National Hot Rod Association

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) is a drag racing governing body, which sets rules in drag racing and hosts events all over the United States and Canada. With over 40,000 drivers in its rosters, the NHRA claims to be the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world.[1]

The association was founded by Wally Parks in 1951 in California to provide a governing body to organize and promote the sport of drag racing. NHRA's first Nationals was held in 1955, in Great Bend, Kansas. (Typical for the era, this race was held on a World War II-constructed training air field.) The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the national event series which comprises 24 races each year, is the premier series in drag racing that brings together the best drag racers from across North America and the world. The NHRA U.S. Nationals are now held at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana and are officially called the U.S. Nationals. Winners of national events are awarded a trophy statue in honor of founder Wally Parks. The trophy is commonly referred to by its nickname, a “Wally”.

National Hot Rod Association
National Hot Rod Association Logo
SportDrag racing
JurisdictionNorth America
AbbreviationNHRA
FoundedMay 1951
HeadquartersGlendora, California, U.S.
PresidentGlen Cromwell
ChairmanDallas Gardner
Official website
www.nhra.com
United States
Canada

Series

2009NHRATopFuelChampTrophyTonySchumacher
2009 Top Fuel trophy

NHRA Championship Drag Racing Series

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the top division of the NHRA. It consists of four professional classes:

Champions

NHRA Sportsman Drag Racing Series

There are more than a dozen Sportsman Classes. The classes contested at NHRA Divisional races include Snowmobile, Motorcycle Classes, Super Street, Super Gas, Stock Eliminator, Super Stock, Competition Eliminator, Super Comp, Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, and Top Alcohol Dragster. All classes except Snowmobile and some Sportsman motorcycle classes are regularly contested at NHRA national events.

NHRA promotes mainly the Professional classes at national Events, however, the majority of its participants are Sportsman Racers. Sportsman-class racers must be dues-paying members of NHRA before they are allowed to enter and participate in any NHRA event.

Included in these sportsman events are the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the Summit Racing Equipment Racing Series and the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League.

The NHRA Sportsman Drag Racing Series originally consisted of seven divisions: Northeast, Southeast, North Central, South Central, West Central, Northwest, and Pacific. Starting in 2012, the Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car classes competed in four regions: East, North Central, Central and West.[2]

