Series wins Urban Wheel diversity award

NHRA WINS THE DIVERSITY IN MOTORSPORTS AWARD AT THE 12TH ANNUAL URBAN WHEEL AWARDS GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2008) -- NHRA was named the Diversity in Motorsports Award winner Tuesday evening at the Fox Theatre in Detroit during the 12th annual...

NHRA WINS THE DIVERSITY IN MOTORSPORTS AWARD AT THE 12TH ANNUAL URBAN WHEEL AWARDS

GLENDORA, Calif. (Jan. 15, 2008) -- NHRA was named the Diversity in Motorsports Award winner Tuesday evening at the Fox Theatre in Detroit during the 12th annual Urban Wheel Awards, held in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show.

The Urban Wheel Awards ceremony is the only official event honoring African-Americans, Latinos and Asians during the North American International Auto Show.

Popular NHRA drivers Tony Pedregon and Peggy Llewellyn joined NHRA vice president of public relations and communications, Jerry Archambeault, to accept the award on behalf of NHRA.

"On behalf of the 80,000 NHRA members, which comprise the largest and certainly one of the most influential Motorsports organizations in America, I would like to thank the Urban Wheel Awards for this recognition," said Gary Darcy, senior vice president of sales and marketing, NHRA. "This award comes at a time when NHRA is enjoying a period of enormous popularity and increased visibility and this is yet another example of that."

Pedregon, the defending and two-time NHRA POWERade world champion in Funny Car, is the second Hispanic driver in NHRA history to win a world championship title. Llewellyn became the first black female to win a Pro Stock Motorcycle event in 2007. She finished a career-high fourth in the championship points standings.

In addition to those drivers, NHRA features many other diverse participants, including J.R. Todd, who in 2006 became the first African-American to earn a Top Fuel victory and followed that rookie of the year effort with another outstanding season in '07, and fellow African-American Antron Brown, who is making the move to the 7,000 horsepower Top Fuel category in 2008 after earning 16 victories in a distinguished Pro Stock Motorcycle career. In Pro Stock, former NBA standout Tom Hammonds is a threat to win each race in his 200-mph Chevy Cobalt. In Funny Car, Pedregon's older brother, Cruz, won the Funny Car championship in 1992, and Todd Okuhara, who tunes Gary Scelzi's Mopar/Oakley Dodge Charger, is quickly becoming one of the category's most well-respected crew chiefs.

"NHRA has a strong history of showcasing talent from an array of diverse backgrounds and 2007 was certainly a year for us to celebrate that position, as evidenced by Tony's championship performance as well as Peggy's breakthrough season," Darcy said. "NHRA remains strongly committed to its rich heritage of providing top level racing opportunities to all people, regardless of ethnic background."

The Urban Wheel Awards honor diversity and excellence in the automotive industry. The proceeds benefit the Edward Davis Education Foundation, providing scholarships, internships and mentoring to students pursuing a career in an automotive-related profession.

-credit: nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Tony Pedregon , Gary Scelzi , Peggy Llewellyn , Tom Hammonds , Ed Davis , J.R. Todd