NHRA wants to give fans ‘Baptism by Nitro’ in 2015


There’s nothing like playing to your strengths, and for the NHRA, nitromethane-burning Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars are unquestionably the kings of the sport.

With both styles of car putting out up to 10,000 horsepower apiece and able to sail down 1,000-foot dragstrips at speeds approaching 330 mph and oftentimes in under four seconds, the so-called dragsters and floppers are what keep bringing fans back race after race, year after year.

But at some point, older fans have to beget newer fans. And with many of the more recent stars of the sport having retired – like Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Joe Amato and others – NHRA like any other motorsport series has to find ways to attract new, and especially younger, fans.

NHRA should attract quite a few new fans once they see its new promotional video, “Baptism by Nitro,” a takeoff on the more familiar phrase, “Baptism by Fire.”

The NHRA has released that video on YouTube and it’s quickly gaining viewer traction.

The video tries to put into words and action the sensory overload brought about by a Top Fuel dragster or Funny Car, the sheer brute force they possess, the incredible launch and G-forces they sustain, and more.

“’Baptism by Nitro’ is NHRA’s call to encourage long-time fans to bring a family member or friend that hasn’t experienced the heart-pounding atmosphere of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series,” is how NHRA explains it.

It also says, “A fan’s first nitro experience is unforgettable. The rumble of 10,000 horsepower side-by-side action and the smell of the nitro-burning cars launching down the dragstrip at more than 300 mph are sensations that can only be experienced at an NHRA national event.”

To maximize the impact and lure of “Baptism by Nitro,” NHRA is also putting together a full-blown social media outreach, engaging fans about the sport, encouraging first-timers to attend a race (don’t forget the earplugs!) and share their experience on social media.

NHRA will give away prizes throughout the upcoming 2015 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season for the best “nitro rookie reactions captured in the pits or in the grandstands and posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. All posts should include the hashtag #BaptismbyNitro and tag @NHRA.”

The promotion has already kicked off with a chance for Southern California race fans to get a VIP Experience at next week’s season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

Click here for more info.




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SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.