"Road to the Future" sponsor renews

GLENDORA (April 22, 2002) - The Automobile Club of Southern California has renewed its sponsorship of the popular 'Road to the Future' award for the next two years, it was announced today by National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) officials. In...

GLENDORA (April 22, 2002) - The Automobile Club of Southern California has renewed its sponsorship of the popular 'Road to the Future' award for the next two years, it was announced today by National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) officials.

In 2002, the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award will be expanded and combined with the traditional NHRA Rookie of the Year award, creating one prestigious award designed to recognize the future stars of the sport.

Under its new criteria, the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award will be presented annually to the NHRA professional category rookie driver destined for future greatness. The award will be presented by Auto Club representatives during the 2002 NHRA Awards Ceremony. In addition to the sleek ceremonial trophy, the award also features a check for $20,000.

"It is very gratifying to see the Automobile Club of Southern California has decided to continue this very important commitment to recognize the future stars of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series," said Bob Wagner, NHRA vice president of sales and business development. "By combining the two awards, we now have one very special trophy to recognize the top NHRA rookie of the year, which makes the honor even more prestigious and memorable."

Past winners have developed into some of NHRA's biggest stars, including Tony Pedregon (1996, Funny Car), Ron Capps (1997, Funny Car), Doug Kalitta (1998, Top Fuel), Antron Brown (1999, Pro Stock Motorcycle), Melanie Troxel (2000, Top Fuel) and GT Tonglet (2001, Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Recent NHRA Rookie of the Year winners have included Darrell Russell (2001, Top Fuel), Don Lampus (2000, Top Fuel), Scotty Cannon (1999, Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin (1998, Pro Stock), Gary Scelzi (1997, Top Fuel) and co-winners in 1996, Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Matt Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

"For more than 100 years, the Automobile Club of Southern California has represented integrity, commitment and professionalism to our millions of members," said Jeff Prokop, vice president of administrative and automotive services. "From its inaugural presentation in 1996, the Road to the Future Award has come to symbolize these same attributes in the sport of NHRA Championship Drag Racing.

"The Auto Club is pleased to renew and expand this very special program and we look forward to participating in the development of many more talented drivers as they stand at the brink of future greatness."

Rookie drivers in all four of NHRA's professional categories are eligible to win the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award. A special panel consisting of representatives from the Automobile Club of Southern California and NHRA select the winner from a group of nominees.

In addition to the Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award, the company also is the primary sponsor for the NHRA Motorsports Museum presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, located in Pomona, Calif., as well as the primary sponsor for the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 7-10 at Pomona Raceway. The company also is a major sponsor for John Force Racing, providing associate sponsorship for the Ford Mustangs driven by Force and Tony Pedregon, as well as major sponsorship for the Mustang driven by Gary Densham.

The Automobile Club of Southern California is the largest affiliate of AAA. Today, the Auto Club's members benefit by the organization's emergency road service, financial products, travel agency and trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs, insurance products and services, automotive pricing, buying and financing programs and automotive testing and analysis.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 23 national events through its NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. The NHRA has more than 80,000 members nationwide and more than 130 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, NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag 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.

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Melanie Troxel , Don Lampus , GT Tonglet , Mike Edwards