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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NEW NATIONAL EVENT NEAR CHICAGO IS HIGHLIGHT OF 1998 NHRA SCHEDULE GLENDORA, Calif. -- An NHRA national event will take place in the Chicago area for the first time in...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (626) 914-4761 NEW NATIONAL EVENT NEAR CHICAGO IS HIGHLIGHT OF 1998 NHRA SCHEDULE GLENDORA, Calif. -- An NHRA national event will take place in the Chicago area for the first time in 1998, the highlight of the 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series schedule released Aug. 20 by NHRA President Dallas Gardner. The new event will be held May 28-31 at Route 66 Raceway, a state-of-the-art, $20-million facility opening next spring in Joliet, Ill., about 20 miles southwest of Chicago. There will be 22 national events on the 1998 schedule, the same as 1997. Only one national event will be contested at Heartland Park Topeka, the Western Auto Parts America Nationals from Oct. 1-4. Heartland Park played host to two NHRA national events annually from 1993-97. All other venues remain unchanged. "We're thrilled to bring NHRA Winston Drag Racing to the Chicago area," Gardner said. "Chicago is the third-largest market in the country, and we know there are many fans hungry for major-league motorsports in the area. Our sponsors also want to be in such an important and relatively untapped motorsports market, and we're proud to be the first major form of auto racing to compete in the Chicago metropolitan area. "The addition of new sponsors and racing teams will build even more competitive, exciting racing for years to come. We are very excited and optimistic about the future of NHRA Winston Drag Racing." 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. 29-Feb. 1, and closes with the Winston Finals, Nov. 12-15. Texas Motorplex near Dallas and Houston Raceway Park are the other facilities that will play host to two national events in 1998. Other traditional aspects of the schedule remain intact, including the 44th annual U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-7 at Indianapolis. The Western swing of races on consecutive weekends in Denver, Sonoma, Calif., and Seattle will continue from mid-July to early August. The Winston Invitational will take place April 3-5 at Rockingham Dragway in Rockingham, N.C. The popular, non-points event showcases the top competitors in the sport. "The 1998 NHRA Winston Drag Racing season will mark the 24th year of Winston's partnership with the NHRA," said T. Wayne Robertson, president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.'s Sports Marketing Enterprises. "We're proud of our long-term association with the NHRA, and we congratulate Dallas Gardner and the NHRA on organizing this impressive schedule. We look forward to bringing this rapidly growing form of motorsports to the Chicago area. I'm sure it will be a great market for NHRA Winston Drag Racing." -30-

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