Champions

Year Top Alcohol Dragster [3]
1981 Brian Raymer
1982 Don Woosley
1983 Darrell Gwynn
1984 Bill Walsh
1985 Bill Walsh
1986 Bill Walsh
1987 Denny Lucas
1988 Mike Troxel
1989 Tom Conway
1990 Blaine Johnson
1991 Blaine Johnson
1992 Blaine Johnson
1993 Blaine Johnson
1994 Tom Conway
1995 Jay Payne
1996 Bobby Taylor
1997 Rick Santos
1998 Rick Santos
1999 Rick Santos
2000 Rick Santos
2001 Rick Santos
2002 Arthur Gallant
2003 Alan Bradshaw
2004 Mitch Myers
2005 Steve Torrence
2006 Bill Reichert
2007 Bill Reichert
2008 Bill Reichert
2009 Bill Reichert
2010 Bill Reichert
2011 Duane Shields
2012 Jim Whiteley
2013 Jim Whiteley
2014 Chris Demke
2015 Joey Severance
2016 Joey Severance
2017 Joey Severance
2018 Joey Severance
Year Alcohol Funny Car [4]
1981 Frank Manzo
1982 Bob Gottschalk
1983 Fred Mandoline
1984 Brad Anderson
1985 Brad Anderson
1986 Brad Anderson
1987 Pat Austin
1988 Pat Austin
1989 Brad Anderson
1990 Pat Austin
1991 Pat Austin
1992 Bob Newberry
1993 Randy Anderson
1994 Randy Anderson
1995 Joe Pendland
1996 Tony Bartone
1997 Frank Manzo
1998 Frank Manzo
1999 Frank Manzo
2000 Frank Manzo
2001 Frank Manzo
2002 Frank Manzo
2003 Frank Manzo
2004 Cy Chesterman
2005 Bob Newberry
2006 Frank Manzo
2007 Frank Manzo
2008 Frank Manzo
2009 Frank Manzo
2010 Frank Manzo
2011 Frank Manzo
2012 Frank Manzo
2013 Frank Manzo
2014 Steve Harker
2015 Jonnie Lindberg
2016 Jonnie Lindberg
2017 Shane Westerfield
2018 Sean Bellemeur
Year Comp Eliminator [5]
1981 Jeff Cunningham
1982 Norwin Palmer
1983 Coleman Roddy
1984 Coleman Roddy
1985 Bill Maropulos
1986 Vinny Barone
1987 Bill Maropulos
1988 Garley Daniels
1989 Bob Kaiser
1990 David Rampy
1991 David Nickens
1992 Steve Johns
1993 Bill Maropulos
1994 Jeff Krug
1995 Sal Biondo
1996 Bo Nickens
1997 Andy Manna Jr.
1998 Bob Andrews
1999 Andy Manna Jr.
2000 Jerry Arnold
2001 Don Stratton
2002 Mike Saye
2003 Dean Carter
2004 Dean Carter
2005 Jeff Taylor
2006 Bo Butner
2007 Frank Aragona
2008 Dan Fletcher
2009 Bruno Massel
2010 Al Ackerman
2011 Lou Ficco
2012 Bruno Massel
2013 Alan Ellis
2014 David Rampy
2015 Craig Bourgeois
2016 Doug Doll Jr.
2017 David Rampy
2018 Frank Aragona Jr.
Year Super-Stock [6]
1981 Charlie Taylor
1982 Keith Lynch
1983 Keith Lynch
1984 Chuck Gallagher
1985 Dave Boertman
1986 Delmer Wood
1987 Jim Boburka
1988 Jeff Taylor
1989 Jim Boburka
1990 Greg Stanfield
1991 Jeff Taylor
1992 Greg Stanfield
1993 Greg Stanfield
1994 Greg Stanfield
1995 Mike Saye
1996 Peter Biondo
1997 Jimmy DeFrank
1998 Dan Fletcher
1999 Jimmy DeFrank
2000 Peter Biondo
2001 Dan Fletcher
2002 Anthony Bertozzi
2003 Peter Biondo
2004 Larry Stewart
2005 Hugh Meeks
2006 Peter Biondo
2007 Darren Smith
2008 Ricky Decker
2009 Jimmy DeFrank
2010 Ryan McClanahan
2011 Jackie Alley
2012 Jimmy DeFrank
2013 Bryon Worner
2014 Peter Biondo
2015 Justin Lamb
2016 Jimmy DeFrank
2017 Justin Lamb
2018 Justin Lamb
Year Stock [7]
1981 Jeff Taylor
1982 Tex Miller
1983 Jim Hughes
1984 Alan Peters
1985 Tim Ekstrand
1986 Al Corda
1987 Jim Waldo
1988 Sammy Pizzolato
1989 Jim Hughes
1990 Don Keen
1991 John Calvert
1992 Chad Guilford
1993 Jason Line
1994 Harvey Emmons III
1995 Chuck Rayburn
1996 Scotty Richardson
1997 Al Corda
1998 Jeff Hefler
1999 Don Little
2000 Edmond Richardson
2001 Kevin Helms
2002 Kevin Helms
2003 Kevin Helms
2004 Lee Zane
2005 Peter Biondo
2006 Randy Wilkes
2007 Michael Iacono
2008 Lee Zane
2009 Edmond Richardson
2010 Brad Burton
2011 Joseph Santangelo
2012 Brad Burton
2013 Justin Lamb
2014 Austin Williams
2015 Kevin Helms
2016 Jeff Strickland
2017 Justin Lamb
2018 Brian McClanahan

Sportsman racers with multiple championships

Sportsman racers who have won multiple world championships, with the date of their most recent championship.

Top Alcohol Dragster (TAD)

  • 5: Rick Santos (2001), Bill Reichert (2010)
  • 4: Blaine Johnson (1993), Joey Severance (2018)
  • 3: Bill Walsh (1986)
  • 2: Jim Whiteley (2013)

Alcohol Funny Car (AFC)

  • 16: Frank Manzo (2013)
  • 4: Pat Austin (1991)
  • 2: Randy Anderson (1994), Bob Newberry (2005), Jonnie Lindberg (2016)

Competition Eliminator (CE)

  • 3: Bill Maropulos (1987), David Rampy (2017)
  • 2: Coleman Roddy (1984), Andy Manna, Jr (1999), Dean Carter (2004), Bruno Massel (2009)

Super Stock (SS)

  • 5: Peter Biondo (2014)
  • 4: Jimmy DeFrank (2012)
  • 3: Greg Stanfield (1994), Justin Lamb (2018)
  • 2: Keith Lynch (1983), Jim Boburka (1989), Jeff Taylor (1991), Dan Fletcher (2001)

Stock

  • 4: Kevin Helms (2015)
  • 2: Jim Hughes (1989), Al Corda (1997), Lee Zane (2008), Edmond Richardson (2009), Brad Burton (2012)

Safety

The NHRA mandates numerous safety devices and procedures in all competition events.

