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Gateway On Expanded NHRA Schedule

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, September 9 2011

RacinToday.com

Glendora, Calif. – A return to Gateway International Raceway and the St. Louis market as part of an expanded 23-race national event tour highlights the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule.

A new operator at Gateway International Raceway has made the addition of the multi-purpose motorsports facility to the National Hot Rod Association schedule possible. Located in Madison, Ill., just across the river from St. Louis, GIR played host to an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event for 14 years, from 1997 through 2010. Champions from the most recent event at GIR were Tony Schumacher in Top Fuel, Robert Hight in Funny Car, Warren Johnson in Pro Stock and Michael Phillips in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

The new NHRA Midwest Nationals, scheduled for Oct. 5-7, 2012, will become part of the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship and again feature competition in all four professional categories.

“We are excited to return to the St. Louis area, as we have a very strong fan base in the region and they have always supported NHRA Drag Racing,” Tom Compton, NHRA president, said Thursday. The current schedule lists 22 national events.

Another significant change to the 2012 schedule is the return of the 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals to a winter date, Feb. 17-19, making it Race No. 2. The event at Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Ariz. –currently set to be run Oct. 14-16 – will follow the season-opening 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif., Feb. 9-12.

The 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway, March 8-11, will include a special 20th anniversary celebration of Kenny Bernstein becoming the first driver to break the 300-mph barrier in NHRA history. That accomplishment – still widely considered one of drag racing’s greatest performance feats –will be acknowledged throughout the weekend.

After the East Coast opener in Gainesville, the series will head west for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, March 30-April 1, and then crisscross the nation for the third annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., near Charlotte, April 13-15.

The 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals will take place April 27-29 at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas, near Houston, followed by the 32nd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 4-6 at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. After a week off, the series returns with the NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kan., May 18-20.

The month of June begins with the 43rd annual NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, N.J., May 31-June 3. Following a weekend off, the teams will prepare for the Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals presented by Tri-Cities Area Ford Dealers, June 15-17 at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway, followed by the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill., June 28-July 1.

What has been positioned to become the NHRA’s ultimate Fourth of July celebration for years to come, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, has been moved to July 5-8. Going forward, the event will be billed as a Fourth of July extravaganza, as it will be held on or around the Independence Day holiday.

As in 2011, the Western Swing will begin with the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., July 20-22, followed by the 25th annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 27-29 in Sonoma, Calif. The Swing concludes with the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals in Kent, Wash., near Seattle, Aug. 3-5.

The 31st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., will be held Aug. 16-19.

Final race of the “regular season” and the event where fields will be set for the six-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship is the tradition-rich Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-Sept. 3. The nearly week-long event _ the longest-running and most prestigious NHRA event on the circuit _ will take place at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and celebrate its 58th anniversary.

The six races comprising the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship are the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 14-16 at zMAX Dragway; the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis, serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Sept. 20-23 and the 28th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals, Sept. 27-30 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.

The teams gradually will head west for the final three races of the season, the first stop at the aforementioned Gateway International Raceway Oct. 5-7. The circuit heads to Las Vegas for the 12th annual NHRA Nevada Nationals, Oct. 25-28, and will be followed by the season finale, the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 8-11.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class will compete in a 16-race schedule, with six of those races included in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.

ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, a part of the ESPN network family, again will provide exclusive television coverage on a same-day basis of all NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events featuring action from qualifying rounds on Saturday and Sunday’s race.

2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Schedule:

– 52nd annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals, Feb. 9-12, Pomona, Calif.

– 28th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 17-19, Chandler, Ariz.

– 43rd annual Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals, March 8-11, Gainesville, Fla. (PSM)

– 13th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, March 30-April 1, Las Vegas

– Third annual VisitMyrtleBeach.com NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 13-15, Concord, N.C.

– 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals, April 27-29, Baytown, Texas (PSM)

– 32nd annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 4-6, Commerce, Ga. (PSM)

– 24th annual NHRA Summer Nationals, May 18-20, Topeka, Kan.

– 43rd annual NHRA SuperNationals, May 31-June 3, Englishtown, N.J. (PSM)

– 12th annual Ford NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, June 15-17, Bristol, Tenn.

– 15th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals, June 28-July 1, Joliet, Ill. (PSM)

– Sixth annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, July 5-8, Norwalk, Ohio (PSM)

– 33rd annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, July 20-22, Morrison, Colo. (PSM)

– 25th annual FRAM/Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 27-29, Sonoma, Calif. (PSM)

– 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, Aug. 3-5, Kent, Wash.

– 31st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 16-19, Brainerd, Minn. (PSM)

– 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, Aug. 29-Sept. 3, Clermont, Ind. (PSM)

NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship

– Fifth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 14-16, Concord, N.C. (PSM)

– 27th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 20-23, Ennis, Texas (PSM)

– 28th annual Uni-Select Auto Plus NHRA Nationals, Sept. 27-30, Reading, Pa. (PSM)

– Inaugural NHRA Midwest Nationals, Oct. 5-7, Madison, Ill. (PSM)

– 12th annual NHRA Nevada Nationals, Oct. 25–28, Las Vegas (PSM)

– 48th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, Nov. 8-11, Pomona, Calif. (PSM)

(PSM) – Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, September 9 2011
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