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NHRA Adds Bristol to 2021 Schedule, Postpones Virginia

Autoweek logo Autoweek 5/5/2021 Mike Pryson
a person driving a car: Bristol to become race in Countdown for the Championship; 50% capacity not good enough for NHRA to race at Virginia © RON LEWIS Bristol to become race in Countdown for the Championship; 50% capacity not good enough for NHRA to race at Virginia

The NHRA is changing it's schedule on the fly and adding a race to its Countdown to the Championship playoffs in the process.

On Wednesday, NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series officials announced that the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway is back on the schedule. The event was canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was left off the original 2021 schedule.

In addition to the Bristol news, the NHRA announced postponement of its June 4-6 scheduled event for Virginia Motorsports Park. No make-up date was announced. Virginia joins the earlier postponed Pomona event on the sideline. No word yet on a Pomona makeup.

The Bristol event for 2021 will take place Oct. 15-17 and be added to the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship playoffs, making the playoffs a seven-race affair this year.

"We couldn’t be happier to bring Bristol back on board for the 2021 season,” said Glen Cromwell, NHRA president in a press release on Wednesday.“The NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals is a staple on the NHRA circuit. The fall date will give us the opportunity to allow more loyal NHRA fans into the facility. To have the event as a Countdown race is an added bonus for both NHRA fans and competitors.”

“We can’t wait to hear the roar of nitro-powered engines rumbling once again at historic Bristol Dragway as we welcome fans back to an NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series event and celebrate our 20th anniversary of NHRA racing at Thunder Valley,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager, Bristol Dragway.“We anticipate a lot of championship drama in the top classes taking place during the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals as one of the final three races on the 2021 schedule.”

In addition, NHRA and Virginia Motorsports Park have announced the postponement of the Virginia NHRA Nationals due to COVID restrictions in the state of Virginia. NHRA and track staff will continue to work together with state health officials to determine a new date.

The NASCAR Cup Series has raced twice in Virginia already this year, once at Richmond and once at Martinsville. COVID restrictions in the State of Virginia allow for 50% capacity for outdoor sporting and entertainment events as of May 15.

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