GLENDORA, Calif. (Nov. 20, 2001) -- O'Reilly Auto Parts has reached a multi-year agreement with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to become the title sponsor of the NHRA Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park Topeka beginning in 2002, NHRA Vice President of Sales and Business Development Bob Wagner announced today.
The 14th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals is scheduled for May 23-26, at Heartland Park Topeka, Topeka, Kan. The popular Memorial Day classic is the ninth of 23 events in NHRA Drag Racing Series for 2002, and will be televised by the ESPN family of networks.
"O'Reilly Auto Parts is pleased to have the opportunity to become the title sponsor of the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at such a fine motorsports facility like Heartland Park Topeka," said Ron Byerly, vice president of advertising and marketing for O'Reilly Auto Parts. "We've enjoyed our relationship with the NHRA over the years and we certainly welcome continued opportunities to expose our customers to the excitement of NHRA Drag Racing through a variety of promotions and discount coupons for tickets that will be available through O'Reilly Auto Parts stores. Held on Memorial Day weekend, the race is quickly becoming regarded as one of the premier auto racing events in the United States and we look forward to our association with it."
The commitment increases O'Reilly's presence in NHRA Drag Racing. The company also is the title sponsor of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in mid-April and the O'Reilly Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas, held in mid-October.
"It's gratifying to see a progressive company like O'Reilly Automotive increase their presence in the NHRA Drag Racing Series by becoming the title sponsor of our annual event at Heartland Park Topeka, a race that has become a significant part of the popular nationwide auto racing package that thrills fans each Memorial Day weekend," said Wagner. "O'Reilly continues to be an outstanding partner in growing our fan base and certainly has demonstrated a keen ability to effectively utilize NHRA national event sponsorships as a part of its overall marketing strategy."
O'Reilly Auto Parts has sponsored other events at Heartland Park Topeka, however this is their first with NHRA's marquee drag racing series at the multi-purpose auto racing complex.
"O'Reilly Auto Parts and Heartland Park Topeka have had a strong relationship over the years through sportsman drag racing, road course racing and dirt track racing," said Jay Lendrum, owner of Heartland Park Topeka. "We are excited to expand this already strong relationship by adding the O'Reilly name to our premier drag racing event, the NHRA Summer Nationals on Memorial Day Weekend. O'Reilly Auto Parts will be a key partner in the enhancement of the NHRA Summer Nationals. O'Reilly's customers are Heartland Park Topeka's fans, and we will work together through promotion and marketing to provide a top-notch drag racing experience for the fans."
O'Reilly Auto Parts is one of the largest specialty retailers of automotive aftermarket parts, tools, supplies, equipment and accessories in the United States, serving both the do-it-yourself and professional installer markets. Founded in 1957 by the O'Reilly family, the company operates more than 730 stores within the states of Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Illinois.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 24 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 2001. The NHRA has more than 80,000 members nationwide and more than 140 member tracks. The NHRA-sanctioned sportsman and bracket racing series' provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels. The NHRA develops the stars of tomorrow by offering the NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series, NHRA Summit Import Drag Racing Series, NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Street Legal Program. The NHRA also offers the NHRA Castrol GTX Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages 8 to 17.