The five point safety harness is required for all vehicles. It holds the driver secure in the seat, and is equipped with a quick release latch which can be released in less than a second should the driver need to leave the car due to fire or explosions.

Fire suits are required for all drivers in the alcohol and nitromethane fuel classes and the faster gasoline classes. These suits are full body coveralls and made with seven layers of Nomex fabric, which makes them resistant to fire. The required suit includes Nomex gloves, foot socks, and head sock.

Another NASCAR transplant, which was brought into use after the death of Fireball Roberts, was the fuel cell. This bladder is placed into the fuel tanks of non-nitromethane fueled vehicles to prevent fuel leaks, and explosions.

Third is the use of the HANS device. This device limits the movement of the head and neck in the event of an impact.

Fourth is the titanium shield that must be placed behind the head of all Dragsters and Funny Cars down to the Alcohol ranks. This is to prevent any debris from entering the cockpit and becoming a missile hazard to the driver after the death of Top Fuel racer Darrell Russell.

Fifth is the on-board fire extinguishing system that are required. These systems are directed onto the engine itself and are activated instantly when the engine catches fire, reducing the chance for the car to completely catch fire and endanger the driver. The driver also has a manual activation control available. This has been in place on all cars since 1983, when an engine explosion and fire came very close to killing then-Funny Car driver Mike Dunn. All enclosed body cars must have a five-inch circular opening which will accept the nozzle of a fire extinguisher triggered by safety personnel. All vehicles must have a clearly marked fuel pump cut-off switch on a rear panel, accessible to safety crews.

Sixth is the roof escape hatch that is in place on all Funny Cars since the founding of the division in the early 1970s. This device allows Funny Car drivers a safe means of exit during an engine fire rather than falling out of the car between the frame and fiberglass body, and possibly running the risk of being run over by the rear tires.

Seventh are the long bars at the rear end of all cars, also known as "wheelie bars". These long struts prevent the car from flipping over during the launch phase.

To prevent debris, oil, fuel, or coolant from falling on the racing surface, "diapers" under the engine (with a supporting platform) are used to retain liquids and broken parts in the event of a catastrophic engine failure. "Oil-downs" result in substantial fines and the loss of previously earned Championship points (for annual awards). Many cars using the centrifugally-activated "slipper" clutch are now using a retention tube to collect the substantial amount of clutch dust that is produced during each race. The afore mentioned recent practices, along with the longstanding requirement for a Kevlar-style retainer blanket over the supercharger, considerably reduce the potential for injury and fire, in addition to assuring a cleaner and safer racing surface, resulting in a dramatic reduction in race delays for track clean-up.

The rear tires of the car, which are called slicks due to the fact that there is no tread on them, are specified with safety considerations in mind. These tires are made from a much harder compound than in previous years so that the tire is resistant to disintegration. This also came about after the death of Russell. The tires are not allowed to be inflated under 7 pounds per square inch (48 kPa) for any race at any time.

All cars capable of attaining 150 miles per hour require braking parachutes. A safety requirement on all Drag cars running 9.99 and quicker in the 1/4 mile is the fireproof engine blanket which surrounds the engine block and contains debris in case of an engine explosion. NHRA rules call for a monetary, points, and time penalty if the car leaks oil during the run. During qualifying, the offending team loses its elapsed time and speed from the run; during a race, the penalty is loss of lane choice unless both teams in the ensuing race committed the violation.

In the wake of Eric Medlen's 2007 death, the roll bars in a Funny Car underwent modifications to further improve safety. They are padded with thick insulation and coated with several layers of Nomex to prevent the padding from catching fire during an engine explosion.

Another facility safety feature is the large sand pit at the end of the track past an area of the track known as the "shutdown area", also known as a "sand trap". This 40-foot-long (12 m) sand pit has been placed to slow or stop a car. In the wake of Scott Kalitta's death at Englishtown, NJ in 2008, the sand traps have been made longer and deeper, going from three feet deep to six feet deep and from 40 feet (12 m) long to 80 feet (24 m) long. Anchors for any arresting netting must be buried underground with no obstructing posts.

