Indy ORP: Friday news and notes

BUDDING COUNTRY MUSIC STAR TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM AT 54TH ANNUAL MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 29, 2008) -- The 54th running of the world's most prestigious drag race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, will get off to a ...

BUDDING COUNTRY MUSIC STAR TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM AT 54TH ANNUAL MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 29, 2008) -- The 54th running of the world's most prestigious drag race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, will get off to a rousing start on Monday, Sept. 1 with country artist Jeremy McComb's performance of the National Anthem.

"It's an understatement to say that I'm honored to perform the National Anthem at any event, let alone at such a prestigious event as the NHRA's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals," McComb said. "I'm a big racing fan and I am humbled to be a part of this event."

The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the 18th and final regular season race in the 24-race NHRA POWERade Series season, begins today with the first of three days of qualifying to precede Monday's race which will be shown on ESPN2HD from noon to 2 and 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

McComb's career took off after catching the ear of Larry the Cable Guy's manager, J.P. Williams, who then created Parallel Records with the sole intention of recording McComb's first album, My Side of Town. That album debuted earlier this year and he recently released his new single, Cold.

The popular recording star will sing the Anthem while the traditional skydiver-and-trailing-American-flag descends from the sky and touches down trackside in concert with the final, energizing lines of McComb's rendition of the Anthem.

And immediately after the final bar has been sung and the skydiver has touched down, the first pair of Top Fuel dragsters will fire up their 7,000-horsepower engines and the The 54th running of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will get underway.

The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the longest-running race in the NHRA POWERade Series and it has long been regarded as the race to win, drag racing's equivalent of The Masters or Wimbledon, and it remains that way today

"When I started driving, Indy was the one race every year you wanted to run and you wanted to win and nothing's changed. You want to win the Countdown, but even if you didn't make the Countdown, winning Indy can save your season," said NHRA icon John Force, who will be making his 29th appearance at the historic race this weekend and looking for his fifth career Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win. He previously won in 1993, 1996, 1998 and 2002.

The prestigious race has added significance in 2008 with its position as the 18th and final race in the 18-race Countdown to the Championship regular season so it will set the 10-driver fields for the NHRA Playoffs, the Countdown to 1.

Additionally, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals serves as the host race for the $100,000 U.S. Smokeless Showdown, the bonus race for Funny Cars, and the $25,000 Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle, the bonus race for Pro Stock Motorcycles.

"I'm really excited to get to participate in (the U.S. Smokeless Showdown) this year," said 2007 Rookie of the Year Ashley Force, who will meet her father John in the first round of the Showdown. "It's one of my strongest memories I probably have growing up. We always got to the Indy race, and it was always such a big weekend for us."

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 24 national events through its NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The NHRA has 80,000 members and 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 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, NHRA Summit Racing Series, and the NHRA Street Legal Drags presented by AAA. The NHRA also offers the O'Reilly Auto Parts Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages 8 to 17.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Teams Williams