NHRA

NHRA releases 2020 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule

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NHRA Media Release

GLENDORA, Calif. – NHRA officials announced the 24-race 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, which will again feature intense racing action at tracks across the country. Millions of fans will experience sensory overload at its best with side-by-side racing action where victories may be determined by mere thousandths of a second. Competition schedules for individual categories will be released this summer.

Throughout the season, NHRA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Pro Stock Car. Fans will experience special treats and features along the tour to commemorate this important category and honor its history.

A special highlight on the 2020 tour will be the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, which will kick off the 2020 season at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. February 6-9. One of the most iconic events in the series, the Winternationals draws fans from all around the world to experience the power of NHRA Championship Drag Racing at its best during the season opener.

The 40th annual NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta will take place May 15-17. Fans won’t want to miss joining the stars of NHRA as we celebrate 40 years of heart-pounding racing action. Other milestone events include the 20th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals June 19-21 in Bristol, Tenn., the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at fan-favorite Texas Motorplex October 15-18 and the 20th annual Dodge NHRA Nationals October 29-November 1 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

All locations on the series schedule are confirmed for the 2020 season and several stops are changing dates. The Virginia NHRA Nationals in Richmond, Va. move to the end of the month, taking place May 29-31. The Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago will commence July 9-12 to lead in to the iconic Western Swing. Fans of the NHRA New England Nationals will get a chance to see the series as competition heats up at the end of summer, August 21-23. Two events in the Mello Yello Countdown To The Championship are changing places with the NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. September 25-27, followed by the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals October 2-4.

As always, the 2020 season will conclude with the Auto Club NHRA Finals, November 12-15 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

All 24 events in this exciting series will be aired exclusively on FOX Sports with select events on FOX broadcast network. With over 575 hours of programming, fans can tune into action from Friday and Saturday qualifying rounds as well as Sunday finals.

2020 NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE

NHRA Mello Yello Series Regular Season

Feb. 6-9 – Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals, Pomona, Calif.

Feb. 21-23 – Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Arizona Nationals, Phoenix

March 12-15 – AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla.

April 3-5 – DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Las Vegas

April 17-19 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals, Houston

April 24-26 – NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte, N.C.

May 15-17 – NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta

May 29-31 – Virginia NHRA Nationals, Richmond, Va.

June 12-14 – Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kan.

June 19-21 – NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn.

June 25-28 – Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Norwalk, Ohio

July 9-12 – Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Chicago

July 17-19 – Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Denver

July 24-26 – NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma, Calif.

July 31-Aug.2 – Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle

Aug. 13-16 – Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.

Aug. 21-23 – NHRA New England Nationals, Epping, N.H.

Sept. 2-7 – NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown To The Championship playoffs

Sept. 17-20 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa.

Sept. 25-27 – NHRA Carolina Nationals, Charlotte

Oct. 2-4 – AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis

Oct. 15-18 – AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas

Oct. 29-Nov. 1 – Dodge NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas

Nov. 12-15 – Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.

Ben Hanley relieved to make Indy 500 debut

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Qualifying for the Indy 500 is never an easy task, especially for a new driver and team, and with 36 cars vying for 33 starting positions last weekend, 34-year-old rookie Ben Hanley knew there was a chance he and his DragonSpeed team would not make the show.

“I wouldn’t say we were very confident, but we wanted to [make the field],” Hanley told NBC Sports. “The biggest thing we were trying to achieve was to not be on track on Sunday in the shootout because it only takes one mistake or one little issue and that’s it, you’re not in the race.”

But Hanley would not have to worry about being bumped from the field. He qualified 27th after making three attempts on Day 1, which was enough to lock the No. 81 team into the show. Not too shabby for a driver and team making only their third NTT IndyCar Series start.

THE 103RD INDIANAPOLIS 500: Click here for how to watch, full daily schedules

“That last run everything just came together,” Hanley said. “We trimmed out a little bit more and found a good balance of trim and grip over four [qualifying] laps and it was enough to get us through.

“It was a huge relief to get through in P27. A massive achievement for everybody involved.”

Indeed it was a massive achievement, as DragonSpeed is one of the smallest teams in the garage, with no corporate sponsors and a tiny team of around 20 personnel. Many of those were picked up by the team just a week before qualifying, when members of the team’s regular crew were denied entry into the United States due to visa issues after leaving a sports car race in Italy.

“It was all down to the team organizing some people who were in and around Indianapolis who weren’t needed for the race weekend,” Hanley said. “Obviously, I don’t think many people are going to refuse the chance to work on a car that’s trying to qualify for the 500.”

Though the team made its first Indy 500 on Day 1 of qualifying, the DragonSpeed team did not spend Saturday night out late celebrating. Instead, Hanley said the extra time was spent preparing for the race.

“We went straight on to race prep then for the car, so Sunday was a good day for the guys to take time to prep the car into the race spec and get everything sorted out in a nice, organized manner.”

Following the Indy 500, DragonSpeed will run two other races this season at Road America and Mid-Ohio. The team is hopeful that a good run at Indy will result in an opportunity to run a bigger schedule next season and attract sponsors.

Hanley stated that though he’s happy to have made the Indy 500 starting grid for the first time in his career, the magnitude of his feat hasn’t hit him yet.

“It hasn’t really soaked in yet,” he said. “I think it will soak in on Sunday when we roll out to the grid.

“It was such a huge relief to not be involved in Bump Day. Even just watching [Bump Day] it was intense, especially with the weather. I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to be involved in that.”

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