NHRA officials announced that Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. has signed a multi-year agreement to be the official car of NHRA, beginning with the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
“Since 2002, Toyota has been an integral part of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at the league, title-rights, and team level,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Toyota’s expansion of its sponsorship with NHRA reaffirms the return-on-investment for our sponsors and the accessibility to our fans that only NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events can deliver.”
Since introducing the Celica-bodied Funny Car in 2002, Toyota has significantly expanded its role with the world’s largest motorsports organization. Currently, Toyota sponsors three Top Fuel teams and four Funny Car teams.
This partnership participation is with Cruz Pedregon Racing, Tony Pedregon Racing, Kalitta Motorsports and Head Racing in the Funny Car class, while Al-Anabi Racing, Don Schumacher Racing and Morgan Lucas Racing will field Top Fuel dragsters.
Toyota-supported teams have gone to the winner’s circle 82 times, with 70 of those in Top Fuel competition. Last year, Shawn Langdon captured the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Top Fuel world championship, following in the footsteps of fellow Toyota-sponsored drivers Antron Brown, who claimed the crown in 2012, Del Worsham in 2011 and Larry Dixon in 2010. In addition, Cruz Pedregon drove a Toyota Camry to the 2008 Funny Car title.
In addition to its status as the official car of NHRA, Toyota extended its title-rights sponsorship of the Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. (May 29-June 1), and continues their entitlement of the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 30-Nov. 2.)
“We’re looking forward to growing our already successful relationship with the NHRA,” said Les Unger, Toyota national motorsports manager. “The official vehicle sponsorship will provide Toyota with a cost-effective opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our local dealerships at some great venues. The NHRA has a very loyal fan-base and this presents a great opportunity to promote our latest product line in at-track vehicle displays.”
As the official car of NHRA, Toyota will have a yearlong presence on-site at NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events and on ESPN2 broadcasts. On-site, Toyota will receive trackside signage, jumbotron spots, and bannering rights. At selected events, Toyota will have an expanded presence as part of NHRA’s Nitro Alley, where thousands of fans flock during the course of the race weekend to experience a wide-ranging variety of interactive displays. Toyota will receive inventory on the ESPN2 telecasts as well as in-show sponsored features.
Toyota also will be a part of the 2014 NHRA Sweepstakes and will provide the all-new 2014 Toyota Highlander Limited as the grand prize. The 2014 NHRA Sweepstakes will launch on Feb. 6 and run through Dec. 5, 2014. Fans can start signing up on NHRA.com or at the NHRA Sweepstakes display in Nitro Alley during the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona starting Feb. 6. NHRA Sweepstakes Official Rules are available at NHRA.com.