1997 schedule and news report

Report from Motorsport News International FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 1997 NHRA SCHEDULE FEATURES THREE NEW EVENTS, DATE CHANGES GLENDORA, Calif. -- The NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series will...

Report from Motorsport News International

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

1997 NHRA SCHEDULE FEATURES THREE NEW EVENTS, DATE CHANGES

GLENDORA, Calif. -- The NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series will grow to 22 national events in 1997 as three new races, including one in a new market, have been added to the schedule, released Oct. 2 by NHRA President Dallas Gardner.

A new race will take place at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, and second national events have been added at both Texas Motorplex, near Dallas, and Houston Raceway Park.

The inaugural Craftsman Nationals presented by Parts America will take place June 26-29 at Gateway International Raceway, located in the St. Louis suburb of Madison, Ill. Gateway will be a state-of-the-art, $25-million, multi-purpose facility when construction and renovation is completed.

Texas Motorplex's new race will take place May 1-4. Houston Raceway Park's new event will take place Oct. 23-26.

Two existing events will have significant date changes in 1997. The Pennzoil Nationals presented by AutoZone at Memphis, Tenn., will move from the third weekend in June to Oct. 2-5, and the Western Auto Nationals presented by Slick 50 at Topeka, Kan., will shift from Fourth of July weekend to May 29-June 1.

Four early-season national events and the special, non-points Winston Invitational at Rockingham, N.C., will take place one week earlier than in 1996. The national events with earlier dates are the Mac Tools Gatornationals at Gainesville, Fla., the Slick 50 Nationals presented by Western Auto at Houston, the Fram Nationals at Atlanta and the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Advance Auto Parts at Richmond, Va.

Two national events will take place one week later than in 1996, the Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing at Columbus, Ohio, and the season-ending Winston Finals at Pomona, Calif.

"We're pleased to be able to expand our schedule to 22 races, our most ambitious schedule ever" Gardner said. "The three new events give sponsors additional opportunities and exposure in three of the country's most significant markets. The fans in all three areas have been extremely loyal to NHRA Winston Drag Racing, and we're happy to provide them with more opportunities to enjoy the excitement of their favorite sport.

"After working extensively with our track partners, the date changes were made to accommodate the expansion of the schedule, and to provide optimum weather conditions for record-setting performance and spectator comfort," Gardner said. "We will continue to see improvements at every event. More spectators continue to attend our events, and we want them to enjoy state-of -the art, fan-friendly facilities."

All other events will be held on the same weekends as 1996.

"The 1997 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season will mark the 23rd year of Winston's partnership with the NHRA," said T. Wayne Robertson, president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Sports Marketing Enterprises. "We congratulate Dallas Gardner and the NHRA on organizing such an impressive schedule. And we look forward to bringing this rapidly growing form of motorsports to the new market of St. Louis, as well as making two trips next year to both Dallas and Houston."

The NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series season will continue to start and finish at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif. The season opens with the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals, Jan. 30-Feb. 2, and closes with the Winston Finals, Nov. 6-9.

"The NHRA family continues to welcome new sponsors, which will ensure competitive, exciting racing for years to come," Gardner said. "We are extremely excited about the future of NHRA Winston Drag Racing." -30-

1997 NHRA WINSTON DRAG RACING SERIES NATIONAL EVENT SCHEDULE

37th annual CHIEF AUTO PARTS WINTERNATIONALS Jan. 30-Feb. 2 Pomona, Calif.

13th annual ATSCO NATIONALS Feb. 20-23 Phoenix

28th annual MAC TOOLS GATORNATIONALS March 6-9 Gainesville, Fla.

10th annual SLICK 50 NATIONALS presented by Western Auto March 20-23 Houston

Ninth annual WINSTON INVITATIONAL* April 4-6 Rockingham, N.C.

17th annual FRAM NATIONALS April 10-13 Atlanta

Third annual PENNZOIL NATIONALS presented by Advance Auto Parts April 24-27 Richmond, Va.

Inaugural NATIONAL EVENT May 1-4 Dallas

28th annual MOPAR PARTS NATIONALS May 15-18 Englishtown, N.J.

Fifth annual WESTERN AUTO NATIONALS presented by Slick 50 May 29-June 1 Topeka, Kan.

33rd annual PONTIAC EXCITEMENT NATIONALS presented by Summit Racing June 12-15 Columbus, Ohio

Inaugural CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS presented by Parts America June 26-29 St. Louis

19th annual MOPAR PARTS MILE-HIGH NATIONALS

July 17-20 Denver

10th annual AUTOLITE NATIONALS July 25-27 Sonoma, Calif.

10th annual NORTHWEST NATIONALS Aug. 1-3 Seattle

16th annual CHAMPION AUTO STORES NATIONALS Aug. 14-17 Brainerd, Minn.

43rd annual U.S. NATIONALS Aug. 27-Sept. 1 Indianapolis

13th annual PIONEER ELECTRONICS KEYSTONE NATIONALS Sept. 11-14 Reading, Pa.

Ninth annual SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS Sept. 25-28 Topeka, Kan.

10th annual PENNZOIL NATIONALS presented by AutoZone Oct. 2-5 Memphis, Tenn.

12th annual CHIEF AUTO PARTS NATIONALS Oct. 16-19 Dallas

Inaugural NATIONAL EVENT Oct. 23-26 Houston

33rd annual WINSTON FINALS Nov. 6-9 Pomona, Calif.

* Non-pro points special event

-- Paul Kelly NHRA Communications

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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