INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 22, 2019) – Stevie “Fast” Jackson’s win at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals a year ago certainly wasn’t lacking in dramatic flair, slipping into the field on the fifth and final qualifying session before rolling to the victory. It was a moment for the ages for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series standout, but it’s something the points leader would like to avoid heading to the 65th annual event, Aug. 28-Sept. 2 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
After battling a variety of issues during qualifying, Jackson and his team found just enough to qualify 13th on his last opportunity. He grabbed that late momentum for the biggest win of his Pro Mod career, but trying to win his first E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service world title, Jackson hopes to avoid any extra theatrics this year.
“I sure hope I don’t have to win it like that again,” Jackson said. “Indy is the granddaddy and the one (Wally trophy) everyone wants to have sitting on their mantle. I’m going to try to win again. I couldn’t care less about the points lead. I want to win a championship, but if I keep smashing people, the points championship will take care of itself.”
The race, which is presented by Hot Wheels, is the ninth of 12 events during the 2019 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season and will be shown on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) and Fox Sports 2 (FS2). After a two-month break, the class resumes action in Indy and Jackson hopes to send a message that the finish to his 2019 season will be just as good as a start that has included two victories, the quickest run in class history and five final round appearances.
A second straight win at the Big Go would help that cause, as well as extend the 133-point lead he has on Jose Gonzalez. Jackson stayed busy in the downtime by racing at a Pro Mod event in Denver, testing a bunch of different things he believes will pay off down the stretch. He did the same thing a year ago, leading to back-to-back wins in Indy and St. Louis, and Jackson is locked in on doing that again in his supercharged Bahrain 1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
“The things and tools we used to win Indy last year I learned (in Denver), and I have learned things I’m going to use again,” said Jackson, who has seven career E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod wins. “I don’t want anybody else to win a round of competition the rest of the season, and that’s what we always want, but we’ve got a hot rod that can make that happen if the driver can do his job. (Tuner) Billy Stocklin does a killer job tuning this thing. When he’s on, you’re not going to beat him and if I can do my job in the seat, it’s going to be fun going down the stretch.”
Jackson, though, knows nothing will come easy in the loaded class as he races against top talent like Gonzalez, Gainesville winner Todd Tutterow, defending world champ Mike Janis, Norwalk winner Khalid AlBalooshi, Bristol winner Sidnei Frigo, Atlanta winner Mike Castellana and Chad Green. But knowing the immense challenges that await, Jackson has been working hard to make sure his blown Camaro finishes 2019 on a strong note.“My key is to not have any downtime,” Jackson said. “I’ve got a good hot rod and the key for me is to stay productive and make sure all the equipment is fresh, tight and ready to go. When we show up to Indy, we want to be ready.”
Hot Wheels is the presenting sponsor for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series race in Indy, as the class begins the final stretch of 2019. Featuring the world’s fastest doorslammer race cars, the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service offers something for every kind of hot-rodding enthusiast. The class is highlighted by historic muscle cars, like ’67 Mustangs, ’68 Firebirds and ’69 Camaros, as well as a variety of late model American muscle cars.
Hot Wheels is an iconic name in children’s entertainment, making it a perfect fit for the class at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. The company will also be sponsoring E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod standout Alex Laughlin during the weekend.
“Hot Wheels has a long history of working with the NHRA since our early days working with Snake and Mongoose in the late 1960s and early ‘70s,” said Ricardo Briceno, Hot Wheels senior director of global brand marketing at Mattel. “We’re honored to once again be back at Indy this Labor Day weekend to sponsor the U.S. Nationals Pro Mod series and cheer on our amazing racer Alex Laughlin in his Hot Wheels Chevy Camaro. Alex and all the NHRA teams truly embody the Hot Wheels challenger spirit that we look to ignite in all drag race fans and we look forward to some incredible racing at Lucas Oil Raceway.”The first of five E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service qualifying sessions takes place at 6:20 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, continuing with two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 12:30 and 3:40 p.m. The final two rounds of qualifying take place on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. The first round of Pro Mod eliminations are scheduled for 12:35 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2.
Tickets for the world’s most prestigious drag race can be purchased by calling the NHRA Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas 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.