Some of the newest safety features deal with the tracks themselves. In the wake of Kalitta's death, there are now heavily padded retaining walls at the end of the sand traps. These walls are able to withstand the impact of a vehicle traveling at well over the usual speed of any division within the NHRA's professional categories. These retaining walls take the place of the old rubber polymer safety nets that were once held up with concrete posts.

Another safety modification was a direct result of Kalitta's death. The NHRA began installing a sensor that constantly checks the car's engine, and should the car backfire at any time during the race, or if the burst panel is blown out by an engine explosion, the fuel pump shuts off and the parachutes are deployed automatically. Although several drivers in the Top Fuel and Funny Car divisions have stated their dislike for the new sensor, they do admit that it should cut down on any fatal crashes similar to Kalitta's. This device was developed by Force, Kenny Bernstein, and Tony Schumacher, along with NHRA racing development, and NHRA track safety. It was implemented at the start of the 2009 season. The sensor is used only in the Funny Car and Top Fuel divisions. Pro Stock doesn't use nitromethane or superchargers in their engines and this presents a much reduced risk of the massive explosions that can be seen in the nitromethane-fueled cars—and often at their peak speeds.

Prior to the late 1980s, fans could station themselves up to the guardrails so they could be closer to the action. However, in the wake of several rather dramatic accidents on track, where spectators have been injured or killed, fans are no longer allowed within 75 feet (23 m) of the guardrail.

One of the newest safety requirements came after a near fatal crash at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Texas, when John Force's car experienced a severe case of tire shake which, coupled with the release of his parachutes, ripped his car cleanly in two directly behind the engine. This frame failure exposed him to severe injury with no body or frame in front of his feet, as the severely damaged vehicle ground to a halt. The rules now prevent the use of hardened chrome moly tubing in the framework construction of any Top Fuel or Funny Car.

The track length for nitromethane-powered vehicles (funny cars and fuel dragsters) has been reduced to 1,000 feet (305 meters), to reduce the likelihood and severity of blower and engine explosions and fires at or above 200 miles per hour. All other classes continue to race a full 1320-foot quarter mile (402 meters) which has been the original distance established by the NHRA in the 1950s.

The 2010 season brought a new safety device to Top Fuel classes. Should the driver be rendered unable to perform the normal shutdown sequence at the conclusion of a run, a pair of redundant transmitters, placed 400 feet (120 m) and 600 feet (180 m) past the finish line, will signal an on-board receiver to automatically shut off ignition power and fuel to the engine and deploy the parachutes. The transmitters are designed and placed so as to avoid inadvertent triggering of the automated shutoffs.[8] These transmitters and the receivers that are placed on all cars were designed by NHRA's Track Safety Committee and constructed by Electrimotion,[9] and are a direct result of Kalitta's death.

Safety Safari

Within the safety requirements, there is also a full crew of safety personnel, called the Safety Safari, whose job is to attend to any fires, clean up the track of debris after an accident on the track, and attend to the drivers prior to the arrival of any medical personnel. The Safety Safari has been in place since the late 1960s, after a rash of on track accidents caused several promising drivers to retire early. Since that time the chance of fatal injuries has been decreased but not eliminated. There is also a full staff of EMTs on hand at any event on the schedule at any given time. These EMTs are usually from the city or county the track is located in, and are compensated by the NHRA for their time and efforts. Aeromedical services are also on hand at the track for airlifting severely injured persons to local hospitals or trauma centers if necessary.

The original 'Drag Safari' began their tour across America in 1954. Included were four original members: Bud Coons, Bud Evans, Eric Rickman and Chic Cannon.

Fatalities

Although there are several safety procedures in place to prevent fatal accidents, no amount of safety can completely prevent fatalities on the track.

