It is a well known fact that the National Hot Rod Association, founded in 1951 by Wally Parks, is the largest promoter of drag racing on the planet, with 70,000 members and 40,000 competitors. What is not well known – until now – is that NHRA is receiving its first-ever Global Achievement Award, sponsored by Lucas Oil, at the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Gala to be held on Saturday 19th November 2016 at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, near London’s Heathrow Airport.
The Lucas Oil Global Achievement Award was inaugurated in 2014 in memory of Pat Garlits, the late wife of legendary drag racer Don Garlits. This year it marks the role played by all people at the NHRA as without their support in developing drag racing, it could not happen at the level it does today.
NHRA will be represented by Senior Vice President-Racing Operations Graham Light who is also president of the FIA Drag Racing Commission. Graham, who joined the NHRA Board in 2004, oversees competition and operations at all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series races. In addition, he oversees NHRA Field Operations/Divisions and the NHRA Technical Department, supervises the NHRA Safety Safari presented by AAA, and serves as chairman of the NHRA Competition Committee.
As well as overseeing incredible growth and success in the sport of drag racing in the United States, NHRA has over the years been closely involved in the development of the sport overseas. In the UK Wally Parks was personally involved in organising the 1964 and 1965 Drag Fests which established the sport in Europe. In the 1990s the NHRA organised a number of races in Japan. The NHRA also chairs the FIA Drag Racing Commission which organises championships in Europe and Australia.
NHRA has always been dedicated to safety and in 1950s the Safety Safari travelled around the US for early national events and to the NHRA network of member tracks. Track facilities developed rapidly and a programme of upgrading of facilities to stadium quality, with fan amenities, VIP towers, and tall grandstands took place in the 1980s and 90s under the direction of Dallas Gardner who is the current Chairman of the NHRA Board.
In 2011 NHRA announced the creation of NHRA Worldwide Network, a program that will enable drag racing facilities around the world to conduct events under the NHRA banner and have access to NHRA technical resources. The first track to be included in the Network was Bahrain International Circuit and Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi joined in 2013. And in 2016, world-wide online streaming and in-house TV production has begun under current President Peter Clifford.
British Drag Racing Hall of Fame Chairman Stu Bradbury said ‘It is an exceptional honour to be able to present the Lucas Oil Global Achievement award to the organisation that we owe so much to for the establishment and growth of the sport across the world’.
Graham Light (pictured right, with BDRHoF Board Member Geoff Stilwell) said ‘The NHRA is thrilled to receive the Lucas Oil Global Achievement award and I am looking forward to meeting UK drag racing racers and fans at the BDRHoF Gala. NHRA and its 200 dedicated employees have a passion for drag racing. They love the sport, they love the people in the sport, they just love being involved. The Safety Safari guys, the guys that haul the equipment down the racetrack and the guys that work cleaning up oil spills to drying racetracks, they work all hours to get it done and they keep the show on the road’.
2016 Gala Award Tickets
Ticket prices for the 2016 BDRHoF Gala Awards Dinner remain unchanged at £60 per person. Corporate tables of 10 are available at £580. To reserve tickets please email email@example.com or telephone Stu Bradbury on 01933 279102.
News about the Gala and other events will be published on the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame website, www.britishdragracinghof.co.uk, and at www.eurodragster.com, the sport’s premier website in Europe. The names of 2016’s inductees into the British Drag Racing Hall of Fame will be announced on these sites during Santa Pod Raceway’s Dragstalgia meeting, 15th-17th July. 2016 marks the 10th anniversary of the Hall of Fame’s founding and the admission of its first members. The Gala Awards Dinner was first presented in 2014.