NDRC – National Drag Racing Championship
New National Drag Racing Championship to Unify Australian Drag Racing Competition
- One way forward for drag racing in Australia
- Single national calendar
- Single management group
- National and international broadcast
- 11 group one events
- Each round stars either the burson top fuel championship or the nitro funny car championship
- The championship features top doorslammer, pro alcohol, pro stock, top bike, pro stock bike, and pro mod championships
- One grand final event for all group 1 at the 2024 Winternationals
- Sportsman championship racing at all 11 events
- Standalone sportsman championship rounds in regional venues
Sportsman national championship and grand final
Australia – Andy Lopez and Nathan Prendergast, the team behind the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship, have today announced the creation of the National Drag Racing Championship (NDRC). The NDRC is Australia’s new, unified national championship for drag racing.
The NDRC represents a new era for drag racing in Australia, with Top Fuel, Nitro Funny Car, Top Doorslammer, Pro Alcohol, Pro Stock, Top Fuel Motorcycle, Pro Stock Bike, Pro Mod, and Sportsman all having the opportunity to race in one national championship series.
The NDRC calendar will be announced on May 26 from The Bend Dragway following final consultation with Group 1 associations. It will feature eleven championship events headlined by either the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship or the Nitro Funny Car Championship, bringing more nitro racing to Australian drag racing fans than ever before, with a single Grand Final event for all professional categories in 2024 at the Winternationals at Willowbank Raceway. This mega event sees the Burson Top Fuel Championship and Nitro Funny Cars Championship come together with Group 1 for the first time.
According to NDRC co-promoter Andy Lopez, “The National Drag Racing Championship represents a massive opportunity for the sport to go one way forward. The statement “One way, forward” has become our mantra. We’ve taken the Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship to venues all over Australia, and that’s given us a good chance to listen to what racers and fans want. And racers and fans want a positive drag racing scene where racers fight for a single national title in their category. What is really clear is that everybody wants what’s best for the sport. We won’t all agree all the time, but if we’re respectful and positive, the sport will be in a good place.
“Drag racing is an awesome sport. Every day people head out to their track, put on a race suit and a helmet, and then belt down a racetrack as fast as they can. If you’re a fan, every seat in the house is a great seat, and you can wander the pits and see the cars and the drivers. It looks amazing on TV and there’s a racing win every couple of minutes. Drag Racing should become Australia’s favourite motorsport, and to do that we have to win on and off the track. Once we get the Championship humming, we’ll focus on other challenges like pathways into the sport.”
Reigning Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Champion Peter Xiberras added, “Unity is the most essential thing required for drag racing to succeed. Top Fuel is in a really good place right now, and it’s going to be awesome to see that brought to all the racing categories. Fans are coming back to the track in droves, the television package has never looked better, and things are looking up for the sport that I love.”
In more great news, Aeroflow has thrown their support behind the national Sportsman Championship series. The Aeroflow Sportsman Championship will run at both NDRC Group 1 events and standalone shows at regional tracks. Regional tracks will be invited to host and manage the standalone events as they have done with previous championships, with strong marketing and communications support from the NDRC team.
The new sportsman championship will run in an Eastern and Western Conference format. This takes into account the real challenges of travel for racers all over the country. There will be an Eastern and a Western conference Championship awarded, leading into a single, all-in Grand Final in 2024. The Western Conference will comprise events held in WA, SA, and NT, while the Eastern Conference is made up of events in QLD, NSW, and VIC. Regional tracks in border areas in SA and VIC will have the opportunity to choose the conference that best suits their needs.
An NDRC Sportsman Advisory Group will be established to give Sportsman racers and officials a voice in calendar, safety, rules and other issues affecting Sportsman racing.
Morice McMillin from Aeroflow says, “As both a sponsor and a racer, this is a really good day. With my racing helmet on, I just want to get out on the track and race for a single championship. As a sponsor, Aeroflow loves the Sportsman category as much as we love our Nitro Funny Cars, and I’m really happy to announce our partnership with this new sportsman championship. We’ll also be continuing our Future Stars program which seeks to support the drag racing stars of tomorrow through mentoring in race craft, sponsorship, and other aspects of professional drag racing.”
The NDRC is backed by the management team behind the successful Burson Auto Parts Australian Top Fuel Championship. Andy Lopez and Nathan Prendergast run events and broadcast respectively, and Anthony Clark serves as NDRC Project Head and Group 1 Manager. Adrian Hodgson, Natalie Gatt and Nicole Amelsvoort head up marketing and communications, and the wider OTP team will provide support across event management, marketing and communications. The NDRC welcomes Jason Hedges to lead quality assurance for competition and guide the Sportsman Championship. Commercial opportunities will be managed by Media Scrum.
In more good news, all 11 rounds of the National Drag Racing Championship and all race day action will be broadcast live and free in Australia, as well as a number of post-produced highlight shows featuring Group 1 categories. The formal announcement of the NDRC broadcast partnership will be made at 2PM on May 17, 2023.
NDRC co-promoter Nathan Prendergast adds, “Our unprecedented broadcast deal is a massive step forward and will give drag racing the exposure it deserves. It’s a major achievement for the sport. We all race in the same direction, for the same reasons, and with the introduction of the NDRC, it’s now a reality. I look forward to the announcement on May 17 and bringing Group 1 and Sportsman racing to a worldwide TV audience.”
400 Thunder director Tony Wedlock commented on the announcement, saying “The National Drag Racing Championship is the next logical step for drag racing in Australia. We met with the NDRC team to hear their plans, and the 400 Thunder Board was satisfied that the NDRC is in the best interests of everyone in the sport we all love so much. Given that, it’s time to retire the 400 Thunder Series and we ask all racers to get behind the NDRC.
“The Board is proud of what 400 Thunder has achieved. We’ve brought high quality drag racing events to venues all across the country, broken records, and have been part of growing the sport to a level where it’s ready for this next big step. The Winternationals 2023, headlined by the Nitro Funny Cars, is the final 400T event, and we can’t wait to see this next exciting chapter.”
The ADRC brand will also be retired. While the NDRC is a fresh start and a new name, all national records, championships, and trophies will be recognised and celebrated by the new Championship. Lopez says “Records and Championships belong to the racers and are an essential part of the history of drag racing. Whether you’re an ADRC Champion, a 400 Thunder Champion, a Summit Series Champion, or you hold any record or trophy, you will be celebrated and recognised by the National Drag Racing Championship for what you’ve achieved.”
Nathan Prendergast added, “You only get to a moment like today with the support of a lot of people. I want to thank the Top Fuel teams for being instrumental in leading drag racing into a new future. I also thank the Nitro Funny Car teams for helping to make unity in the sport a reality, and also all the other Group 1 and Sportsman racers who’ve been really generous with their participation and advice.”
The NDRC begins in the coming months and promises to be an incredible showcase of speed, power, and skill. Fans of drag racing in Australia will not want to miss out on this exciting new chapter in the sport’s history.
The first round of the NDRC is scheduled to begin in October 2023. The calendar announcement will be made on May 26.
For more information about the NDRC, please visit the official website at nationaldragracing.com.au.