For Vincent Nobile, the 2014 season is a chance to defend one of the biggest wins of his career and to set his sights on the ultimate prize: the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship in Pro Stock.
Nobile’s 2014 season will be highlighted by a new strategic alliance with Ken Black Racing. Nobile, formerly with J&J Racing, brings his experience and ideas over to KB Racing to combine talents with two-time world champion Jason Line and four-time world champion Greg Anderson.
“It’s been fantastic,” Nobile said of working with KB Racing. “They’ve won six championships and over 100 races, so they’ve got potential. We are going to put all of our heads together and put this team at a whole new level.”
Nobile won three races in 2013 including last year’s season opener in Pomona. Nobile was excited about his Winternationals victory, but stressed he would be coming into this season with the same mindset as last season.
“I’m going to kind of forget the win,” Nobile said. “We test in Phoenix on that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Pomona. I’m going to take the mentality again that I need to win the season opener.”
Despite his efforts to view the 2014 Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9 at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, as just another race, Nobile was excited about the weather forecasted for Pomona.
“Everybody loves the Winternationals,” said Nobile, who will be driving a Chevy Camaro in 2014. “From what I’ve been looking at with weather, it’s going to be a fast race. (Temperatures) should get into the 60s and that is optimal for us in Pro Stock.”
Nobile’s sights are ultimately set on the bigger prize, the 2014 Mello Yello world championship. He knows the alliance with KB Racing will be greatly beneficial toward that goal, but he is quick to point out the strength of the field of competition.
“Honestly, Pro Stock is going to be the tightest it’s ever been,” Nobile said. “You’ve got part time guys becoming full time guys. Jeg (Coughlin) and Allen (Johnson) will be fast. It will be really tough this year.”
Mountain View Tire has continued its support of Nobile, moving with him to the new KB Racing alliance. Mountain View Performance Racing owner Nick Mitsos felt Nobile was the perfect person to represent his brand and was proud of their partnership.
“Vincent’s well-spoken, which I like in a person,” Mitsos said. “He represents Mountain View, NAPA, Valvoline and his other sponsors well. He’s a good driver as well, so he really is the whole package.”
Nobile stressed the importance that Mountain View Tire and the Mitsos family has meant to his racing career.
“I’m truly grateful to have the Mitsos family and Mountain View Tire behind me again,” Nobile said. “I’m honored to race their Pro Stock car and go for a championship.”
Others to watch in the 200 mph category include defending Pro Stock world champ Coughlin, who will try to pick up where he left off last season at the controls of his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger. His 2012 world champion teammate, Johnson, is also looking to stay at the top of his game. Four-time world champ Greg Anderson plans to sit out the first part of the season to address a health issue, and will have European Pro Stock champ Jimmy Alund fill in for him in the second Summit Racing Camaro. New Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens joins a team that won the last race of the 2013 season and she is also expected to be a strong title contender this year. Other top challengers in the class include Shane Gray, Dave Connolly, V Gaines and Chris McGaha.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful motorsports attraction on the planet. While visiting the pits, interactive NHRA Nitro Alley and the NHRA Manufacturers Midway, fans will also want to check out NHRA’s popular Hot Rod Junction presented by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum that offers a spectacular display of many nostalgic dragsters, race cars and hot rods on display.
Fans also will want to take advantage of the popular Championship Sunday Track Walk featuring reigning Pro Stock world champion Jeg Coughlin, which is free to all Sunday ticket holders. This popular event gives fans the opportunity to walk down the legendary drag strip alongside some of the NHRA’s biggest stars.
On Friday at the track, fans will have the rare opportunity to attend a special Nitro Pit Party and Press Conference to kick-off the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season in the pro pits prior to the first qualifying session of the season. Many of the top stars in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will be featured during the Press Conference, which starts at 11 a.m., including Shawn Langdon, Antron Brown, Jeg Coughlin, Leah Pritchett, and Tommy Johnson Jr.
After a fun day at the track on Friday, fans can jump on a free tram to the NHRA Museum and check out the bi-annual Night of Champions featuring the popular Auto Club Q&A with a panel of various NHRA’s racing celebs starting a 6 p.m. Admission is free and open to all. In addition, admission is free to stroll through the museum’s halls full of hot rodding and NHRA’s 60-plus years of memorabilia during race weekend, Feb 6-9.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also will be showcased during the event, featuring exciting side-by-side racing action at more than 250 mph.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins on Friday, Feb. 7 with the first session beginning at 12:30 p.m. and a second session beginning at 3:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Feb. 8 at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9.
NHRA is offering free general admission for children 12 and under with a paying adult. Tickets are available online at www.NHRATIX.com or by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at 800-884-NHRA (6472).