The world’s most prestigious drag race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, is set to once again provide its traditional offering of the very best in high performance for thousands of hot rodding enthusiasts. More than 950 competitors in 12 racing categories will perform in front of the standing-room-only crowd during the much-anticipated Labor Day weekend classic.
Drag racing’s marquee event takes place at revered Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Aug. 29-Sept. 3. It is the 17th of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for 2012 and the final of 17 regular-season races. Following this event, the top 10 drivers in each Pro category will be locked in for the six-race Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s postseason playoffs. The 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus will be showcased nationwide on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD during more than 10 hours of coverage.
Each year at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, fans are offered a glimpse into the past with several exciting attractions, and the 2012 edition of this legendary event is no exception: Many additional events and special attractions will continue the celebration of NHRA’s yearlong Nitro Generation theme.
Throughout the weekend, an incredible assortment of vintage hot rods will be on display in a special Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Car Corral. Several autograph sessions featuring many of the legends of the sport will be featured throughout the weekend as well.
A special Nitro Generation Track Walk also will be held prior to Monday’s pre-race ceremony, and many of the sport’s biggest stars will walk alongside fans down the historic dragstrip.
Fan-favorite jet cars and wheelstanders will take to the track to make exhibition passes as part of Friday's and Saturday’s activities. As usual, one of the highlights of the spectacular pre-race show on Monday will feature highly skilled skydiver Jason Peters soaring into Lucas Oil Raceway with an American flag in tow while country music group Union Rose performs the national anthem.
Throughout the years, fans at Lucas Oil Raceway have cheered on drag racing immortals such as “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden, Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen, and Don “the Snake” Prudhomme as they raced to the winner’s circle and etched their names into the NHRA record book. Today’s stars – including eight-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner Tony Schumacher, four-time Funny Car winner John Force, and six-time Pro Stock winner Greg Anderson – will be racing with plenty of determination to continue to build on their legacies. For many of the competitors, the race has evolved into much more than an annual contest of speed. For those who seek to become a part of its mystique, winning the event has become a vital component of a great driver's resume.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Anderson (Pro Stock), and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners.
This year’s edition of the famed event will feature intense side-by-side racing as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle compete for their share of the $2 million purse and battle for important world championship points; the event is the final regular-season race and will set the top 10 fields for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. Perhaps more important, drivers will compete to earn a permanent spot in NHRA history as a Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner.
Big bonus bucks will be on the line for qualified drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car as they battle in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be held on Saturday evening, and the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be contested Sunday afternoon. The winners in each Traxxas Nitro Shootout will earn $100,000.
Teams in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by ProCare Rx also will compete during the weekend. In addition, the world’s fastest Super Stock cars will race for bonus bucks and bragging rights during the intense Mopar Hemi Challenge.
Fans can get a taste of the excitement on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Fan Fest, which will feature a display of race cars at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The Fan Fest, which starts at 11 a.m., also will feature a premier autograph session with many of the top Professional drivers in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. In addition, a press conference will be held during the Fan Fest, where several news announcements will be made and the random lottery drawings for the No. 8 spots in the Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will be held.
The biggest and most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus has been contested annually since 1955. Originally known as The Nationals and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops in Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City, and Detroit before moving to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961.
• SCHEDULE: The first of five qualifying sessions is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31. Two sessions will be held on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 2:30 and 6 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 3.
• TICKETS: For ticketsfor the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus, call 800-884-NHRA (6472) or log on to www.NHRATix.com.
• ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise more than 10 hours of coverage of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. Three hours of qualifying coverage and coverage of the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will air at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 2. Two additional hours of qualifying coverage and NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car highlights will air on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 5 p.m. ET. Eliminations for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus will be featured during six hours of coverage on Monday, Sept. 3, starting at noon ET.
• NHRA TRAXXAS NITRO SHOOTOUTS: The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus also will feature two NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts. The first one will feature eight qualified Top Fuel drivers on Saturday, Sept. 1, with rounds at 4, 7, and 8 p.m. The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be held on Sunday, Sept. 2, for the eight qualified drivers, with rounds at 12:30, 3:30, and 4:30 p.m. Winners in each Traxxas Nitro Shootout will earn $100,000.
• LUCAS OIL SERIES: The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus also will feature competition in all categories of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where some of the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29, and eliminations begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, and continue through Monday, Sept. 3.
• NHRA PRO MOD SERIES presented by ProCare Rx: NHRA’s popular Pro Mod touring series will make its seventh start of the 10-race 2012 season at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus. The series features some of the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars, with an eclectic mix of vintage and late-model body styles, in quarter-mile competition. The first qualifying session will be Friday, Aug. 31, at 4:30 p.m. Qualifying will continue on Saturday, Sept. 1, with sessions at 2 and 5:30 p.m. The final qualifying session will be Sunday, Sept. 2, at 2 p.m., and the first round of eliminations will begin Sunday, Sept. 2, at 5 p.m.; eliminations will continue on Monday, Sept. 3, at approximately 2:30 p.m.