NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES POINTS INCREASED FOR PRESTIGIOUS CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 27, 2015) — The NHRA competition committee today announced a points increase for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competitors at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will be racing for their share of points using a point-and-a-half scale at the tradition-rich Labor Day event held annually at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The winner of the race in each pro class will claim 150 points. The runners-up will earn 120 points; the semifinalists will earn 90 points apiece; the second round finishers will earn 60 points each; and the first round finishers will all claim 30 points.
A maximum of 208 points is available at the event to a single racer in each Mello Yello Series category through the points increase, which also includes 15 points to each driver who makes at least one qualifying attempt. In addition to 165 points for winning and making a qualifying attempt, the maximum also includes 20 points for setting a national record, 8 points for earning the No. 1 qualifying position and a max total of 15 points for earning 3 qualifying bonus points in each of the five qualifying sessions.
The move promises to add even more excitement to the final regular season race that has produced plenty of drama and emotionally-charged performances in recent seasons. NHRA teams frantically try to gain maximum points at the event in hopes of securing one of the top 10 positions in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoff.
“With more points up for grabs we certainly expect to see a lot of movement throughout the top 10s in each of the Mello Yello Series classes on the final day of the regular season,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president of racing operations. “The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is already one of the most pressure-packed events on the circuit and we expect that level of excitement to increase significantly with this points increase.”
The 61st Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7, which also features the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel and Funny Car, will be televised via 10 hours of coverage on ESPN and ESPN2.
Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals points structure
Winner: 150, Runner-up: 120, Semifinalist: 90, Quarterfinalist: 60, First round finisher: 30
All drivers, one qualifying attempt: 15, National E.T. record: 20, Qualifying position points: 1-8, Qualifying bonus points: 1-3 per session
NHRA National Events points structure (all races except Indianapolis)
Winner: 100, Runner-up: 80, Semifinalist: 60, Quarterfinalist: 40, First round finisher: 20
All drivers, one qualifying attempt: 10, National E.T. record: 20, Qualifying position points: 1-8, Qualifying bonus points: 1-3 per session
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
POMONA, Calif. — Dave Connolly is just two weeks away from making his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel debut when the 2015 season begins with the Circle K NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 5-8, at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Needless to say, the longtime Pro Stock star is more than thrilled to experience his first race behind the wheel of his 10,000-horsepower C&J Energy Services dragster at the tradition-rich season-opener at the fabled Southern California dragstrip.
“The season is right around the corner and that’s pretty exciting,” Connolly said. “I’ve been able to experience a lot, getting that first full pass and I’ve really grown to appreciate the car. These Top Fuel cars are the baddest things on the planet. There’s no way to prepare for it. These cars are so impressive. They just set you back in the seat the whole way down the track.”
Connolly will be competing against the best in Top Fuel as the NHRA’s top stars look to start the 2015 campaign in memorable fashion. Khalid alBalooshi (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the race that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Connolly is certainly a familiar name for NHRA fans, compiling an impressive 26 wins during a highly-successful Pro Stock career. Three of those victories came a year ago when Connolly finished third in the points standings. But when Bob Vandergriff announced his retirement after the 2014 season, he looked to Connolly to take over driving duties.
Connolly jumped at the opportunity and will be one half of what appears to be a championship-minded team with three-time champ Larry Dixon driving the team’s second car. Vandergriff will serve as the team’s owner and Connolly has already been impressed with how quickly the team, led by crew chief Kurt Elliott, has come together.
“I’ve got a lot to learn but I’ve got a lot of confidence in the team Bob has put together,” Connolly said. “Larry and I will have two great cars. A big positive is the team chemistry. It’s been great and that goes a long way. I feel like we’ve got all the right parts and pieces in place.”
Connolly also knows his first season in Top Fuel will be filled with challenges as he tackles the immense task of trying to harness the power of a 320-mph dragster. He made seven test runs in December and followed that up with another successful test session earlier this month, making his first full pass and reaching the 3.70s for the first time.
By the time the season opens in Pomona, Connolly will have more than 20 runs in the dragster. That’s enough for the comfort level to increase but Connolly admits there is still a long way to go.
“Really, until you sit in one you don’t realize the amount of ground you cover in such a short time,” Connolly said. “You have to stay ahead of the car and that’s hard to do when you’re going more than 300 mph. Hopefully after 20-30 laps it will start to slow down and it already is a little bit. It’s just going to be a work in progress.”
That work in progress means staying patient throughout the process. It may be difficult for a veteran like Connolly to accept, but he knows making small strides early could pay big dividends down the road, namely during the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“When you’re setting goals for yourself you have to learn to walk before you run in these cars and I understood that going in,” Connolly said. “I knew there would be a learning curve and that’s the way it is.”