Name Location Year
"Sneaky" Pete Robinson Auto Club Raceway at Pomona 1971
John Hagen Brainerd International Raceway 1983
Lee Shepherd Ardmore, Oklahoma 1985
Blaine Johnson Indianapolis Raceway Park 1996
Elmer Trett Indianapolis Raceway Park 1996
Carrie Jo Neal Sears Point International Raceway 1997
John Lingenfelter Pomona 2002
Darrell Russell Gateway International Raceway 2004
Shelly Howard Tulsa, Oklahoma 2005
Eric Medlen Gainesville Raceway 2007
John Shoemaker Famoso Raceway 2008
Scott Kalitta Englishtown, NJ 2008
Neal Parker Englishtown, NJ 2010
Mark Niver Pacific Raceways 2010
Randy Alexander Atlanta Dragway 2018

See also

References

  1. ^ NHRA: World's largest auto racing organization - Official website
  2. ^ 2012 Lucas Oil schedule released, regional program established for alcohol classes Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine - HRA official website, 12 November 2011
  3. ^ "2011 NHRA Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings". www.nhra.net. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  4. ^ "2011 NHRA Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings". www.nhra.net. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  5. ^ "2011 NHRA Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings". www.nhra.net. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  6. ^ "2011 NHRA Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings". www.nhra.net. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  7. ^ "2011 NHRA Lucas Oil Championship Point Standings". www.nhra.net. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Safety Shut-off Transmitter/Receiver system to debut at Winternationals". Archived from the original on 2010-02-12. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  9. ^ "Welcome to Electrimotion.com". www.electrimotion.com. Retrieved 31 March 2018.

External links

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.

Al Young (dragster driver)

Alfred John Young (born April 28, 1946) is a former World Champion Drag Racer who competed in professional Bracket racing, and the heads-up categories from Super Street and Super Gas to Super Comp. He taught high school in Seattle, Washington, for 37 years, and is involved with the preparation of classic high performance race cars. After campaigning his 1970 Dodge Challenger for over 25 years, winning the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) World Championship and numerous other National Hot Rod Association and AHRA titles, he donated his drag racing car to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) in Seattle, Washington, in 2007. During the majority of his auto racing career, he was sponsored by Ole Bardahl of the Bardahl Company. In 2018, he was inducted into the National Hot Rod Association, Northwest Division, Hall of Fame..

Carol Cox

Carol Cox is a pioneering American woman drag racer. She is the first woman to win at a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) national event.

Full Throttle (drink)

Full Throttle is an energy drink brand produced by Monster Energy. It debuted in late 2004 in the United States and Canada under its former owner The Coca-Cola Company. It is known for its sponsorship of National Hot Rod Association competitions from 2008 to 2012.

On June 12, 2015, Monster Beverage closed on the deal to acquire The Coca-Cola Company's energy drinks line. Coca-Cola transferred ownership of all of its worldwide energy businesses including NOS, Full Throttle and nine smaller brands to Monster. Monster transferred all of its non-energy drink businesses to Coca-Cola, including Hansen's natural sodas, Peace Tea, Hubert's Lemonade, and Hansen's juice products.

Gary Beck

Gary Beck (born January 21, 1941) is a two-time World champion drag racing driver. Born in Seattle, Washington and raised in the United States, Beck married a Canadian and they made their home in her native Edmonton, Alberta. He competed in stock car racing before switching to drag racing.

A virtual unknown, in 1972 he abruptly came to international prominence when he won the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Top Fuel dragster title at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. His win marked the first of a number of important championships and in 1974, he drove his nitro-fueled dragster to a record setting three NHRA and two American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) titles and earned the first of his two World Championships. Beck was named driver of the year by Drag News and top fuel driver of the year by Car Craft. Among his 1975 victories, he took the Canadian Open Top Fuel championship.

In 1983 Gary Beck dominated the Top Fuel class in drag racing, scoring 17 of the fastest 18 runs in Top Fuel history and capping off the multi-win season with his second World Championship. He retired from the NHRA tour in 1986, having won 19 Top Fuel titles plus multiple events on the IHRA and AHRA circuits. Inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 1999, on the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951–2000, Beck was ranked 24th.

Gatornationals

The Gatornationals is an annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) national drag racing event held each March at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida. The event was held for the first time in 1970. The traditional East Coast opener and the season's first of 16 events for Pro Stock Motorcycle riders and first of 10 for NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series racers moves back to the second spot on the calendar. The event is one of the sport's most revered with a rich tradition of history-making performances. This hallowed ground has entertained spring-break-loving fans for decades with such notable occasions as the first 260-mph Top Fuel and Funny Car runs in 1984 and the first 270-mph and 300-mph Top Fuel passes, in 1986 and 1992, respectively. Its 675-foot concrete launchpad is one of the longest on the tour.

