Double-duty for Pritchett at Charlotte

Leah Pritchett will again drive in two classes at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, taking the wheel in Top Fuel and the Factory Stock Showdown.


“On the Factory Stock side, this is a huge race with the new updates to our competition rules in order to maintain parity in the class,” Pritchett said. “I know we have a competitive MOPAR Drag Pak that I love driving and working with, so this will be one heck of a battle.”


Pritchett is the 2018 Factory Stock Showdown champion. There are 30 entrants at the Four-Wide Nationals for the special series.

Is NHRA Executive Producer and Chief Content Officer gone?

Ken Adelson was brought in by the current NHRA management team in 2015 and was tasked with developing the NHRA's own broadcast division and improving the ratings of the ESPN, now FOX/FS1 broadcasts of NHRA national events.


Very reliable sources have told DRO in recent days that Adelson is no longer with the company and a quick check of the NHRA home page that offers a list of all of the NHRA's current management team doesn't have Mr. Adelson's name or position listed.


One rumor regarding his absence is that the NHRA is considering airing their own drag racing themed "reality" show and that Adelson is heading up that effort. DRO is trying to verify Mr. Adelson’s status with the NHRA, but the company in the past has refused comment regarding management issues and we have not yet had a response.

Rear-motored dragsters coming to Nostalgia AFD, TFD?

Mike Halstead drove Mike Stewart’s rear engine Top Fuel dragster at the March Meet. 


There was a note in the mayo jar on the Phlegm Building's penthouse porch this morning scribbled on the back of an Anchor Steam Ale label saying that the NHRA/Heritage A/FD racers are going to vote on allowing rear-engined dragsters into the class.


Agent 1320 not only supports that idea but thinks that that rear-motored dragsters should be allowed in the Heritage AA/FD class too. Just adjust the engine and weight package so that the rear-motor cars don't have an advantage.  

Savoie looking for improvement in limited schedule

With a pair of quarterfinal appearances in 2019, Jerry Savoie, who is currently fifth in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points standings, is looking to take the next step this year. The White Alligator Racing (WAR) team, led by tuner Tim Kulungian, has been searching diligently for more power and Savoie hopes that work starts to pay off this week in Charlotte. He won the Four-Wide event last year.


“We’re still having some problems, but the guys are working hard and we’ll get it straight,” Savoie said. “We’re down on power, but when we find it, everybody will know. It’s just evolution. We’ll figure it out. If you qualified No. 1 every time and won every race, it’s basically not a challenge, so when you fall behind and then catch up, it’s pretty rewarding.”


The team is not running the entire schedule this year and Savoie is not sure how many events he will race.


“I say give it a couple more races and we should have it figured out,” he said. “Tim has been working his butt off and everyone is working hard. I think we have what it takes to do it. I believe that strongly or I wouldn’t have come out this year. It’s just a matter of putting the parts and pieces together, but Tim is definitely one of the best crew chiefs in the industry. We’ll get it figured out.”   

Enders hopes for Pro Mod win after setting speed record

Erica Enders made her Pro Mod debut at the Gatornationals, where she was one of the 13 racers who did not qualify. At the second event of 2019 she set the national record at 260.11 mph, but lost in the second round to Mike Janis.


With the Pro Stock class not competing at Charlotte, Erica Enders will take on the four-wide format in her Elite Motorsports turbocharged RJ Race Cars Camaro Pro Mod for the first time this week. She won the Pro Stock class at last year’s event.


“We’re going back as the defending champion, it’s just in a different class,” said Enders, a two-time Pro Stock world champion. “It’s a different mindset and a different game plan for this class, but we’re taking steps in the right direction. I feel like we have the best people you can have, the best equipment and I’m trying to be the best driver I can be. I’m optimistic for the weekend if I can do my job.”  

Women Top Fuel racers prepare for Santa Pod’s ‘Main Event’

Anita Mäkelä (left) and Jndia Erbacher were the winner and runner-up at last year’s European Finals.


While women in other forms of auto racing are still somewhat rare in Europe, they have been taking part in drag racing for quite a while. In fact, last year’s FIA Top Fuel champion was Anita Mäkelä from Finland.


Mäkelä holds the European record for elapsed time over Top Fuel’s 1,000-foot racing distance, 3.870 seconds. With a career-best speed of 313.30 mph, she can lay claim to being Europe’s fastest-ever woman driver. Already a double champion in Top Methanol Dragster, her initial Top Fuel title win in 2000 made her the first drag racer of either sex to hold FIA championships in two classes.


Mäkelä sealed her 2018 FIA championship at last September’s European Finals, defeating Swiss rival Jndia Erbacher in an all-female final. Daughter of a multi-champion father, Jndia cut her racing teeth in America. When her father, Urs Erbacher, decided to call time on his illustrious career, it was his daughter who defeated him in his final race.


Maja Udtian is the latest representative of the celebrated Islanders team, a quasi-cooperative of racers based on the Norwegian coast. Beginning as a child in Junior Dragster, the 21-year-old rose through the Sportsman ranks to make her Top Fuel debut in 2017 and embarks now on her first full FIA championship season. Sweden’s Susanne Callin ascended by a similar route to Top Fuel, where she earned a unique distinction as the world’s first 300-mph teenager. Fourteen years of motherhood and family life followed, and now she resumes her career in the Top Fuel cockpit.


The 2019 FIA championship season kicks off over Spring Bank Holiday weekend (May 24-27) during Santa Pod Raceway’s The Main Event.   

Permatex moves to expanded location in Ohio

Permatex, the manufacturer, distributor and marketer of chemical technology for automotive maintenance and repair, has recently moved its business operations from Hartford, CT, to its manufacturing and distribution facility at 6875 Parkland Blvd., Solon, OH 44139.


The 40-acre facility, which currently consists of a 180,000 sq. ft. distribution center and a 170,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and business operation center, has room for Permatex to double the size of its headquarters to accommodate new growth.


The facility has 19 high-tech robots designed for repetitive motion and to lighten the amount of heavy lifting done by Permatex employees.  

Ford to trim GT sports car program next season

There is no impact to the drag racing world, but Autoweek reports that full factory backing for the Ford GT sports car racing program will be trimmed after the 2019 season.


Ford currently campaigns in the IMSA Sportscar Championship and the FIA World Endurance Championship, but going forward will only offer partial sponsorships for teams, who will have to seek additional sponsors.


The Agent can only hope that the Cobra Jets so popular in the Factory Stock ranks will continue and the few Mustang Funny Cars will be looked at favorably by the auto manufacturer.   

New Product of the Day


Quick Release Steering Coupler from Strange

Strange Engineering has introduced a new Quick Release Steering Coupler for Sparco steering wheels (PN Q1200SPAR). The SFI-certified addition is made with the same high quality materials and tolerances as the existing couplers for the Grant-style steering wheels and the Butterfly-style dragster wheel. The unique spline pattern of the weld end assures that the steering wheel will have the proper orientation every time and is designed to work with a ¾-inch diameter steering shaft.  



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