NHRA

NHRA cuts Pro Stock competition from 24 to 18 national events in 2019

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In a major and surprising move, the National Hot Rod Association on Saturday announced that it will reduce the number of national events that the Pro Stock class competes in during the 2019 season.

Long a staple of the 24-race NHRA national event tour, the Pro Stock class will now run in only 18 events in 2019.

In a media release, the NHRA said “competitors believe (18 races) is the ‘sweet spot’ of the category.’”

Josh Peterson, NHRA vice president of racing administration issued a statement on behalf of the sanctioning body:

“We think the new schedule will increase participation by relieving the economic burden and time commitment that comes with 24 events, which will ignite more intense competition.

“All of that should make for compelling action and drive fan interest.”

The majority of races that will be eliminated from the Pro Stock schedule are from their usual place in the early-to-middle part of the season.

For example, following the DENSO Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas April 5-7, Pro Stock doesn’t return to action until more than a month later in the Virginia Nationals, May 17-19, in Richmond, Virginia.

Events and tracks that will no longer have Pro Stock compete at their venues are: the Springnationals in Baytown, Texas; the Four-Wide Nationals in Concord, North Carolina; the Southern Nationals in Commerce, Georgia; the Heartland Nationals in Topeka, Kansas; the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee; and the New England Nationals in Epping, New Hampshire.

The Top Fuel and Funny Car classes will continue to compete in all 24 national events next season, while Pro Stock Motorcycle will also continue its 16-race schedule.

Here is what the revised schedule looks like for 2019:

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Schedule:

* Feb. 7-10 Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Pomona, Calif.

* Feb. 22-24 NHRA Arizona Nationals Phoenix

* March 14-17 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals Gainesville, Fla.

* April 5-7 DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Las Vegas

* May 17-19 Virginia NHRA Nationals Richmond, Va.

* May 30-June 2 Route 66 NHRA Nationals Chicago

* June 20-23 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Norwalk, Ohio

* July 19-21 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Denver

* July 26-28 NHRA Sonoma Nationals Sonoma, Calif.

* Aug. 2-4 NHRA Northwest Nationals Seattle

* Aug. 15-18 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Brainerd, Minn.

* Aug. 28-Sept. 2 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals Indianapolis

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs:

* Sept. 12-15 Dodge NHRA Nationals Reading, Pa.

* Sept. 27-29 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals St. Louis

* Oct. 11-13 NHRA Carolina Nationals Charlotte, N.C.

* Oct. 17-20 AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Dallas

* Oct. 31-Nov. 3 NHRA Nevada Nationals Las Vegas

* Nov. 14-17 Auto Club NHRA Finals Pomona, Calif.

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F1 races in Austin, Mexico City hitting financial rough patches

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AUSTIN, Texas — Two of Formula One’s three races in North America are facing financial issues that are raising concern about their future.

Organizers of the U.S. Grand Prix won’t get at least $20 million from the state of Texas for the 2018 race after missing a paperwork deadline set by state law. And new questions lurk about the future of the Mexican Grand Prix after the country’s new president suggested the government may not spend on the race like it has the last four years.

Both races have been popular with drivers and fans, and have enjoyed key dates on the F1 calendar. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched season championships in Texas in 2015 and in Mexico City in 2017 and 2018.

Officials in Formula One and at the Circuit of the Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.