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CATEGORIES (articles) > American Motorsport > Motorsport Events For Petrolheads > National Hot Rod Association NHRA Overview

National Hot Rod Association NHRA Overview

This article is about the racing organization. NHRA is also an acronym for the National Human Resources Association and the National Horseracing Authority.

The National Hot Rod Association, (abbr. NHRA) is a drag racing governing body, which sets rules in drag racing and host events all over the United States.


The National Hot Rod Association, known as the NHRA, was founded by Wally Parks in 1951 in the State of California to provide a governing body to organize and promote the sport of drag racing. The "Nationals", held in the summer and the winter each year, are the premier events in drag racing that brings together the best cars and drivers from across North America. The Nationals are now held at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis in Clermont, Indiana and are officially called the U.S. Nationals.

Winston was the title sponsor of the series from 1970 until 2001, before a new governing rule stated the Master Settlement Agreement restricted R. J. Reynolds to one sponsorship of a sporting event; they chose NASCAR. In 2002, The Coca-Cola Company took over sponsorship of the series, which is now known as the NHRA Powerade Drag Racing Series and has the slogan "Very Real Power."

In 2001, the NHRA brought out NIRA (National Import Racing Association) and renamed it the Sport Compact category featuring such cars, and while Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru are very popular, the NHRA has also permitted General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler cars to participate in Sport Compact.

The series has four main classes, and a series of other sportsman classes for individuals who wish to compete. The classes are Top Fuel Dragster, Top Fuel Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Bike. Top Fuel was the first category, with Funny Cars added in 1966, Pro Stock four years later and Pro Stock Bikes in 1987. Both Top Fuel and Funny Cars regularly see top speeds in excess of 325 mph today, and quarter mile times anywhere from 4.4 to 5 seconds. Both these cars are 85% nitromethane and 15% methanol. The Pro Stock record is over 205 mph with times often in the 6.6-6.8 second range and the Pro Stock Bikes usually run at 190+ mph with times in the high 6 to low 7-second range.

Some of the popular racers to come through the series include "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme and Shirley "Cha Cha" Muldowney. Those three gained much attention from the 1960s through '70s with their speed and personalities, a combination rarely achieved today through the political correctness of sponsorship in today's drivers. Nonetheless there are still colorful characters today, such as 13-time Funny Car champion John Force.

NHRA Powerade Champions

Year Top Fuel Dragster Top Fuel Funny Car Pro Stock Pro Stock Bike
1965 Maynard Rupp
1966 Pete Robinson Ed Schartman
1967 Bennie Osborn
1968 Bennie Osborn
1969 Steve Carborne
1970 Ronnie Martin Gene Snow Ronnie Sox
1971 Gerry Glenn Phil Castronovo Mike Fons
1972 Jim Walther Larry Fullerton Bill Jenkins
1973 Jerry Ruth Frank Hall Wayne Gapp
1974 Gary Beck Shirl Greer Bob Glidden
1975 Don Garlits Don Prudhomme Bob Glidden
1976 Richard Tharp Don Prudhomme Larry Lombardo
1977 Shirley Muldowney Don Prudhomme Don Nicholson
1978 Kelly Brown Don Prudhomme Bob Glidden
1979 Bob Bruins Raymond Beadle Bob Glidden
1980 Shirley Muldowney Raymond Beadle Bob Glidden
1981 Jeb Allen Raymond Beadle Lee Shepherd
1982 Shirley Muldowney Frank Hawley Lee Shepherd
1983 Gary Beck Frank Hawley Lee Shepherd
1984 Joe Amato Mark Oswald Lee Shepherd
1985 Don Garlits Kenny Bernstein Bob Glidden
1986 Don Garlits Kenny Bernstein Bob Glidden
1987 Dick LaHaie Kenny Bernstein Bob Glidden Dave Schultz
1988 Joe Amato Kenny Bernstein Bob Glidden Dave Schultz
1989 Gary Ormsby Bruce Larson Bob Glidden John Mafaro
1990 Joe Amato John Force Darrell Alderman John Meyers
1991 Joe Amato John Force Darrell Alderman Dave Schultz
1992 Joe Amato Cruz Pedregon Warren Johnson John Meyers
1993 Eddie Hill John Force Warren Johnson Dave Schultz
1994 Scott Kalitta John Force Darrell Alderman Dave Schultz
1995 Scott Kalitta John Force Warren Johnson John Meyers
1996 Kenny Bernstein John Force Jim Yates Dave Schultz
1997 Gary Scelzi John Force Jim Yates Matt Hines
1998 Gary Scelzi John Force Warren Johnson Matt Hines
1999 Tony Schumacher John Force Warren Johnson Matt Hines
2000 Gary Scelzi John Force Jeg Coughlin, Jr. Angelle Sampey
2001 Kenny Bernstein John Force Warren Johnson Angelle Sampey
2002 Larry Dixon John Force Jeg Coughlin, Jr. Angelle Sampey
2003 Larry Dixon Tony Pedregon Greg Anderson Geno Scali
2004 Tony Schumacher John Force Greg Anderson Andrew Hines
2005 Tony Schumacher Gary Scelzi Greg Anderson Andrew Hines

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CATEGORIES (articles) > American Motorsport > Motorsport Events For Petrolheads > National Hot Rod Association NHRA Overview

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