Posted by: NHRA.com staff

Kalitta Motorsports has have partnered with Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel for the upcoming NHRA national event in Chicago, June 26-29, to help build awareness of Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel. The two also have teamed up to offer NHRA fans discounted stay packages.

Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel decals will adorn all of Team Kalitta’s race cars during the 17th annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just a few miles west of downtown Chicago. Team Kalitta’s four-car, nitro-fueled racers include the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster driven by Doug Kalitta, the Optima Batteries/Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster driven by J.R. Todd, the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Del Worsham, and the Patrón XO Café Toyota Camry Funny Car driven by Alexis DeJoria.

The partnership between Kalitta Motorsports and Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel was formed to help build awareness of Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel through not only branding on the race cars, but also through an extensive and fan-friendly social media campaign. Team Kalitta will use its very popular social media channels to offer giveaways, discounts to either stay or visit Harrah’s Joliet Casino and Hotel; and opportunities for fans to interact with Team Kalitta drivers, playing alongside them in a live poker tournament and testing their reflex time against the pros in a fun, interactive game, all at Harrah’s Joliet!

“Harrah’s Joliet is very excited about this new partnership with Team Kalitta,” said Jennifer Nocco, Vice President of Marketing.  “We are very happy to have the NHRA back in Joliet again this year and to give Kalitta fans the opportunity to experience our newly renovated casino and hotel offering the excitement of Vegas-style gaming and award winning dining and accommodations to compliment the excitement of the track.”

Rachel Brunner, Kalitta Motorsports General Manager, said, “Our new relationship with Harrah’s Joliet is not only a great partnership for our team it’s also a wonderful opportunity for our fans and all the fans of NHRA Drag Racing to explore all of the amenities available at Harrah’s Joliet and to be able to engage with our Team Kalitta drivers in a unique setting.

“Through our Social Media channels we’re looking forward to giving race fans a fun and valuable interaction with Team Kalitta, and to get fans familiar with and connected to the continuing Social Media offerings of Harrah’s Joliet.”

NHRA fans discounted stay packages:

PKM2N - Kalitta Motorsports 2 Nights Stay and Buffet
PKM3N - Kalitta Motorsports 3 Nights Stay and Buffet
PKM4N - Kalitta Motorsports 4 Nights Stay and Buffet
Guests can book via the links or they can call 888-203-0575 and mention code “PKM2N”, for example to book.


Posted by: NHRA.com staff

Castrol and John Force Racing dedicated the delivery of a WT-960 TRAN-SIT Car Transfer Simulator to be used at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Numerous dignitaries from Castrol and St. Joseph’s Hospital were on hand for the momentous occasion.

The state-of-the-art and high-tech WT-960 TRAN-SIT Car Transfer Simulator will forever change how patients can reclaim their independence by providing them a convenient and safe method of regaining their basic driving skills within a controlled environment.

“The simulated car or vehicle that we have on the unit will allow our patients the freedom and ability to get back on the road as well as feel safe about it. They will also be safe for other passengers and other drivers. The fact that John and Brittany Force came out today to support this product and show that there is a need for rehabilitation equipment like this, we are very grateful to them and Castrol BP,” said Dr. Massod, medical director of the Acute Rehabilitation Unit.

“Today’s dedication enhances our offering of services for patients trying to improve the quality of their lives and helping them get back to doing what they do every day,” said Dan Kline, St. Joseph’s site administrator.

Daryl Benton, U.S. marketing director with Castrol, was also in attendance and spoke about the Castrol Edge brand and how it ties to "Performance” and "Driven Stronger."

“I’m thrilled to be here having a chance to represent Castrol Edge. A brand like Castrol Edge is all about driving performance, and by introducing John and Brittany Force that drive these high-performance vehicles, it’s a natural fit,” said Benton. “For John to tell his story about recovery and rehabilitation and how he worked with a vehicle simulator that helped to bring him back to win two more NHRA Funny Car championships is inspirational.”

Castrol-sponsored drivers John Force and Brittany Force were also on hand for the dedication. The 16-time NHRA Mello Yello world champion John Force spoke of his accident during the 2007 NHRA FallNationals, in which his race car was involved in a horrific crash. He acknowledged how important the rehabilitation process was that allowed him to eventually get back into his 10,000-horsepower Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang Funny Car and win two more NHRA championships, in 2010 and 2013. John mentioned his motivating and stirring anthem of “Never Give Up, Never Back Down, Never Quit!”

