The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is a drag racing series organized by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). It is the top competition series of the NHRA, comprising competition in four classes, including Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The champion of each category is determined by a point system where points are given according to finishing placement and qualifying effort. The season is divided into two segments. After the first 18 races, the Top 10 of each pro category are locked in and compete in the last six races with the difference in points greatly minimized.
|NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series|
|Category||Mixed automobile and motorcycle drag racing|
|Tire suppliers|| Goodyear|
Continental (Pro Modified only)
Hoosier (Pro Stock only but partial)
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company (Pro Stock Motorcycles only)
The series has four main professional classes: Top Fuel Dragster, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. Top Fuel was the first category, with Funny Cars added in 1966, Pro Stock four years later and Pro Stock Motorcycles in 1987. Both Top Fuel and Funny Cars regularly see top speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour (480 km/h) today, and one thousand foot times anywhere from 3.70 to 4 seconds. Both these cars burn fuel consisting of 90% nitromethane and 10% methanol. The Pro Stock record is 214 miles per hour (344 km/h), with times often in the 6.4-6.7 second range and the Pro Stock Motorcycles usually run at 190+ mph (310 km/h), with times in the low 7- to high 6-second range. Top Fuel (class designation: AA/D top fuel dragster) and Fuel Funny Car (class designation: AA/FC top fuel coupe) have recently been limited to a 1,000-foot (300 m) track, instead of the historic 1/4 mile [1,320 feet (402 m)], as a means to limit top speeds and increase safety (there had been a number of engine explosions at or near 300 mph resulting in driver injuries and death). Currently, driver and spectator safety has been enhanced even while top speeds often approach and exceed 300 mph.
Some of the popular racers to come through the series include "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, and Shirley Muldowney. Those three gained much attention from the 1960s through 1970s with their speed and personalities, a combination rarely achieved today through the political correctness of sponsorship in today's drivers. Nonetheless there are still colorful characters today, such as 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force. His daughter, 2007 Rookie of the Year Ashley Force Hood has made appearances on Good Morning America and The Tonight Show and was voted AOL's Hottest Female Athlete in 2007.
On July 2, 2008, following the death of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta, the NHRA announced that race distances for Top Fuel and Funny Car classes would temporarily be reduced to 1,000 ft from the traditional 1/4 mile (1320 ft). The measure was intended to be temporary while safety solutions were explored; however, the races have remained at 1000 feet since Kalitta's death. Although unpopular with the fans, the distance remains at 1,000 feet today at the request of the teams as a cost-saving measure, with no indication by NHRA officials of any intent of returning to the full quarter-mile format any time soon. By late 2012, 1,000 foot racing became globally recognized as the 2012 FIA European title in Top Fuel became 1,000-foot championships, as Santa Pod and Hockenheim (the last two quarter-mile nitro strips) made the switch, and Australian nitro racing switched to the 1,000-foot distance only for selected tracks.
Starting with the 2007 season, the NHRA implemented a playoff system to determine the champion in each class, billed as the Countdown to The Championship. Each season is divided into two segments of races, with the bulk of the races making up the first segment, and the final events making up the second segment. After the first segment is complete, the drivers in each class at or above the cutoff point in the standings (8th place up to 2007 and 10th place thereafter) become eligible for the championship, while the drivers below the cutoff point are eliminated from championship contention, though they still participate in the remaining race events. The points for the advancing drivers are readjusted so that they are separated by a fixed margin, with first place receiving bonus points. The drivers then compete for the championship over the final races of the season.
Winston cigarettes was the title sponsor of the series from 1975 until 2001, when a condition of the Master Settlement Agreement required Winston to drop either its sponsorship of the NHRA, or the NASCAR Winston Cup Series; Winston chose to retain its NASCAR sponsorship. Winston ended their sponsorship with NASCAR two years later. The Coca-Cola Company has since held the title sponsorship rights for the series, under a deal that, in 2012, was extended through 2018. From 2001 to 2008, the series was branded with the company's Powerade brand, before switching to Full Throttle in 2009. In 2013, following Coca-Cola's most recent extension of its sponsorship, the title sponsor was changed to Mello Yello.
