POMONA, CA – January 12, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing is a complete sensory experience. The earth rumbles as blaring 10,000-horsepower racecars shoot nitro into the air at 330 mph in pursuit of victory; and that pursuit of victory and a championship crown will once again begin at the 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 9-12, at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
The tradition-rich event, which will for the first time in its history feature Sunday’s eliminations live on the FOX national broadcast channel, kicks off the 24-race NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing season and is one every driver dreams of winning. Not only is it hosted in the birthplace of drag racing, it is also the first time drivers and teams get to show off their new cars, new paint schemes and new uniforms for the season. Besides the flashiness of the new year, it presents drivers and teams an opportunity to flex their muscles and set the tone for the season.
The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will once again look to get off to a hot a start at one of the sport’s most revered events. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) were winners of last year’s event which will be aired on FOX Sports 1 on Friday and Saturday and FOX on Sunday.
Funny Car’s Capps foreshadowed how his season would go by jumping out to an early victory at the 2016 Winternationals. Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T past 2015 world champion Del Worsham in the event’s final round. Capps went on to win a total of five races last season, notching the 50th victory of his career in the process, and two runner-up finishes en route to being crowned the 2016 Funny Car world champion. Capps led the points at 16 events last season and will once again look to get an early lead on the competition as he defends his title.
In Top Fuel, Torrence also made it clear he would be a championship contender when he hoisted the Wally in Pomona after defeating Doug Kalitta in the event’s final round. Torrence had the best season of his career in 2016, winning three events in eight final rounds and tallying eight No. 1 qualifiers in his Capco Contractors dragster. He finished a career-high third in points last year and will certainly try to improve on that in 2017.
The Summit Racing Equipment duo of Anderson and Jason Line dominated the first year of the redesigned Pro Stock class, which features electronic fuel injected engines, 10,500 rev-limiters, flattened hoods and shorter wheelie bars. Anderson, a four-time world champ, defeated Line in the season-opener, but it was Line who got the better of Anderson come season’s end. Line was crowned the world champion while Anderson finished second as both drivers had eight victories and six runner-up finishes on the year. The duo will again have great expectations for 2017, but the competition in Pro Stock will seek its revenge.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
Along with the exciting on-track action, the Circle K NHRA Winternationals will introduce a year-along campaign honoring first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.
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.
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.
Kids 12 & under can see it all for free with a general admission ticket, while all students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.
CIRCLE K NHRA WINTERNATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 57th 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 2017 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.
COURSE: Championship drag strip; Track elevation is 1,100 feet above sea level; Track direction is north to south.
WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 9-12
THURSDAY, Feb. 9 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying at 8:15 a.m.
FRIDAY, Feb. 10 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 8:15 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, Feb. 11 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations at 8:15 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:30 and 3:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, Feb. 12 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
TELEVISION: Sunday, Feb. 12, FOX will televise three hours of live eliminations coverage at 4 p.m. (ET).
2016 EVENT WINNERS: Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Ron Capps, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock
MOST VICTORIES: John Force, FC – 7; Bob Glidden, PS – 7; Greg Anderson, PS- 6; Don Garlits, TF- 5; Warren Johnson, PS – 5; Don Prudhomme, TF/FC – 5; Larry Dixon, TF- 4; Jason Line, PS-4.
Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by J.R. Todd, Nov. ’16 and 332.34 mph by Shawn Langdon, Nov. ’15
Funny Car – 3.825 sec. by Jack Beckman, Nov. ’16 and and 332.84 mph by Beckman, Nov. ’16
Pro Stock – 6.480 sec. by Erica Enders, Nov. ’14 and 213.84 mph by Drew Skillman, Nov. ’15
Top Fuel – 3.671 sec. by Steve Torrence, July ’16, Sonoma, Calif.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 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.
About National Hot Rod Association
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Source: National Hot Rod Association