Arend Primed for NHRA Season Opener

Popular Canadian driver is set to deliver more wins after coming off best season ever…

Native Canadian Jeff Arend, driver of the 8,000-horsepower, nitro-fueled DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, completed the best season of his steering wheel-wrangling career last November at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.). This weekend, Feb. 9-12, he and the DHL “Yella Fellas” Funny Car team return to the historic race track for the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in hopes of carrying their successful momentum into the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Arend posted the best championship points finish of his career last year by finishing in eighth place in Full Throttle Funny Car points. He also earned a berth in the ultra-exclusive NHRA “playoffs”, the Countdown to the Championship, for the first time. The “flopper” veteran thinks No. 8 is great but he’s hoping for something in an even smaller size at the end of this season.

“It was very cool to put those No. 8 decals on our DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for this season,” Arend, a 49-year old resident of San Dimas, Calif., said. “We had been competing under my competition license number (170) for the past couple of years, so we were very happy to switch those out after our first top ten finish.

Jeff Arend

“I think we have all of the puzzle pieces in place to be competitive enough to win at every event this year. I know everyone on our DHL team is really looking forward to getting out there and improving on what we did last year. Sure, finishing in eighth was awesome, but now we have our goals set even higher. I think we’ll have at least a top five Funny Car this year. We’re going to be right near the top of the pack all year and hopefully have a shot at the championship in November.

“It’s always a blast racing in Pomona. I live about five minutes away from the racetrack so it is right in my backyard. We always have a lot of friends and family come out to the track with us at Auto Club Raceway and cheer on the DHL Funny Car team. Hopefully we can hoist a Winternationals trophy for them all at the end of the weekend.”

Arend has posted three wins in eight final-round appearances in his 18-year Funny Car career. He took over the controls of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Kalitta Motorsports at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in 2008 after the tragic death of Scott Kalitta in a racing accident in June of that year.

Posted by:  Todd Myers – Photo by:  Bruce Biegler

Event Schedule

The NHRA Winternationals begin Thursday for the nitro-fueled classes with one qualifying session at 2:00 p.m. (PT). Another qualifying session takes place at 2:00 p.m. Friday. Two more qualifying attempts will take place on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The top 16 qualified cars in each nitro class will race Sunday in final eliminations beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Times and dates subject to change.

About Kalitta Motorsports

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Kalitta Motorsports is a Top Fuel and Funny Car drag racing team in the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The team was founded and is owned by drag racing icon Connie “the Bounty Hunter” Kalitta. For more than 50 years, Connie has been involved in the sport as a driver, tuner, and an owner. Kalitta Motorsports is one of the most successful teams in the history of auto racing with five world championships and over 50 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.

Jeff Arend drives the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car for Team Kalitta. Alexis DeJoria pilots the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry Funny Car. David Grubnic drives the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster while Connie’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Nick Boninfante on the DHL Funny Car, by Del Worsham on the Tequila Patrón Funny Car,  and by Jim Oberhofer on the Kalitta Air Top Fuel dragster. Connie serves as crew chief on the Optima Batteries Top Fuel dragster.

Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include Candlewood Suites, ROCKY Boots, Red Line Oil, Technicoat Companies, OPTIMA Batteries, JEGS, and Mac Tools.

For more info about Kalitta Motorsports including exclusive content such as videos, photos and more, please visit  Follow Us on Twitter:  Like Us on Facebook: 

 Check out videos about Team Kalitta on our YouTube Channel: