The 53rd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries kicks off the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season this weekend, Thursday through Sunday, February 14th through 17th at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in California. All three 2012 winners – Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) – will be back to defend their wins, as will 2012 NHRA champs Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock).
The Top Fuel class has some new drivers and teams making their debuts in Pomona. Larry Dixon and his new team, Rapisarda Autosport International, have pushed up their debut and will be running at Pomona, while Leah Pruett will make her dragster debut for Dote Racing. Brittany Force makes her highly-anticipated debut as well, the first John Force Racing entry in the Top Fuel division.
In Funny Car, 2011 Top Fuel champ Del Worsham gets back behind the wheel as the new driver of the DHL Toyota for Kalitta Motorsports, while Jeff Arend shifts from the DHL car to the Jim Dunn Racing Grime Boss Dodge for 2013. Noticeably absent from the Funny Car roster: Mike Neff, who returns to his job as a tuner for John Force after finishing third in points last year.
2012 Pro Stock champ Allen Johnson has a new teammate in four-time Pro Stock champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., while Mike Edwards debuts a new sponsor combination: Interstate Batteries and I am Second, the faith-based ministry of Interstate Batteries Chairman Norm Miller.
Qualifying sessions for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series get underway Thursday, February 14th at 2 p.m. PT, continuing Friday, February 15th at the same time. Qualifying on Saturday, February 16th takes place at noon and 2 p.m. PT, with eliminations on Sunday, February 17th starting at 11 a.m. PT. Follow this weekend’s action at www.nhra.com and on the NHRA Twitter page.
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