The NHRA continues to insist it indeed is attracting younger racers and fans, yet it’s making a concentrated effort to target both. So maybe 23-year-old Jordan Vandergriff has come along at the perfect time. Team owner Bob Vandergriff Jr. announced Oct. 19 that his nephew will drive a second Top Fuel dragster, with D-A Lubricants and its PennGrade Motor Oil brand as primary sponsor, as a partner to Blake Alexander.
Jordan Vandergriff is licensed in Super Comp and this year has been racing Anthony Dicero’s A/Fuel Dragster this year as part of a driver-development association between the two operations that Bob Vandergriff called exciting. The program isn’t for the benefit of only Jordan Vandergriff. “Our plan is to create opportunities for other young drivers to compete and help them with the progression of their careers, as well,” Bob Vandergriff Jr. said.
Alexander, who has raced and won twice this season under the Pronto / LoCo Cookers banner in his limited-run return to Top Fuel competition, said he’s thrilled to have Jordan Vandergriff step up from the sportsman ranks for Bob Vandergriff Racing.
“We’re here after the race, finalizing everything, getting it all set in stone. So we’re excited about that,” he said. “Our team will be able to win more often, because we’ve got two cars. As we both get better as drivers and as a team, it’ll allow us to compete at a higher level.”
The news had to be fantastic for NHRA President Glen Cromwell, who said, “Our sport is aligned so perfectly for today’s generation of youth, in the sense that it is instant gratification. And it’s extreme. And a lot of this younger generation is multitasking: looking at their phones. We’re a perfect sport for it. We’re interactive. We’re all-access. You don’t have to sit in a seat for two or three hours to watch a sport. You can come in here and watch for 45 minutes. You can do whatever you want. You can stand on the fence. You can go sit in a seat. You can go do pull-ups on the Army display. You can go get a sample of Mello Yello. There’s a lot of interaction going on. In today’s world and the future, that’s what people want. They want to be able to be mobile and choose what they want. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is perfectly aligned for the future.”