How to Get There: The track is on County Road 225, eight miles north of Gainesville Regional Airport. If traveling north on I-75, use Exit 382, Williston Road (CR 331), and turn left (east). Williston Road will become Waldo Road (State Route 24) after it crosses U.S. 441. Continue on Waldo Road to NE 53rd Avenue, turn left, then immediately right onto CR 225 and continue 3.5 miles to the track. From I-75 north or south, use Exit 390, 39th Avenue (SR 222), go east to Waldo Road (SR 24), turn left, go to NE 53rd Avenue, turn left, then immediately right onto CR 225 and continue 3.5 miles to the track.

Heartland Motorsports Park

Heartland Motorsports Park, formerly known as Heartland Park Topeka, is a multi-purpose motorsports facility located 8 miles (13 km) south of downtown Topeka, Kansas near the Topeka Regional Airport.

When it opened in 1989, it was the first brand-new auto racing facility to be built in the United States for 20 years. Its facilities include a road-race course with 4 possible configurations (ranging from 1.8 miles (2.9 km) to 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in length), a ⅜ mile clay oval, off-road course and a ¼ mile drag strip. After several years of neglect, owing to continual financial difficulties, the track surface and other facilities had deteriorated badly and the very survival of the track was in doubt. In 2003, it was bought by Raymond Irwin, former owner (2007) of Blackhawk Farms Raceway, who has instituted a program of major renovations to the facility.In December 2015, the track was purchased by Chris Payne and Todd Crossley of Shelby Development, LLC. Payne, who is CEO of Shelby Development, became sole owner of the track in January 2017.The drag-strip is used by local clubs and the National Hot Rod Association. The road-course is mainly used by the SCCA, the National Auto Sport Association and marque-clubs. The track was the home of both the SCCA National Championship Runoffs and the Tire Rack SCCA Solo National Championships from 2006 to 2008. In the past, it has hosted ARCA, ASA, IMSA, AMA and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' O'Reilly Auto Parts 275.The full 2.5 mile road course (and pit road) was completely repaved with a high-tech, polymer-enhanced asphalt in the fall of 2016 and will host a full schedule of car, motorcycle and kart events in 2017.

Houston Raceway Park

Houston Raceway Park, formerly known as Royal Purple Raceway, is a quarter-mile dragstrip in Baytown, Texas, just outside Houston. Built in 1988, the Park is situated on 500 acres on the eastern edge of the greater Houston metropolitan area and is Houston's only major multi-purpose motorsports venue. The dragstrip boasts a three-story tower building that incorporates 23 VIP suites, a media center, and race control facilities equipped with timing and scoring equipment. In 2000, Houston Raceway Park opened a new high banked 3/8 mile dirt oval at the facility.

Houston Raceway Park's spacious, paved pit area holds approximately 400 racing rigs, with additional pit parking available on grass. The spectator parking lots have a capacity of over 10,000 cars, along with a special VIP parking area capable of holding an additional 600 vehicles.

The Park has a seating capacity of 30,000, with additional grandstand seating brought in during major events to accommodate reserved seat requests. Houston Raceway Park has permanent rest room facilities and concession buildings, located near spectator seating on both sides of the race track.

Houston Raceway Park has an exclusive contract with the National Hot Rod Association to host a NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series National Event within a 200-mile radius of the Houston metropolitan area, called the NHRA SpringNationals. The track is owned by the Angel Brothers of Baytown, Texas.

International Hot Rod Association

The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) is the second largest drag racing sanctioning body after the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

John Force Racing

John Force Racing is an NHRA drag racing team. In over 30 years of competition, John Force Racing has won one Top Fuel and 19 Funny Car championships. The current line-up of drivers includes Top Fuel driver Brittany Force and Funny car drivers John Force, Robert Hight, and Courtney Force. The team's leadership includes CEO John Force, President Robert Hight, Vice President Ashley Force Hood, and CFO Adria Hight. Past drivers include Ashley Force Hood, team crew chief Mike Neff, Eric Medlen, who lost his life while racing for the team and whose number 4 appears on all their cars, Tony Pedregon, who was the first driver other than Force to win a series championship driving for the team, and Gary Densham. In 2017, Brittany Force became the first team driver to win a championship in a classification that is not Funny Car, taking the Top Fuel title.

Force's team had a long term relationship with Castrol and Ford Motor Company, with Castrol serving as Force's primary sponsor for over 30 years and Ford his engine provider for 20 years. Both of those relationships came to an end following the 2014 season when British Petroleum, Castrol's parent company, ceased their sponsorship and Ford pulled out of the NHRA. Force's Funny Car teams now run Chevrolets, sponsored by Old World Industries.