The learning curve gets a little steeper when the vast talent of the Top Fuel class is thrown into the mix. It’s led by reigning world champion Tony Schumacher, who claimed his eighth world championship in 2014. Former world champions Antron Brown, Dixon, and Shawn Langdon as well as top challengers J.R. Todd, Spencer Massey, Doug Kalitta and 2014 NHRA rookie of the year Richie Crampton will aim to prevent a ninth world title for Schumacher.
Connolly hopes to be in that mix as well, but just getting to compete in the Top Fuel ranks has brought a level of excitement that figures to remain high throughout the 2015 season.
“This is humbling and I’m very blessed to have an opportunity like this,” Connolly said. “In my opinion racing in Top Fuel is the pinnacle of NHRA drag racing. Top Fuel cars are the fastest cars on the planet and to drive and experience it, it’s pretty incredible. I’m just going to make the best of it and give it my all.”
In Funny Car, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan claimed his second world championship at the season-ending race last season, dethroning 16-time world champion John Force in Pomona. Hagan, who won his first championship in 2011, will try to thwart off a list of perennial stars in the loaded class, including John Force, Courtney Force, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon, Tommy Johnson Jr., Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson.
In Pro Stock, Erica Enders-Stevens reigned supreme in one of the most exciting championship battles ever, defeating Jason Line in a winner-take-all final side-by-side race of the year to claim her first world championship. Enders-Stevens, who became the first female Pro Stock champion, will be looking to add to her 12 career victories at the controls of her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, but will face stiff challenges from the likes of Line, Allen Johnson, four-time series champ Greg Anderson, Shane Gray, Jonathan Gray and Vincent Nobile.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Feb. 6, with sessions at 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Feb. 7, at 12:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.nhra.com/tickets. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
PDRA SEASON OPENER, MARCH 20-21, 2015
WHAT: Texas Motorplex will host the PDRA Texas Nationals for the first time on March 20-21, 2015. The all Pro Mod show will feature the quickest and fastest 1/8-mile race cars in the world. The 10-event national tour kicks off at the historic Motorplex with more than 200 professional teams vying for valuable championship points.
The PDRA was founded in 2014 by an elite group of racers committed to bringing credibility and stability to the sport of 1/8 mile drag racing. Jason Scruggs, Tommy Franklin, Gene Hector, and Roger Henson started the PDRA to preserve a viable door-slammer series that would benefit the fans, marketing partners, racers, and all those affiliated with the professional drag racing industry.
WHERE: Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas. Track is located on Hwy. 287, two miles west of Ennis, between Interstates 35 and 45.
WHEN: March 20-21, 2015.
SCHEDULE: Wednesday, March 18: RACER PARKING from 2-9 p.m.
Thursday, March 19: Test-n-tune from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (open to the public)
FRIDAY, MARCH 20 – Gates open at 8 a.m.
SATURDAY, MARCH 21 – Gates open 8 a.m.
TICKETS: FREE PARKING ALL WEEKEND
THURSDAY, MARCH 19: TESTING ONLY, Tickets are $10
FRIDAY, MARCH 20: $30 for adults
SATURDAY, MARCH 21: $30 for adults
CONTACT: Texas Motorplex: (972) 878-2641, www.texasmotorplex.com
GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2015) — NHRA announced today that competitors in the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman classes will compete for NHRA National Championships beginning in 2015. Both season champions will be awarded with NHRA National Champion’s Wally trophies along with National Championship rings and jackets.
The two classes will be contested at 14 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series national events across the country, as well as the three NHRA JEGS SPORTSnationals events and at all NHRA Lucas Drag Racing Series divisional events. To earn NHRA National Championships, drivers in both classes will count their best three of their first five national events, and their best five of their first eight divisional events. The JEGS SPORTSnationals events will be counted as national events, with competitors earning national event points.
The six-second, 200 mph race cars featured in both classes have continued to increase in popularity and participation. The addition of three new events in 2015 will include the Route 66 NHRA Nationals near Chicago, which also plays host to the JEGS Allstars.
“We’ve seen the two categories grow since 2002 with the introduction of Top Sportsman and 2005 with Top Dragster,” said Josh Peterson, NHRA vice president of racing administration. “Recognizing an NHRA National Champion in Top Sportsman and Top Dragster is the next step as interest by racers, sponsors and fans continues to grow.”
Class field sizes will not change as a 32-car field will be contested at all national events, including the three JEGS SPORTSnationals, and at Lucas Oil divisional events in divisions 1-5. Divisions 6 and 7 will continue to contest 48-car fields with the final Lucas Oil divisional event of the year held at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosting a 64-car field.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.