NHRA announces 2001 schedule

GLENDORA, Calif. (August 9, 2000) - Marking its 50th Anniversary, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) announced its 2001 schedule today, which includes 23 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series and a 24th event to be ...

GLENDORA, Calif. (August 9, 2000) - Marking its 50th Anniversary, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) announced its 2001 schedule today, which includes 23 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series and a 24th event to be announced later in the year.

In 2001, NHRA Winston Drag Racing will make two stops at the Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., just outside Chicago, and at the recently inaugurated Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With the announcement, NHRA maintains its position as the most geographically dispersed schedule in the country, reaching nearly every major metropolitan marketplace in the United States.

"No other motorsport brings its national event racing series to more people than NHRA Winston Drag Racing," said Tom Compton, president of NHRA. "We have an ever-growing fan base that demands we bring our show to a venue near their hometown. Next year's schedule meets not only the needs of our fans, but our team owners, drivers, sponsors and television partner."

In addition to the two dates in Chicago and Las Vegas, Pomona Raceway will bookend the schedule, beginning with the 41st annual AutoZone Winternationals and concluding with the 37th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. The Texas Motorplex near Dallas and Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas - two tracks that have hosted two national events annually since 1997 - will present one event each in 2001.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, NHRA will move the Topeka, Kan. event, just a short drive from the very first NHRA national event in Great Bend, Kan., to Memorial Day weekend, May 24-27, 2001. The new Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, which for the last two years served as the venue for NHRA's all-star event, will host its first-ever national event. The year 2001 also marks the 47th running of the most prestigious drag racing event in the world, the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

"The Winston brand is extremely pleased with the 2001 NHRA Winston Drag Racing schedule and our continued involvement in this sport," said Rick Sanders, president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Sports Marketing Enterprises. "We are very bullish on NHRA Winston Drag Racing and believe the new schedule is consistent with the tremendous strides made during the past year to position NHRA Winston Drag Racing for strong future growth. We couldn't be happier with Winston's involvement and support of the NHRA and are proud to be part of their Golden Anniversary."

Next year marks the 27th year of Winston's series title sponsorship of the most prestigious drag racing series in the world.

The second national event in Las Vegas, Oct. 25-28, will coincide with the largest specialty equipment conference in the world, the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Show, long considered an integral part of the motorsports industry and drag racing. The venue for the July 5-8 race date will be announced later in the year.

"We worked diligently to develop a schedule that meets the diverse needs of our national event tracks, team owners, drivers and sponsors," said Compton. "We are confident that with today's announcement we are poised for phenomenal growth in the coming years."

Last month, NHRA announced an exclusive five-year relationship with ESPN to broadcast the entire NHRA schedule beginning in 2001 and through the year 2005. Every national event in 2001 will be broadcast on ESPN or ESPN2 on a same-day basis with at least four hours of programming dedicated to the fastest motorsport on the planet each weekend.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 23 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. The NHRA has 85,000 racers and members nationwide and 144 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, NHRA Summit Racing Series and the Street Legal Program. The NHRA also offers the Castrol GTX Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages 8 to 17.

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