GLENDORA, Calif. – As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series prepares to start the famed Western Swing, only one spot remains open for the eight-car Funny Car field in the 2013 NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout. All seven positions in the Top Fuel field have been filled with four races remaining until the Traxxas Nitro Shootout will be contested during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
The Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel will be showcased Saturday, Aug. 31 and the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Funny Car will be held Sunday, Sept. 1. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and John Force (Funny Car) were winners last year of the lucrative race-within-a-race bonus events.
While a large group of Funny Car drivers will be trying to win a race and earn the seventh and final open spot in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout field, there are six drivers in Top Fuel and eight racers in Funny Car who will begin their campaigns for fan votes so they can position themselves to earn the coveted eighth positions, which will be determined by a combination of fan vote and lottery drawing. Last year Courtney Force won the Funny Car fan vote with 63 percent of the votes and Brandon Bernstein won the Top Fuel fan vote with 35 percent. Both drivers also were selected in the random lottery drawing. In order to be eligible for the fan vote/lottery drawing, drivers must have competed in each regular season race this season.
The Top Fuel drivers who are currently eligible for the fan vote are: Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, Morgan Lucas, David Grubnic, Brittany Force and Terry McMillen.
Current fan vote eligible Funny Car drivers are Robert Hight, Jack Beckman, Tim Wilkerson, Del Worsham, Bob Tasca III, Alexis DeJoria, Jeff Arend and Tony Pedregon.
Fan voting begins Sunday, Aug. 18 at approximately 5 p.m. (ET) following completion of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd, Minn., and will run through Tuesday, Aug. 27 at noon (ET). Fans can vote at NHRA’s Facebook page.
The fan vote process will determine how many lottery balls are assigned to each fan vote eligible driver for the random lottery drawing, which will take place at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals press conference/fan fest, Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Monument Circle at downtown Indianapolis.
Should the seventh position in Funny Car remain unfilled following the Brainerd event, the Funny Car driver who is highest in the Mello Yello Series points standings without a win will be inserted into that position.
Teams qualify for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts by winning an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season event, holding the No. 1 spot in the standings after the event in Brainerd, Minn., or via a fan vote and lottery-style drawing. The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootout awards $100,000 to the winners in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car events. The program also awards the top four finishers in each event, with the runners-up receiving $15,000 and the semifinal losers $7,500.
The following drivers are qualified for the 2013 NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts:
1. Shawn Langdon (Pomona 1)
2. Tony Schumacher (Phoenix)
3. Antron Brown (Gainesville)
4. Spencer Massey (Charlotte 1)
5. Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Houston)
6. Steve Torrence (Bristol)
7. Khalid alBalooshi (Norwalk)
8. Fan Vote/Lottery Drawing
1. Courtney Force (Pomona 1)
2. Ron Capps (Phoenix)
3. Johnny Gray (Gainesville)
4. Cruz Pedregon (Las Vegas 1)
5. Matt Hagan (Charlotte 1)
6. John Force (Bristol)
8. Fan Vote/Lottery Drawing