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NHRA Mello Yello Series returns to Virginia for first time since 2009

Virginia Motorsports Park will roar to life with the thrilling sights, sounds and 10,000-horsepower action of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for the first time since 2009 during the Inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals, June 8-10.
05 Jun 2018
Posted by NHRA.com staff
News
Richmond

Virginia Motorsports Park will roar to life with the thrilling sights, sounds and 10,000-horsepower action of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for the first time since 2009 during the Inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals, June 8-10. 

It is the 10th of 24 events during the 2018 NHRA season and is the second during a stretch of four consecutive race weekends. The adrenaline-fueled excitement of the 330-plus mph nitro-burning machines will return to the fan favorite facility, which has always been highly regarded for its fast conditions. With nearly a decade since its last appearance, the much-anticipated return of NHRA racing and its highlight reel action will be sure to keep fans on the edge of their seats.

A brand new track surface at the facility has also added to the excitement, as it has already yielded the quickest Top Alcohol Dragster field in NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series history at the NHRA Northeast Division race in April. 

The top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will all try to pick up wins at a race that will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage beginning at 6 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 10.
 
In Top Fuel, eight-time champ Tony Schumacher is the only active driver with a win at the facility, earning a win in 2008. Schumacher opened 2018 with a runner-up showing in Pomona to Doug Kalitta, but is still after his first win of the year. He is currently fourth in points, trailing Steve Torrence, who already has three wins in the first seven events. Others to watch include defending world champion Brittany Force, who won in Houston, Gainesville winner Richie Crampton, two-time season winner Clay Millican, Terry McMillen, three-time world champ Antron Brown, and the most recent winner Leah Pritchett.

Funny Car’s John Force has four wins at Virginia Motorsports Park, tying him with Top Fuel’s Cory McClenathan and Pro Stock’s Warren Johnson for most at the facility. His last came in 2000, while Cruz Pedregon, who won in Charlotte, also has a Virginia win. Force’s daughter, Courtney, has three wins on the season in the star-driven class as well as the points lead in the category and will try to grab her first title in Virginia. To do so, she will have to defeat Jack Beckman who was leading the points early this season, Pomona winner Matt Hagan, defending world champ Robert Hight, 2016 world champ Ron Capps, J.R. Todd, who has two wins this season, Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jonnie Lindberg, Bob Tasca III, and class newcomer Shawn Langdon.
 
Jason Line won in Virginia in 2006, but is currently chasing KB Racing teammate Bo Butner, who won in Pomona and is the defending world champ. There has been impressive parity in the class thus far in 2018, with eight different winners at the first nine races. That list also includes Vincent Nobile who has two event wins, Charlotte winner Erica Enders, Tanner Gray, Chris McGaha,  Matt Hartford, Deric Kramer, and 2000 Virginia winnerJeg Coughlin Jr. Others to watch include Greg Anderson, Drew Skillman, and Alex Laughlin.

Pro Stock Motorcycle will race at the track for the first time since 1998, with the event marking the fifth of 16 for the two-wheeled class in 2018. Defending world champ Eddie Krawiec started the season with a win in Gainesville and one in Atlanta but will face off against 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie, who won in Charlotte, five-time world champion Andrew Hines, two-time world champ and Chicago winner Matt Smith, three-time champion Angelle Sampey, Hector Arana Jr., LE Tonglet, Karen Stoffer, and Scotty Pollacheck.
   
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service makes the fifth of 12 stops in 2018 at Virginia Motorsports Park. Winners already this year include three-time world champ Rickie Smith, Jim Whiteley and Jose Gonzalez. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.

Along with the exciting on-track action, the Virginia NHRA Nationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.        

Those in attendance will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a few of the most renowned names in drag racing during the NHRA Legends Tour. This will feature meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and a variety of other activities. Legends scheduled to attend the Virginia NHRA Nationals include Joe Amato, Jim and Allison Lee, and Jim Yates.

As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
 
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds on Friday, June 8, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 9. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 10.
 
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. All students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.