NHRA Drag Racing Houston

NHRA Drag Racing returns to Baytown’s Houston Raceway Park April 9 – 11, 2010 for the 23rd Annual O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals. If you have never seen drag racing before, this is your chance to see the big dogs run.

The NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) is the largest promoter of professional drag racing in the world, and the series features top racers such as John Force, Tony Schumacher, Larry Dixon, Ashley Force Hood, Tony and Cruz Pedregon, Greg Anderson, Jeg Coughlin, Jr., Hector Arana, and many others. Four NHRA classes run at this even: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock Cars and Pro Stock Motorcycles. Top Fuel and Funny Car are nitro powered cars. When they take to the track, it’s like watching (and listening to!) a rocket ship on land.

The NHRA likes to boast that “every ticket is a pit pass,” and the drag racing pits are the most accessible in racing. Spectators can stand within a few feet of the cars as they are prepared by the crews.

NHRA drivers are accessible, too. Most teams have organized autograph events during the weekend, but hang around the pits and you can probably snag a signature from your favorite driver when he (or she) comes out to greet the fans.

That’s another thing: Although most racing series treat the occasional woman driver as a novelty, the NHRA is no stranger to female drivers and female champions. This year’s drivers include Ashley Force Hood, Melanie Troxel, Karen Stoffer, Peggy Llewellyn, and Houstonian Erica Enders.

The finals take place on Sunday, April 11th, so be there to see who snags the coveted Wallys (named after series founder Wally Parks) for winning their classes. Friday and Saturday are good days for watching the action in the pits as it is usually not as crowded as on Sunday.

In addition to the four  NHRA classes, other classes of drag racers will be running during the O’Reilly Spring Nationals, including ProMods and Sportsmen.

Be sure to bring your sunglasses, sunscreen and hearing protection (such as earplugs). You will probably also want a jacket or blanket for the evening sessions—it can get cool, especially up in the grandstands.

For more information on drag racing and the NHRA, see their website at http://NHRA.com/. To order tickets or learn more about Houston Raceway Park, go to http://HoustonRacewayPark.com/.

Image Credit: Michael Stucker, Racing | Photography | Models

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