FIRST TEAMS CONFIRM QUICK 32 SPORTSMAN SERIES ENTRY AT EMPIRE DRAGWAY
Top Dragsters and Top Sportsman mark the return of the Quick 32 Sportsman Series
CAYUGA, ON – There’s a good mix of former Quick 32 Sportsman Series racers, from both Canada and the US, ready to do battle on the Empire Dragway in Central New York, during the upcoming NEOPMA/PMRA Pro Modified Challenge.
“We are excited to see the keen interest in the return of the Quick 32 Sportsman Series” said Bruce Mehlenbacher, Director of Operations for the Series. “These events will be a great venue to showcase Top Sportsman and Top Dragster racing and I anticipate a full field of racers to join us.”
To date, the Top Sportsman entries of K&K Racing and Guenther Racing have signed on, as well as the Top Dragster teams of L&D Motorsports and Michael Kalin.
Based in Stratford, ON, K&K is the father and son team of Kevin and Kayden Wicke, who pilot a 604-cubic inch Mopar-powered Dodge Stratus. Kevin is a two-time Quick 32 Sportsman Series champion and multiple time IHRA Sportsman Champion, while Kayden is a former Junior Dragster, Mod, and ET champion. Kevin Zimmer has been crew chief for many years, with Kody Wicke and Dennis and Dan Culliton as long-time crew members.
FOUR NHRA TOP FUEL STANDOUTS LOOK TO DOUBLE-UP AT NHRA NEW ENGLAND NATIONALS
EPPING, NH – Coming off a championship season, the Top Fuel team of Brittany Force made big changes heading into the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, knowing full well it may take time for the team to find its footing.
Heading to the seventh race of the season at this weekend’s NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway, Force is eager for that to now translate into wins in her 11,000-horsepower Monster Energy/Flav-R-Pac dragster. She still sits second in points thanks to a consistent start, but the reigning champ will have two chances to find success in front of what’s expected to be another huge crowd in Epping.
Force is part of the new Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in Epping, a special bonus race held on Saturday. The challenge features semifinal rematches from Chicago and then the two winners squaring off during qualifying, adding bonus points and championship points to the mix. Force will face off with Chicago winner Clay Millican, with Leah Pruett taking on Josh Hart in the other matchup.
J.R. TODD, DHL FUNNY CAR LOOK FOR MAIDEN EPPING WIN
YPSILANTI, MI – J.R. Todd is a past champion in NHRA Funny Car racing. He’s won a lot of races on many different tracks, but one that’s eluded him is New England Dragway. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series resumes this weekend at the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
After a solid season start, Todd and his DHL Toyota team backed up a bit in performance, but a test session prior to the last race near Chicago was helpful. The team posted its best qualifying effort of the season one race ago when it was third quickest. The race-day results did not follow, but still, the improved qualifying effort was a point of light in what has been a rather dark period of the season.
Todd enters the NHRA New England Nationals in 10th place in the NHRA Funny Car point standings a far cry from his early-season standing following a runner-up finish at the season’s first race. The team continues to do all it can to find its way back to that early-season performance.
DOUG KALITTA, MAC TOOLS TEAM LOOK TO EXPAND ON CHICAGO PROGRESS
YPSILANTI, MI – It has been a tale of two seasons all in a six-race time frame for 49-time NHRA winner Doug Kalitta, but with some signs that things are looking up, the veteran Top Fuel driver is once again stalking elusive win No. 50 in New Hampshire this weekend. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season resumes June 2-4, 2023 with the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
Kalitta started the season with a bang taking the Mac Tools Toyota team to the semifinals at the opening race, winning the inaugural Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and taking the No. 1 qualifier in Phoenix. It appeared the team was on its way to getting the Michigan Motorsports Hall of Famer his 50th win, but then Kalitta reeled off three-straight first-round losses. After a successful test session prior to Chicago, the team showed flashes of its early-season brilliance with a No. 3 qualifier followed by its first round win since March. The team stumbled in the second round, but progress was made.
“We all know what we need to do, and we know how to do it,” Kalitta said. “We had a good test session before Chicago and made some progress in that race. Our job now is to build on that progress and put this Mac Tools team in position to win rounds and races. I know my guys are doing everything they can to get us back to where we were earlier in the season, and we all just have to be patient. Most things don’t get fixed overnight so we need to stay focused and know we’re all in this together. We’ll get there.”
KALITTA AIR, BOUNTY HUNTER LIVERY RETURNS TO LANGDON DRAGSTER AT NHRA NEW ENGLAND NATIONALS
YPSILANTI, MI – In a tip of the cap to team owner Connie Kalitta and his cargo airline, Kalitta Air, Shawn Langdon will fly the Kalitta Air Bounty Hunter livery starting with this week’s race in New Hampshire. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season resumes June 2-4, 2023 with the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.
The Team Kalitta owner is a legend – not just in NHRA Drag Racing but in all of Motorsports. He is one of the most successful professional drag racers and crew chiefs in NHRA’s Top Fuel class – ever. Driving a Top Fuel dragster adorned with “The Bounty Hunter” livery, Kalitta was a threat to win every time he eased up to the starting line. Kalitta is a four-time NHRA champion and owns three additional championships from other sanctioning bodies. He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1992 and won NHRA’s first Lifetime Achievement award in in 2016.
