CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS TO OPEN 2015 MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will kick off another season in 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. For more on this story, visit www.NHRA.com.
MORGAN UNVEILS FIREADE CHEVROLET CAMARO: Pro Stock veteran Larry Morgan will drive the FireAde Chevrolet Camaro in the Pro Stock class for the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, with engines provided by Gray Motorsports. Fire Service Plus Inc., is a global leader in innovative and environmental-friendly firefighting, tank cleaning and dust control products. "We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Larry and his team," FireAde President and Chief Executive Officer Ron Thames said. "Like us, Larry puts family first but he also knows how to get things done, and we know our relationship will only get stronger as the year progresses. We can't wait to see the FireAde Chevy go down the track many times." In Morgan's career, he has won 17 national events - including 10 in NHRA Pro Stock - and has raced to 43 final rounds. He is currently the longest-tenured full-time driver in the class. For more on this story, visit www.NHRA.com.
MAPLE GROVE TO GO ALL-CONCRETE IN 2015: Maple Grove Raceway's NHRA-sanctioned dragstrip will undergo a significant facelift in order to create a better, more consistent racing surface for its racers. The track will be torn up beginning at the 770-foot point of the track and will continue past the finish line. The track currently is concrete from the starting line to the 770-foot point. The old paving will be replaced to create an all-concrete dragstrip from start to finish. "We are making a significant investment in the track to create a better, more consistent surface for our racers," said MGR Vice President & General Manager Lex Dudas. "Maple Grove Raceway is famous as the NHRA's quickest and fastest track where national records are set. We are confident our racers will be excited about the improved surface and the fans will be thrilled with the speed and performance." For more on this story, visit www.NHRA.com.
"After the 2014 season ended, I sat down with my sponsor, Scott Smalley of UPI Performance, and we discussed my future. One of the options presented was to form our own team, and that's the direction we've elected to go. I think it's a dream for any racer to have their own team, and when that opportunity was presented to us, we couldn't say no. I have called George [Bryce] and told him what we were doing. I thanked him for the opportunity he gave me the last few years, and I also explained that this was not a personal conflict or anything like that. It was simply an opportunity for my dad and I to have our own team and to see what we could to with the knowledge we've acquired over the past few years." -- NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Chaz Kennedy on forming his own Pro Stock Motorcycle team for the 2015 racing season. Kennedy will race the entire 16-race schedule with his father Charles as the crew chief for the S&S-powered Buell V-twin.
4: Number of races European Pro Stock champion Jimmy Alund is scheduled to compete with KB Racing during the upcoming 2015 season. Alund, who filled in for Greg Anderson for five races last season raced to his first career victory at Charlotte's Four-Wide Nationals in just his fifth NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series start. Alund will test with Anderson and teammate Jason Line prior to the start of the season.
TOP DRAGSTER, TOP SPORTSMAN TO COMPETE FOR NHRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 2015: NHRA’s Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes will compete for NHRA national championships beginning in 2015. Both season champions will be awarded with NHRA National Champion’s Wally trophies along with National Championship rings and jackets. The two classes will be contested at 14 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events across the country, as well as the three NHRA JEGS SPORTSnationals events and at all NHRA Lucas Drag Racing Series divisional events. To earn NHRA National Championships, drivers in both classes will count their best three of their first five national events, and their best five of their first eight divisional events. The JEGS SPORTSnationals events will be counted as national events, with competitors earning national event points. For more on this story, visit www.NHRA.com.
JOHN FORCE RACING ANNOUNCES CREW CHIEF LINE-UP
John Force Racing has a proven track record of developing the next generation of professional drivers. Since 2005 five drivers, including all three of John Force’s daughters, have won rookie of the year honors as well as over 50 NHRA national event titles. Force has also built a legacy of creating a brain-trust of crew chiefs over the past decade. The brain-trust will continue to be led by Mike Neff, crew chief for Robert Hight’s Auto Club Camaro SS Funny Car, but the team announced promotions today that will expand the youth and depth at this position.
Starting with the promotion of Jon Schaffer to crew chief of 16-time Funny Car champion John Force’s Funny Car the 18-time Funny Car championship team will continue to be an industry leader. Previously Schaffer worked with Mike Neff as his assistant crew chief, but the 27 year-old Californian will be making the calls on Force’s PEAK Camaro SS Funny Car beginning with testing in Phoenix. Long-time crewman Tim Fabrisi will be stepping up to assist Neff on the Auto Club Camaro SS Funny Car.“We have developed the next generation of drivers and now I want to do the same thing with our crew chiefs. We have so much young talent I want to start giving these guys a chance to grow and develop their talents. Mike Neff, Ron Douglas, Dean Antonelli, Todd Smith and Dan Hood have a lot of experience and we want to continue to grow and be competitive at a championship level. Guys like Jon Schaffer and Tim Fabrisi as well as new hires Ronnie Thompson and Nick Casertano will keep us young and on the cutting edge,” said an excited John Force.
In addition to Schaffer’s promotion John Force Racing has added car chief Nick Casertano to the PEAK Camaro SS Funny Car team. On the Top Fuel team led by Todd Smith JFR has hired Ronnie Thompson to assist Smith on the John Force Racing Top Fuel dragster piloted by Brittany Force. Thompson was previously with Al-Anabi Racing working on Khalid AlBalooshi’s Top Fuel dragster. The Traxxas Camaro SS Funny Car will continue to be led by Ron Douglas and Dan Hood.
Long-time crew chief Dean “Guido” Antonelli has been promoted to General Manager of the JFR Brownsburg shop. Antonelli will continue to be an integral part of the John Force Racing crew chief brain-trust and will see his duties grow to oversee the rapidly expanding parts manufacturing operation in Brownsburg. Antonelli’s vast experience with both Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars will be critical to the expansion of this profit center for John Force Racing.“We will always have a brain-trust and our lead man will be Mike Neff. You have to have stability and that is one thing that we have had over the past couple of decades. You don’t win as many championships as we have with as many different guys without a great core group. I know crew chiefs will move around. That is the nature of this business. I want to continue to develop talent inside John Force Racing and continue to keep winning,” added Force.