NHRA CELEBRATES 50TH WINTERNATIONALS WITH 'ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME' PACKAGE FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIANS

From the legendary cars and stars of yesterday to today's 0-to-100-mph-in-less-than-a-second dragsters, the 'best value in sports' just got even better

POMONA, Calif. - In today's increasingly fast-paced and mobile world, with its 0-to-100-mph-in-less-than-a-second dragsters and the wildly frenetic action in the open pits, perhaps no sport on the planet does a better job of attacking boredom from all angles than the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

Whether you're 16 or 66, whether you know that AOL's Hottest Athlete Ashley Force Hood races a Ford Mustang at 300-plus mph, if you live in Southern California, you should drop what you're doing and make plans to attend the 50th running of the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals presented by Valvoline, Feb. 11-14, at storied Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (ticket information at 800-884-NHRA or ticketmaster.com).

"This will be a once-in-a-lifetime event not just for drag racing fans in Southern California, but for all Southern Californians," said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president, sales and marketing. "To see - and feel - an NHRA drag race in person is the ultimate adrenaline rush in sports. Combine that with our unparalleled Open-Pit access, and all of the really extraordinary activities we have scheduled to celebrate this 50th running of the Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals, and you have a package that we couldn't be more excited to offer to sports fans and families here in our home market of Southern California."

Already renowned as "the best value in sports" by the SportsBusiness Journal for all of the ways fans can entertain themselves at an NHRA event, they'll have to come up with a new category to characterize the value of a ticket to the 2010 NHRA season-opener.

To mark the milestone 50th running of the iconic Winternationals, NHRA has scheduled a series of "events-within-the-event" that will transform Auto Club Raceway at Pomona into a virtual hot-rodding amusement park for the weekend.

In addition to what fans can already expect at an NHRA race - the open pit access, interaction with drivers and crews, witnessing the quickest accelerating vehicles on the planet and so much more - among the scheduled events specific to the 50th running of the Winternationals include:

* The Golden 50 Corral Car Show, effectively a museum displaying the cars including Roland Leong's Hawaiian and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's Hot Wheels Funny Car that laid the foundation for today's 7,000-horsepower, 300-mph dragsters

* Daily Cacklefests, featuring top cars from the last 50 years in one of the oldest traditions in drag racing

* Autograph sessions with NHRA legends, including Shirley Muldowney, "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Bob Glidden, Kenny Bernstein and many, many more

* Exhibition runs by legendary tribute cars on the Auto Club Raceway track

* The unveiling of the Greatest Moment in Winternationals history (the complete list of moments can be found on NHRA.com) NHRA has also launched an event-specific Web site that is chock full of features that will help first-time and returning fans heading to Pomona for this historic event, including lists of all past winners, plenty of vintage video and a decade-by-decade look back at the second-longest running event on the NHRA circuit behind only the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

* SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3 p.m. on Feb. 11-12 and at noon and 3 p.m. on Feb. 13. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14.

* TICKETS: Tickets are available for the 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Valvoline. Call NHRA at (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit nhra.com or ticketmaster.com.

* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 11 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Feb. 13. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise NHRA Race Day, a 30-minute pre-race show, at 10 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Feb. 14. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage beginning at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Feb. 14.

* LUCAS OIL SERIES: The 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals presented by Valvoline also will feature competition in seven categories in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Series earn their racing stripes. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 8:15 a.m. on Feb. 11. Lucas Oil Series eliminations begin at 8:15 a.m. on Feb. 12.

-source: nhra