NHRA: World's largest auto racing organization

Nestled in the quiet community of Glendora, Calif., just minutes east of downtown Los Angeles, is the world's largest and loudest auto racing organization, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Since it was founded by Wally Parks in 1951, NHRA has been dedicated to safety while providing millions of racing fans with The Extreme MotorsportTM: the fastest and most spectacular form of entertainment on wheels.

With 80,000 members and more than 35,000 licensed competitors, NHRA is a thriving leader in the world of motorsports. Parks initially started NHRA as a means of getting hot rodders off the streets and on to legal dragstrips. Since those early days, NHRA has evolved into the largest promoter of professional drag racing in the world. Today, with more than 300 dedicated employees, NHRA offers drag racing opportunities for hot rod enthusiasts of all levels, from kids ages 8-17 in the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing League all the way up to the top of the professional ranks with the organization's NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.

While the grassroots racing organization has come a long way in more than 50 years of operation, there are some things that will never change. It's easy to see why fans are so committed to NHRA Drag Racing, because they continue to have the best access to the behind-the-scenes action of racing. NHRA's open-pits policy allows fans to get an up-close and personal view of the way teams rebuild engines in less than 75 minutes. Drivers are often found in their pit area, signing autographs and chatting with fans. That is just one reason why NHRA fans continue to be some of the most loyal in any sport.

One hundred forty member tracks across North America host NHRA competitions in NHRA's seven geographic regions. In addition to the marquee Full Throttle Series, which crisscrosses the United States, making 24 stops in 22 cities over the course of nine months, NHRA offers popular weekly grassroots programs at many of its member tracks. One of the most popular is the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA program, which offers the opportunity to compete in grudge-match-style drag racing. Serious weekend warriors can compete at their local track in the Summit Racing Series, which crowns national champions each season. The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the premier Sportsman series in drag racing and sometimes referred to as a stepping-stone to the NHRA Full Throttle Series, offers competion in eight categories.

NHRA's key business partners include the Coca-Cola Co., whose Full Throttle brand sponsors the top touring series, and Lucas Oil Co. and Summit Racing Equipment, which both sponsor key developmental touring series. All of NHRA's major series receive television coverage from NHRA's exclusive multimedia partner, ESPN Inc. A sample of the active official sponsors involved in the sport include Budweiser, Fram, Pontiac, and GMC.

In an independent survey conducted by SportsBusiness Journal in 2003, NHRA was ranked high in a variety of categories reflecting sponsor satisfaction, including Best Value for the Money, where NHRA was ranked first among 16 major sports, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NASCAR. 

NHRA is moving just as fast in popularity with auto racing fans. Second to only NASCAR in terms of attendance, fan appeal, and sponsorship commitment, NHRA is moving quickly into mainstream America.

NHRA is all about diversity. With more than 20 categories of competition, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle at the Professional level, to a multicultural array of high-octane personalities it calls world champions, NHRA thrives on unique competitors accomplishing unique achievements. For example, in 2008, Hispanic racer Cruz Pedregon won the NHRA Funny Car world championship and Ashley Force and Melanie Troxel became the first female winners in the Funny Car class.

Information about NHRA is available in various forms, including the weekly newspaper National DRAGSTER and highly acclaimed NHRA.com. The award-winning weekly publication National DRAGSTER covers every race from the first Sportsman run to the final POWERade blast in winner's circle. NHRA.com has won several awards for its innovative, interactive coverage of all forms of NHRA Drag Racing and provides daily results, feature stories, and breaking news at the click of a mouse. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD again will provide exclusive television coverage of the NHRA Full Throttle Series, and the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series will be covered as well. Thousands of media outlets across the country, including the Associated Press and USA Today, provide regular coverage of NHRA racing.

Keeping with Parks' original philosophy, President Tom Compton now guides the sport and assures that safety and technological improvements will remain a top priority. Progressive changes will help NHRA continue to fulfill its leadership role in the motorsports world well into the future. NHRA will protect and further the best interests of the sport, constantly lobbying for beneficial safety and insurance legislation for auto enthusiasts.

Participation on and off the track has made the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series one of the most popular forms of racing, reaching thousands of fans, members, and sponsors a quarter-mile at a time.

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