DENVER, July 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
- Mopar/Pennzoil NHRA Top Fuel Dragster will debut at Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals and race at select remaining 2016 events
- Rising star and Don Schumacher Racing driver Leah Pritchett to take wheel of Mopar-powered Top Fuel machine
- Mopar confirms longstanding commitment to NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing with return to class that cemented brand's reputation at the track
- Partnership with Pennzoil extends relationship from showroom and service lane to strip
- Entry expands Mopar brand sponsorship support to three of four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro classes
- Dragster showcase set for afternoon NHRA press conference today at Elway's in Denver
- Pritchett to meet fans and sign autographs at Mopar Block Party Thursday evening in downtown Golden, Colorado
- Debut at Mopar Mile-High Nationals comes at first NHRA race to air live on FOX Broadcast Network
Mopar and Pennzoil® announced today sponsorship of the NHRA Top Fuel Dragster driven by Leah Pritchett, returning the brand to the class in which Mopar first established its reputation for excellence at the dragstrip. Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) driver Pritchett will compete at select events in 2016 and debut the blue Omega M on her dragster at the 37th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, scheduled for July 22-24 at Bandimere Speedway near Denver.
The announcement brings the Mopar brand back to winning roots first fueled by drag racing icon "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, who captured the majority of his Top Fuel championships and event wins under Mopar HEMI® power. The new Top Fuel machine also expands the Mopar presence in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The brand now serves as a sponsor in three of the four NHRA Pro classes (including Matt Hagan's NHRA Funny Car and Pro Stock entries piloted by Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr.), and also remains deeply involved in supporting amateur NHRA Sportsman racers, introducing last year the next generation of its modern-day package car, the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.
"We are extremely excited to team up with our partners at Pennzoil in our return to competition in the Top Fuel class," said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA - Global. "A key part of Mopar's DNA has always been going fast at the track. We welcome Leah Pritchett to the Mopar team and will cheer her on as she drives us forward in Top Fuel."
The association with Pennzoil extends an already robust global business relationship between the two brands. Shell supplies bulk and packaged oil and transmission fluids for Mopar in the United States, Canada, Mexico and many additional countries throughout the world, and Pennzoil is the approved factory-fill for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep® and Ram vehicles. Pennzoil is also a major associate sponsor on Hagan's Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.
"Pennzoil has not only a long and storied history as a supporter of motorsports, but specifically an impressive sponsorship of a roster of amazing drag racers, including legends like Don Prudhomme and Eddie Hill," said Jesse Campos, Director of OEM Marketing, Shell Lubricants. "The partnership with Don Schumacher Racing provides Pennzoil with the ability to test existing and new motor oil technology developed by Pennzoil's industry-leading scientists in order to gain insights from the track and to aid in the production of innovative lubricants for consumer vehicles in the future. This is coupled with the growth of the NHRA audience on FOX Sports 1 and the timing of Leah's relationship with Pennzoil to begin at Denver, which will feature the first live network coverage of NHRA on FOX and mark the first time an NHRA event ever will be broadcast live on one of the four major networks. We are honored to have Leah carry our brand forward with DSR and Mopar for 2016."
Pritchett, 28, captured her first career Top Fuel victory earlier this season and advanced to the semifinals at the recent Route 66 NHRA Nationals. The DSR star takes her seat in the HEMI-powered Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel dragster currently positioned in the top 10 of the points standings. Mopar will act as her primary sponsor for select 2016 events, including the NHRA Denver, Sonoma and Reading stops.
"Shooting for the moon is what we do, and now to have two great global corporations like Mopar and Pennzoil get behind me is all I can ask, along with driving for Don Schumacher Racing, the most successful organization in drag racing," said Pritchett, who claimed her very first NHRA Wally trophy at Bandimere Speedway as a 9-year-old Jr. Dragster racer. "This has been my goal for several years, and it means absolutely everything to me. I'm very proud to represent the Mopar brand in its return to Top Fuel.
"I'm also grateful for the support that Quaker State provided me earlier this year. They stuck by me throughout this transition and never wavered in their support of my racing career. We have all the parts, pieces and partners in place, and now that I've made the switch to Pennzoil, it's time to hit the 'go' button."
The first media showcase of the new Mopar/Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster will take place at noon (MT) today at Elway's restaurant in Denver, site of the NHRA pre-race press conference. Pritchett will meet fans and sign autographs later that night at the 15th annual Mopar Block Party in downtown Golden and debut her new machine at the track on Friday during the first qualifying session at Bandimere Speedway.
The debut of Pritchett's Mopar/Pennzoil machine will come with a nationwide audience watching. Sunday elimination rounds at the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals will air live on the FOX Broadcast Network, marking the first time in NHRA history that an NHRA race will be broadcast live on a national television network.
The term 'Shell Lubricants' collectively refers to the companies of Royal Dutch Shell plc that are engaged in the lubricants business. Shell Lubricants companies lead the lubricants industry, supplying more than 12 percent of global lubricants volume.* The companies manufacture and blend products for use in consumer, heavy industrial and commercial transport applications. The Shell Lubricants portfolio of top-quality brands includes Pennzoil®, Quaker State®, FormulaShell®, Shell TELLUS®, Shell RIMULA®, Shell ROTELLA® T, Shell SPIRAX® and Jiffy Lube®. (*Kline & Company, "Global Lubricants Industry July 2015: Market Analysis and Assessment.)
About Mopar Motorsports
The Mopar brand's commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2016, Mopar will look to once again vie for a NHRA World Championship title in both Pro Stock and Funny Car categories. While Mopar remains involved in various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of Sportsman racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar's Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge.
About Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked in 1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product, but it truly made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include technical service and customer support.
Today, Mopar is the service, parts and customer-care brand of FCA US LLC and distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.
Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles. This offers a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.
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SOURCE FCA US LLC