Style Guide

Style Guide

 NHRA Communications Dept.



AARWBA            American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association
ACCUS               Automobile Competition Committee of the United States Members include NHRA, NASCAR, CART, IRL, USAC and SCCA.
aftermarket        One word. The market for parts and accessories used in the repair or enhancement of an automobile
Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals
annual               An event cannot be described as annual until it has been held in at least two successive years; Never use first-annual, use inaugural
Auto Club NHRA Finals


backup                As in backup car, referring to a spare car.
Big Go                 Slang name for U.S. Nationals; no quotes
Big Three Automakers       General Motors, Ford, Chrysler
bite                    Jargon referring to adhesion of a tire to the racing surface.
Bondo                Brand of body filler. Capitalize.
bracket racing     Popular type of handicap racing where each competitor uses a dial-in or performance prediction.

break out (v.), breakout (n.)        Occurs when competitor has run quicker than his dial-in time.
burndown              Occurs when two competitors purposely delay the staging process.
burn out (v.), burnout (n.)          Spinning the tires prior to the start of a drag race to increase tire temperature and improve traction.
bye                  When a racer has no competition due to short field or a no-show.


Cacklefest           NHRA trademark.  Line of nostalgia dragsters at starting line with engines running.
car length            Two words.
career-best          Use hyphen
centerline            One word.
chassis                 The plural of chassis is chassis.
Christmas Tree     The electronic device incorporating calibrated lights used to start a drag race.
clutch disc             Not disk.
Countdown to the Championship
cubic centimeters    Engine displacement, usually written as cc on every reference with no periods or spaces.
cid                           Cubic inches of displacement (lower case, no periods). Used with a hyphen, e.g., 500-cid.
crew chief


datelines                        Datelines on stories should contain a city name, entirely in capital letters, followed in most cases by the name of the state, country or territory where the city is located.

                                    No state abbreviation with the following:


                                     Stories from all other U.S. cities should have both the city and state name in the dateline, including KANSAS CITY, Mo. and KANSAS CITY, Kan.

                      Several states do not use abbreviations. Abbreviate all others.

Alabama — Ala.
Alaska — Alaska
Arizona — Ariz.
Arkansas — Ark.
California — Calif.
Colorado — Colo.
Connecticut — Conn.
Delaware — Del.
Florida — Fla.
Georgia — Ga.
Hawaii — Hawaii
Illinois — Ill.
Idaho — Idaho
Indiana — Ind.
Iowa — Iowa
Kansas — Kan.
Kentucky — Ky.
Louisiana — La.
Maryland — Md.
Maine — Maine
Massachusetts — Mass.
Michigan — Mich.
Minnesota — Minn.
Mississippi — Miss.
Missouri — Mo.
Montana — Mont.
Nebraska — Neb.
Nevada — Nev.
New Hampshire — N.H.
New Jersey — N.J.
New Mexico — N.M.
New York — N.Y.
North Carolina — N.C.
North Dakota — N.D.
Ohio — Ohio
Oklahoma — Okla.
Oregon — Ore.
Pennsylvania — Pa.
Rhode Island — R.I.
South Carolina — S.C.
South Dakota — S.D.
Tennessee — Tenn.
Texas — Texas
Utah — Utah
Vermont — Vt.
Virginia — Va.
Washington — Wash.
West Virginia — W.Va.
Wisconsin — Wis.
Wyoming — Wyo.

debut               This is a noun, not a verb. Correct use: It was his drag racing debut. Incorrect use: He debuted a dragster.
deep stage        Describes the act of staging the car past the initial pre-stage light.
dial-in              In bracket racing, a predetermined E.T. or performance prediction.
disc                 Reference to type of brake
DNF                 (n. or v.) Abbreviation for did not finish. Past tense is DNFd (no apostrophe). Use only when writing for racing audience. Otherwise spell it out.
DNQ                (n. or v.) Abbreviation for did not qualify. Past tense is DNQd (no apostrophe).
DNS                (n. or v.) Abbreviation for did not start.
downforce        One word.
drag race         Two words. No hyphen.
drag racing
dragstrip          One word.
dropped cylinder   (v) To drop a cylinder  (n) a cylinder that has too much fuel-to-air mixture, preventing spark plug from firing.
dynamometer               Slang term is dyno.


E.T.                       Accepted abbreviation for elapsed time, not ET or e.t.