With Mello Yello having introduced a new logo, the NHRA unveiled a new logo for the series in January 2016, as well as a new "My NHRA" marketing campaign that plays upon the logo to feature drivers and other personalities discussing what the NHRA means to them.
Before 1974, the season champion was determined by the winner of the World Finals event. The Professional categories contain the divisions of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock (Automobile), and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
|Year||Top Fuel||Funny Car||Pro Stock||Pro Stock Motorcycle|
|1965||Maynard Rupp||N/A||Gary Lawson||Classification|
|1966||Pete Robinson||Ed Schartman||N/A|
|1970||Ronnie Martin||Gene Snow||Ronnie Sox|
|1971||Gerry Glenn||Phil Castronovo||Mike Fons|
|1972||Jim Walther [a]||Larry Fullerton||Bill Jenkins|
|1973||Jerry Ruth||Frank Hall||Wayne Gapp|
|1974||Gary Beck||Shirl Greer||Bob Glidden|
|1975||Don Garlits||Don Prudhomme||Bob Glidden|
|1976||Richard Tharp||Don Prudhomme||Larry Lombardo|
|1977||Shirley Muldowney [b]||Don Prudhomme||Don Nicholson|
|1978||Kelly Brown||Don Prudhomme||Bob Glidden|
|1979||Rob Bruins [c]||Raymond Beadle||Bob Glidden|
|1980||Shirley Muldowney||Raymond Beadle||Bob Glidden|
|1981||Jeb Allen||Raymond Beadle||Lee Shepherd|
|1982||Shirley Muldowney||Frank Hawley||Lee Shepherd|
|1983||Gary Beck||Frank Hawley||Lee Shepherd [d]|
|1984||Joe Amato||Mark Oswald||Lee Shepherd|
|1985||Don Garlits||Kenny Bernstein||Bob Glidden|
|1986||Don Garlits||Kenny Bernstein||Bob Glidden|
|1987||Dick LaHaie||Kenny Bernstein||Bob Glidden||Dave Schultz|
|1988||Joe Amato||Kenny Bernstein||Bob Glidden||Dave Schultz|
|1989||Gary Ormsby||Bruce Larson||Bob Glidden||John Mafaro|
|1990||Joe Amato||John Force||Darrell Alderman||John Myers|
|1991||Joe Amato||John Force||Darrell Alderman||Dave Schultz|
|1992||Joe Amato||Cruz Pedregon||Warren Johnson||John Myers|
|1993||Eddie Hill||John Force||Warren Johnson||Dave Schultz|
|1994||Scott Kalitta||John Force||Darrell Alderman||Dave Schultz|
|1995 [e]||Scott Kalitta||John Force||Warren Johnson [f]||John Myers|
|1996||Kenny Bernstein [g][h]||John Force||Jim Yates||Dave Schultz|
|1997||Gary Scelzi||John Force||Jim Yates||Matt Hines|
|1998||Gary Scelzi||John Force||Warren Johnson||Matt Hines|
|1999||Tony Schumacher||John Force||Warren Johnson||Matt Hines|
|2000||Gary Scelzi||John Force||Jeg Coughlin Jr.||Angelle Sampey|
|2001||Kenny Bernstein||John Force [i]||Warren Johnson||Angelle Sampey|
|2002||Larry Dixon||John Force||Jeg Coughlin Jr.||Angelle Sampey|
|2003||Larry Dixon||Tony Pedregon||Greg Anderson||Geno Scali|
|2004||Tony Schumacher||John Force||Greg Anderson||Andrew Hines|
|2005||Tony Schumacher||Gary Scelzi [g]||Greg Anderson||Andrew Hines|
|2006||Tony Schumacher||John Force||Jason Line||Andrew Hines|
|2007||Tony Schumacher||Tony Pedregon||Jeg Coughlin Jr.||Matt Smith|
|2008 [j]||Tony Schumacher [k]||Cruz Pedregon||Jeg Coughlin Jr.||Eddie Krawiec [c]|
|2009||Tony Schumacher||Robert Hight [l]||Mike Edwards [m]||Hector Arana|
|2010||Larry Dixon||John Force||Greg Anderson||L.E. Tonglet|
|2011||Del Worsham||Matt Hagan||Jason Line||Eddie Krawiec|
|2012||Antron Brown||Jack Beckman||Allen Johnson||Eddie Krawiec|
|2013||Shawn Langdon||John Force||Jeg Coughlin Jr.||Matt Smith|
|2014||Tony Schumacher||Matt Hagan||Erica Enders-Stevens||Andrew Hines|
|2015||Antron Brown||Del Worsham||Erica Enders-Stevens||Andrew Hines|
|2016||Antron Brown||Ron Capps||Jason Line||Jerry Savoie|
|2017||Brittany Force||Robert Hight||Bo Butner||Eddie Krawiec|
|2018||Steve Torrence||J.R. Todd||Tanner Gray||Matt Smith|
|John Force||16||Funny Car||1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2013|
|Bob Glidden||10||Pro Stock||1974, 1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989|
|Tony Schumacher||8||Top Fuel||1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014|
|Dave Schultz||6||Pro Stock Motorcycle||1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996|
|Kenny Bernstein||6||Funny Car
|1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1996, 2001|
|Warren Johnson||6||Pro Stock||1992, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001|
|Joe Amato||5||Top Fuel||1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992|
|Jeg Coughlin Jr.||5||Pro Stock||2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2013|
|Andrew Hines||5||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2004, 2005, 2006, 2014, 2015|
|Don Prudhomme||4||Funny Car||1975, 1976, 1977, 1978|
|Lee Shepherd||4||Pro Stock||1981, 1982, 1983, 1984|
|Gary Scelzi||4||Top Fuel
|1997, 1998, 2000, 2005|
|Greg Anderson||4||Pro Stock||2003, 2004, 2005, 2010|
|Eddie Krawiec||4||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2008, 2011, 2012, 2017|
|Shirley Muldowney||3||Top Fuel||1977, 1980, 1982|
|Raymond Beadle||3||Funny Car||1979, 1980, 1981|
|Don Garlits||3||Top Fuel||1975, 1985, 1986|
|Darrell Alderman||3||Pro Stock||1990, 1991, 1994|
|John Myers||3||Pro Stock Motorcycle||1990, 1992, 1995|
|Matt Hines||3||Pro Stock Motorcycle||1997, 1998, 1999|
|Angelle Sampey||3||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2000, 2001, 2002|
|Larry Dixon||3||Top Fuel||2002, 2003, 2010|
|Antron Brown||3||Top Fuel||2012, 2015, 2016|
|Jason Line||3||Pro Stock||2006, 2011, 2016|
|Matt Smith||3||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2007, 2013, 2018|
|Gary Beck||2||Top Fuel||1974, 1983|
|Frank Hawley||2||Funny Car||1982, 1983|
|Scott Kalitta||2||Top Fuel||1994, 1995|
|Jim Yates||2||Pro Stock||1996, 1997|
|Tony Pedregon||2||Funny Car||2003, 2007|
|Cruz Pedregon||2||Funny Car||1992, 2008|
|Matt Hagan||2||Funny Car||2011, 2014|
|Erica Enders-Stevens||2||Pro Stock||2014, 2015|
|Del Worsham||2||Top Fuel
|Robert Hight||2||Funny Car||2009, 2017|
|Shirl Greer||1||Funny Car||1974|
|Richard Tharp||1||Top Fuel||1976|
|Larry Lombardo||1||Pro Stock||1976|
|Don Nicholson||1||Pro Stock||1977|
|Kelly Brown||1||Top Fuel||1978|
|Rob Bruins||1||Top Fuel||1979|
|Jeb Allen||1||Top Fuel||1981|
|Mark Oswald||1||Funny Car||1984|
|Dick LaHaie||1||Top Fuel||1987|
|Gary Ormsby||1||Top Fuel||1989|
|Bruce Larson||1||Funny Car||1989|
|John Mafaro||1||Pro Stock Motorcycle||1989|
|Eddie Hill||1||Top Fuel||1993|
|Geno Scali||1||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2003|
|Mike Edwards||1||Pro Stock||2009|
|Hector Arana||1||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2009|
|LE Tonglet||1||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2010|
|Jack Beckman||1||Funny Car||2012|
|Allen Johnson||1||Pro Stock||2012|
|Shawn Langdon||1||Top Fuel||2013|
|Ron Capps||1||Funny Car||2016|
|Jerry Savoie||1||Pro Stock Motorcycle||2016|
|Brittany Force||1||Top Fuel||2017|
|Bo Butner||1||Pro Stock||2017|
|Steve Torrence||1||Top Fuel||2018|
|J.R. Todd||1||Funny Car||2018|
|Tanner Gray||1||Pro Stock||2018|
NHRA events have been broadcast on television, with such efforts dating back as far as 1983. By the 1990s, events were split between ESPN, NBC, and The Nashville Network. TNN also broadcast a weekly highlight program, NHRA Today. Due to logistical and scheduling issues, including the possibility of long turnaround times between heats, weather delays, and other factors, events are typically broadcast in a condensed form via tape delay. From 1992 until 2000, TNN carried live coverage of selected final rounds, typically with a condensed package to air until the finals began.
