U.S. Nationals celebrate 52nd year

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS: NHRA'S PRESTIGIOUS CELEBRATION OF SPEED AND HIGH PERFORMANCE RACES INTO 52nd YEAR INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 22, 2006) - As NHRA celebrates the 52nd anniversary of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag...

MAC TOOLS U.S. NATIONALS: NHRA'S PRESTIGIOUS CELEBRATION OF SPEED AND HIGH PERFORMANCE RACES INTO 52nd YEAR

INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 22, 2006) - As NHRA celebrates the 52nd anniversary of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the world's most prestigious drag race is set to provide its traditional offering of the very best in speed and high performance for thousands of hot rodding enthusiasts. More than 1,000 competitors in 12 different racing categories will perform in front of the standing-room only crowd at the Labor Day classic.

The super bowl of drag racing takes place at revered O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis, Aug. 30-Sept. 4. It is the 18th of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series for 2006 and will be showcased nationwide on ESPN2, which will air more than 10 hours of coverage of drag racing's marquee spectacle.

Throughout the years fans at ORP have cheered on drag racing immortals like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, Bob Glidden, and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme as they raced to the winner's circle at more than 300 mph to etch their names into the NHRA record book. Today's stars - such as four-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winners John Force, Tony Schumacher and Greg Anderson - will be racing hard to solidify their status as modern-day legends. For many of the competitors, the race has evolved into much more than an annual contest of speed. For those who seek to become a part of its mystique, winning the event has become a must-do to complete any great driver's resume.

Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Del Worsham (Funny Car); Anderson (Pro Stock); and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners in their respective pro categories.

This year's edition of the famed event features intense side-by-side racing as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle chase their share of the $2.6 million purse, and more importantly, a spot in history. Teams will be working hard to earn coveted points in their quest to win NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series world championship titles. Teams in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series also will compete during the weekend.

There will be two lucrative bonus events guaranteed to increase the level of excitement for fans during the weekend. The world's eight best Funny Car drivers will compete for the $100,000 winner's share in the Skoal Showdown on Sept. 3, and the eight-best Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will race for their share of the $25,000 top prize in the Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle on Sept. 2.

In addition, NHRA will offer a celebration of the sport's early history with a Salute to the Gassers, a special theme-program that will run throughout the weekend as more than 35 of the legendary gas coupes and sedans that competed in NHRA in the 1960s will be showcased at the Mac Tools Concourse.

Other attractions include the high-flying acrobatics of a popular team of freestyle motocross jumpers who will perform throughout the weekend as well as spectacular fireworks displays Friday and Saturday nights, including the biggest fireworks display ever seen at an NHRA POWERade Series event. Fans also will be thrilled by multiple skydiving performances.

Prior to the start of official racing at ORP, fans can get a taste of the excitement on Wednesday, Aug. 30th at the NHRA Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Fan Fest, which will feature a display of a wide variety of race cars, interactive displays and team transporters at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. The Fan Fest, which starts at noon, also will feature a premier autograph session with many of the top professional drivers in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, as well as a live band, live radio remotes and Motel 6 Vision.

* SCHEDULE: The first of five pro qualifying sessions is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1. Qualifying continues at 1 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2 and concludes at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3. Ringers Gloves Pro Bike Battle eliminations are at 2:15 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:25 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2. Skoal Showdown eliminations are at 12:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 4.

* TICKETS: Tickets are available for the 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. Call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) for ticket information, or check online at ticketmaster.com, nhra.com and oreillyracewaypark.com.

* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise more than 10 hours of coverage of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals beginning with a one-hour qualifying show on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. (ET). A two-hour qualifying show will be telecast by ESPN2 at noon (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 3, along with a two hour qualifying show at 11 p.m. (ET). On Monday, Sept. 4, ESPN2 will telecast two shows, with two hours of early eliminations coverage at noon (ET) and a three-hour final eliminations show at 4 p.m. (ET). NHRA 2Day, ESPN2's popular magazine show that covers the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, will feature one show live from ORP during the event at 11:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 3.

* ABOUT THE NHRA: 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 POWERade Drag Racing Series. The NHRA has 80,000 members and 140 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 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series, NHRA Summit Racing Series, and the NHRA Street Legal Program presented by AAA. The NHRA also offers the NHRA O'Reilly Auto Parts Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages 8 to 17.

-nhra

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Larry Dixon , Del Worsham , John Force , Greg Anderson , Bob Glidden , Don Garlits , Steve Johnson