And so we begin

The sportsman classes took to the track on Thursday at Pomona, beginning the 2019 NHRA season. Here Fred Moreno gets his Mustang up in the air. 

The Hell(cat) you say!

Two more racers will field Mopar-powered entries in the battle to bring home the 2019 Funny Car championship for Dodge//SRT and Mopar.


Two-time NHRA World Champion Cruz Pedregon will debut a Mopar-powered Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car for the 2019 season at Pomona, and will give the brand another championship contender in the division.


“The timing was right and it’s a great opportunity with the new body style and all the other components to the relationship,” said Pedregon. “We will utilize the Dodge SRT Durango for support vehicles and it just enhances our entire program. And from an historical perspective, I think back to my dad racing in the early ‘60s with a 392 HEMI engine, and that’s what we have (HEMI engines) in these cars today. So, there’s sentimental value in this too. We are really excited about this opportunity.”


The team has four Dodge Charger bodies, an additional chassis and a new silver, black, and Snap-on red paint scheme for the Funny Car and haulers. The team asked fans to name two of the new bodies and chose “El Demonio” (The Demon) and “Los Chingasos” (loosely interpreted as The Fighter).


Glenn Huszar, who has been with the team since 2017, has been named crew chief. Nick Casertano will be assistant crew chief, and the team has added three new crew members.


"The drivers and the tuners get all the glory, but the crew is vital," Cruz says. "This is a new era for our race team, and I’m excited for the season to start. We spent testing week getting the car as close to 100 percent as we can and putting our guys in positions where they can be really successful. We took the time for the newer team members get a better feel for the fast pace it takes to make things work as needed on race weekends. Our team goals are to get down the track at least three times in the top five and getting the car to where it can win rounds again."

Jim Dunn Racing’s Jim Campbell will also carry the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat graphics on his Funny Car this year. Campbell enters his third season behind the wheel of a Mopar-powered Dodge machine for Jim Dunn Racing, which has a long history of fielding Dodge Funny Cars. 


These team’s entries will bring to six the number of Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat drivers fighting for the 2019 Funny Car crown. DSR regulars Jack Beckman, Matt Hagan, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Leah Pritchett will return in Mopar entries.

Happy 50th anniversary to the COPO Camaro

Chevrolet is marking the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the COPO Camaro this year. Entered in their Chevrolet COPO Camaros this weekend at the Winternationals in Stock Eliminator are Jeff Taylor of Sellersburg, IN; Dan Fletcher of Churchville, NY; Al Corda of Elk Mound, WI; and Tim Seymour of San Dimas, CA.


Driving their COPO Camaros in Super Stock will be Ryan Priddy of Chino, CA (shown); Tom Ferruggia of Menifee, CA; and Lane Goldstein of Calabasas, CA.   

Ray Alley passes on

Former Funny Car owner and driver Ray Alley died on Thursday, Feb. 7, after a lengthy illness. He was 86.


Alley began driving Funny Cars in the late 1960s and gave Kenny Bernstein his first chance to drive a Funny Car in 1970 with sponsorship by Alley’s Engine Masters business.


Alley built several Funny Cars over the years, including the “Age of Aquarius” rocket dragster, and concentrated on his business projects. He returned to drag racing in late 1990 as crew chief for Bob Vandergriff Jr. He was chosen by NHRA to oversee the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes in 2000, where he oversaw the introduction of the controversial rev limiter in 2005 to slow down the TF and FC cars.


In 2007 he left NHRA and rejoined Bernstein, who was making his own come-back in Funny Car, but the new program never had the old success.    

Daniel Wilkerson to tune Alexander’s Funny Car

Daniel Wilkerson, son of Funny Car driver Tim, will be handling the tuning duties on Blake Alexander’s Pronto-sponsored Funny Car. Alexander will compete at 12 events this season.  

Brogdon hopes to get back in rhythm of competition

Preparing to race for just the second time since the 2015 NHRA season, Pro Stock veteran Rodger Brogdon has just one goal in mind when he returns behind the wheel at this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.


