TOM COMPTON NAMED PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION; DALLAS GARDNER BECOMES CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Compton Named Only Third President in the NHRA's History; Gardner Takes Over Chairmanship of the Board; Parks To Chair NHRA Motorsports ...
TOM COMPTON NAMED PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION; DALLAS GARDNER BECOMES CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Compton Named Only Third President in the NHRA's History; Gardner Takes Over Chairmanship of the Board; Parks To Chair NHRA Motorsports Museum
GLENDORA, Calif. (November 2, 1999) - Wally Parks, founder of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), announced today that Tom Compton, formerly executive vice president and general manager of the 48-year-old drag racing governing body, has been named president, effective January 1, 2000. Simultaneously, it was announced that long-time NHRA president, Dallas Gardner will become chairman of the NHRA Board of Directors. Parks, who founded the NHRA in the early '50s to preserve the right to race, will maintain his role on the board of directors while becoming chairman of the NHRA Motorsports Museum located at the Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. "There is no individual inside or outside the sport of drag racing that is more qualified to lead the NHRA into the new millenium than Tom Compton," said Parks. "He has demonstrated the leadership, vision and passion necessary to build on the strong foundation established by myself and Dallas Gardner." As only the third president in the sport's nearly 50 years of existence, Compton understands the big shoes he needs to fill in the coming years. "Rarely does one get to work so closely with the founder of a major sport," said Compton, 41. "Wally created the sport of drag racing from the early hot rods and clubs of the early '50s and nurtured it into one of the largest motorsports organizations in the world, followed by Dallas, who elevated the sport to its current level. My challenges are multi-faceted and ones that I embrace with open arms." Compton joined the NHRA seven years ago as chief financial officer and was named executive vice president and general manager of the association in 1997. "Tom immediately demonstrated foresight and strong leadership ability and has brought a new level of strategic thinking to the organization. He has been instrumental in driving change that better positioned the NHRA for conducting business in the future," said Gardner. In his previous role, Compton was responsible for the NHRA race operations group, publications, NHRA-owned and operated racetracks, facilities development, national event business, human resources, and all administrative and fiscal functions. A Northern California native, Compton received his bachelor's degree in economics from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and holds a master's of business administration in international finance from University of Southern California (USC). At a press conference announcing his appointment at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) conference in Las Vegas, Compton addressed the future of the sport under his direction and guidance. "NHRA drag racing is poised for a bright future. We are committed to deliver an even more exciting, interactive fan experience on and off the track. You will continue to see a change in the way we market and brand our sport, as we build our stars, enhance our television package and improve our facilities. NHRA Drag Racing is a totally unique, intensely exciting and growing form of motorsport. We are confident that our future programs and strategic initiatives will reach out and attract new fans, sponsors and racers. Further, I want to emphasize that our grassroots participants and programs will continue to be NHRA's foundation and strength, which distinguishes us from all other sanctioning organizations". Gardner has been with the NHRA since 1973, and has served as president since 1984, a span of 15 years. He has helped mold the NHRA into one of the most recognizable and respected organizations in sports and was named, in 1996, as one of the 10 most influential people in worldwide motorsports by RACER magazine.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 22 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. The NHRA boasts 85,000 members nationwide and 142 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 Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series, Sears Craftsman E.T. Racing Series and the Street Legal Program. The NHRA also offers the Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages eight to 17.