CHANDLER, AZ – February 24, 2016 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – Vincent Nobile is always up for a challenge, and early in the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season the Pro Stock standout is facing a pair of them.
Along with the rest of the Pro Stock class, the standout driver is adjusting to the sleek new cars, which feature fuel-injected engines, shorter wheelie bars, flat hoods and a 10,500 RPM rev-limiter. But Nobile and his Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro also ran into trouble in Pomona, colliding with the wall during a second-round loss at the season-opening event.
The car got repaired quickly and Nobile expects it to be fine at this weekend’s CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. As for the class changes, Nobile welcomes the challenge, noting that the rewards and victories will be that much sweeter.
“I enjoy the challenge and that’s what I like most about Pro Stock,” said Nobile, who has nine career victories. “You don’t really get that satisfaction of winning if there’s no challenge behind it. There’s really no easy class in NHRA and when you win a race, you know everyone did their job as a team. It’s all about everyone working together and getting these wins, it’s not easy to do. I think wins are going to be even more gratifying with these changes. Greg (Anderson) can say he’s the first one to get a win in this new era and that’s something we all wanted.”
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Rodger Brogdon (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the race. For fans watching at home, the race will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including Saturday qualifying coverage as well as live coverage of Sunday’s finals at 5 p.m. (ET). The race marks the second of 24 events during the 2016 season and Nobile hopes returning to a facility where he has previously won will aid his quest to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2014.
Nobile went winless during an up-and-down 2015 campaign, but he’s happy to be a part of the Elite Motorsports team that also includes two-time defending champion Erica Enders, five-time world champion Jeg Coughlin and last year’s top rookie, Drew Skillman. Past success in Phoenix won’t necessarily dictate this year’s performance, but it does give Nobile confidence heading into this weekend.
“Having that history there gives me a little more confidence and I’m looking forward to making the best of the weekend,” Nobile said. “It helps, just as far as having good notes and understanding the track. When you go back to a track where you’ve done well, maybe you know a few little secrets as well. It’s just having that experience. It doesn’t play a huge role but when you win there you love going back there. It’s mostly mental and maybe it does give you a little more confidence.”
It’s a good advantage to have and drivers will take as many as they can, especially with the number of changes in Pro Stock, and Nobile and his team are quickly working to get the car back in sync following the collision in Pomona.
There wasn’t major damage and Nobile has no doubts his car is capable of performing at a high level in Phoenix. The team tested well before the season but they ran into trouble during qualifying in Pomona even before the obvious disappointment during eliminations.
“It might take a run or two to get going but I think it will pretty much be back to normal,” Nobile said. “I think the Elite guys did a great job in a short amount of time. We have a little catching up to do with the Summit (Racing Equipment) guys and hats off to them, but I’m confident our team will get there and we will be just as fast.”
Nobile was referring to Anderson’s impressive showing in the season-opening win at Pomona, qualifying in the No. 1 spot in the new EFI era. His teammate Jason Line advanced to the final round to make him one of the favorites as well this weekend in Phoenix, and Nobile will also have to deal with the likes of Enders, Coughlin, Skillman, V. Gaines, Chris McGaha, Bo Butner and Allen Johnson.
Adjusting to the changes is a major challenge, but Nobile is ready for it and he is also excited about the direction the Pro Stock class is headed.
“It’s definitely good and definitely created some interest in the class,” Nobile said. “There’s definitely a learning curve, but it should be good for the class. I’m happy to see it’s already really competitive and, naturally, it’s only going to get even more competitive.”
In Top Fuel, defending world champ and three-time Phoenix winner Antron Brown will battle against a tough field of contenders including U.S. Army dragster pilot Schumacher, the defending and five-time CARQUEST Nationals winner. Other challengers include talented Aussie Richie Crampton, Brittany Force, Doug Kalitta, Shawn Langdon, Steve Torrence, who won the season-opening race in Pomona, J.R. Todd and Quaker State dragster driver Leah Pritchett.
Defending Funny Car world champ Del Worsham is a former Phoenix winner and is opening his title defense against a strong lineup of challengers, including national record holder and seven-time 2015 winner Jack Beckman and 16-time world champ John Force, who is the winningest driver in NHRA history at Phoenix with eight victories. Others to watch include Tommy Johnson Jr., Ron Capps, who won the opener in Pomona, defending event winner Hagan, Courtney Force, Cruz Pedregon, Alexis DeJoria and Robert Hight.
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 get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:30 and 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 27, also at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
CARQUEST AUTO PARTS NHRA NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 32nd annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, the second 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 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, Ariz. Track is located off Interstate 10 at exit 162. Follow the signs.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, Feb. 26-28.
FRIDAY, Feb. 26 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4 p.m.
SATURDAY, Feb. 27 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:30 and 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, Feb. 28 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 27, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 10 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Feb. 28, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise three hours of finals coverage at 5 p.m. (ET).
2015 EVENT WINNERS: Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Matt Hagan, Funny Car; Rodger Brogdon, Pro Stock
John Force, FC- 8; Bob Glidden, PS- 5; Tony Schumacher, TF- 5; Jack Beckman, FC- 3; Kenny Bernstein, TF-FC- 3; Antron Brown, TF-3; Ron Capps, FC-3; Larry Dixon, TF- 3; Cory McClenathan, TF- 3; Darrell Alderman, PS- 3; Kurt Johnson, PS- 3; Warren Johnson, PS- 3.
Top Fuel – 3.720 sec. by Tony Schumacher, Feb. ’15; 329.91 mph by Schumacher, Feb. ’13.
Funny Car – 3.975 sec. and 324.83 mph by Matt Hagan, Feb. ’15.
Pro Stock – 6.498 sec. and 213.77 mph by Mike Edwards, Feb. ’13.
Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.884 sec. by Jack Beckman, Nov. ’15, Pomona, Calif. and 331.45 mph by Matt Hagan, Nov. ’15, Pomona, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C. and 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, CA – Point standings (top 10) following the first of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Steve Torrence, 106; 2. Doug Kalitta, 94; 3. Richie Crampton, 77; 4. J.R. Todd, 72; 5. Clay Millican, 57; 6. Morgan Lucas, 52; 7. Antron Brown, 48; 8. Terry McMillen, 46; 9. Tony Schumacher, 42; 10. Brittany Force, 37.
1. Ron Capps, 119; 2. Del Worsham, 97; 3. Robert Hight, 80; 4. John Force, 69; 5. Jack Beckman, 65; 6. Courtney Force, 59; 7. Alexis DeJoria, 55; 8. Chad Head, 54; 9. Tim Wilkerson, 33; 10. (tie) Gary Densham, 32; Matt Hagan, 32; Cruz Pedregon, 32.
1. Greg Anderson, 125; 2. Jason Line, 105; 3. Bo Butner, 84; 4. Drew Skillman, 75; 5. Vincent Nobile, 54; 6. Jeg Coughlin, 53; 7. (tie) Shane Gray, 52; Allen Johnson, 52; 9. Chris McGaha, 35; 10. Alex Laughlin, 33.