“I just want to go out there and not have it look like I haven’t been out there the last 3-4 years,” Brogdon said with a laugh. “That’s going to be all on me because there’s a great group of guys around me. But as long as we run like we did last weekend we’ll be fine.”


Those series of runs came at the preseason test session in Phoenix, where Brogdon, who has three career Pro Stock wins, put together a series of strong passes in a Chevy Camaro driven last year by Elite Motorsports teammate and two-time world champ Erica Enders.


Brogdon went as quick as 6.542 at 210 mph, which were impressive numbers for a team led by his longtime tuner, Pete Smallwood, and Brian “Lump” Self.


“It’s all been very smooth and I’m 100 percent confident when I get in the car at Pomona everything will be the way we need it to have success,” Brogdon said. “It’s going to be important to go out there and make a good run on Friday, but I’m confident we’ll be able to do that. It’s just a great group of guys and we’re excited to see what we can do.”  

New Pro Stock car for Enders; she and Laughlin add Pro Mod competition

Erica Enders took her new Pro Stock to the Phoenix test session. 


Erica Enders will debut a new Elite Motorsports/Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro from RJ Race Cars at the Winternationals, adding to an excitement level that is apparent after an offseason full of activity.


“It was probably one of the most productive off-seasons we’ve had,” Enders said. “We added another Pro Stock team with Rodger (Brogdon). We made the best of the time we were testing and we’re getting our feet wet with this new chassis right off the bat. Rick and Rickie Jones do an amazing job and we’re really pleased with the car we have.”


Despite the reduction to an 18-race Pro Stock schedule in 2019, Enders will be busier than ever as she tackles a full NHRA Pro Mod season for the first time as well. Teammate Alex Laughlin will join her in that undertaking. 

Dunn’s FC to be featured in commercials with ‘Baywatch’ star

Cattleman’s Cut jerky is looking to further fuel sales by partnering with former Baywatch star, Carmen Electra, while simultaneously sponsoring the Jim Dunn Funny Car for the 2019 NHRA season.


Cattleman’s Cut, a popular meat snacks brand within the Oberto portfolio, is creating a wealth of content that pairs Electra, dressed as The Cattlewoman, with the Cattleman’s Cut Funny Car, the already established Cattleman character (Who also happens to be Oberto CEO, Tom Hernquist) and a group of beleaguered young men who are guilty of a series of man-fractions that range from getting a personalized license plate which reads “Big Stud” to using their cell phone instead of a tire iron to fix a flat.


In addition to dozens of videos that will run digitally and on Oberto’s social media channels, Carmen Electra, as The Cattlewoman, will be featured in point of sale materials and on both the Dunn Racing funny car and eighteen-wheeler truck that transports it to more than half of the 24 NHRA national events across the country


All the videos will be shot at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA on the day after the Cattleman’s Cut funny car races in the NHRA Winternationals.


Ah yes, the Agent still recalls fondly that slow-motion running on the beach…

Off the Track: Self-driving robotic bar

Since it isn’t safe to drink and drive, how about if the drink comes to you? The firm Makr Shakr has announced an autonomous vehicle with robotics capable of serving adult beverages. Just call it “Guido.”


Users will order and pay for the drink of their choice using an app and Guido will mix it up.


Makr Shakr said Guido will remain under development this year, but the company has already launched a handful of robotic bartenders for purchase. The fixed Makr Shakr costs $112,000, plus a small fee per drink mixed to cover maintenance costs.


But with no bartender, who will listen to your troubles and call you a cab if you’ve been over-served? 

New Product of the Day


Super Fox Rearend from Moser

Moser Engineering has developed the Super Fox line of rearends for sportsman drag racers. The 9-inch rearend has many adjustment points including coilover mounts, double-adjustable upper and lower control arms and a tuned built-in anti-roll bar. Comes with all necessary installation hardware. 



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