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NHRA changes course; moves 2020 season restart from June to August

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Five days after the National Hot Rod Association announced plans to resume racing in early June with fans in the stands and pits, those plans suddenly have fallen by the wayside.

The NHRA announced Monday that it is postponing all of the previously announced events that had been rescheduled because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Drag racing’s largest sanctioning body says it will resume racing with fans in attendance in August but did not give specifics in its statement other than to say it will release a new, revised schedule “soon”.

NHRA President Glen Cromwell released the following statement to NBC Sports:

“While we want to resume the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series as much as anyone, we believe the best decision at this time for our sport, based on the fluidity of the pandemic situation, is to postpone restarting Series events. We will have an announcement regarding the remainder of our 2020 Mello Yello schedule and those of our other series and events soon.”

One element of note: The NHRA’s originally rescheduled season, which was announced in late March, called for 19 events, down from its original 24 national events.


But the Monday revision further would shorten the season to 18 events, which includes two races that were already contested in February (Pomona, California, and Phoenix) before racing and all other forms of sports were placed on hiatus due to the pandemic.

That leaves NHRA with a rather ambitious plan to contest 16 races in 16 weeks – provided racing resumes on the first weekend of August and continues on through mid-November, as originally was scheduled.

Here is the official NHRA statement:


GLENDORA, Calif. – NHRA officials announced today that they are working with state and local officials as well as host tracks and teams on a revised Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, which will be announced soon.

The season is expected to resume, with fans in attendance, in August and will consist of 18 total events for 2020, including the two that kicked off the season.

The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will continue to be contested at each Mello Yello Series event.

The revised schedule previously announced is in flux because of the fluid nature of the pandemic situation.

At this time, it is certain that the events planned for June and July are postponed. Those events are the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals on June 5-7 (Gainesville, FL); Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil on June 12-14 (Houston, TX); NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals on June 19-21 (Bristol, TN); Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals on June 26-28 (Norwalk, OH); Route 66 NHRA Nationals on July 9-12 (Chicago, IL); Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil on July 17-19 (Denver, CO); and NHRA Sonoma Nationals on July 24-26 (Sonoma, CA).

Tentative schedule announcements for the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series, Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Series, and NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Series will be announced following the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series announcement.

Follow @JerryBonkowski