In 2001, the NHRA entered into an agreement with ESPN for it to become the exclusive broadcaster of NHRA events, shortly after MTV Networks had effectively shut down the CBS motorsport operations after its acquisition of CBS Cable, and the demise of TNN. During its 14-year stint as rightsholder, ESPN faced criticism for the structure and scheduling of its coverage. Due to scheduling conflicts with other sports properties to which it held rights, ESPN typically broadcast its NHRA coverage in inconsistent and otherwise undesirable timeslots. In the final years of the contract, the NHRA attempted to structure selected events so that they could be televised live; by the 2015 season, at least six events were broadcast live.
In July 2015, ESPN and the NHRA agreed to end their contract one year early, with the association citing ESPN's scheduling issues as a concern. In turn, the NHRA announced a new television deal with Fox Sports beginning in the 2016 season. Coverage primarily airs on the FS1 and FS2 cable channels, while 4 events per-season are broadcast on Fox (including the flagship U.S. Nationals). Fox committed to televising live Sunday coverage from at least 16 of the 23 events per-season, two-hour qualification broadcasts and encores (including the condensed highlights program NHRA in 30), and coverage of selected Sportsman Series events. NHRA president Peter Clifford explained that the deal would be a "game-changer" for the association, citing Fox's history of motorsports programming, as well as its commitment to increased coverage of NHRA events, including live network television coverage.
During the first two years of the contract, Fox had achieved an average viewership of 600,000 viewers—a major increase over ESPN's broadcasts. Some events had attracted an audience of over 1 million. The association cited favorable scheduling practices (including better time slots and additional encores, as well as using NASCAR broadcasts as a lead-in), and increased promotion of the event broadcasts as part of FS1 and FS2's programming, as having helped build their audience.
The 1993 season of the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series (now NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series) consisted of 19 races run between February and October in different parts of the United States.2005 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season
The NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series was a series of drag racing events that took place in the USA between 2002 and 2008. The series, taking place each year, is now known as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. It is the top competition division of the NHRA.
The following are the results of the 2005 season.2006 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season
Following are the results of the 2006 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season. The 2006 season would be the last time a national event would be held at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Ohio. The event was replaced with the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk the next year. It is also the final year before the Countdown to the Championship format change.2007 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season
The 2007 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season was the first NHRA season to include the Countdown to the Championship.2008 NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series season
The 2008 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series consisted of 24 national events held at tracks across the U.S. The first 18 events made up the regular season, with the final events making up the "Countdown to 1".
This season marked the introduction of 1000' drag racing for the nitro competitors after the death of Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta in Englishtown, N.J. John Force returned to competition after his near fatal crash in Dallas toward the end of the 2007 Season. John's daughter Ashley became the first female funny car winner beating her father John in the finals at Atlanta. This season also marked the most dominant season by a professional driver in history, as Tony Schumacher won 15 races and became the only driver in the countdown era to clinch the championship before the season finale.2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season
The 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season consisted of 24 national events held at tracks across the U.S. The first 18 events made up the regular season, with the final events making up the "Countdown to 1".2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season
The 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season ran from February 11 to November 14, 2010. A variety of new safety rules were implemented following the conclusion of the investigation of the Scott Kalitta death in 2008. The NHRA had planned on returning Top Fuel and Funny Car classes to 1,320 ft (400 m) distances; however, racing in those classes remained at 1,000 ft (300 m) distance to contain costs with the United States economy still in recession, as well as to address ongoing safety concerns.
