NHRA announced Wednesday that The Coca-Cola Company has extended its relationship with the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body and will continue its longstanding association as title sponsor of NHRA's premier series through the year 2018. In addition, it was announced that beginning in 2013, Mello Yello, The Coca-Cola Company's popular citrus-flavored soft drink brand will be the new series title sponsor: The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Sharon Byers, Senior Vice President Sports and Entertainment Marketing Partnerships at The Coca-Cola Company, and NHRA President Tom Compton jointly made the announcement in downtown Indianapolis at Monument Circle on the eve of the start of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus.
"The Coca-Cola Company and our bottlers have enjoyed a long and productive relationship with the NHRA," said Byers. "Together, we have created a successful formula for many Coca-Cola brands to connect with the NHRA's passionate and dedicated community. We know this trend will continue with the addition of Mello Yello—which boasts its own faithful following—to the equation."
For the past four seasons, Full Throttle Energy Drink has been the lead brand on the NHRA's signature series. Full Throttle will continue to play a key role in Coca-Cola's 2013 NHRA activation.
"The Coca-Cola Company has been a cornerstone of the sport since 2002 and this extension ensures our partnership will continue through at least 2018," said Compton. "Over the past 11 years working with The Coca-Cola Company and the bottlers we have developed a deep professional and personal relationship."
Mello Yello has a storied history as an active sponsor in the world of auto racing and 2013 will mark the popular brand's return to motorsports. Mello Yello enjoyed a successful relationship with Kyle Petty in stock car racing from 1991 to 1994.
With a new series sponsor and enthusiasm for continued growth in the sport, NHRA announced its 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule as part of a whirlwind of announcements and activities at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis on the eve of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto-Plus at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
Highlighting the 2013 schedule is the inaugural NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H., June 20-23. The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series' visit to the Northeast marks a process of more than a decade in the making and reaffirms NHRA's position as offering the most geographically diverse schedule of any major motorsports series in the country.
ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, a part of the ESPN network, the worldwide leader in sports, will once again provide exclusive television coverage, on a same-day basis, of all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events featuring action from qualifying rounds on Saturday and Sunday's race.
2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Schedule
53rd annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 14-17, Pomona, Calif.
29th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 22-24, Phoenix
44th annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, March 14-17, Gainesville, Fla. (PSM)
14th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, April 5-7, Las Vegas
Fourth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 19-21 Charlotte, N.C.
26th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, April 26-28 Houston (PSM)
33rd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 3-5, Atlanta (PSM)
25th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 17-19, Topeka, Kan.
44th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals, May 30 – June 2, Englishtown, N.J. (PSM)
13th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 14-16, Bristol, Tenn.
Inaugural NHRA New England Nationals, June 20-23, Epping, N.H.
16th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals June 27-30, Chicago (PSM)
Seventh annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, July 4-7, Norwalk, Ohio (PSM)
34th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 19-21, Denver (PSM)
26th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals, July 26-28, Sonoma, Calif. (PSM)
26th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, Aug. 2-4, Seattle
32nd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 15-18, Brainerd, Minn. (PSM)
59th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, Aug. 28 – Sept. 2, Indianapolis (PSM)
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
Sixth annual NHRA Nationals, Sept. 13-15, Charlotte, N.C. (PSM)
28th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 19-22, Dallas (PSM)
Second annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, Sept. 27-29, St. Louis (PSM)
29th annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals, Oct. 3-6, Reading, Pa. (PSM)
13th annual Big O Tires NHRA Nationals Oct. 24-27, Las Vegas (PSM)
49th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 7-10, Pomona, Calif. (PSM)
(PSM) - Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle