Win Light Returns to NHRA Qualifying Runs

JR Todd runs at Epping. Photo Courtesy of NHRA.
JR Todd Epping
JR Todd runs at Epping. Photo Courtesy of NHRA.

Nobody knows why NHRA decided not to show win lights for qualifying runs, but it turned out to
be a erroneous call. That’s why, starting this weekend in the seventh annual NHRA New
England Nationals, the sanctioning organization is bringing back the win light for all activities,
including the premier Mello Yello categories of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock

Only the two nitro classes are running at Epping, New Hampshire this weekend, but spectators
present for all class runs at New England Dragway will get to see who was quickest from
Christmas Tree to finish line beams once again, knowing which is the first car at the stripe.
NHRA said the change is due to fan feedback.

The feedback fans gave to NHRA indicated the excitement of qualifying was lacking when they
didn’t know who made the better pass as cars lined up to set times for Sunday eliminations.
While the competitor reaching the finish line first isn’t always the driver with the lowest elapsed
time – which is what counts for elimination ladder positions – not knowing who arrived at the line
first made the exercise less exciting for those in the stands and standing next to the drag strip’s
two lanes.

“Fierce competition is part of what makes NHRA Championship Drag Racing such an intense
experience,” said Josh Peterson, vice president of racing administration. “Our fans want to see
victories and defeats, regardless of which days they attend our events.
“At its core,” Peterson continued, “drag racing is a contest between two individuals, racing side
by side – whether they are competing for the best time or to advance to the next round. It’s
evident that fans want to punctuate that contest with a win light. We are excited to turn it back
on starting with the NHRA New England Nationals.”

Steve Gibbs, formerly an official with NHRA and currently the producer of Nitro Revival in May,
as well as other nostalgia events, summed up the feelings of many close to the sport. “It’s
amazing that they ever got talked into the nonsensical deal (of not showing winners) in the first
place… and that it took so long to acknowledge there was a ‘popular demand’ to reverse the

About Anne Proffit 893 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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