There were 23 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock car events, and 17 Pro Stock Motorcycle events.2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season
The 2011 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Season began on 24 February 2011 and concluded on 13 November. This race season marked the 60th anniversary of NHRA as an official motorsports sanctioning body.There were 22 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock car events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events.2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series was announced by the NHRA on August 12, 2012.There are 24 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock car events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events scheduled.2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season was announced on August 29, 2013.There are 24 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock car events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events scheduled.2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season was announced on August 25, 2014.There are 24 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock car events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events scheduled.2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season was announced on September 5, 2015.There are 24 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock car events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events scheduled.2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season was announced on June 8, 2016.It is the 62nd season of the National Hot Rod Association's top drag racing competition. There will be 24 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events.2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season was announced on June 6, 2017.It is the 63rd season of the National Hot Rod Association's top drag racing competition. There will be 24 Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events.2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
The 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Season was announced on July 25, 2018.It is the 64th season of the National Hot Rod Association's top drag racing competition. There will be 24 Top Fuel and Funny Car events, 18 Pro Stock events, and 16 Pro Stock Motorcycle events.Erica Enders
Erica Lee Enders (born October 8, 1983 in Houston, Texas) is an American drag racing driver. Enders won two consecutive championships in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. She currently races in the NHRA Pro Modified class.Gary Scelzi
Gary Scelzi, (born August 11, 1960, Fresno, California), is an American dragster racer and midget car owner who has won the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel championship on three occasions and the Funny Car title once. In 1997 he won the title in his first full year of competition, after replacing Blaine Johnson, who had been killed at the 1996 US Nationals, while leading the top fuel championship, in the Johnson family-owned car. He has not competed in NHRA competition since the 2008 season.
Scelzi went on to win three Top Fuel championships, but at the end of the 2001 season, with the Alan Johnson-owned team losing its Winston sponsorship because of the Master Settlement Agreement, and also partly due to a major accident he had that season, he jumped to Funny Car, with new sponsorship, and a Toyota Celica. The results were a disaster for Scelzi, and he resigned from his ride midway through the season, only to join Don Schumacher Racing for the 2003 season in an Oakley sponsored Dodge funny car.
Scelzi unseated the John Force Racing dynasty, defeating John Force and Robert Hight to win the 2005 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Championship, making it the first time since 1992 (Larry Minor Racing) with Cruz Pedregon driving, a team other than John Force Racing had won the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Funny Car championship. That championship also made him only the second person in NHRA history to win championships in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, the other at the time being Kenny Bernstein. Del Worsham, of Kalitta Motorsports, would become the third in 2015.In his spare time he has raced midgets for fun, even competing in the Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, OK, competing in a 2003 "celebrity" race against fellow drag racer Ron Capps and dirt trackers Danny Lasoski, Scott Bloomquist, Dave Darland, J. J. Yeley, and Tony Stewart.
Scelzi recently purchased a Ford Focus Midget (a spec-class midget) for personal pleasure and entered the 2005 USAC Turkey Night Grand Prix in Irwindale, CA, racing against a midget owned by fellow NHRA Funny Car champion Cruz Pedregon.
In 2006, his midget was driven by 16-year-old driver Michael Faccinto of Hanford, California, who won the 2006 United States Auto Club National Ford Focus Midget Championship, including wins at the Turkey Night Grand Prix in Irwindale, California. Scelzi sold his Focus Midget at the end of 2006 and moved up to standard midgets with Dodge powerplants, with sponsorship from his Funny Car sponsors.
After the 2008 season, Scelzi retired from driving his Fuel Funny Car to focus on Scelzi Enterprises. He was succeeded by #2 points finisher in 2010, Matt Hagan, who now drives the DieHard Dodge Charger for Don Schumacher Racing.New England Dragway
New England Dragway is a 1/4 mile NHRA dragway in Epping, New Hampshire, a small town in Rockingham County, United States. The track puts on various shows throughout the year, including the Lucas Oil Division 1 Championships in July. The Dragway stands loyal to their logo, "built by racers, for racers".Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, originally known as Madison Township Raceway Park, is an American auto racing facility located in Old Bridge Township, in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States, (with an Englishtown ZIP code), in the New York metropolitan area.
NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Seasons
Current NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series dragstrips