Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove to kick off playoffs in 2018
Here is some news of interest for the many drag racing fans out there. The complexion of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship will take a new form as four of the national events will change dates for the upcoming season.
The Dodge NHRA Nationals will kick off the six-race playoff stretch at historic Maple Grove Raceway on Sept. 13-16. The scenic facility located outside of Philadelphia has long been a hot bed of racing and often produces national record performances.
The series will move to St. Louis on Sept. 21-23 for the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals for the next event in the Countdown. Located in the shadow of the St. Louis Arch the event will be an integral stop on the tour.
Racers pursuing a world championship will then compete at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex on Oct. 4-7.
zMAX Dragway will host the NHRA Carolina Nationals on Oct. 12-14 at one of the premiere facilities in the country. The popularity of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will be on display as the points battles tighten up nearing the end of the season.
The penultimate race in the Countdown will be the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 2828. The 2018 season will conclude and champions will be crowned at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on Nov. 8-11.
A full season schedule can be found on NHRA.com and the new race dates are below.
Change is coming to area sprint car racing. United States Auto Club (USAC) Sprint Car racing is coming eastbound on a full-time basis in 2018 when the newly-formed USAC East Coast Sprint Car Series makes its debut.
USAC’s newest division joins the slate after series director Curt Michael and the United Racing Club conducted a pair of wingless sprint car events during the 2017 season.
“The very first one at Big Diamond, we had 16 cars and the place was packed,” Michael explained. “(The promoter) took two races this year because he’s seen it’s something to build on. The next time out at Path Valley, we had 26 cars and I think it’s only going to get better.”
“They’re cool cars and it’s different,” Michael said of wingless sprint car racing. “The biggest thing is these kids coming up are racing 600 micros, 270s and SpeedSTRs. It’s a big thing in the lower ranks. We brought in a whole bunch of new guys to race with us this year. It didn’t hurt URC’s wing deal. We even had a couple wingless guys buy wing cars.”
The East Coast and, particularly, the state of Pennsylvania is obviously well-known for wing sprint car racing. Michael, who, himself, has made a living racing with the wing as a 9-time URC champion and will continue to race with URC in addition to his new side endeavor leading the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars, sees an opportunity for a different breed of racing to feed the appetite of drivers, teams and fans in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware region.