NHRA: World's largest auto racing organization
When Wally Parks founded the NHRA in 1951, he worked to get racing off the city streets and highways and into safer, organized venues. He wanted NHRA to provide guidance to timing clubs and tracks. Soon, NHRA was hosting national events, as tuning cars became a hobby rather than just a necessity.
While the grassroots racing organization has come a long way in 60 years of operation, there are some things that will never change. NHRA fans continue to have the best access to the behind-the-scenes action of racing. Fans are privy to an up-close and personal view of teams rebuilding engines in less than 75 minutes between elimination rounds. Drivers are often found in their pit areas, signing autographs and chatting with fans. That is just one reason why NHRA fans continue to be some of the most loyal of any sport.
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 Hood and Melanie Troxel became the first female winners in the Funny Car class. There are more than 40,000 licensed NHRA drivers that compete at 130 NHRA member tracks around the country.
NHRA has thousands of members and a strong network of member tracks throughout the nation that support countless events hosted by NHRA. 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.
The Coca-Cola Company enters into its 11th year as partners in presenting the world’s fastest motorsports attraction: The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The two partners first joined forces in 2002 and just three years into the first deal, The Coca-Cola Company and NHRA agreed to a new, long-term deal that extended NHRA title sponsorship into the next decade. Since becoming series sponsor in 2002, Coca-Cola has created a variety of consumer programs, the likes of which the sport has not seen in its 60 year history, that have helped to elevate NHRA’s awareness among a broader audience. Regional promotions in event markets, national presence through commemorative packaging, national television advertisements featuring the stars of the sport, and point-of-purchase displays highlighting the brand’s association with the world’s fastest motorsport are just a few of the many exciting initiatives that The Coca-Cola Company brought to fans of NHRA racing. In April 2008, Coca-Cola and NHRA extended the title sponsorship for NHRA’s marquee touring series that runs through 2013, and announced its Full Throttle brand would replace POWERade as the title sponsor.
In 2009 a new on-site initiative, Full Throttle TV, was unveiled. The audio visual experience allows NHRA fans to go behind the scenes with their favorite drivers. The Full Throttle TV crew attends each NHRA event and puts together video highlight packages that include interesting driver interviews and behind the scenes footage from the pit area and NHRA’s Nitro Alley. NHRA fans can watch Full Throttle TV at NHRA.com.
Coca-Cola first introduced its Full Throttle brand to the sport in 2005, as it became an official sponsor of NHRA, and implemented a program to reward and recognize NHRA pit crews for excellence in each of the four pro classes. Besides taking home the Wally trophy for a national event win, the Full Throttle Hard-Working Crew Award continues to be one of the most coveted awards to come out of a race weekend.
The series sponsorship extension with Full Throttle also continues to designate Coca-Cola as the official soft drink of NHRA and Dasani as the official water of NHRA.
In 2012, NHRA and Full Throttle’s total payout to competitors will be more than $3 million, including the NHRA Full Throttle championship points fund and the NHRA Full Throttle Top 10 bonus program. NHRA professional category drivers will compete for a champion’s purse of more than $1 million in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series in 2012. That total includes the following bonuses for the four champions of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series: $500,000 each to the NHRA Full Throttle world champions in Top Fuel and Funny Car; $250,000 to the NHRA Full Throttle world champ in Pro Stock; and $75,000 to the NHRA Full Throttle champion in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
An additional $799,600 will be split among drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle who finish in the Top 10 in the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Top Fuel and Funny Car Top 10 finishers will receive bonuses ranging from $100,000 for finishing second to $15,000 for finishing 10th. In Pro Stock, the second place driver will earn $50,000, while the second place finisher in Pro Stock Motorcycle will claim $15,000.
Season-long bonuses totaling $1,192,500 will be paid to drivers who are in the NHRA Full Throttle Top 10 in their respective pro categories entering each event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. The NHRA Full Throttle Top 10 in Top Fuel and Funny Car receive $2,000 each, while the Top 10 drivers in Pro Stock earn $1,000 each. Another $2,500 is paid at each of the 16 races that feature the Pro Stock Motorcycle category.
The 23 national events will be held at drag strips throughout the nation. Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, in Southern California is just one of four tracks on the schedule that are owned and operated by NHRA. Atlanta Dragway, Gainesville Raceway in Florida and historic Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis are all part of the NHRA family of tracks. Information about the NHRA Full Throttle Series is available in various forms, including National DRAGSTER and NHRA.com. The series’ award winning weekly publication, National DRAGSTER, covers every race from the first sportsman run to the final Full Throttle blast in the winner’s circle. NHRA.com has won many 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. For the 11th season, all of the national events will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and/or ESPN3 using same-day or live coverage.
Keeping with Parks' original philosophy, President Tom Compton 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.
NHRA, the largest motorsports sanctioning body in the world, also is an active member of Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) and actively works with the SFI Foundation to promote safety in competition and the high-performance aftermarket industry. NHRA also is drag racing’s representative in international motorsports through its membership in the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS). Participation on and off the track has made the NHRA Full Throttle Series one of the most popular forms of racing, reaching thousands of fans, members and sponsors at 300 mph. Now that’s going Full Throttle.
One of the most important events in drag racing history occurred in March 1993 when the Federation International De l’Automobile (FIA) officially recognized the sport. That opened the doors to drag racing and afforded it a more solidified role in the world’s motorsports community.
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.