During his driving career, he was said to have kept a “most wanted” list of drivers he intended to beat, and when he did, he crossed their names off his list. At that time, Kalitta’s nickname became the “Bounty Hunter.” Langdon will sport Kalitta Air and Bounty Hunter colors starting this weekend, but for Langdon, perhaps the most wanted item on his list will be round wins.
WITH THE WINDS OF VICTORY IN HIS SAILS, WILKERSON SETS HIS SIGHTS ON AN EPPING WALLY
Epping, NH – Wilkerson returns to Epping, N.H. after powering to victory at the NHRA’s most recent stop in Joliet, Ill. Wilkerson’s Joliet win was his 23rd overall, and the first Funny Car win for the JCM Racing organization (second overall).
By advancing beyond the quarterfinals, Wilkerson qualified for the Epping #2Fast2Tasty Challenge scheduled for Saturday afternoon
Time talks Epping, “We’re feeling really good about the direction our team is headed rolling into this stretch of races during the summer months. Even before Chicago, we saw an uptick in our performance. We had started to qualify better and we were more consistent overall. Obviously, winning Chicago was a major boost for our team and we’re hoping to carry that momentum into this weekend at the New England Nationals. I’m proud of this SCAG/LRS team, and let’s see if we can’t go back-to-back and get another win up in Epping.”
NHRA New England Nationals Event Highlights: 2018 runner-up
Tony Schumacher and the Maynard Family Racing Team have renewed Confidence at Testing for Epping
Epping, NH – Following the Route 66 NHRA Nationals, the SCAG Power Equipment Top Fuel team spent time testing in Indianapolis, and feel confident that they have identified and resolved an issue that had been affecting the team’s performance. Schumacher and team are ready for the Epping race and getting their program back on track!
“It’s no secret that we’ve had a rough start to the season, and I don’t mean to sound like a broken record but I truly believe that after last week’s test session, we will turn it around this weekend. We tested for one day after Chicago, and were able to identify a huge issue. Once we pinpointed what we thought the problem was, we wanted to make sure that it translated to the race track. We ran a 3.78, which was our baseline, and then we wanted to see if we made a specific change, what would happen. So, we made the change and then went out and ran a 3.72. We weren’t trying to run quicker than that 72, which we could have, but we wanted to see how making that change would effect a 78 run, and it worked; the car did what we wanted it to do.” explained Tony.
NHRA New England Nationals Event Highlights: Two-time event champion (2014, 2015), 2015 No. 1 qualifier
Capps and the NAPA Funny Car Looking for Victory in Epping
Epping, NH – Three-time and defending Funny Car world champ returns to Epping, N.H. after powering to a runner-up finish at the NHRA’s most recent stop in Joliet, Ill.
For the second consecutive event, Capps will participate in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday afternoon; Capps earned his first Mission Foods specialty race win during the Joliet event.
Through the first six races of 2023, Capps has already earned a No. 1 qualifier award and has advanced to the final round three times
Capps is jazzed about Epping, he discussed it here, “Momentum is everything right now and as we’ve seen over the last couple of years with winning back-to-back championships, we had to have a car that was consistent, and ‘Guido’ (Dean Antonelli) and our NAPA team have continued to do that. Here we are again, same spot, and I’m very lucky that I get to drive this NAPA Supra. Although we didn’t finish the weekend in the winner’s circle in Chicago, I believe we certainly had the car to win the race. Unfortunately, we had a small miscue in the final round with the left parachute coming out of the pack but our team has addressed the issue. Sometimes, you’ve got to stand back and look at the bright side, and luckily, it happened early in the season and not when we’re running for a championship later in the year. One of the great things about our team is that we always learn from things like that, and it makes us stronger.
VP Racing Announces Licensing Agreement Renewal with Mr. Brands
San Antonio, TX – VP Racing Fuels, Inc., the world leader in performance fuels, lubricants, additives, and retail, announced the renewal of their licensing agreement with Mr. Brands, an automotive accessory consumer product manufacturer.
“Mr. Brands has proven to be an incredible licensee over the past three years,” said Bob Merz, Director of Brand Management and Licensing for VP Racing. “Mr. Brands’ product quality and ever-expanding line of automotive accessories is a perfect extension of the VP Racing brand into new product categories and distribution channels, reaching more consumers every day.”
To kick off the new term, Mr. Brands is launching a new line of VP Racing branded auto cleaning tools, including an assortment of cleaning and detailing brushes, wash mitts, applicators, and microfiber towels. This is in addition to the existing line of VP Racing branded auto accessories, automotive snow tools, and jumper cables.
Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car Team Heads to Epping
Epping, NH – DeJoria has strong New England roots, having spent much of her childhood in the Narragansett, R.I. area. Alexis has long considered the New England Nationals to be a homecoming event, and is looking forward to being surrounded by much of her East Coast family.
Alexis on the Epping race, “The NHRA New England Nationals is one of my favorite events on the circuit for many reasons. It’s somewhat of a hometown race for me. I have my whole East Coast family and friends that always show up to Epping in full force. I’ve runnered-up there before and we’re looking for another strong showing this weekend. Hopefully we can create some more of that good momentum we had rolling into Chicago, which was a weekend we’d rather forget.”
NHRA New England Nationals Event Highlights: 2014 event runner-up