Lee Shepherd

Lee Alan Shepherd (August 30, 1944 – March 11, 1985) was an American drag racing driver from Arlington, Texas.

In 1972, Shepherd drove a lime green Chevy Nova station wagon to the Modified finals at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Springnationals, also claiming Modified Eliminator (making the Nova the quickest car at the event). Later in 1972, he teamed with David Reher and Buddy Morrison. The three Texans pooled their limited resources and forged a longstanding partnership after Bobby Cross left the team to pursue his own business ventures. The Reher-Morrison-Shepherd team won NHRA's Division 4 Modified championship in 1973, and took a class win at the 1974 Winternationals in a pumpkin orange Chevrolet-powered F/Gas Ford Maverick. Shepherd ran back-to-back 10.67s to defeat John Smith’s M/Gas Volkswagen and defending event champion Bob Riffle’s C/Gas Dodge Colt. In the quarterfinal, he bested Carl Frizzell’s E/MP Camaro with a 10.66 and former Winternationals winner Fred Teixeira’s B/Gas Corvette with a 10.49. In the final, Shepherd unleashed a pass of 10.39 seconds at 130.62 mph (210.21 km/h), defeating Jim Marshall’s A/MP Dart and good enough to set an F/Gas national record.In 1975, the Texans borrowed a Chevrolet Corvette body, transplanted the Maverick's powertrain, and recorded another Modified victory at the 1975 Springnationals, as well as taking Modified Eliminator, making the Reher-Morrison Corvette the quickest Modified of the event.

The team campaigned a Chevrolet Camaro to win four consecutive NHRA national championships from 1981 to 1984.Shepherd would return to win the Winternationals twice in Pro Stock, in 1980 and 1984, while the team won 26 of 56 national events and four championships in that period.In 1983 Shepherd became the first driver to win both the NHRA and IHRA Pro Stock championships in the same year, a feat that had never before been achieved; he did it again in 1984.In March 1985, on his way to a fifth straight Pro Stock championship, Shepherd was killed while testing his car in Ardmore, Oklahoma. At the Gatornationals, the next event on the NHRA calendar, the qualifiers in Pro Stock lined up on the track before the start of eliminations in a missing man formation with the pole position being left open for Lee Shepherd. In 2001, a panel ranked Shepherd twelfth in the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951–2000.Over his career, Shepherd won at every NHRA national event, recording a record of 173 wins to 47 losses, including reaching the final round in 44 national events, winning 26 times.

He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth, Texas.

Matthew Morgan (politician)

James Matthew (Matt) Morgan (born February 5, 1973) is a Republican member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing district District 29A which includes the Northwestern portion of St. Mary's County. Following his high school graduation from Maurice J. McDonough High School, Morgan attended the College of Southern Maryland but did not graduate.

Morgan is a member of the National Hot Rod Association and the National Rife Association.

NHRA Summernationals

The NHRA Summernationals are an annual drag racing event run by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

"Dyno Don" Nicholson turned in Ford's first Pro Stock win in his Maverick in 1971. That year, Ed "the Ace" McCulloch debuted his Plymouth Duster funny car, Revellution."Dandy Dick" Landy made his second, and last, final round appearance at the 1972 event, losing to Grumpy Jenkins.In 1974, "Jungle Jim" Liberman's Vega funny car did a memorable wheelstand. Liberman had his sole NHRA national event win at the 1975 Summernats.Nicholson finished second at the 1976 Summernats.The 1978 event at Englishtown, sponsored by Winston, was attended by top dragster drivers Don Prudhomme, Shirley Muldowney, reigning Top Fuel Dragster (TF/D) champion Dick Tharp (with the Candies and Hughes fueller), as well as funny car drivers, including Frank “Ace” Manzo (with a Monza BB/FC), Tom Prock (with the Detroit Tiger AA/FC), "TV Tommy" Ivo (the Rod Shop Dodge AA/FC), and R. C. Sherman (the Black Magic AA/FC), as well as Pro Stock champions including Grumpy Jenkins (with the Grumpy's Toy Monza). Gordie Bonin drove the Bubble Up Pontiac Trans Am funny car, while Kenny Bernstein appeared in the Chelsea King funny car. Bob Glidden took Pro Stock in his Ford Fairmont. Denny Savage claimed the TF/FC title that year, with Ed "The Ace" McCulloch runner-up.After Old Bridge Township Raceway Park ceased all drag racing operations in 2018, the Summernationals were moved to Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg, Virginia and the event renamed the Virginia NHRA Nationals.