“When I had my accident in 2007, the doctors told me I’d be lucky to walk, let alone drive a race car again. I was even more determined to prove them wrong and began going through recovery and rehab in a car simulator just like this one. Since then, I’ve won two NHRA Funny Car championships,” said John Force.

Brittany Force, the 2013 NHRA rookie of the year and driver of the Castrol Edge Dragster, also gave an inspirational and heartfelt talk about what it was like to see her father, John, fight back the odds of never racing again after his accident in 2007. She also spoke on how this piece of equipment Castrol is dedicating to the hospital is important in getting patients back on their feet and maintaining their ability to drive again.  

“We were worried about my dad after that horrible crash and questioned if he’d ever race again. After seeing his hard work and determination, he’s inspired all of us,” said Brittany Force.


Posted by: NHRA.com staff

Jim Thornton, a key member of the legendary Ramchargers racing team of the 1960s, died June 2 of cancer. He was 77.

Thornton attended the University of Missouri and graduated from the school of engineering in 1960 summa cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering. Upon graduation, he joined Chrysler and the Chrysler Institute of Engineering, a work/study program leading to a master’s degree in automotive engineering. Within days, Thornton became acquainted with the Ramchargers, a loose confederation of engineers that was drag racing a record-holding Hemi-powered C/Altered '49 Plymouth. That car became obsolete in 1961 due to a rules change, and Thornton led the effort to secure sponsorship for a Super Stock car. Dodge came through with a car and engine. At the Nationals in Indianapolis, that car defeated every car in the sport worth beating and launched Chrysler's serious participation in Super Stock drag racing.

Thornton led the Ramchargers efforts racing Dodges until 1967. Between 1961 and 1967, the Ramchargers was one of the most innovative and formidable teams in drag racing. Thornton was instrumental in designing a different class of race car, in which the wheelbase was shortened, resulting in a strange appearance. This was the birth of the Funny Car. Thornton’s success on the racetrack, both as a leader and a driver, led to a promotion at work with Chrysler, elevating him to race vehicle design manager in the race group.

Thornton went on to work for Rupp Industries as the chief engineer of the Snowmobile Racing group and then to Jeep Corp. as chief engineer of vehicle development and ultimately became director of vehicle engineering. After retiring from Jeep in 1986, he, with Richard and Kenneth Kamm, formed Applied Technologies Inc. in Toledo, Ohio, specializing in automotive and aerospace product design and analysis. The company grew from the three principals to more than 90 designers and engineers doing work for Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and many tier-one companies. Thornton’s knowledge of accounting principles and computer systems was instrumental in setting up the new business. The business was sold in 2004.

Thornton is survived by his brother, John; his children John, Jama, and Renee; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. Visitation will be Thursday, June 5, from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave., in Toledo, where services will be held Friday at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery. Contributions in Thornton’s memory may be made to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, 30000 E. River Road, Perrysburg, OH 43551.

Posted by: NHRA.com staff

Nelson and Marla Hoyos, the new owners of NHRA Member Track Thunder Road Raceway Park in Gilliam, La., will be holding a grand opening/ribbon cutting celebration Wednesday at 11 am.

Joining in the festivities will be the Shreveport/Bossier Chamber of Commerce; Kelly Wells, vice president of the Sports and Tourism Commission and his great support group; Caddo District 8 Fire Chief Jay Paulette; and CBS KSLA12 News-Sports.
Nelson Hoyos will discuss the upcoming future for the racetrack while those in attendance enjoy great food; music and watching the media go down the race track in the Driven2Win two-seat dragster.
On Saturday, June 7; TRRP will launch its 1st annual Top Gun Shootout “All Out” competition, a winner-takes-all competition. Cars are timed and then paired with a car that has a similar time in a single elimination race. 32 cars start the competition. ESPN2 will be on hand filming with NHRA’s Lewis Bloom narrating the highlights at Thunder Road Raceway.
For more information, visit www.RaceTRRP.com, connect with TRRP at https://www.facebook.com/trrpdrag , call 318-299-RACE (7223), or send an email to Marla@RaceTRRP.com


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