Only one driver in a 16-car field gets to take home the Wally at a given event in Top Alcohol Dragster or Top Alcohol Funny Car on the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. Scoring two such wins on the same weekend is an amazing achievement that is only possible in the chance that a postponement forces an event to be completed during the qualifying days of a future race. Clinching a championship on top of that would be an extremely rare trifecta if Chris Demke and Steve Harker didn’t both do it on the same weekend at the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading.
Cool conditions for the NHRA Nationals at the fabled Maple Grove Raceway in Reading met with the urgency of racers fighting for a Mello Yello title with only two races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship led to racers engaging in an all-out war with a select few emerging victorious while others left the facility licking their wounds. Both descriptions apply in the case of Matt Hagan, who left with the Wally, the Funny Car points lead, and a charred up race car that caught fire in the final round.
The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis brought the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship to the halfway point. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), and Dave Connolly (Pro Stock) all fought valiantly to keep themselves in the thick of the title hunt, though the biggest story may have been outside of the championship picture, where an alligator farmer had his day in the sun.
The continuation of the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals during qualifying of the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in Dallas made for a jam-packed event where the stakes were raised on the all-concrete track that the sun cooked to temperatures above 130 degrees. Several drivers took advantage of the opportunity to get ahead in what amounted to the first two Countdown to the Championship events, nobody more so than seven-time NHRA Mello Yello champion Tony Schumacher.
Competitors in the Professional ranks will be doubling down in Dallas with the completion of the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals set to take place during the qualifying days at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. Some drivers in the Top Fuel and Funny Car ranks look to run away in the points while others are relegated to watching in hope that the damage is minimal before they get another crack at it on Sunday.
The highly competitive Pro Stock category is full of intrigue heading into the first race of the six-event NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The largest part of the battles has already taken place at the shops, but we won’t know how they will play out until Goodyears hit concrete at zMAX Dragway next weekend.
Size mattered at the 60th rendition of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, the longest and longest-running event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In addition to the omnipresent NHRA legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and the other legends in attendance who gave the race a big feel, the huge triumphs of this year's victors made this Big Go stand tall.
There isn’t a more celebrated event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule than the upcoming Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, held annually over Labor Day weekend. In no particular order, here is a list of 10 specific things that have me excited about the 60th such edition.
One of the many differences between the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and other forms of motorsports is that drag racing produces winners in multiple categories on race day while many popular forms of racing only declare one. Weather and other circumstances made the 2014 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int’l Raceway an exception, with Morgan Lucas playing the role of Highlander in what was perhaps the most rewarding victory of his career.