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The latest update as of June 24, 2020

This website started as the personal blog for my Northern Thunder Top Alcohol Dragster over twenty years ago. Back then, in 1998, we tried to focus on all blown and/or injected race cars, with Top Alcohol as the main focus. Over the years, that's shifted to covering more classes, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Mod. While we haven't attended an NHRA national event, or even a regional race, for several years, we've been blessed with contributions by Bob Snyder as he follows racing in the SouthWest U.S., with a particular emphasis on the Funny Car Chaos gang and Outlaw Fuel Altereds and Pro Mods.

Even though there hasn't been a prominent place for Top Alcohol on these pages on a regular basis, we are still following the class(es) closely, and now that we've got some extra time on our hands (due to you-know-what), it's a good time to take a closer look at what's happening in the class. Today we've got the current points standings in Top Alcohol Dragster and we will be updating them on a weekly basis (when we get back to races every week) throughout the season. The following paragraphs lay out the structure for the championship chase as it differs greatly from recent years.

Here's the breakdown on just how points will be earned towards the National/World Championship in 2020. While I was familiar with the revised points structure for this year (they were released more than a month ago), it took a bit of digging to find the details. In fact, I had to resort to my most trusted source of statistics and hard news on the net, Drag Race Central. And when it comes to the schedule for NHRA Lucas Oil Series Regional and Divisional events, the updates are still not readily available on the NHRA website. Here is the official announcemtn from the NHRA on the revised points earning structure.

Due to the abbreviated season, the championship structure for national, regional, and divisional points has been adjusted.

Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car

Alcohol National Championship - best 2 of 5 regional and best 5 of 7 national events

Alcohol Regional Championship - best 4 of 5 regional events. No home regional event minimum requirement.

Instead of what has been the standard for more than a decade: best 3 of 5 regional events, and best 7 of 10 national events, they've shrunk the numbers down to those listed above. There will be a total of 12 national events with Top Alcohol participation this season, and nearly as many as regionals as usual, down slightly to 25 with the closing of Norwalk and Chicago for the season. With fewer events being offered, and fewer chances to earn points, racers will have to plan their season carefully so as not to run out of points earning opportunities too soon.

After a quick start to the season, with one national (Winternationals) and two regionals (Belle Rose & Gainesville) in the books, everything came to a very sudden halt at the Gatornationals. The pro and pro sportsman racers were sent home and sportsman eliminations were run off in front of empty grandstands. And that was it for NHRA drag racing for ten weeks. Racing began again in late May at the Texas Motorplex with the NHRA Regional Lonestar Nationals in front of a very limited number of spectators. That event was followed four weeks later with races last weekend at Bandimere Speedway and New England Dragway.

The month of July will see four more regional events - but no national events - until the very end of the month at Seattle's Pacific Raceways with the Flav-R-Pak NHRA Northwest Nationals beginning on July 31st. From there on, the pace picks up considerably, with six events (two national and four regional) for Top Alcohol in August. That's followed with seven (and possibly eight) races in September, consisting of four national and three regional. And if the "in-limbo" Woodburn, Oregon West Regional is slotted in to the month, as expected, then it will be four national and four regional for September.

Going into the final six weeks of the season (October and the first half of November), there are two regionals to start October, then three consecutive weekends of national events, followed by, presumably, the still postponed Las Vegas West Regional event in early November, before the grand finale at Pomona on November 15th. In fact, starting with the July 16-19 weekend, there will be a minimum of one race every weekend until the season's conclusion. In all, it adds up to 12 (and possibly 14) regional events, and 11 national events for Top Alcohol in the space of 17 weeks.

At this point, it's quite possible that world events will force even more changes to the schedule(s) and spectator attendance will be limited to begin with, and may stay that way throughout the season. Whether that scenario is sustainable for the NHRA, the racers, the sponsors, and spectators, remains a very large question. I'm certainly not in a position to pontificate on the subject, but with COVID-19 seeming to be on the rise again in many parts of the United States, it's going to be a monumental achievement if we see the entire schedule, as currently written, completed. As we write on an almost daily basis here at Northern Thunder.... Stay Tuned!

Until we've got more news, or updated event and points totals results, here's the latest numbers for the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster championship in 2020. The next update will be in two weeks, following the Lebanon, NY Eastern Regional event.

TAD National Points - June 23, 2020