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C. FORCE TOPS FUNNY CAR CLASS AT NITRO SPRING TRAINING

Courtney Force powered to the top of the Funny Car class at Friday’s NHRA Nitro Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park located outside of Phoenix. The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to this facility for the NHRA Arizona Nationals Feb. 23 -25 for the second event of the series.

Force drove her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS to a pass of 3.839-seconds at 329.99 mph. She is seeking to capitalize on her career-best seven No. 1 qualifiers last season. Two-time world champion Matt Hagan made a pass of 3.851 at 330.72 in his Mopar Express Dodge Charger R/T and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. ran a 3.884 at 326.16.

MID-WEST PRO MOD SERIES OPENER MOVED TO TEXAS MOTORPLEX

Following an impressive display of cooperation between track operators and promoters, the Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) has officially moved its Mar. 2-3, 2018 season opener to the Texas Motorplex, at Ennis, TX, just south of Dallas. The MWPMS was originally scheduled to open the brand-new Xtreme Raceway Park (XRP) in nearby Trumbull, but ongoing construction prompted XRP owner Clyde Scott and facility manager Gaylen Smith to reach out to Motorplex General Manager Andy Carter with the suggestion for a change of venue.

“We’re probably more than 80 percent done, and really, I think we will be ready by March, but this is Texas and you never know what the weather might bring so we just thought it would be safer and smarter to call Andy and see if he could take over the race for us,” Smith explained. “I’ve known Andy a long time and we’ve always had a good relationship with everyone over there. They’re NHRA and we’re IHRA, but we were very careful with scheduling this year to make sure we weren’t putting our big races on top of each other and fortunately he had that weekend available and agreed to help us out.”

BROWN, HAGAN LEAD PRESEASON TESTING THURSDAY AT PHOENIX

Antron Brown came into this preseason testing event at Arizona’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park last year confident his long-intact team had the power to steamroll to a third straight and fourth overall NHRA Top Fuel championship. As first Leah Pritchett challenged his reign, then Steve Torrence and finally Brittany Force followed suit, Brown faded to fourth in the final standings.

His return to Chandler, Ariz., near Phoenix, this week produced a class-best elapsed time of 3.714 seconds at 328.46 mph Thursday.

ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RUNNER-UP IN REARVIEW MIRROR, CAPPS READY TO ROCK

CRAMPTON READY FOR A FULL SEASON AT KALITTA

CHASSIS BUILDER TODD BEVIS JOINS MODERN RACING

Modern Racing, the new venture formed by championship-winning tuner and motorsports electronics expert Justin Elkes, continues to expand its capabilities with the addition of prominent chassis builder Todd Bevis to the team.

Bevis, a native of Tyler, TX, who now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina, brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience gained during more than 35 years in the racing industry. After a successful stint at Jerry Haas Race Cars, Bevis eventually teamed with Victor Cagnazzi at Cagnazzi Racing, where he built and tuned winning NHRA Pro Stock chassis for the likes of Erica Enders-Stevens, Dave Connolly, and Jeg Coughlin, Jr.

NEW BOARD MEMBER ELECTED TO THE WALLY PARKS NHRA MOTORSPORTS MUSEUM

The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Automobile Club of Southern California announced the election of a new member to their board of directors, David Kennedy, director of multimedia content for NHRA.

Kennedy has been a lifelong “car guy” and incorporated his passion for automobiles into his career. He has been helping to build and develop automotive media brands for almost two decades. Since joining NHRA in 2016, he has helped to shape NHRA media platforms and structure content licensing agreements. Prior to that he was the editor-in-chief of Hot Rod Magazine where he directed editorial planning and social media content. He’s also served in publishing and editorial roles for a number of automotive publications including Custom Truck Group, Diesel Power and Petersen’s Four-Wheel & Off-Road Magazine.

WILKERSON RELISHES ROLE AS DRAG RACING'S GOOD GUY

If there were a list of villains in NHRA Mello Yello drag racing, it would be a very short one.

Nitro fans are lovers, not haters.

And no nitro pilot is more adored than Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray & Shoup Funny Car who is greeted at each Mello Yello race with fans wearing “Got Wilk?” T-shirts.

“People like those shirts,” he laughed of the spin on the dairy industry’s “Got Milk?” promotion from years back. “I think they’re cute.”

WELD RACING RETURNS TO NHRA MIDWAY

WELD Racing, the winningest wheel in drag racing, continues to expand its commitment to the NHRA Pro and Sportsman competitors by returning to the NHRA Midway. McCormack Motorsports will represent the brand at all 23 NHRA National Events and provide sales and technical support to racers and fans.

“We are thrilled to be on the Midway with the NHRA, providing our drag racing customers with higher levels of service and support,” said Vic Wood, Senior Director Strategic Sales, WELD Racing. “The WELD Racing display will be the source for product information, service, and sales for both racers and fans.”

FRANKLIN EXPLAINS HOW VMP LANDED NHRA NATIONAL EVENT

 

Despite the 49th annual NHRA Summernationals being all set to run this June at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, track officials there announced mid-January that effective immediately the facility would no longer host drag racing events. The unexpected news out of Englishtown, NJ, not only ended nearly five decades of tradition at one of the most storied and prestigious events on the NHRA trail; it threw the premiere schedule for the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body into sudden disarray.

Step forward Tommy Franklin, who last October with his wife, Judy, purchased Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP), with an offer to take over the June 8-10 race dates at a facility that last hosted an NHRA national event nine years ago.

“Basically, when the Englishtown race dropped out we reached out to NHRA at the same time they were looking for something to fill the hole, so it was just great timing,” said Franklin, who also is co-founder and now principal owner of the all-eighth-mile Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA). “When we got involved with VMP, we knew it would take something like that for us to even have a chance at bringing NHRA back on the schedule here, but we definitely didn’t plan on it.

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