Houston Raceway Park news 2010-04-01

Decorated Astronaut Kelly to serve as grand marshal of Houston race HOUSTON (April 1) -- As the NHRA's attention turns to Space City, it's fitting that the 23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park will have a NASA ...

Decorated Astronaut Kelly to serve as grand marshal of Houston race

HOUSTON (April 1) -- As the NHRA's attention turns to Space City, it's fitting that the 23rd annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park will have a NASA astronaut serve as this year's grand marshal.

Captain Mark Kelly will take time out of his preparations for his next shuttle mission to the International Space Station to meet with racers and fans on Sunday, April 11, and take in the power and excitement of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series from HRP's starting line.

"Houston is known the world over as the epicenter of the space program," said HRP general manager Seth Angel. "It's an honor to have Captain Kelly come out and join us. He knows a thing or two about exciting rides and we can't wait to show him our brand of drag racing excitement."

Captain Kelly is a veteran of three Space Shuttle flights since joining the space program and becoming an astronaut in 1996. He has logged a total of 38 days in space and more than 12 million miles in Earth orbit. Kelly is currently training to command the crew of STS 134, which is scheduled to launch this summer. The mission is slated to bring scientific equipment to the International Space Station. This will mark Kelly's fourth visit to the ISS.

Before entering the astronaut program, Captain Kelly was a combat aviator for the United States Navy. He flew 39 combat missions in an A-6E Intruder during Operation Desert Storm off the aircraft carrier USS Midway. In all, Kelly has logged more than 5,000 flight hours and has made more than 375 carrier landings.

In the past 36 months, Houston Raceway Park has aggressively sought to improve its facility. In working with the Texas Department of Transportation, the track was able to secure direct access to Interstate 10 via the new Grand Parkway, drastically reducing fans ingress and egress to the parking lots. The pits were also resurfaced and extended, Musco lighting for the track was installed behind the grandstands to give fans an unobstructed view of the action, and the racing surface itself was ground and smoothed for optimum performance. There also is a brand new indoor/outdoor Top Eliminator Club that brings guests closer to the action than ever before.

Houston Raceway Park is located off Interstate 10 in Baytown. Race fans should take State Highway 99 (exit 799) and proceed south. Exit at FM 565, and turn right. Houston Raceway Park is located a quarter-mile mile down on your right.

The track offers an array of ticketing options from single-day tickets starting as low as $35 to weekend packages in the Top Eliminator Club. There are also RV campsites available that include ticket packages. All seats are reserved so ordering online will save time on raceday.

-source: houston raceway park

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Series NHRA