With a new series sponsor and enthusiasm for continued growth in the sport, NHRA announced its 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule as part of a whirlwind of announcements and activities at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis on the eve of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

The 29th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals will be Oct. 3-6 at Maple Grove Raceway.

The unveiling of a new series sponsor, the 2013 schedule, the final lottery drawing for spots in the NHRA Traxxas Shootout for Top Fuel and Funny Car, and a preview of the race as a handful of racers battle for the final spots in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, were all a part of the festivities on Wednesday, as the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body kicked off the biggest and most prestigious event in the world of drag racing.

Highlighting the 2013 schedule is the inaugural NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H., June 20-23.   The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series’ visit to the Northeast marks a process of more than a decade in the making and reaffirms NHRA’s position as offering the most geographically diverse schedule of any major motorsports series in the country.

The summer months leading into the most prestigious and historic event on the tour, the NHRA U.S. Nationals,  Labor Day weekend Aug. 28 – Sept. 2 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, will be a grueling challenge for the teams with nine races in 12 weeks, and will see the teams travel from coast to coast.   That portion of the schedule kicks off the first
weekend in June (May 30-June 2) with the Toyota NHRA Summernationals in Englishtown, N.J.   After a week off, the circuit embarks on four races in row, beginning with the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn. (June 14-16), the inaugural NHRA New England Nationals (June 20-23), the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago
(June 27-30) and concludes with the traditional July 4th celebration in Norwalk, Ohio, with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals (July 4 -7).

From Norwalk, the series heads on to the famous Western Swing, which features three races in three weeks under three very different conditions: the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Denver (July 19-21); the NHRA Sonoma Nationals in Sonoma, Calif. (July 26-28); and the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle (Aug. 2-4). After a week off, the demanding summer stretch concludes in Brainerd, Minn., with the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Aug. 15-18).

The 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series begins, as it has for 53 years, with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.), Feb. 14-17, and continues the following week in Phoenix with the NHRA Arizona Nationals (Feb. 22-24).   The traditional East Coast opener will be held March 14-17 at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville (Fla.) with the 44th running of the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals.

The
fourth stop in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (April 5-7), followed by the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. (April 19-21).    The series continues with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in
Houston (April 26-28), Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta (May 3-5), and the NHRA Kansas Nationals in Topeka, Kan. (May 17-19).

The
six-race 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs, kicks off in the fall with four consecutive weeks of racing: the NHRA Nationals in Charlotte, N.C. (Sept. 13-15); the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas (Sept. 19-22); the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis (Sept. 27-29); and Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals in
Reading, Pa. (Oct. 3-6).

The season concludes out west with the Big O Tires NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas (Oct. 24-27) and returns to where it all began for the season finale with the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals (Nov. 7-10).

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class will compete in a 16-race schedule, with six of those races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, a part of the ESPN network, the worldwide leader in sports, will once again provide exclusive television coverage, on a same-day basis, of all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events featuring action from qualifying rounds on Saturday and Sunday’s race.