Pritchett to drive full Factory Stock Showdown schedule also

Fans also have the power to choose the look of Pritchett’s NHRA Factory Stock Showdown racecar. A pair of Mopar and Dodge//SRT-themed livery concepts, designed by motorsports lifestyle brand Hoonigan, will be featured on a special section of Hoonigan’s website, https://www.hoonigan.com/LP, for a fan vote that will end at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 8. Pritchett will carry the winning design at all seven NHRA Factory Stock Showdown races, starting at the first event, the NHRA Gatornationals, scheduled for March 15-18 in Gainesville, FL.


It’s shaping up to be a busy 2018 season for Leah Pritchett. In addition to the Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) star’s responsibilities behind the wheel of her Mopar Dodge//SRT NHRA Top Fuel Dragster, Pritchett will also steer a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the full slate of 2018 SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown events.


Pritchett’s 354-cubic-inch HEMI® engine-powered Drag Pak will be prepped and maintained by the DSR team, led by crew chief and new DSR employee Kevin Helms. Helms brings years of experience driving and tuning a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to his new role, including a 2015 NHRA Stock Eliminator World Championship and 2017 NHRA Stock and Super Stock runner-up finishes.


“We’re excited that, in addition to competing under the banner of the Mopar and Dodge brands in the NHRA Top Fuel class, Leah Pritchett will also carry our colors into NHRA Factory Stock Showdown competition,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA. “Leah is a fierce competitor and a great brand ambassador, and we look forward to cheering her on in double-duty at seven events this year.”


Pritchett first tasted Factory Stock Showdown competition last year, racing at two events in the popular NHRA Sportsman category. That exposure stoked her competitive fires to embark on a full 2018 schedule as NHRA expanded the amount of events for the class.  

Teams end Phoenix test session and gear up for Winternationals

Leah Pritchett unofficially became the fastest Top Fuel pilot in history during NHRA Nitro Spring Training at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on Saturday.


Pritchett piloted her Mopar/Papa John’s dragster to a pass of 3.664-seconds at 334.73 mph. Last season, she set both ends of the track record at the NHRA Arizona Nationals and is seeking to reset it again in a couple of weeks.


“We struggled a little bit when we first came out of the box,” Pritchett said. “It took us all the way to the fourth day to get to the finish line and put down that pass. What was crazy about that run was how smooth it was. It was awesome. I was smiling ear to ear.”


The top performances on Thursday, Feb. 1, were: Antron Brown, 3.714/328.46; Tony Schumacher, 3.717/330/15; Matt Hagan, 3.879/330.72; Robert Hight, 3.880/324.05; Erica Enders, 6.555/210.28; and Alex Laughlin, 6.580/209.10.

Courtney is running a new chassis in her Funny Car with Brian Corradi and Dan Hood now tuning it.

Shawn Langdon is brand new to the Funny Car class. He got his license last October and the Global Electr4onic Technology Toyota Camry ran 3.911 at 324.05 on Friday.


“It’s been a big transition for me,” Langdon said. “Everything I learned driving a Top Fuel dragster I take about 50-percent of that and throw it out the window. I’m excited for the challenge. I haven’t hit anything yet so that’s a positive.”

The 2017 Pro Stock Champion, Bo Butner (near lane), and Alex Laughlin.


Top numbers of Friday were: Doug Kalitta, 3.688/331.12; Brittany Force, 3.699/323.35; Courtney Force, 3.839/329.99; Matt Hagan, 3.851/330.72; Tommy Johnson, 3.884/326.16; Alex Laughlin, 6.484/210.11; and Erica Enders, 6.563/208.30.


On Saturday, in addition to Pritchett’s run: Brittany Force, 3.692/327.43; Mike Salinas, 3.733/325.53; Matt Hagan, 3.843/332.84; Robert Hight, 3.880332.02; Erica Enders, 6.572/208.97; and Greg Anderson, 6.595/209.20.


The NHRA season begins Feb. 8-11 with the Winternationals at Pomona, CA, and then returns to Phoenix on Feb. 23-25. The Nitro Harleys will compete at both events. (Ron Lewis photos)   

Brandon Welch returns to honor grandfather, Chuck Beal

Brandon Welch  At the upcoming NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals, Beal Racing will return to NHRA nitro funny car competition to honor the team’s late founder, Chuck Beal. The car will feature a Bealmobile-themed livery to pay homage to Beal’s iconic alcohol-burning race cars of the 1970s and 1980s.  The entry, now owned by Chuck’s grandsons, Brandon Welch and Tyson Porlas, will be driven by Welch.  Veteran crew chief, Scott Graham, will tune the entry.


