New Year, New Start For Vincent Nobile
POMONA, Calif. – For Vincent Nobile, the 2014 season is a chance to defend one of the biggest wins of his career and to set his sights on the ultimate prize: the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship in Pro Stock.
Nobile’s 2014 season will be highlighted by a new strategic alliance with Ken Black Racing. Nobile, formerly with J&J Racing, brings his experience and ideas over to KB Racing to combine talents with two-time world champion Jason Line and four-time world champion Greg Anderson.
“It’s been fantastic,” Nobile said of working with KB Racing. “They’ve won six championships and over 100 races, so they’ve got potential. We are going to put all of our heads together and put this team at a whole new level.”
Nobile won three races in 2013 including last year’s season opener in Pomona. Nobile was excited about his Winternationals victory, but stressed he would be coming into this season with the same mindset as last season.
“I’m going to kind of forget the win,” Nobile said. “We test in Phoenix on that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Pomona. I’m going to take the mentality again that I need to win the season opener.”
Despite his efforts to view the 2014 Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9 at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, as just another race, Nobile was excited about the weather forecasted for Pomona.
“Everybody loves the Winternationals,” said Nobile, who will be driving a Chevy Camaro in 2014. “From what I’ve been looking at with weather, it’s going to be a fast race. (Temperatures) should get into the 60s and that is optimal for us in Pro Stock.”
Nobile’s sights are ultimately set on the bigger prize, the 2014 Mello Yello world championship. He knows the alliance with KB Racing will be greatly beneficial toward that goal, but he is quick to point out the strength of the field of competition.
“Honestly, Pro Stock is going to be the tightest it’s ever been,” Nobile said. “You’ve got part time guys becoming full time guys. Jeg (Coughlin) and Allen (Johnson) will be fast. It will be really tough this year.”
Mountain View Tire has continued its support of Nobile, moving with him to the new KB Racing alliance. Mountain View Performance Racing owner Nick Mitsos felt Nobile was the perfect person to represent his brand and was proud of their partnership.
“Vincent’s well-spoken, which I like in a person,” Mitsos said. “He represents Mountain View, NAPA, Valvoline and his other sponsors well. He’s a good driver as well, so he really is the whole package.”
Nobile stressed the importance that Mountain View Tire and the Mitsos family has meant to his racing career.
“I’m truly grateful to have the Mitsos family and Mountain View Tire behind me again,” Nobile said. “I’m honored to race their Pro Stock car and go for a championship.”
Others to watch in the 200 mph category include defending Pro Stock world champ Coughlin, who will try to pick up where he left off last season at the controls of his JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Avenger. His 2012 world champion teammate, Johnson, is also looking to stay at the top of his game. Four-time world champ Greg Anderson plans to sit out the first part of the season to address a health issue, and will have European Pro Stock champ Jimmy Alund fill in for him in the second Summit Racing Camaro. New Elite Motorsports driver Erica Enders-Stevens joins a team that won the last race of the 2013 season and she is also expected to be a strong title contender this year. Other top challengers in the class include Shane Gray, Dave Connolly, V Gaines and Chris McGaha.
In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon is primed to defend his world championship title in the Al-Anabi Racing dragster, while his teammate, Khalid alBalooshi, is also looking for a strong finish in 2014. Past world champs Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown, will be joined by a group of talented drivers looking to break through with a title of their own, including Doug Kalitta, Spencer Massey, Clay Millican, Bob Vandergriff, Steve Torrence, Leah Pritchett and rookie Richie Crampton, among others.
In Funny Car, defending Winternationals winner Courtney Force will try to maintain her prowess at the tradition-rich event, while her father John will be looking to continue his momentum from last year and claim his 16th event win at Pomona. The 2012 world champ Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, four-time event winner Robert Hight, 2011 world champ Matt Hagan, returning driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and the new-look Patron XO Café Toyota with driver Alexis DeJoria all will be in the mix to win the Funny Car title at Pomona.