Ypsilanti, MI (August 30, 2019) – For the second time in four years, Coca-Cola’s citrus-flavored soft drink brand Mello Yello will be featured on the DHL-sponsored Toyota Camry Funny Car, to be driven by the reigning NHRA Funny Car champion at the most prestigious drag race in the country. In 2016, the tradition started at the NHRA U.S. Nationals with DHL-backed Funny Car champion Del Worsham celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Funny Car class with the custom branded race car. This season it will be J.R. Todd flying the Mello Yello and DHL colors, highlighting his 2018 NHRA Mello Yello championship, as well as celebrating the 50 year anniversary of his primary sponsor, DHL.
“I am very proud to be able to represent DHL and Mello Yello at this year’s U.S. Nationals,” said Todd, the defending and two-time U.S. Nationals winner. “We are going for some history trying to get three wins in a row at Indianapolis in the Funny Car class so hopefully this new look will bring me some luck. These two companies made my dreams of being a drag racing world champion come true and I can’t thank DHL, Mello Yello and everyone at Team Kalitta enough for their support.”
DHL has had a longstanding relationship with Team Kalitta sponsoring both Todd’s nitro Funny Car and Richie Crampton’s Top Fuel dragster this season. They also have a strong aviation relationships with team owner Connie Kalitta’s primary business, Kalitta Air, as well as with Kalitta Charters, led by Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta.
“This is an historic year for DHL as we celebrate an incredible 50 year journey, still continuing to be a trailblazer in the global shipping and logistics industry,” said Christine Nashick, Chief Marketing Officer for DHL Express Americas. “We are very excited to see J.R. chase history and his third U.S. Nationals title. Partnering with companies like Mello Yello and Team Kalitta allows us to showcase a fantastic story with great brands.” Christine from DHL who has been following J.R. Todd’s career can’t be more proud of what the partnership with Team Kalitta has been able to produce and is excited to bring in Mello Yello into this potential historic race.The NHRA is the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world, and The Coca-Cola Company has been a proud sponsor of the NHRA for 18 years.
“Everyone at Coca-Cola and Mello Yello takes a lot of pride in having our brand on the reigning 2018 Funny Car champion’s car as he looks to make history at this year’s U.S. Nationals,” said Al Rondon, Sr. Marketing Manager, Sports Marketing at Coca-Cola North America. “We will be celebrating with our fans as Team Kalitta takes to the track on Labor Day weekend and we’ll all be cheering for a great performance from the DHL/Mello Yello car. We are appreciative of the support Team Kalitta and DHL have given Mello Yello on the racetrack this week.”
Todd will make his first pass aboard the DHL/Mello Yello Toyota Camry Funny Car in Friday’s lone qualifying session. Qualifying continues on Saturday and Sunday with eliminations beginning at 11am EST on Monday, September 2. Eliminations will be broadcast live on FS1 beginning at 11am EST, before transitioning to FOX at 1pm EST.
Photos courtesy of Kalitta Racing, driver photos: NHRA
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) Mello Yello 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 seven world championships and over 100 national event titles in five different professional drag racing sanctioning bodies since it was established by Connie in 1959.
Team Kalitta fields four full-time entries in the NHRA Mello Yello nitro classes. Connie Kalitta’s nephew, Doug Kalitta, pilots the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster while former Rookie of the Year winner Richie Crampton drives the DHL Top Fuel dragster. In Funny Car, J.R. Todd is the driver of the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car and Shawn Langdon pilots the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car. Connie Kalitta serves as head tuner for all Team Kalitta entries. He is assisted by co-crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith on the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car, Nicky Boninfante and Del Worsham on the Global Electronic Technology Toyota Camry Funny Car, Kurt Elliott on the DHL Top Fuel dragster and Rob Flynn and Troy Fasching lead the efforts on the Mac Tools Top Fuel dragster.
Associate sponsors on Kalitta Motorsports’ race cars include AutoDesk CAM, Champion, Cogistics, Darton Sleeves, DHL, Global Electronic Technology, JEGS, Justice Brothers, Kalitta Air, Mac Tools, Racing Electronics, Red Line Oil, SealMaster, Toyota, and WIX Filters.