NHRA U.S. Nationals

The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals (commonly U.S. Nats) is an NHRA-sanctioned drag racing event, generally considered to be the most prestigious drag racing event in the world due to its history, size, and purse, held annually at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Brownsburg, Indiana.With the event's final round taking place on Labor Day, it is the only Monday event on the schedule, and is the longest-running Labor Day motorsports event in the United States, a distinction it earned in 2004.

The first edition of the NHRA Nationals was held at the Great Bend Municipal Airport in Great Bend, Kansas in 1955. The event moved first toOklahoma City's Oklahoma State Fairgrounds for the "4th annual National Championship Drag Races Sponsored by the National Hot Rod Association" in 1958, then moved to Detroit Dragway in Detroit, Michigan for 1959-1960 before moving to Indianapolis Raceway Park in 1961, and has remained there ever since, after a verbal deal was made between NHRA founder and Board Chairman Wally Parks and the then-owners of the track. In 1979, the NHRA bought the entire complex. In 2006, it was renamed O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, after auto parts supplier O'Reilly Auto Parts purchased naming rights. In 2010, Lucas Oil purchased the rights, renaming the venue Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Ronnie Sox

Ronnie Sox (c. 1938 – April 22, 2006 in Richmond, Virginia) was an American drag racer.

His family ran a Sinclair (SOX SINCLAIR) station on Church St. in Burlington, North Carolina, where got his start in drag racing in the 1950s when the Police Club of Burlington began hosting races at an airport.

He raced at tracks throughout North Carolina and became a national sensation in the 1960s and early 1970s. Sox won five National Hot Rod Association championships and more than 59 events. Together with racing partner Buddy Martin, Sox was the winningest Pro Stock driver (nine victories in 23 events) in the 1970-72 "four-speed era". Initially Martin and Sox were competitors, but Martin approached Sox to drive his car after concluding that he just couldn't beat him.Sox drove a 1963 Chevrolet and then a factory-sponsored A/FX Mercury Comet in 1964.

In 1965, he drove an altered-Wheelbase Plymouth. He started the 1966 season in an injected, nitro-burning Barracuda Funny Car.Later he drove Plymouths in Pro Stock and had "Clinic" cars with Plymouths.Sox went on to drive a Mercury Comet in IHRA Pro Modified for a few years before retiring from drag racing.Sox was ranked 15th on the National Hot Rod Association Top 50 Drivers, 1951-2000.He died of prostate cancer at the age of 67.

Shirley Muldowney

Shirley Muldowney (born June 19, 1940), also known professionally as "Cha Cha" and the "First Lady of Drag Racing", is an American auto racer. She was the first woman to receive a license from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to drive a Top Fuel dragster. She won the NHRA Top Fuel championship in 1977, 1980, and 1982, becoming the first person to win two and three Top Fuel titles. She won a total of 18 NHRA national events.

Spokane County Raceway

Spokane County Raceway ("Spokane Raceway Park" until 2008) is multi-venue motorsport facility in the western United States, in Spokane County, Washington.

Located northeast of Airway Heights and west of the city of Spokane, it includes a quarter-mile (400 m) drag strip, a 2.3-mile (3.7 km) road course, and a half-mile (800 m) oval track. The raceway is currently a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) member; it previously hosted International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and American Hot Rod Association (AHRA) events. It is used as well for driving schools for marque-specific clubs, and has also hosted ICSCC (International Conference of Sports Car Clubs) championship events.

The average elevation of the facility is approximately 2,350 feet (720 m) above sea level.

Texas Motorplex

The Texas Motorplex is a quarter mile drag racing facility located in Ennis, Texas, United States, 40 miles south of downtown Dallas. Built in 1986 by former funny car driver Billy Meyer, the Motorplex was the first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) "super track." It annually hosts the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals each October, when hundreds of professional and amateur drag racers compete for over $2 million in prize money. Past winners have included John Force, Kenny Bernstein, and Tony Schumacher. Perhaps the one identifying feature of the track, is that from the burnout pad, to the shutdown area, it is the only all concrete strip within the NHRA's schedule of events.

Wally Parks

Wallace Gordon "Wally" Parks (January 23, 1913 – September 28, 2007) was the founder, president, and chairman of the National Hot Rod Association, better known as NHRA. He was instrumental in establishing drag racing as a legitimate amateur and professional motorsport.

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