To kick off The Big GO, the NHRA hosted a Sportsman Racer Appreciation Dinner at the 2023 Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals. The Top Eliminator Club (TEC) at the Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park was packed on Tuesday night, with sportsman racers from across the country and around the world in attendance. The dinner featured door prizes and raffles for over $40,000 worth of drag racing merchandise and equipment from NHRA partners.
Since 1951, Wally Parks' mission has been to gather sportsman racers together and provide them with a safe and sustainable place to test themselves against the best of the best. The 2023 U.S. Nationals promises to once again fulfill that destiny, but before the competition began, the NHRA's executives, staff, and supporters wanted to host a dinner to bring everyone together and share the vision and belief that is the National Hot Rod Association.
As guests arrived, they were warmly greeted by NHRA employees who directed racers, their families, and crew to collect door prizes provided by NHRA partners. After that, racers made their way through four lines for food and drinks before returning to the Top Eliminator Club to enjoy live music provided by Sammy Eubanks.
NHRA racers and their guests enjoyed sitting at round tables in a packed house while Brian Lohnes from NHRA on FOX welcomed everyone to the U.S. Nationals and introduced NHRA President Glen Cromwell. Cromwell expressed his gratitude to everyone in attendance for fulfilling Wally Parks' vision. He recognized the racers in the house as being the backbone of the organization and the sport of drag racing. He thanked NHRA Sportsman Racing Manager Sara Walker for her efforts and contributions to the sportsman racers. He also thanked everyone for giving the NHRA the opportunity to show its gratitude for the people, the performance, and the passion that is NHRA drag racing.
Without further ado, Brian Lohnes began reading off raffle ticket numbers and awarding prizes. Prizes were provided by: AirFlow Research, ARP, ATI Performance, Auto Meter, Callies, Camping World, Coan Engineering, Cornwell Tools, Dodge, Factory Motor Parts, Fire Dept. Coffee, Goodyear, Harland Sharp, Jesel, JW Performance, Lincoln Electric, Lucas Oil, Mark Williams Enterprises, Mickey Thompson Tires, Moser Engineering, PEAK, RaceTech, Precision Shaft Technologies, Racing Electronics, Right Trailers, SCAT, Simpson, Summit Racing, Total Seal, and Vortech.
The grand prize, a Cornwell toolbox, went to Casey Miles of Boca Raton, Florida, who is currently in Indiana racing his 1969 Z/28 Camaro.
On behalf of the NHRA, we would like to thank all the racers who attended the dinner, and everyone coming to the U.S. Nationals. We wish you the best of luck this week, and it was an honor to serve you and be in the presence of so much excellence and so many champions. We all felt like won Indy already.