Robertson hopes to make Phoenix field

Marty Robertson got his Pro Stock license at the NHRA Winternationals, but was not able to make the field. He’s hoping to do better at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park this weekend.


The former Radial vs. the World racer is with the Elite Motorsports team of fellow drivers Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr., so he has mentors for his first foray into Pro Stock.


“I’m just glad to be associated with this group,” Robertson said. “They’ve been so supportive and want me to be successful. And if we can qualify, that’s going to be my first victory of the season.”    

Phoenix by the numbers

Returning to NHRA competition for the first time this season, Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence will be at Phoenix, making a total of 14 entries for the class. There are 16 cars in Funny Car.  

Sebring, Florida track gets NHRA sanction

Sebring International Raceway will become a new NHRA member track, joining Division 2, the Southeast division.


Sebring International Raceway, located in Sebring, FL, is one of the oldest continuously operating racetracks in the United States, having held its first race in 1950. The track currently hosts Big Tire and Small Tire race events that take place on the front stretch of the famed oval track, best known for the Twelve Hours of Sebring.


The 2020 Air & Electric Services Sebring Drag Racing schedule will include 12 events, most of which will take place on Thursday nights. There will also be two high-prize-money weekends, the Sebring Battle at the Bridge and the Sebring Summer Showdown.


The complete 2020 schedule will be announced in the near future, with the first night of the season scheduled to kick off on April 16.  

SEMA hires Dahlin, promotes Gillespie and Gharib

The Specialty Equipment Market Association has hired Jeff Dahlin (shown) as an industry sales director to help oversee a portfolio of client accounts and create partnerships for the SEMA Show, Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show, and their accompanying monthly publications and media channels.


Dahlin brings with him 20 years of automotive sales, marketing, and executive-level publishing experience, including 16 years at Source Interlink and the MotorTrend Group, where he rose through the ranks at several publications as a director, group publisher, and eventually general manager of the Hot Rod Network.


In addition to the hiring of Dahlin, Industry Sales Manager Brendan Gillespie, who previously served in a sales/operations hybrid role, will now focus strictly on sales opportunities, specifically exhibit space and sponsorship sales for both the SEMA and PRI Shows, as well as advertising sales for both SEMA News and PRI Magazine. Gillespie, a six-year veteran of the company, will concentrate on the racing and performance market.


Also, Reham Gharib will take on the new position of sales operations project manager. In this role, she will manage the records of all SEMA and PRI sponsorship contracts, help ensure deliverables are accounted for, and communicate with all appropriate stakeholders. She also will be the key stakeholder and project manager for the SEMA Show’s New Products Showcase and PRI Show’s Featured Product Showcase. Gharib has been with the company since 2014.  

By the Numbers: Winternationals on FS1

The 2020 season opening NHRA Winternationals from Pomona, CA, had pretty good numbers. There were 877,000 viewers of the Sunday, Feb. 9, eliminations show with a 0.51 rating. By way of comparison, the NASCAR Cup Clash race at Daytona, FL, had 2.4 million viewers and a 1.51 rating. 

Off the Track: Driverless shuttle begins service in Peoria, Arizona

If you’re in the Phoenix area for this week’s NHRA Arizona Nationals, you may want to take a side trip.


Beep, a Florida-based autonomous mobility solutions company, announced its first expansion out of the state of Florida into the city of Peoria, AZ. The city will launch Robo Ride, a pilot program with Beep, that will begin routes on Saturday, Feb. 22, and will operate daily from noon to 6 p.m.


Beep’s solution is underpinned by NAVYA’s AUTONOM shuttle, a fully electric, driverless shuttle that will operate daily in the P83 Entertainment District on Arrowhead Fountain Center Drive from Huntington University to Paradise Lane. Robo Ride, which has no steering wheel or pedals, will use a pre-programmed, fixed route with a combination of localization techniques, involving state-of-the-art sensor technology. It is open to the public without an appointment, fee or pre-screening.


Robo Ride holds up to 10 passengers at a time and will operate at a maximum speed of 15 mph as part of the pilot program. 



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