta.

Jimmy Alund

Andrew Hines

Appearing in his first career Pro Stock final, Alund took advantage and drove to victory in his second NHRA Four-Wide Nationals appearance. The Swede is substituting for four-time Pro Stock world champ Greg Anderson and ran a 6.562 pass at 211.59 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro, becoming the first European winner and only fourth non-American winner in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Alund took out runner-up Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile and recent Las Vegas winner Erica Enders-Stevens in the final.
‘Since I got here the very first time I didn’t feel pressure,’ Alund said of his run in Pro Stock and the assignment of replacing Anderson. ‘I knew if I did my best that I could do much more. They’re [KB Racing] professionals and they gave me a great race car. I think we work well together.’
Hines, a three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ, won his second straight race in Charlotte with a 6.859 run at 196.10. The three-time Charlotte winner secured his first win of the season and 33rd of his career with the win over Eddie Krawiec, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck on a Harley-Davidson.
“This does a lot for my confidence because I’ve never had a round win here [at the Four-Wide],” Hines said. “In fact, Charlotte was bad to me. It took four races before I broke through for a win at the two-wide race in the fall. At this race there is so much going on that you never know what’s going to happen. Some guys take a long time to stage and some guys want to get up there as quickly as they can. You have to be prepared for anything.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads on to Baytown, Texas for the NHRA O’Reilly Auto Parts SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, April 25-27.
Related story:
Friday: Langdon, Capps, McGaha, Ray lead opening day in Charlotte
Saturday: Langdon, Capps, McGaha, Ray hold onto top spots in Charlotte
For more news, notes, and quotes from the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, visit the NationalDragster.net event coverage (note: NHRA membership or site subscription required). Check it out here.

2014 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES STANDINGS

TOP FUEL

Place
Driver
Points

1.
Doug Kalitta, Ypsilanti, Mich., Mac Tools dragster (1)
485

2.
Antron Brown, Indianapolis, Matco Tools dragster (2)
460

3.
Steve Torrence, Kilgore, Texas, Capco Contactors dragster
347

4.
Shawn Langdon, Indianapolis, Al-Anabi Racing dragster
330

5.
Tony Schumacher, Chicago, U.S. Army dragster (1)
316

6.
Khalid alBalooshi, Los Angeles, Al-Anabi Racing dragster (1)
290

7.
Spencer Massey, Fort Worth, Texas, Battery Extender dragster
288

8.
Brittany Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol Edge dragster
246

9.
Richie Crampton, Indianapolis, GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster
189

10.
J.R. Todd, Indianapolis, Optima/Advance Auto dragster
183

FUNNY CAR

1.
Robert Hight, Yorba Linda, Calif., Auto Club Ford Mustang (2)
488

2.
John Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang (1)
453

3.
Alexis DeJoria, Austin, Texas, Patron XO Cafe Toyota Camry (2)
375

4.
Ron Capps, Carlsbad, Calif., NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger
282

5.
Del Worsham, Chino Hills, Calif., DHL Toyota Camry
277

6.
Tommy Johnson Jr., Indianapolis, Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger
264

7.
Matt Hagan, Christiansburg, Va., Mopar/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger
257

8t.
Courtney Force, Yorba Linda, Calif., Traxxas Ford Mustang
244

8t.
Tim Wilkerson, Springfield, Ill., Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang
244

10.
Jack Beckman, Norco, Calif., Valvoline Max Life/MTS Dodge Charger
234

PRO STOCK

1.
Erica Enders-Stevens, New Orleans, Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro (1)
426

2.
Jason Line, Mooresville, N.C., Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (1)
384

3.
Allen Johnson, Greeneville, Tenn., Team Mopar Dodge Dart (2)
370

4.
Vincent Nobile, Dix Hills, N.Y., Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro
339

5.
Shane Gray, Mooresville, N.C., KYMCO Chevy Camaro
334

6t.
Dave Connolly, Mooresville, N.C., Charter Chevy Camaro
308

6t.
V. Gaines, Lakewood, Colo., Kendall Oil Dodge Avenger
308

8.
Jimmy Alund, Norrkoping, Sweden, Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro (1)
282

9.
Jeg Coughlin, Delaware, Ohio, JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart
270

10.
Chris McGaha, Odessa, Texas, Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro
258

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE (following the second of 16 events)

1.
Andrew Hines, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson (1)
180

2.
Scotty Pollacheck, Medford, Ore., Quality Tire Buell
169

3.
John Hall, Hamden, Conn., Matt Smith Racing Buell
152

4.
Eddie Krawiec, Brownsburg, Ind., Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson
151

5.
Hector Arana Jr, Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell
145

6.
Steve Johnson, Birmingham, Ala., Full Throttle Powersports Suzuki (1)
124

7.
Michael Ray, New Braunfels, Texas, Gottspeed/Star Racing Buell
107

8.
Matt Smith, King, N.C., Matt Smith Racing Buell
97

9t.
Hector Arana, Milltown, Ind., Lucas Oil Buell
83

9t.
Chaz Kennedy, Ormand Beach, Fla., Star Racing Buell
83

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Apr 13

Brown. Hight, Alund Hines win NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

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