FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NHRA NATIONAL EVENT COMING TO CHICAGO AREA IN 1998 CHICAGO -- An NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national event will take place in the Chicago area for the first time in ...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761
NHRA NATIONAL EVENT COMING TO CHICAGO AREA IN 1998
CHICAGO -- An NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series national event will take place in the Chicago area for the first time in 1998, NHRA President Dallas Gardner announced Aug. 20. The new event is scheduled for May 28-31, 1998 at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. The state-of-the-art, $20-million facility, which will open next spring, is located 20 miles southwest of Chicago. "It is very significant that we are able to bring NHRA Winston Drag Racing into the Chicago market," Gardner said. "Chicago ranks third in this country in terms of market population, and being the first to bring major-league motorsports into this market gives us some great opportunities. This market has always ranked No. 1 or 2 for the sponsors in motorsports, and we're delighted to accommodate them." Route 66 Raceway is the first drag-racing facility in the world to feature a stadium design. Grandstands will join both sides of the control tower, surrounding the dragstrip and forming a complete, horseshoe-like enclosure like those found at football and baseball stadiums throughout the United States. "I think NHRA has shown tremendous growth, and we're pleased to work with them to bring this exciting motorsport to Chicago for the first time," said Dale Coyne, Route 66 Raceway president and chief executive officer. "There is a great motorsports fan base in Chicago, and we know the fans will enjoy seeing all of the action from the first true stadium of drag racing. We think this will be the finest drag-racing facility in the world." Other features of the 250-acre facility include luxurious corporate hospitality suites, a high-technology media center and new, multimedia technology to keep fans and competitors updated on the racing action. "The new facility has been designed by taking all of the best concepts from tracks throughout the country and incorporating those ideas into what we think will be the best of the best," Gardner said. "We feel it will definitely be the right showcase for our sport entering this important market." Coyne brings many years of motorsports experience to Route 66 Raceway. He and former NFL legendary running back Walter Payton are co-owners of Payton/Coyne Racing, which fields cars for driver Michel Jourdain Jr. on the PPG CART World Series. Coyne, a native of Minooka, Ill., started his driving career in 1974 and drove in the PPG CART World Series from 1984-88. He is now actively involved in the business side of racing, and is the only Indy-car owner serving on the board of directors of CART and the United States Auto Club. "Dale's racing background helps him fully understand the needs of the fans, sponsors, competitors and media," Gardner said. "We are excited and look forward to working with our new partners at Route 66 Raceway." The last facility added to the NHRA Winston Drag Racing schedule was Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill. The track joined the schedule this year with the inaugural Sears Craftsman Nationals. -30- 8/20/97-GR36-131