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 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.

2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Schedule

53rd annual                        O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals                            Feb. 14-17
Pomona, Calif.

29th annual                        NHRA Arizona Nationals                                                                Feb. 22-24
Phoenix

44th annual                        Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals                                         March 14-17
Gainesville, Fla. (PSM)

14th annual                        SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals                                        April 5-7
Las Vegas

Fourth annual                    NHRA Four-Wide Nationals                                                         April 19-21
Charlotte, N.C.

26th annual                        O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals                            April 26-28
Houston   (PSM)

33rd annual                        Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals      May 3-5
Atlanta (PSM)

25th annual                        NHRA Kansas Nationals                                                                 May 17-19
Topeka, Kan.

44th annual                        Toyota NHRA Summernationals                                                May 30 – June 2
Englishtown, N.J.  (PSM)

13th annual                        Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals                                      June 14-16
Bristol, Tenn.

Inaugural                             NHRA New England Nationals                                                    June 20-23
Epping, N.H.

16th annual                        O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals                      June 27-30
Chicago   (PSM)

Seventh annual                Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals                          July 4-7
Norwalk, Ohio   (PSM)

34th annual                        Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals                                             July 19-21
Denver   (PSM)

26th annual                        NHRA Sonoma Nationals                                                              July 26-28
Sonoma, Calif. (PSM)

26th annual                        O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals                  Aug. 2-4
Seattle

32nd annual                       Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals                                                              Aug. 15-18
Brainerd, Minn. (PSM)

59th annual                        NHRA U.S. Nationals                                                                       Aug. 28 – Sept. 2
Indianapolis   (PSM)

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship

Sixth annual                       NHRA Nationals                                                                                Sept. 13-15
Charlotte, N.C.  (PSM)

28th annual                        AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals                                                  Sept. 19-22
Dallas (PSM)

Second annual                  AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals                              Sept. 27-29
St. Louis (PSM)

29th annual                        Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals                                                           Oct. 3-6
Reading, Pa. (PSM)

13th annual                        Big O Tires NHRA Nationals                                                          Oct. 24-27
Las Vegas   (PSM)

49th annual                        Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals       Nov. 7-10
Pomona, Calif.  (PSM)

(PSM) – Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle