50 year timeline (1951-2001)
1951 - NHRA founded by Wally Parks. 1952 - NHRA sanctions Pomona Drag Strip at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds under the auspices of Pomona Police Chief Ralph Parker. 1954 - NHRA creates the Safety Safari, a team of drag racing ...
1951 - NHRA founded by Wally Parks. 1952 - NHRA sanctions Pomona Drag Strip at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds under the auspices of Pomona Police Chief Ralph Parker. 1954 - NHRA creates the Safety Safari, a team of drag racing ambassadors and officials who tour the country to introduce the sport to new audiences. 1955 - First NHRA national event held in Great Bend, Kan. Approximately 200 competitors enter for competition in one category: Top Eliminator. 1955 - Calvin Rice wins Top Eliminator at first NHRA national event with run of 10.30 seconds at 143.95 mph. 1956 - NHRA Nationals moved to Kansas City, Mo. 1956 - NHRA publishes first comprehensive rule book for drag racing. 1957 - NHRA Nationals moved to Oklahoma City. 1959 - Parachute braking device is first used and soon made mandatory for all cars exceeding 150 mph. 1959 - NHRA Nationals moved to Detroit. 1960 - National Dragster, NHRA's weekly newspaper, is first published. 1960 - Buddy Garner crowned first NHRA World Champion.
1961 - NHRA U.S. Nationals move to Indianapolis. Second event is added to schedule in Pomona, Calif. 1963 - Top Fuel is introduced as a professional category. 1963 - The U.S. Nationals becomes the first event covered by national television as part of ABC TV's 'Wide World of Sports' series. 1964 - Don Garlits records first 200-mph run. 1964 - NHRA sends drag racing team to Europe that includes Don Garlits, Tommy Ivo, Tony Nancy, "Ohio George" Montgomery, K.S. Pittman, Ronnie Sox and Buddy Martin and Bill Jenkins and Dave Strickler. 1965 - NHRA schedule increases to four national events with addition of Springnationals at Bristol, Tenn. and the World Finals at Tulsa, Okla. 1966 - Shirley Shahan becomes first female to win an NHRA national event title. 1969 - NHRA Finals moved to Dallas. 1967 - Funny Car is introduced as a professional category. 1970 - Pro Stock is introduced as a professional category. 1970 - Dallas International Motor Speedway becomes the first track to host two NHRA national events in one season (Springnationals and World Finals). 1970 - On-board fire extinguishers are first used by Funny Car drivers and are made mandatory for the 1971 season.
1971 - NHRA Finals moved to Amarillo, Texas. 1971 - Don Garlits debuts first successful rear-engine dragster. 1972 - Mike Snively makes first 5-second run. 1972 - Jim Dunn wins season-ending Supernationals in a rear-engine Funny Car. 1973 - Don Prudhomme becomes first driver to win NHRA national events in both Top Fuel and Funny Car when he wins the Funny Car championship at the U.S. Nationals. 1973 - A new category, Pro Comp Eliminator, is introduced as a development class for Top Fuel and Funny Car drivers. It eventually is split, to form the present Federal-Mogul Funny Car and Federal-Mogul Dragster categories. 1974 - Points system is established, NHRA crowns Gary Beck, Shirl Greer and Bob Glidden as first national series champions. 1974 - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco company announces sponsorship of NHRA national drag racing series, to begin in 1975. 1974 - NHRA Finals move to Ontario, Calif. 1975 - Don Prudhomme becomes the first Funny Car driver to break the 6-second barrier. 1975 - Winston Drag Racing Series posts $100,000 point fund. 1975 - Don Garlits, Don Prudhomme and Bob Glidden become first NHRA Winston champions. 1975 - NHRA national event schedule increases to eight events. 1976 - Shirley Muldowney becomes the first female to win a national event title in a pro category. 1977 - Shirley Muldowney becomes first female to win Top Fuel championship. 1978 - Bob Glidden becomes first and only driver in any category to reach the finals in every event in the series (nine).
1981 - NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series increases schedule to 11 events. 1981 - NHRA Finals move to Irvine, Calif. 1982 - Shirley Muldowney and Lucille Lee face off at the Springnationals at Columbus, Ohio in the first all-female pro category final in NHRA history. 1982 - Don Prudhomme breaks the 250-mph barrier in a Funny Car. 1982 - Frank Hawley beats Don Prudhomme to win first Budweiser Shootout bonus race for Funny Cars. 1983 - Winston increases total points fund to $325,000. 1984 - NHRA Finals move to Pomona, Calif. 1984 - Dallas Gardner named only the second President in NHRA history. 1986 - NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series increases schedule to 15 events. 1987 - Winston points fund more than doubles, increasing to $771,000. 1987 - Pro Stock Motorcycle is introduced as a professional category. 1987 - Dave Schultz is first NHRA Winston Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. 1987 - First NHRA all-star event is held at Texas Motorplex. 1988 - Winston points fund eclipses the $1 million mark. 1988 - Gene Snow clocks first 4-second run in NHRA history.
1992 - Kenny Bernstein records first 300-mph run in NHRA history. 1993 - NHRA is officially recognized by the FIA World Motorsports Council and the FIA Drag Racing Commission is formed. 1993 - Jim Epler records first 300-mph pass in a Funny Car. 1993 - Chuck Etchells becomes first Funny Car driver to break five-second barrier. 1994 - Kurt Johnson clocks first Pro Stock run quicker than seven seconds. 1995 - Winston points fund more than doubles from the preceeding year, to more than $2.2 million. 1996 - Kenny Bernstein becomes first driver to win Winston championships in Top Fuel and Funny Car. 1996 - John Force wins 13 events and becomes the first drag racer to be named Driver of the Year. 1997 - NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series schedule increases to 22 events. 1997 - Warren Johnson records the first 200-mph Pro Stock pass at Dinwiddie, Va. 1997 - Federal-Mogul becomes title sponsor for all NHRA sportsman competition. 1998 - Pro Stock Truck is introduced as a professional category. 1998 - John Force posts first Funny Car run over 320 mph. 1998 - Larry Kopp is first NHRA Winston Pro Stock Truck champion. 1999 - Tony Schumacher becomes first driver to break 330-mph barrier. 1999 - NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series schedule increases to 23 events. 1999 - John Force wins inaugural Winston Showdown, first NHRA event featuring Top Fuel vs. Funny Car in eliminations. 2000 - Tom Compton becomes only the third President in NHRA history. 2000 - NHRA introduces 90-percent nitro rule for Top Fuel and Funny Car categories. 2000 - John Force overtakes Bob Glidden as all-time NHRA win leader. 2000 - Joe Amato, NHRA's all-time winningest Top Fuel driver, retires. 2000 - John Force earns 10th NHRA Winston championship, tying Bob Glidden's record. 2000 - NHRA and ESPN reach five-year multi-media agreement, the biggest in the sport's history. 2000 - Angelle Seeling becomes the second female in NHRA history to win a pro championship.
2001 - NHRA's 50th anniversary.
Pomona: GM racers give the competition a blue Sunday
Warren Johnson takes aim at another championship