In the wake of Chuck’s passing, the crew of long-time Beal Racing volunteers collectively decided that the best way to honor Chuck’s legacy was to continue to field his race car.


“We owe our passion for drag racing to my grandfather,” said Brandon Welch. “He gave his life to drag racing, and his determination never wavered.  It felt like a calling to put this race car back in competition in Pomona, his home track.”


The Winternationals will be the maiden event for first-time car owners, Welch and Porlas.  The second-generation racers are committed to keeping Beal Racing in nitro competition.


“Our grandfather was always focused on his race car and his people.  He treated his crew like family,” said grandson Tyson Porlas. “Our car chief, Troy Harger, has volunteered on the crew for 23 years, and he’ll tell you Chuck Beal was like a second father to him.  His memory motivates us.  He’d be so proud that the nitro is still burning at Beal Racing.”


Fans and racers are invited to attend a memorial celebration in honor of Beal on Friday, February 9th, at 6:30pm in the team’s pit area.


Following the Winternationals, the team plans to continue to campaign part time in NHRA Mello Yello Series competition. 

Taylor stays in Australia to drive for Team Bray

Frankie ‘The Madman’ Taylor has signed on for more Australian drag racing with Team Bray Racing.


The 47-year-old Texan, who until recently was the quickest and fastest ‘blown’ Doorslammer driver in the world, will compete at the upcoming Perth Motorplex (March 3-4), Sydney Dragway (May 4-5) and Willowbank Raceway (June 7-10) events with TBR.


Taylor recently completed his third event with the TBR outfit – the Santo’s Summer Thunder at Sydney Dragway – with his tenure so far including an event win at his debut appearance – the AC Delco East Coast Thunder Nationals.


“It has been pretty great over here so far – I love taking on the Aussie racers and we give each other a fair bit of cheek but it is all in good fun,” Taylor said.


“I am trying to race it how Ben races his – on the edge – but driving someone else’s car is also a big responsibility, they aren’t cheap! So, I am trying to be careful with it while also trying to improve. I can’t wait to see what we can do over the next few events – it should be great fun!”  (Jon Van Daal photo)  

Cobra Jets celebrate 50th anniversary with display at NHRA season opener

John Calvert (near lane against Scott Libersher at 201 U.S. Nationals) will help Hajek Motorsports celebrate the golden anniversary of the Cobra Jet at the Winternationals. 


Several Cobra Jets will be on display as well as in competition at the NHRA season opener Feb. 8-11 at Pomona, CA.


A Cobra Jet won the 1968 Winternationals in its debut year and won in 2009 with John Calvert driving. 

Mid-West Pro Mod Series moves season opener to Dallas

The Frankenstein Engine Dynamics Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) has officially moved its March 2-3 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.”


“We’ve got a lot to do in the next 30 days,” said Carter, “and I okayed with Keith (Haney series promoter and racer) that we’re going to promote this as the Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet North vs. South Frankenstein Pro Mod Shootout. We have the Texas Outlaw Pro Mod Association (TOPMA) that runs here at the track throughout the year with some pretty big-name, badass drivers like Frankie Taylor, Jeff Jones and even Gaylen (Smith) himself, so we’re going to promote them going up against all of Keith’s guys from the north. I just hope someone from Texas ends up winning the thing,” Carter said with a laugh.


“As far as classes go, there’ll be Pro Mods, of course, and Keith has his Radials vs. the World class, as well as X275 and MX235 radial classes, and then we’re going to run some of our local cars in 5.0 and 7.0 index classes. It should be a great show.”


Xtreme Raceway Park will host the WMPMS on Sept. 7-8. 

New Product of the Day


Holley Ford Mustang 5.0L Cold Air Intakes

Holley has announced the expansion of its iNTECH cold-air intake line to include the 2011-14 5.0L V8 Ford Mustang GT. Compatible with manual transmissions, this latest design produces more than 17 extra horsepower and 16 foot-pounds of additional torque at the rear wheels on the dyno and creates a wide power curve. All iNTECH sealed intakes feature a unique Slip-Seal housing/filter-tube interface that eliminates the use of hose clamps and adapters for a seamless installation. The high-flow, washable, reusable four-layer dry-air filter eliminates the need for filter oils that can damage MAF sensors or set off "check engine" lights. A silicone Bellows-style coupler is used at the throttle body connection to allow the use of nitrous plates or throttle body spacers without the need for cutting the tube. The use of factory mounting locations makes for a simple installation, and the housing design is styled to match the engine compartment for a stealthy appearance.  



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