March 23, 2017
BAYTOWN, Texas – The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series unleashes its powerful, nitro-burning machines on the Lone Star State for the first time in 2017 when it visits Royal Purple Raceway for the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals, April 21-23. It marks the fifth of 24 events during the highly-anticipated 2017 NHRA season.
It is also one of two annual NHRA trips to Texas, with fans in the state getting an early-season look at the high-powered excitement of thrilling 10,000-horsepower, 300-mph machines. Royal Purple Raceway has always featured some of the quickest and exciting runs in NHRA history, benefitting from incredible atmospheric conditions thanks to its proximity to Trinity Bay.
Teams in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will once again battle for race victories and critical world championship points. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 23.
Kalitta will look to continue his recent Royal Purple Raceway dominance as he positions himself for a chance to win his first career Top Fuel world championship. Kalitta has 42 career wins, including back-to-back SpringNationals wins. He has three overall at the track and a fourth would give him the all-time Top Fuel lead. But he will need to get past a host of standouts, including eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, who won the most recent race in Gainesville, points leader Leah Pritchett, who won the first two races of the year, back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, rookie Troy Coughlin Jr., Brittany Force and Texas native Steve Torrence.
Courtney Force broke through with the Funny Car win last year, snapping a winless streak that dated back to 2014 with a final-round victory against Tim Wilkerson. She’ll look to get her 2017 jumpstarted with her first win of the season in Houston after back-to-back first-round losses, but it won’t be easy against a star-studded field. Leading the way this year is points leader Matt Hagan, who won the first two races of the year, but John Force, a seven-time winner in Houston, is hot on his heels after a win in Gainesville. Other Funny Car standouts include defending world champ Ron Capps, Tommy Johnson Jr., Robert Hight and J.R. Todd.
Anderson won for the third time in Pro Stock at Royal Purple Raceway a year ago, a victory that also marked his third of the season to that point. Anderson finished with eight in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro, tying teammate Jason Line, who ended with the world championship. Line and Anderson each have wins to open 2017, but that early-season dominance quickly stopped in Gainesville thanks to a victory from Shane Gray. Others looking to break through for the first time in 2017 include Texas native Erica Enders, a two-time world champion, Chris McGaha, five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., Allen Johnson, Vincent Nobile, Bo Butner, Drew Skillman and rookie Tanner Gray.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its second of 12 stops in 2017 at Royal Purple Raceway. Steven Whiteley sprinted to the victory at the season-opener at Gainesville. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.
After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the spectacular Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters sponsored by Florida Tech and Matrix System as well. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
Along with the exciting on-track action, the NHRA SpringNationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:30 and 7 p.m. on Friday, April 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 22, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 23.
To purchase event tickets, call (281) 383-7223 or visit www.RaceRPR.com. Kids 13 and under are free in the spectator side grand stand with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
WHAT: 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals, the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships. Competition also will be featured in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series.
WHERE: Royal Purple Raceway, Baytown, Texas. From Interstate 10 take the State Hwy. 99 (Grand Parkway) exit, which is exit 799. Take a right on State Hwy. 99 and go to the first exit (2 miles) which is FM 565. Take a right on FM 565 and Royal Purple Raceway will be on your right. For additional information about directions please visit www.royalpurpleraceway.com.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, April 21-23, 2017
FRIDAY, April 21 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 4 and 6 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:30 and 7 p.m.
SATURDAY, April 22 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 3 p.m. Round 1 of eliminations at 5:30 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1 and 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, April 23 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
TELEVISION: Friday, April 23, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise three hours of finals coverage at 5:30 p.m. (ET).
2016 EVENT WINNERS:
Doug Kalitta, Top Fuel; Courtney Force, Funny Car; Greg Anderson, Pro Stock.
John Force, 7, FC; Warren Johnson, 6, PS; Jeg Coughlin, 4, PS; Tony Pedregon, 4, FC; Greg Anderson, 3, PS; Kenny Bernstein, 3, TF; Ron Capps, 3, FC; Larry Dixon, 3, TF; Mike Edwards, 3, PS; Bob Glidden, 3, PS; Cruz Pedregon, 3, FC.
Top Fuel – 3.726 seconds by Tony Schumacher, April ’15; 330.07 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’15.
Funny Car – 3.988 seconds by Jack Beckman, April ’15; 320.81 mph by Matt Hagan, April ’15.
Pro Stock – 6.519 seconds by Jason Line, April ’15; 212.66 mph by Mike Edwards, April ’13.
Top Fuel – 3.680 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown N.J.
For tickets call (281) 383-RACE (7223). Tickets also available online at www.RaceRPR.com