FIA              Federation International de l’Automobile.
finish line
FOX Sports
FOX Sports 1           OK to use FS1 in second reference
FOX Sports 2           OK to use FS2 in second reference
FOX                        national broadcasting network will air four races
front-runner (n)
Funny Car              Always uppercase.


gearbox                 One word.
grandstand             One word.
groove                   The preferred path of a race car on a race track.


halfway                  Noun and adjective.
HANS device           Acronym for Head and Neck Support.
holeshot                 An advantage at the starting line achieved by the driver having the quicker reaction time to the Christmas Tree than his opponent.
horsepower            One word.


inaugural                Never use first-annual.

Internet                  Should be capitalized in all references.


JEGS Allstars

jell/gel                   Do not confuse the two words. Jell means to take shape
and achieve distinctness; to become cohesive.  Gel means
to change into or take on the form of a gel.



loose                 Jargon for a handling condition of a race car in which the vehicle’s rear tires tend to lose traction.
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals


Manufacturers Midway
Manufacturers Cup
mph                The abbreviation for mile per hour. It’s acceptable in all references.
motorsports            One word.
motor racing           Two words.


national record               Avoid the redundant new record.
NHRA National Dragster   monthly magazine of NHRA
NHRA                             National Hot Rod Association; use NHRA on every reference when writing for motorsports audience.                      also
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series
NHRA Championship Drag Racing
NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series
NHRA Nitro Alley
NHRA Safety Safari
No. 1 qualifier             Top qualifier in 16-car order for drag racing’s professional categories
nitromethane                Monopropellant fuel used in Top Fuel and Funny Car categories; ignited by compression
numbers                     Spell out one through nine. Use numerals for 0, 10 and higher. Use numerals when using No. 1, No. 2, No. 8, etc.




percentages            90 percent rule, 1 percent back up. No hyphens.
pit area                  Location where race teams park and service their race cars between races. Also referred to as pits.
prerace                  Not pre-race
preseason              Not pre-season
Pro Modified          Always uppercase. Also OK to use Pro Mod.
Pro Stock               Always uppercase.
Pro Stock Motorcycle   Not Pro Stock Bike.


quarterfinal             Not quarter-final
quarter panel          Two words.


race track               Not racetrack. No hyphen.
race car                 Not racecar. No hyphen.
race day
reaction time          Term describing the time it takes a driver to hit the throttle once the Christmas Tree is activated; R.T.
red-light                 (n. and v.) Always hyphenated; Term describing a foul start when a vehicle leaves the starting line before the Christmas Tree is activated; past tense is red-lighted.
rpm                       Abbreviation for revolutions per minute
runner-up               Two plural uses: runners-up; runner-ups


Safety Safari            NHRA safety team
scuff                      Jargon for a race tire that has been used previously. Refers to the fact that the manufacturers’ label, or sticker, has been scuffed off.
SEMA                     Specialty Equipment Market Association.
semifinal                Not semi-final.
set up (n.)              setup (n. and adj.)
show car                Not showcar.
staged                    Final step for cars to get set prior to the start of a drag race.
starting line
supercharger          Avoid using the slang term “blower.”


tight                      Jargon for a race car handling condition in which the vehicle’s front tires tend to lose traction.
Top Fuel                Capitalize first letter in both words.
Top 10                   Capitalized when used as a proper noun. Example: It was his first appearance in the Top 10. Lowercase in all other references. Example: He was listed as one of the top 10 drivers of the year.

NHRA Tracks   (NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series)

Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Pomona, Calif.
Bandimere Speedway, Denver
Brainerd International Raceway, Brainerd, Minn.
Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.
Gainesville Raceway, Gainesville, Fla.
Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kan.
Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Indianapolis
Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.
New England Dragway, Epping, N.H.

Pacific Raceways, Seattle
Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, Calif.
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas
Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio
Texas Motorplex, Dallas
World Wide Technology Raceway, St. Louis
zMAX Dragway, Charlotte, N.C.

turbocharger, turbocharged


U.S. Nationals


victory                                      Preferable to win, which is a verb.


Wally                             NHRA’s official trophy, named after NHRA founder Wally Parks (1913-2007), awarded to event winners, and special award winners.
Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by Auto Club of Southern California
Western Swing                Traditional trio of national events in consecutive weeks, including Denver, Sonoma and Seattle.
wheelbase              One word.
winner’s circle