Officials from NHRA and FOX Sports today unveiled the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series television schedule highlighted by 17 live Sunday finals shows, including four on the FOX broadcast network, and eight primetime Friday night qualifying shows.
The four Sunday finals shows that will air live on the FOX broadcast network will include each stop in the famed three-race NHRA Western Swing as well as the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals from Indianapolis.
In all, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX will air more than 120 hours of original television programming around the world’s fastest motorsport series. FOX Sports’ combined networks, including FOX, FS1 and FS2, will air more than 450 hours of programming throughout the year, including coverage of the Lucas Oil Series, J&A Service Pro Mod Series and repeats of Mello Yello Series race coverage.
NHRA races also will appear in Canada and the Caribbean through FOX Sports Racing, as well as being available through FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go and now is available to 86 million subscribers.
“We expect the 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season to be a major turning point in the history of this sport through the power of live television coverage,” said Peter Clifford, NHRA president. “With our new television partner FOX Sports, we will present the majority of our races with live television coverage, and make history on July 24 in Denver when the series has its first Sunday finals show air live on a national broadcast network.”
“This is a historic television package for NHRA drag racing and its fans, and we are thrilled to be able to work together with their team to deliver a powerful package to the largest audience possible,” said Patrick Crakes, senior vice president programming, research and content strategy. “The addition of NHRA racing reaffirms the FOX Sports commitment to motor sports, adding to a stable that now includes all three NASCAR national series, Monster Energy Supercross, FIM MotoGP World Championship, FIA Formula E Championship, the ARCA Racing Series, FIA World Endurance Championship, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Monster Jam and others.”
The seven races during the Mello Yello Series regular season that will feature live Sunday finals race coverage on FS1 include the season-opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, Calif. (Feb. 14, 5-8 p.m.), the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Phoenix (Feb. 28, 5-8 p.m.), the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals from Gainesville, Florida (March 20, 1-4 p.m.), the NHRA Nationals from Las Vegas (April 3, 5-8 p.m.), the NHRA SpringNationals from Houston (May 1, 3-6 p.m.), the Route 66 NHRA Nationals from Chicago (July 10, 2-5 p.m.) and the Lucas Oil Nationals from Brainerd, Minnesota (Aug. 21, 2-5 p.m.).
Live coverage of Sunday finals also will be showcased during each stop of the six-race NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs, including the NHRA Carolina Nationals at Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 18, 2:30-5:30 p.m.), AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals from St. Louis (Sept. 25, 2-5 p.m.), NHRA Keystone Nationals from Reading, Pa. (Oct. 2, 2-5 p.m.), the AAA Texas NHRA Fallnationals from Dallas (Oct. 16, 2-5 p.m.), the NHRA Toyota Nationals from Las Vegas (Oct. 30, 4-7 p.m.) and the Auto Club NHRA Finals from Pomona, Calif. (Nov. 13, 4-7 p.m.).
The first of the eight Friday night telecasts will officially kick off FOX’s NHRA coverage, on Friday, Feb. 12 at 10 p.m. and showcase the first two rounds of qualifying coverage from the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Additional Friday shows will air from Gainesville, the spring Las Vegas event, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas’s fall race, and Pomona’s Auto Club Finals. A complete schedule of all qualifying shows will be announced at a later date.
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race from historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, will offer nine hours of coverage over three days on both FS1 and FOX. The race will be televised with two qualifying shows and five hours of coverage of Monday’s finals, including two hours on FS1 and three hours on FOX.
Many of the races on FS1 will directly follow NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series programming.
“We’re building the broadcast from the ground up,” said Ken Adelson, NHRA vice president of broadcasting and digital content. “We’re showcasing the great personalities, unmatched on-site fan experience and incredible technology that makes up the fastest motorsport on earth.”
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 23 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. 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 the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Full schedule available in PDF below.