IHRA ANNOUNCES 2007 EMAX NITRO JAM DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE
NORWALK, Ohio (October 5, 2006) -- The International Hot Rod Association announced today the 2007 eMax Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series schedule. After 11 races in 2006, next year's schedule creates a 12-event series throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Including new markets in Tulsa, Okla. and Mansfield, Ohio, the series will again kick-off March 23 -- 25 at San Antonio Raceway with the Amalie Oil Texas Nationals and conclude October 19 -- 21 at Rockingham (North Carolina) Dragway with the World Finals. Mansfield Motorsports Park will become the new host of the World Nationals on June 15 -- 17, keeping the event in Ohio and in close proximity to the sanctioning body's headquarters in Norwalk. The new event at Tulsa Raceway Park, the Skull Shine Sooner Nationals, will be held Memorial Day weekend, May 25 -- 27.
"We've hosted extremely successful single-day shows in Tulsa, so the market is prime for an IHRA Nitro Jam event," said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. "The dragstrip being constructed at Mansfield Motorsports Park already contains the infrastructure necessary for our race. The facility has the experience hosting major events with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck race and IHRA has such a strong fan and competitor-base in Ohio, we'll without a doubt pack the place."
The Amalie Oil North American Nationals at New England Dragway, Epping, N.H., which previously has been held in September, will move to July 20 -- 22. The IHRA Canadian Nationals at Toronto Motorsports Park will move from July to September 7 -- 9. Also, the Suzuki Motor City Nationals at Milan (Mich.) Dragway has been moved to August 24 -- 26.
"The momentum we've experienced this season will carry into the 2007 IHRA eMax Nitro Jam," said IHRA vice president of marketing Jim Marchyshyn. "We've had a record year. With new markets in Tulsa and Mansfield, Ohio, next year, as well as maintaining our other strong venues, IHRA will continue growing."
If 2006 proved anything, IHRA demonstrated that by simply altering the elimination ladder, the level of competition, that's grown drastically in the last five years, could be realized. The result was some of the tightest championship chases in drag racing history. In the past, most championships were already decided with two or three races remaining. However, by placing the No. 1 qualified car against the No. 5 car (in an eight-car field, 1 vs. 9 in a 16-car field), instead of No. 1 vs. the slowest qualified car, IHRA forced drivers to race competitively every round.
"By altering the elimination ladder, we've forced competitors to bring their best each time they stage the car," said IHRA vice president of race operations Skooter Peaco. "Too often we had first round single runs. Not to mention, some cars just run quicker at certain tracks. The new system keeps the quicker cars from racing those that are much slower. The less predictable we make each race, the more exciting it will be for our fans."