The acronym NHRA stands for National Hot Rod Association, the governing body for drag racing in the USA that both establishes regulations and organizes events across the country. The NHRA also seeks to promote drag racing and increase the sport’s popularity with fans while retaining sponsors for events and participants.
Founded in 1951 in California by Wally Parks, the NHRA saw as its prime mandate the need to get Hot Rodders off the streets and onto legal drag strips where safety for both racers and the general public could be ensured. Today, the NHRA is the largest drag racing authority in the world, with 300 employees, 80,000 members and 35,000 licensed competitors. The NHRA has over 140 member tracks throughout North America.
The most prestigious NHRA drag racing event in North America is the U.S. Nationals that are held bi-annually in summer and winter. This popular drag racing competition is held at the Indianapolis Raceway Park, home of the legendary Indy 500. The NHRA also stages the PowerAde Drag Racing Series. This series is made up of four classes: Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Fuel Dragster and Top Fuel Funny Car. Other sportsman classes are held for amateur, or “Sunday” racers, who would like to compete.
The NHRA supports many special educational initiatives such as the Youth and Education Services program and the Street Legal program. NHRA events attract thousands of loyal fans, and members are enthusiastic about their chosen sport. Schedules for upcoming NHRA events can be found in newspapers, racing magazines and online.
When most people think of drag racing, Top Fuel dragsters are what commonly come to mind. With their huge rear tires, long bodies, spindly front wheels and flame-belching engines, Top Fuel drag racing is one of the most distinctive types of auto racing. Both NHRA sanctioned Top Fuel categories feature cars that exceed 325 miles per hour and can run the quarter mile in under 5 seconds. Now that’s fast! These awesome dragsters are fueled with a potent mixture of 85% Nitro methane and 15% Methanol.
In practice, pairs of drag racers compete against each other to cover a set distance in the briefest amount of time. The track on which the race takes place is straight and level. The distances covered are usually a quarter mile or an eighth of a mile. The race begins from a stationary positionl and thus requires very powerful engines to cover that short distance in the fastest time. The start is crucial, as a mere split second delay is often enough to lose a close race. Both drivers stare intently as yellow lights flash on a “Christmas Tree”, down to the very last pair that are green. When the green lights flash, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal. The cars shoot down the track as if they were launched from catapults, often releasing a parachute to help them brake once they cross the finish line.
There are approximately 325 drag strips operating throughout the world at any given time. Associations such as the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and the NHRA in the United States have been set up to monitor the sport. Professional drag racing has safety standards, rules and regulations that apply equally to all participants to keep things fair and to promote good sportsmanship.
Drag racing has always been a colorful sport, and that doesn’t just apply to the “Fuelies” and Funny Cars. Drivers with larger than life personalities have dominated the sport and become legends in their own time. Don “Big Daddy” Garlits and Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney are two of the most famous Top Fuel dragster drivers of all time, while the names of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and 13-time champion John Force are synonymous with the sport of Funny Car racing.
The O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis has got fans excited after releasing the details of the 2009 racing schedule earlier this week. The park will see favorites such as NHRA, NASCAR and Super Chevy returning to the track. It will also see a few new events such as the Pinks All Out.
Speaking about the new Pinks All Out race, Ron Anderson, O’Reilly Raceway Park’s general manager, said that they were excited to welcome the crew as “they bring an exciting and energetic event to our world famous drag strip.” He added: “The entire staff also looks forward to all of our weekly programs, premier events such as Kroger SpeedFest, Mac Tools US Nationals and all the events that have made O’Reilly Raceway Park one of the busiest racing venues in the nation.”
So exactly what are some of the great events you can expect to enjoy at this brilliant location during the course of the next racing season? The NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional race will be taking place in April, while the 55th installment of the annual Mac Tools US Nationals will be returning to the track on Labor Day weekend. The Goodguys Hot Rod Nationals, the Indy Import Truck Bash, the Diesel Hot Rod Nationals and the Super Chevy Show will also be making their way to the O’Reilly Raceway Park later this year.
Of course the year wouldn’t be quite the same without the weekly drag races that take place at the O’Reilly Raceway and so the O’Reilly Tuesday Night Street Legal Series will be returning to the track for the duration of 2009. Both racers and spectators can expect to enjoy some great discounts if they are regulars at this event. The VP Fuels E.T. Bracket Racing Series will be hitting the track in summer, along with the test and tunes that go with it.
NASCAR will be featured on the track for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. They will be in good company with the USAC series and the Advance Racing Association and the Advance Racing Association Late models which will both be returning to the track during the course of the year. Clearly 2009 will feature plenty of top-notch racing at the O’Reilly Raceway Park. Make sure you don’t miss out on any of the action!
For the past six years the AMP Outlaw Winter Nationals have been bringing race-lovers of every sort together for some fantastic auto racing action. The races take place during the last few months of the year, continuing into early next year and are divided into four divisions: ATV Quads, Karts, Motorcycles and Modified Hot Rod Riding Lawn Mowers.
This year all the action will be taking place at the OK Corral Indoor Arena in Harrah, Oklahoma. The competition is open to a wide variety of drivers, including vintage drivers, regional professionals, adults and youths. The various divisions have been carefully created to cater for specific engine sizes and rider skill levels. The 2008-2009 race schedule has just been released so fans of the AMP Outlaw Winter Nationals Indoor Short Track Race Series would do well to get a head start on the event and have a peek at the schedule.
The 2008-2009 Outlaw Winter Nationals are sponsored by NOS Energy Drink and will get underway on October 4, 2008, with a massive series opener. After that the action will die down for a while, only to return on October 25 with Bike Night. November 8 and 22 will be Regular Points Night, while December 6 is the night of the 4th Annual Curley Sutton Memorial Race. The final race of the year is the Inaugural Eddy Daley “Celebration of Life” Tribute Race which will take place on December 27. Bicycle races will take place at half time and double points can be earned on the night.
January 3 & 10 in 2009 are another two regular points nights while Dad’s Race Night will follow on January 31. The Mom’s are not left out and February 14 is the date for Mom’s Powder-Puff Night. The Birthday Bash will take place on February 28 and there is a Spring Break Special with a five dollar special on kids’ tickets on March 14. March 28 is Mechanics Race Night and the action will start to draw to a close on April 4 with the Grand Finale. However, while the points series ends there, the fun does not – a massive Fun Race will take place on April 18, followed by an Awards Party on May 3. Further noteworthy events include the Lightning C Arena McAlester Indoor MOTO TT and Indoor Short Track events taking place in the Lightning C Arena in McAlester, Oklahoma, on May 15 and 16 respectively. Tickets will be available at the gates on the day of the race and drivers can enter their respective races on race day before 17:30.