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NHRA Schedule Features Topeka Switch

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, October 15 2013

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A return to racing on Memorial Day weekend with the NHRA Kansas Nationals highlights the 24-race 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

NHRA’s 26th annual visit to Heartland Park Topeka is set for May 23-25, 2014, as the series returns to one of the premier weekends of any racing season with competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock. The 2013 Kansas Nationals were run from May 17-19.

Also in 2014, NHRA will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the biggest and most prestigious event in drag racing, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend, Aug. 27-Sept. 1.

Another tradition-rich event will mark its 50th anniversary _ the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.). That race again will provide the stage for the season-finale, Nov. 13-16. NHRA will be announcing activities, events and promotions for both milestone anniversary races.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class will compete in a 16-race schedule next year, with six of those races included in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, members of the ESPN network, again will provide exclusive television coverage on a same-day basis of all series events featuring action from qualifying rounds Saturday and eliminations Sunday.

The series will make its traditional stops across the country and remains the most geographically dispersed U.S. touring series in motorsports, reaching fans from New England to California, Washington to Florida and all points in-between.

The 2014 schedule will begin with the NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Feb. 6-9. The event will move to a more traditional three-day format for Mello Yello Series competitors, featuring two qualifying runs Friday and Saturday, followed by eliminations Sunday. NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Sportsman competitors will begin racing Thursday, Feb. 6.

Following the season-opener, the series will return to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park (formerly Firebird International Raceway) at Chandler, Ariz., near Phoenix, for the 30th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 21-23. NHRA teams then will traverse the country to the traditional East Coast opener at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, Fla., for the 45th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 13-16.

Three traditional stops will follow _ the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 28-30); the unique NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., near Charlotte (April 11-13) and the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, near Houston (April 25-27).

In May, teams will embark on a grueling stretch of events during the summer months that includes 11 races in 14 weeks, beginning with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, May 16-18. The series will return to racing Memorial Day weekend with the NHRA Kansas Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, May 23-25, followed by the last of a three-in-a-row stretch, the 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., May 29-June 1.

After a week off, the series will race four weekends in a row starting with the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. (June 13-15); the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals (June 19-22) in Epping, N.H.; the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill., outside Chicago (June 26-29) and concluding with a Fourth of July weekend celebration during the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio (July 3-6).

The famed Western Swing kicks off with the 35th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., near Denver, July 18-20. From there, the teams will trek further west stopping at Sonoma Raceway in the Bay Area of Northern California for the NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 25-27) before finishing the Swing at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash., near Seattle, with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals (Aug. 1-3). NHRA teams then will head to Brainerd, Minn., for the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, (Aug. 14-17).

The last race of the regular season _ during which final positions for the Countdown to the Championship can be secured _ will be the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind., near Indianapolis, Labor Day weekend, Aug. 27-Sept. 1. Adding to the pressure will be the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel and Funny Car. The special races-within-a-race bonus events feature the best in both categories vying for $100,000 winners’ checks.

The six-race Countdown to the Championship _ NHRA’s playoffs _ will begin two weeks later with four consecutive weeks of racing _ the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Concord, N.C. (Sept. 12-14); the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, near Dallas (Sept. 18-21); the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., near St. Louis (Sept. 26-28) and the 30th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. (Oct. 2-5).

The season will conclude out west with the Toyota NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas (Oct. 30-Nov. 2) and returns to where it all began for the season-finale with the 50th anniversary Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals (Nov. 13-16). Like the Winternationals, the Auto Club NHRA Finals will be a three-day race for Mello Yello Series teams with two qualifying sessions each Friday and Saturday and final eliminations Sunday.

In addition to featuring the conclusion to the season and the crowning of world champions in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, the event at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona will include a 50th anniversary celebration. Details will be announced later.

2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Schedule

NHRA Mello Yello Series Regular Season

54th annual NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 6-9, Pomona, Calif.

30th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 21-23, Chandler, Ariz.

45th annual Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 13-16, Gainesville, Fla. (PSM)

15th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, March 28-30, Las Vegas

Fifth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 11-13, Concord, N.C. (PSM)

27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA SpringNationals, April 25-27, Baytown, Texas

34th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 16-18, Commerce, Ga. (PSM)

26th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 23-25, Topeka, Kan.

45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals, May 29-June 1, Englishtown, N.J. (PSM)

14th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 13-15, Bristol, Tenn.

Second annual Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals, June 19-22, Epping, N.H. (PSM)

17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, June 26-29, Joliet, Ill. (PSM)

Eighth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, July 3-6, Norwalk, Ohio (PSM)

35th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 18-20, Morrison, Colo., (PSM)

27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals, July 25-27, Sonoma, Calif. (PSM)

27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, Aug. 1-3, Kent, Wash.

33rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 14-17, Brainerd, Minn.

60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Aug. 27-Sept. 1, Clermont, Ind. (PSM)

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship

Seventh annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 12-14, Concord, N.C. (PSM)

29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Sept. 18-21, Ennis, Texas (PSM)

Third annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, Sept. 26-28, Madison, Ill., (PSM)

30th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals, Oct. 2-5, Reading, Pa. (PSM)

14th annual Toyota NHRA Nationals, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, Las Vegas (PSM)

50th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 13-16, Pomona, Calif. (PSM)

(PSM) _ Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, October 15 2013
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