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NHRA cancels 2020 playoffs; shortens season from 24 to 19 events

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The NHRA announced Wednesday that it will resume its 2020 schedule June 5-7 with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway.

Because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the season will be shortened from an original slate of 24 events to 19 races, and the points won’t be reset for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs after the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.

The championship finale will be Nov. 13-15 in the Auto Club Finals at Pomona, California.

The NHRA completed its first two events at Pomona and Chandler, Arizona. Of the remaining 17 events, six will be condensed to two-day shows. The calendar has two makeup dates for further delays.

The following events have been canceled: April 3-5 Four-Wide Nationals at Las Vegas, Nevada; May 15-17 Southern Nationals at Atlanta Georgia; May 29-31 Virginia Nationals at Richmond, Virginia; Aug. 21-23 New England Nationals at Epping, New Hampshire; Sept. 25-27 Carolina Nationals at Concord, North Carolina.

The NHRA suspended all drag racing for 30 days on March 16 because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

All other NHRA-sanctioned drag racing (beyond the national level) remains suspended until further notice.

Here’s the release from the NHRA:

In consideration of the COVID-19 global pandemic, NHRA officials have announced revisions to the 2020 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. The series is tentatively planned to resume June 5-7 with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. The season will conclude with the crowning of the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series champions November 13-15 at the Auto Club Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.

The revised schedule will consist of 19 total events, with 17 of those events being contested when the series resumes in June. Six of these events will be condensed to two-day competition schedules for the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series classes due to economic and logistical factors. As a result of the compressed schedule, points will not be reset after the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway. NHRA has held two make-up dates on the calendar in case there are further delays.  

Tentative schedule announcements for the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series, Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Series and Samtech.edu NHRA Factory Stock Showdown Series will be announced soon. All NHRA-sanctioned drag racing series competition is still suspended until further notice.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”