Batesville, Arkansas native Danny Nelson was crowned the 2019 NHRA Top Dragster World Champion. After an outstanding season, Nelson finished with a total of 608 points.
When you hear the name “Danny Nelson,” most people think of the popular dragster chassis Danny Nelson Racecraft. Danny is much more than just a chassis builder. Recently, Nelson was crowned the 2019 NHRA Top Dragster World Champion but his reign started way before that.
A Long History with Dragsters
Nelson started racing back in 1976. He didn’t become interested in dragsters as much until 1987 when he started building and fabricating them. Fast forward to 2015 and Nelson was starting to dip his feet in the Top Dragster world by running a limited schedule. The limited scheduled turned into a full-time schedule in 2016.
After competing on a full-time basis in 2016, Nelson finished 5th in Division 4 points standings and 13th in the national points standings. Each year after that, Nelson made himself well known in the points battle and that’s lead to the 2019 championship.
Preparations for a Title Run
Nelson started the 2019 prepared for battle with his brand new 2019 Danny Nelson Racecraft Chassis Swingarm Dragster. He installed a 540 cid Brannon Performance Engine with a Vortech Supercharger. The combination easily posted runs in the 6.1x range.
The championship run didn’t really begin until later in the season. Nelson started out slow but finished strong. In a four-week swing, Nelson earned three Wally’s and a semifinal finish at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals.
The Streak Begins
Beginning at the Bowling Green LODRS divisional, Nelson earned the Wally after defeating Joe Fisher. Fast forward just eight days later and Nelson earned a semifinal finish at the 65th Annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. This was the first U.S. Nationals Top Dragster was able to compete in.
A little over a week later, Nelson visited the winner’s circle again at the rescheduled Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio. There he defeated Tyson Fabish in the final round. The very next week, Nelson was in the winner’s circle after defeating David Maggard in the final of the JEGS SportsNationals in Columbus, Ohio. Nelson was now in the driver’s seat for the World Championship.
To finish his sweep, Nelson finished with a victory at the St. Louis LODRS divisional in October. He defeated Mario Boesch in the final round. The victory pushed him into the lead in the national points chase.
“Jeff Strickland and I passed each other 3 times,” Nelson stated. “It got to be funny actually. Who was going to pass who this race? Jeff finished 2nd. With three races left, he was the only one I was competing with nationally.”
Nelson was officially crowned the 2019 NHRA Top Dragster World Champion when Jeff Strickland was eliminated in the first round of eliminations at the LODRS divisional at Rockingham Dragway.
Danny Nelson’s Accomplishments
On top of Nelson’s 2019 world championship, his other accomplishments include:
- #2 in Midwest Pro-Mod Top Dragster Series Championship 2019
- 9X #1 Qualifier
- 3X Fast Four Shootout Wins
- 2X Fast Four Shootout Runner-Up
- 4X NHRA National Winner
- 2X NHRA National Runner-Up
- 4X LODRS Divisional Winner
- 5X LODRS Divisional Runner-Up
Thank you Sponsors!
“FTI Performance Trans. and Converter, Brodix Performance Blocks/Heads/Manifiold, Hoosier Tires, Moser Engineering Rear End Components, APD Products Fuel System, Vortech Supercharger, The Supercharger Store Drive Assembly, RaceStar Wheel, Digital Delay Electronics, Laris Motorsports Insurance, Mark Smith Suspension, PRO1 Safety. I can’t thank these people enough for what they have done for me and helped me with,” Nelson stated. “This world championship would not have been possible without them.”
Congratulations Danny on your 2019 World Championship! The DragChamp team is proud of you!
About the author: Megan Strassweg is a 22 year old Super Comp racer from Louisville, Kentucky. She races a 2015 American Dragster sponsored by Coolshirt Systems. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May of 2020 with a degree in Photojournalism and a minor in Entrepreneurship. Megan works at Jim Butner Auto in the Finance Department. Growing up at the racetrack, drag racing is all she has known and never plans to give up on it.