CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NHRA drag racing – including Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence, from Kilgore – will resume the 2020 season in July with back-to-back events at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis with limited spectators allowed.
The events will be run on July 11-12 and July 18-19 and admission offers will be extended to NHRA members and 2020 U.S. Nationals ticket holders.
“Because we are an outdoor sport, we feel comfortable opening these Indianapolis events to a limited number of fans who are the lifeblood of our sport and following the guidance of the state of Indiana to resume racing,” said NHRA President Glen Cromwell.
The revised 2020 schedule will consist of 19 total events — two of which were completed before the season was suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.
The season will conclude with the championship finale November 13-15 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. The revised schedule announced already is subject to change due to COVID-19.
Torrence has already had an eventful 2020. He married fiancée Natalie Jahnke a couple of months ago, and had started his season with a win at 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix.
It was 37th career victory, his 29th in his last 68 starts and the Capco Contractors team’s 34th win in the last 69 NHRA events dating back to 2017.
But then the coronavirus caution hit, and everything – sports and about everything else – was put on hold. Football wasn’t really affected, because it wasn’t in-season, but college and NFL officials are weighing whether or not fans will be present this fall. The NBA recently announced its procedure for resuming a now-shorter season, and Major League Baseball’s owners have a proposal on the table for a 76-game schedule that would have the World Series finishing on pace as normal, around the end of October.
Sixteen of the events on the revised schedule will be condensed to two-day competition schedules for the Mello Yello drag racing series classes due to economic and logistical factors. It will include one day of two-round qualifications on Saturday and final eliminations on Sunday. The Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series classes will begin racing on Friday.
Events in Chicago; Norwalk, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Epping, New Hampshire; and Sonoma, California, as well as spring events in Las Vegas and Charlotte, North Carolina, originally on the calendar have been canceled.
The NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta was moved to August 28-30.
The revised schedule:
July 11 — 12 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis
July 18 -19 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis
July 31-Aug. 2 Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle
Aug. 7-9 Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Denver
Aug. 14-16 Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minnesota
Aug. 21-23 Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kansas
Aug. 28-30 NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta
Sept. 3-6 Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis
Sept. 11-13 Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pennsylvania
Sept. 18-20 NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte
Sept. 25-27 Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Florida
Oct. 2-4 AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis
Oct. 9-11 NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tennessee
Oct. 16-18 AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas
Oct. 23-25 Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals, Houston
Oct. 30-Nov. 1 Dodge NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas
Nov. 13-15 Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona.
News Herald sports editor Mitch Lucas contributed to this story.