Mattel is a leading global children’s entertainment company that specializes in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. We create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. We engage consumers through our portfolio of iconic franchises, including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, American Girl®, Fisher-Price®, Thomas & Friends® and MEGA®, as well as other popular brands that we own or license in partnership with global entertainment companies. Our offerings include film and television content, gaming, music and live events. We operate in 40 locations and sell products in more than 150 countries in collaboration with the world’s leading retail and technology companies. Since its founding in 1945, Mattel is proud to be a trusted partner in exploring the wonder of childhood and empowering kids to reach their full potential. Visit us online at www.mattel.com.
CHEVROLET PERFORMANCE U.S. NATIONALS
WHAT: 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the last race in the NHRA Mello Yello Series regular season. At the conclusion of this event, the top 10 drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be locked in to begin the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs, leading to the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Brownsburg, Ind. From I-465, exit Crawfordsville Road (Hwy. 136). Head west for four miles past downtown Clermont. The facility’s main entrance is on the left, one-half mile past Raceway Road. From I-74 go south on Ronald Reagan Parkway, exit 68 and turn south. Turn east on U.S. 136 and entrance on the track will be on the right.
COURSE: Championship dragstrip; Track elevation is 700 feet above sea level; Track direction is south to north.
POINTS: A special world championship points system is in effect at this event, where drivers in the Mello Yello Series categories will earn points based on a point-and-a-half system (150 points to win). A single racer in each category can earn a maximum of 188 points at this event. All other NHRA Mello Yello Series events offer 100 points to win. Teams also will get 15 points instead of 10 for making a qualifying attempt. Qualifying bonus points will remain at 1-2-3 for the five sessions and the standard 1-8 points will be given for qualifying positions.
WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 28 through Monday, Sept. 2.SCHEDULE: WEDNESDAY, Aug. 28 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
THURSDAY, Aug. 29 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and eliminations
FRIDAY, Aug. 30 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and eliminations (featuring Mopar HEMI Challenge)
E3 SPARK PLUGS PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES PRESENTED BY J&A SERVICE qualifying at 6:20 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 7:15 p.m.
SATURDAY, Aug. 31 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and eliminations
E3 SPARK PLUGS PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES PRESENTED BY J&A SERVICE qualifying at 12:30 and 3:40 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
SUNDAY, Sept. 1 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying and eliminations (featuring Factory Stock Showdown)
E3 SPARK PLUGS PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES PRESENTED BY J&A SERVICE qualifying at 12:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Mickey Thompson Top Fuel Harley Eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m.
MONDAY, Sept. 2 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10:00 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.TELEVISION:
Sunday, Sept. 1, FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 2 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, Sept. 1, FS1 will televise two hours of live qualifying coverage at 4:00 p.m. (ET).
Monday, Sept. 2, FS1 will televise two hours of live finals coverage at 11 a.m. (ET).
Monday, Sept. 2, FOX will televise four hours of live finals coverage at 1 p.m. (ET).2018 EVENT WINNERS:
Terry McMillen, Top Fuel; JR Todd, Funny Car; Tanner Gray, Pro Stock; LE Tonglet, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Tony Schumacher, TF, 10; Bob Glidden, PS, 9; Don Garlits, TF, 8; Don Prudhomme, TF/ FC, 7; Greg Anderson, PS, 6; Warren Johnson, PS, 6; Ed McCulloch, FC/TF, 6; Dave Schultz, PSM, 6; Larry Dixon, TF, 4;John Force, FC, 4.
EVENT HISTORY: The most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has been contested annually since 1955. Originally known as “The Nationals” and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops at Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Detroit before eventually moving to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961. Past winners include “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, an eight-time winner in Top Fuel; Shirley Muldowney, 1982 Top Fuel winner; Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, a seven-time winner and one of a handful of drivers to win the event in both Top Fuel and Funny Car; and Bob Glidden, the legendary Pro Stock driver who dominated the race by advancing to the final round in 13 consecutive seasons from 1977-’89. The Indiana native won the event nine times. Tony Schumacher has the most wins at the event with 10 victories including his 2016 win. It is the only major motorsports event to be contested on Labor Day.
FAST FACTS: The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the final of 18 regular season Mello Yello Series races. Following conclusion of this event the top 10 drivers in each Mello Yello Series category will qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs that begin Sept. 12-15 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. …. John Force, 16-time NHRA Mello Yello Series world champion and winner of a record 149 events, has won the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals four times, his last coming in 2002… Four women have earned Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victories, including Shirley Muldowney once in Top Fuel, Ashley Force Hood twice in Funny Car, Alexis DeJoria once in Funny Car and Angelle Sampey twice in Pro Stock Motorcycle…Kenny Bernstein, Don Prudhomme, Jim Head and Ed McCulloch have won the race in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, while Antron Brown has also won the race in multiple MYDRS classes, Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The event also will feature competition in the Lucas Oil Series and the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, featuring high-horsepower machines that accelerate to more than 250 mph.
WHAT TO WATCH: J.R Todd is seeking a third consecutive Funny Car victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals… Four-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson is seeking his seventh Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory… Several high-profile drivers are looking for their first victory in the world’s most prestigious drag race, including three-time Indy runner-up Doug Kalitta in Top Fuel, Ron Capps in Funny Car… Drivers in several Mello Yello Series categories who are on the bubble to make it into the top 10 in points will be trying to take advantage of Indy’s point-and-a-half system and secure their berths into the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race postseason playoffs.TRACK HISTORY: In 1958, led by Tom Binford, Frank Dickie, Rodger Ward and Howard Fieber, 15 Indianapolis-area businessmen and racing
professionals invested $5,000 each to fund the development of what would become Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The group purchased a 267-acre farm about seven miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and developed a multipurpose auto racing facility. The original intention in creating Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis was to design a 15-turn, 2.5-mile road course. Nearly as an afterthought, and as an insurance measure against economic problems, the investment group decided to incorporate a quarter-mile drag strip into the long straightaway of the 2.5-mile road course design. Constructed with assistance from the NHRA, the drag strip was the first of the three courses to be completed, with the facility’s first event held on the strip in the fall of 1960. During the 1960 U.S. Nationals in Detroit, a handshake agreement between Binford and NHRA founder Wally Parks promised that the event would move to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961. The historic three-year pact was signed and sealed under a tree in Detroit Dragway’s pits, and Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis eventually became the home of NHRA’s biggest annual event. The NHRA purchased the entire facility in 1979. The first major improvement came in 1983 with the construction and dedication of Parks Tower, the four-story drag strip tower. In 1998, new grandstands, suites and a tower complex on the front straightaway were completed at the oval track at a cost of nearly $2.5 million, which included the repaving of the entire oval surface as part of a three-phase facility improvement project. In 2001, NHRA and Lucas Oil Raceway constructed a new drag strip racing surface, replacing the strip with a 660-foot concrete pad and laying new asphalt on the remainder of the track and shutdown area. Prior to the 2003 race, eight new luxury suites were added along the top of the west-side grandstands of the drag strip, giving fans a unique perspective of the action on the famed track. In 2006, new soft barrier walls were added to the oval. In 2007, the track announced its first track entitlement with O’Reilly Auto Parts. In 2011, the track announced a new track entitlement with Lucas Oil Products. The track – formerly known as Indianapolis Raceway Park – is now known as Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. During the winter of 2008, a new main track office building was constructed near the track entrance.
Top Fuel – 3.663 sec. by Clay Millican, Sept. ’17; 330.31 mph by Tony Schumacher, Sept. ’16.
Funny Car – 3.799 sec. by Matt Hagan, Sept. ‘17; 338.77 by Hagan, Sept. ’17.
Pro Stock – 6.538 sec. by Jason Line, Sept. ’11; 211.13 mph by Mike Edwards, Sept. ’12.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.812 sec. by Angelle Sampey, Sept. 16; 199.29 mph by Hector Arran Jr., Sept. ’18.
Top Fuel – 3.628 sec. by Clay Millican, Feb. ’18, Pomona, Calif.; 336.57 mph by Tony Schumacher, Feb. ‘18, Phoenix
Funny Car – 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. ’17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct ‘12, Reading, PA.; 201.01 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ‘18, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: For tickets call (800) 884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets.
Photos courtesy of NHRA
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and E3 Spark NHRA Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www,NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.