The Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, which are races within a race, will be conducted at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, with Top Fuel showcased on Saturday, Sept. 1, and Funny Car featured on Sunday, Sept. 2.
“The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts redefine what a race within a race is all about,” said Mike Jenkins, owner and president of Traxxas. “We worked with NHRA to craft a program that rewards the winners of NHRA Full Throttle events and the leaders in the points standings while at the same time provides an opportunity for fans to vote for their favorite drivers.”
There are three ways for Top Fuel and Funny Car teams to qualify for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts.
First, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series points leaders in Top Fuel and Funny Car after the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd Int'l Raceway, Aug. 16-19, will automatically qualify as top seeds for the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, even if the respective points leaders have yet to win a national event.
Second, the first seven winners in both categories of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series season will qualify, beginning at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries, Feb. 9-12 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California, and concluding at the Brainerd event. If the points leaders do not win one of the first 16 events of the season in each category, their provisional spots will bump the seventh event winner in each category. If there are fewer than seven different winners in each category prior to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, rankings in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series points standings after the Brainerd event will fill any open positions up to No. 7. Seeding for the top seven positions will be based on the season-long points standings in both categories after the Brainerd event.
Third, once the first seven positions in the fields are set, the eighth and final spot in each category will be determined by a fan vote and a lottery-style drawing. The fan-vote selections in each category will be eligible to become the eighth seeds in the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts.
The fan vote for the eighth seeds will be conducted on NHRA’s Facebook page and through a lottery-style drawing at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. All remaining unqualified drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car who have competed in all 16 NHRA Full Throttle events this season leading up to the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be included in the NHRA Facebook fan-voting process. Based on the percentage of fan votes received, drivers will receive an equivalent percentage of chances in the lottery. For example, if a driver earns 15 percent of the fan vote, he or she will have 15 chances out of 100 in the lottery-style drawing. All eligible drivers will have at least one chance in the drawing.
The Traxxas Nitro Shootouts award $100,000 each to the winners in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car events. The program awards the top four finishers in each event, with the runners-up receiving $15,000 and the racers going out in the semifinals earn $7,500 each. The NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts will be featured on the Sunday, Sept. 2, qualifying shows on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD.
At four races into the season there are only two Funny Car qualifiers- John Force and Robert Hight. Hight, having won the last three events has kept other names off the board. In Top Fuel Spencer Massey, with two wins is on the board along with Antron Brown and Morgan Lucas.
In addition to backing the NHRA Traxxas Nitro Shootouts, Traxxas is the Official Radio Controlled Performance Products of the NHRA and the primary sponsor for Courtney Force, who will make her debut in the Funny Car class at the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Super Start Batteries in the Traxxas Ford Mustang.