COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 12, 2001) - Mac Tools, a leading nationwide supplier of hand tools and equipment, signed a five-year agreement with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to become the primary sponsor of the U.S. Nationals, the most...
COLUMBUS, Ohio (June 12, 2001) - Mac Tools, a leading nationwide supplier of hand tools and equipment, signed a five-year agreement with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) to become the primary sponsor of the U.S. Nationals, the most prestigious drag racing event in the world. This is the first time in NHRA history that the U.S. Nationals, a race that can define a drag racing career, has featured a title sponsor.
The 47th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals will be held Aug. 29-Sept. 3 during NHRA's 50th anniversary season at Indianapolis Raceway Park, continuing a celebrated association with the Indy 500, Brickyard 400 and U.S. Grand Prix as one of the four marquee events in the nation's auto racing capital, Indianapolis.
"Mac Tools is very honored to become the first title sponsor of the most historic and tradition-rich drag race in the world, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals," said Mac Tools President John Aden. "We are proud to add the crown jewel of NHRA events to our ongoing list of title sponsor events, which includes the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida and the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tennessee. We are looking forward to a great association with NHRA and Indianapolis Raceway Park for years to come." The $2.6 million race is the 18th of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series for 2001. The event will feature more than 10 hours of television programming on ESPN and ESPN2, including five hours of eliminations coverage on Sept. 3 (11 a.m.-1 p.m., ESPN2; 4-7 p.m., ESPN). Past winners of the event comprise a who's who of the quarter-mile sport, including its greatest legends: Shirley Muldowney, Top Fuel winner in 1982, seven-time winner Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, and 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits, an eight-time winner. Current stars - and Mac Tools drivers - Kenny Bernstein (1987 and '91) and John Force (1993, '96 and '98) also are multiple winners of the lucrative race held each Labor Day weekend.
The oldest event on the NHRA circuit, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals was first held in Great Bend, Kan. in 1955, before moving to Kansas City in 1956. For two years (1957-'58) it was held in Oklahoma City before moving to Detroit for two years (1959-'60). The race found its permanent home, Indianapolis Raceway Park, in 1961, where many memorable finishes have been showcased over the years.
"It's neat to see Mac Tools become the sponsor of the biggest race of 'em all, our Super Bowl," said Force, the most prolific winner in NHRA history with 94 victories, and a longtime endorser of Mac Tools. "I might've been lucky enough to win more races than anyone else, but if I could only win one, it would be the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. When you win this race, you automatically become a member of an exclusive club and an important part of NHRA history."
The five-year commitment increases Mac Tools' involvement with the NHRA. Mac Tools is also the primary sponsor for the Mac Tools Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla. and the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn. The tool company is the major sponsor for Doug Kalitta's Top Fuel dragster and provides associate sponsorship for several NHRA competitors, including 10-time NHRA Winston Funny Car champion John Force; five-time NHRA champion Kenny Bernstein, driver of the Budweiser King Top Fuel dragster; and defending NHRA Winston Pro Stock champion, Jeg Coughlin Jr., driver of the Jeg's Mail Order Chevrolet Cavalier.
"It's very gratifying to see a proven sponsor like Mac Tools increase their involvement with NHRA Drag Racing at one of the highest levels," said Tom Compton, president of the NHRA. "By becoming the title sponsor of the U.S. Nationals, Mac Tools has clearly demonstrated a long-term commitment for the sport that's unequaled. Selling this race was no easy decision. However, due to our increased awareness, especially through exposure with our new relationship with ESPN, we received numerous offers for the event that could not be ignored. When we make a monumental decision like this, it is always in the best interest of the sport, our competitors and everyone involved. Thanks to Mac Tools, the legacy of this prestigious event will continue to thrive at a high level."
The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is the marquee event held at Indianapolis Raceway Park, which also features NASCAR Busch Series, NASCAR Craftsman Truck, USAC sprint cars, ASA stock cars and SCCA road racing, among others. Ongoing renovations at the multi-purpose racing complex have included a total resurfacing of the quarter-mile dragstrip.
"We're proud to bring Mac Tools into our family as the title sponsor for our biggest annual event," said Ron Anderson, Indianapolis Raceway Park general manager. "We realize this event generates a lot of excitement in the drag racing community because of its rich history. We're certain that Mac Tools' alliance with the event will only strengthen and enhance the overall experience."
Mac Tools, with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, is a leader in the professional hand tool industry, serving clients in the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan.
Located just west of downtown Indianapolis in Clermont, Ind., Indianapolis Raceway Park, a multi-purpose auto racing complex owned and operated by the NHRA, features a quarter-mile dragstrip, .686-mile asphalt oval and a 2.5-mile road course.