2011 will be a year to remember as NHRA celebrates its 60th anniversary

From the Swamp Rat to the Bud King, from “the Snake” to “the Mongoose,” from the first fans lining airport runways to those who today pack historic venues such as Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, NHRA’s rich and storied past will take center stage in 2011 as the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body celebrates its 60th anniversary.

What began with a simple signature by Wally Parks in March 1951 has evolved in the last six decades into the fastest and most powerful and fan-friendly motorsport in the world. And NHRA will be marking the 60th anniversary of Parks’ formation of NHRA with a yearlong 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 fans.

“Wally created NHRA for the hot rod enthusiasts, and the 2011 season, our 60th anniversary, will be a yearlong celebration in their honor,” said NHRA President Tom Compton. “Fans, accustomed to the up-close-and-personal experience through our open-pit environment, will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the stars and see the cars from throughout the 60-year history of the sport.”

In addition to presenting John Force and Larry Dixon and the nitro-fueled thunder of their modern-day machines at each of the 22 events on the 2011 schedule, NHRA officials promise to showcase the sport’s rich history with vintage car shows, Cacklefests, tribute-car races, and meet-and-greets with the legends of drag racing.

The virtual tour through the first 60 years of NHRA Drag Racing will extend 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 fans of the NHRA Facebook page to help determine the greatest moments from the first 60 years of NHRA Drag Racing.

The 60th Anniversary celebration will get off to a 7,000-horsepower start with the Snake Pit car show featuring Don Prudhomme’s legendary collection of race cars at the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals Feb. 24-27 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Among the highlights will be the ’67 Dodge D700 Hot Wheels ramp truck, the ’70 Plymouth ’Cuda, and the ’72 Mongoose Duster; also featured in the Snake Pit car show will be many hot rods from the Road Kings car club.

After Pomona, the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will head to Gainesville Raceway, where East Coast fans will get their first chance to join in the yearlong celebration with the Official 60th Anniversary Kick-Off Party at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals March 10-13. Among the highlights of the event will be a planned match race between Darrell Gwynn and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits in specially designed electric dragsters and a car show featuring several of the vintage cars from the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing.

The celebration will continue throughout the year as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series winds its way from Atlanta to Seattle, from Englishtown to Phoenix, from Charlotte to Las Vegas, and everywhere between. NHRA Drag Racing fans from across the country will be treated to special events designed to give them the chance to touch and feel and, in many cases, personally interact with the men, women, and vehicles that have made NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing the great sport that it is today.

Race fans can frequent NHRA.com 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 22 events on the 2011 schedule.

source http://www.nhra.com

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