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It’s trading season in NHRA

December 17, 2012


(Pic courtesy


You take mine and I’ll take yours.

That seems to be modus operandi in today’s NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. First Kalitta Motorsports hired away the monster, Tommy DeLago from Don Schumacher Racing – you may remember DeLago as the crew chief for Matt Hagan in his 2011 championship year. With a new chassis to divine, neither Hagan nor DeLago had much luck until later in the 2012 season figuring out what made it tick. They finally started getting it right during the Countdown to the Championship six-race playoff, in which they weren’t involved…

Now Don Schumacher Racing has taken a sponsor from Kalitta’s camp. Turnabout is fair play?

Rocky Footwear & Apparel is moving from Ypsilanti, Michigan to Brownsburg, Indiana to work with Hagan’s crew in a multiyear sponsorship agreement that begins with the Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona this February. The Rocky logo will be on Hagan’s car for each of the 24 NHRA Mello Yello events and will be his primary sponsor for three events, starting with the Houston round in late April.

This is a great match, when you consider the 30-year-old Hagan is a working cattle farmer whose 1000-acre ranch is in Christiansburg, VA. “I’ve been using Rocky products for years when I’m hunting and working on the farm. And Rocky boots make me look good when I go out on the town with my family,” Hagan said.

The company’s tag line – Confidence in Action – is a perfect one for the drag racing scene as the brand appeals to people who are active, engaged and on the go. Known for their waterproofing systems that complement comfort, design and insulation in their footwear, “The synergy between Rocky and the interests and lifestyle of Matt and the team is tremendous and will serve to grow both the Rocky and Schumacher Racing brands,” said Liz Horn, Rocky Brands marketing vice president.

No telling yet which sponsor of Don Schumacher Racing is heading for Kalitta Motorsports next, but it’s apparent there’s a cross-pollination thing going on between these two large Top Fuel and Funny Car teams.

Although the Rocky sponsorship was announced today, December 17th, Hagan was in Brownsburg having his photo shoot done for the new logos that will appear on his car and driving suit nearly two weeks prior to this coming out party…

By Anne Proffit

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