Rockingham Dragway extends contract

ROCKINGHAM DRAGWAY EXTENDS COMMITMENT TO IHRA SERIES THROUGH 2011 ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (September 13, 2006) -- Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood has announced the signing of long term contracts that will insure the future of the two IHRA eMax...

ROCKINGHAM DRAGWAY EXTENDS COMMITMENT TO IHRA SERIES THROUGH 2011

ROCKINGHAM, N.C. (September 13, 2006) -- Rockingham Dragway owner Steve Earwood has announced the signing of long term contracts that will insure the future of the two IHRA eMax Drag Racing Series events presently contested at the Carolinas' fastest track.

"I've been very impressed with where the IHRA is going," Earwood said. "The addition of the Nitro Funny Cars to the program, the expansion of race coverage on SPEED, the increased investment by corporations and individuals like Evan Knoll, the marketing expertise of Live Nation, all have combined to create a very healthy climate for growth. Everybody at 'The Rock' is excited about the future of IHRA drag racing."

Earwood confirmed that his track would continue to play host to the IHRA Spring Nationals and the IHRA World Finals at least through the 2011 season. This year's World Finals, concluding event in the eMax Series, is scheduled Oct. 20-22.

"For us, the IHRA is a perfect fit, not just because of the Top Fuel dragsters, Funny Cars, Pro Modifieds and unlimited Pro Stocks, but because of its sportsman program," Earwood said. "There's a large concentration of dedicated sportsmen racers in this area and the IHRA understands the key role that the sportsman racer plays in the equation."

"I have always said the soul of IHRA was in Rockingham," said IHRA president Aaron Polburn, "and I'm excited that it will remain there through 2011. We have had phenomenal growth this year in attendance, race car entries, sponsorship and our TV audience on SPEED.

"There is no question that the addition of Nitro Funny Cars has made a difference, but let's not forget that you can't grow a business without great partners, and Steve and the folks at Rockingham are some of the best. The future for North and South Carolina Drag Racing is indeed bright."

Built in 1969, Rockingham Dragway is one of the few tracks in America to have hosted championship events sanctioned by what once were drag racing's three major organizations -- the now defunct AHRA (American Hot Rod Association), 1969-1971; the IHRA, 1972-1987 and 1999-to-the-present; and the NHRA, 1988-1997.

It was the vision of developers Bill Land and L.G. Dewitt to create a facility that addressed the needs of the spectator, the corporate sponsor and the participant. As a result, 'The Rock' was one of the first tracks to offer suite accommodations to its corporate clients.

Rockingham also was one of the first tracks with paved pits, permanent restroom facilities, grandstands and a high-traction racing surface.

Since purchasing the facility in 1992, Earwood has, orchestrated a complete makeover. He resurfaced the track for the first time in history, expanded the pro pits, upgraded the scales, added the latest in high tech Musco lighting added grandstands and built new permanent concessions buildings, restrooms and a ticket office.

-credit: nhra

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