NHRA Will Kick Off Its Six-Race Countdown Playoff At zMAX Dragway

TV Tommy Ivo, Gwynn-Garlits Match Races Highlight 60th Anniversary

CONCORD, N.C. (July 20, 2011) – NHRA’s 60th anniversary season will
begin the turn for home when it kicks off its six-race Countdown to the
Championship playoff with the fourth annual running of the O’Reilly Auto
Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18, at the famed Bellagio of Drag Strips,
zMAX Dragway.

With its state-of-the-art track and fan-friendly amenities – such as
comfortable stadium seating, spacious campgrounds including trackside
camping options, two pedestrian tunnels to enhance fan movement, and always
helpful staff – zMAX Dragway has elevated itself as one of the must-attend
tracks for drag racing fans regardless of the race.

But when you add to that a marquee list of the sport’s greatest
legends, and all of the drama and consequence and intense racing that comes
with this being the opening race in NHRA’s six-race Countdown to the
Championship playoff, you have the ingredients for a truly memorable
experience for fans.

“We’re really pleased to be able to add such tremendous value, on
and off the track, to what is already one of the most coveted tickets in
motorsports,” said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and

Highlighting the season-long Legends program will be one of NHRA’s
most colorful characters, TV Tommy Ivo. The charismatic Ivo will be on-site
throughout the weekend to meet-and-greet fans, sign autographs and copies of
his book, and show off some of his legendary cars, including the four-engine
Showboat, in the Pavilion located near the Pro staging lanes behind John
Force Grandstand.

The weekend will also feature Don Garlits-Darrell Gwynn “Match
Races” in specially-designed dragsters and the increasingly popular Legends
Track Walk on Sunday. All fans that purchase a Sunday ticket will be invited
to walk beside, and listen to stories told by, one or more of these famed
NHRA Legends prior to pre-race.

In honor of NHRA’s 60th anniversary, fans can purchase two tickets
to any day of the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals for a total of only $60
and receive a choice of a free upgrade: two 60th anniversary hats; two 60th
anniversary shirts; two beer vouchers; or two Coca-Cola soft drinks and two
hot dogs. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or
online at

Meanwhile, on the track, the motorsports-savvy fans at zMAX Dragway
will get the first look at the Countdown to the Championship playoff fields,
which will have been set Labor Day weekend at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.
They will be introduced to NHRA fans for the first time prior to the first
rounds of qualifying.

The drivers, led by defending Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson from
nearby Mooresville, N.C., will then pair up and begin their quest for the
2011 NHRA Full Throttle Series championships. The other defending Series
champions are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and LE Tonglet
(Pro Stock Motorcycle).

The O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18 at zMAX Dragway,
will mark the 17th stop in a year-long celebration that will pay homage to
the evolution of the hot rod, the impact of the sport’s legendary racers,
and the lifeblood provided by the many millions of loyal and passionate NHRA

The celebration will continue throughout the remainder of the year
as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series winds its way through to
Dallas, Reading, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Pomona. NHRA drag racing fans from
across the country will be treated to special events designed to give them
the chance to personally interact with the men, women and vehicles that have
made the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series the great sport that it is

Race fans can frequent or simply ‘like’ the NHRA Facebook
page to receive updated news regarding details of the many 60th-themed
ticket promotions being offered, and specific activities planned, at each of
the remaining six events on the 2011 schedule.

The virtual tour through the first 60 years of NHRA drag racing
extends beyond the track to the desktops, laptops and handheld devices of
NHRA fans via the NHRA Facebook page. Throughout the 2011 season, NHRA will
enlist the expertise of the fans of the NHRA Facebook page to help determine
the greatest moments from the first 60 years of NHRA drag racing. Beginning
Sept. 6, fans will have the chance to go to the NHRA Facebook page to select
the Moment they believe is the greatest from among the remaining 10 Moments
of the original 60.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is celebrating its 60th
anniversary in 2011. As the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag
racing in the United States, NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and
NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Two NHRA-sanctioned
bracket racing series provide competition opportunities for drivers of all
levels: the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style
presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the Jr. Drag Racing League for youth
ages 8 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities:
Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; National Trail
Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at
Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to, or
visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the
happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at and on Twitter at

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