INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 24, 2011) – The world’s most prestigious drag race, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, is set to provide its traditional offering of the very best in high performance to thousands of hot rodding enthusiasts during NHRA’s 60th anniversary celebration. More than 925 competitors in 12 different racing categories will perform in front of the standing-room only crowd during the much-anticipated Labor Day classic.
Drag Racing’s marquee event takes place at revered Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Aug. 31-Sept. 5. It is the 16th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series for 2011 and the final of 16 regular season races. Following this event the top 10 drivers in each pro category will be locked in for the six-race Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s post-season playoffs.
The 57th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil will be showcased nationwide on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD during more than 10 hours of coverage.
Each year at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil fans are offered a glimpse into the past with several exciting attractions and the 2011 edition of this legendary event, which will offer many additional events and special attractions to celebrate NHRA’s 60th anniversary, is no exception.
Throughout the weekend an incredible display of vintage hot rods will be on display in the Mac Tools Concourse. Meanwhile, 20 vintage front-engine dragsters will roar to life two times during the weekend – on Friday and Sunday – to take part in the popular Cacklefests.
Also as part of the NHRA’s 60th anniversary celebration, NHRA Legends Shirley Muldowney and Bob Glidden will be honored throughout the weekend. These two icons of drag racing will be joined by many other legends of the sport to participate in autograph sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Muldowney and Glidden will also participate in the increasingly popular Track Walk with a Legend on Monday. Fans who have purchased a reserved ticket can walk beside and listen to stories told by these famous drivers prior to the pre-race ceremonies.
Fan-favorite Jet Cars and Wheelstanders will take to the track to make exhibition passes as part of the Friday and Saturday night racing activities. As usual, one of the highlights of the spectacular pre-race show on Monday will feature highly-skilled skydiver Jason Peters soaring into Lucas Oil Raceway with an American Flag in tow during the singing of the National Anthem.
Throughout the years fans at Lucas Oil Raceway have cheered on drag racing immortals like Muldowney, Glidden, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, as they raced to the winner’s circle and etched their names into the NHRA record book. Today’s stars – such as eight-time Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Top Fuel winner Tony Schumacher and four-time Funny Car winner John Force – will be racing at more than 300 mph to continue to build upon their legacies. For many of the competitors, the race has evolved into much more than an annual contest of speed. For those who seek to become a part of its mystique, winning the event has become a must for any great driver to complete his or her resume.
Larry Dixon (Top Fuel); Ashley Force Hood (Funny Car); Greg Stanfield (Pro Stock); and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners in their respective categories.
This year’s edition of the famed event will feature intense side-by-side racing as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle compete for their share of the $2 million purse and battle for important world championship points as the event is the final regular season race and will set the top 10 fields for the Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship. Perhaps more importantly, drivers will compete to earn a permanent spot in NHRA history, as a Mac Tools U.S. Nationals winner.
Teams in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series and the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Series also will compete during the weekend. In addition, the world’s fastest Super Stock cars will race for bonus bucks and bragging rights during the intense Mopar HEMI Challenge.
The most historic and prestigious event in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil has been contested annually since 1955.
Originally known as “The Nationals” and first held at an abandoned airstrip in Great Bend, Kan., the event made stops at Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma City and Detroit before eventually moving to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in 1961.
• SCHEDULE: The first of five qualifying sessions are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2. Two sessions will be held on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 3 and 6 p.m., and the final two qualifying sessions will take place on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 5.
• TICKETS: Tickets are available for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. Tickets are available by calling (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or online at www.NHRATIX.com.
• ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD will televise more than 10 hours of coverage of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. Three hours of qualifying coverage will air at 11 a.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 4. Two additional hours of qualifying coverage will also air on Sunday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. (ET). Eliminations for the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil will be featured during six hours of coverage on Monday, Sept. 5, starting at noon (ET).
• LUCAS OIL SERIES: The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil also will feature competition in all categories of the NHRA Lucas Oil Series, where the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31 and eliminations begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1 and continue through Monday, Sept. 5.
• GET SCREENED AMERICA PRO MOD SERIES: NHRA’s popular Pro Mod touring series will make its eighth start of the 10-race 2011 season at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil. The series features some of the world’s fastest and most unique doorslammer cars, with an eclectic mix of vintage and late-model body styles, in quarter-mile competition. The first qualifying session will be Friday, Sept. 2 at 4:30 p.m. Qualifying will continue on Saturday, Sept. 3 with sessions at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. The final qualifying session will be Sunday, Sept. 4 at 1:30 p.m. and the first round of eliminations begins Sunday, Sept. 4 at 4:30 p.m. and will continue on Monday, Sept. 5 at approximately 2:30 p.m.
• ON THE WEB: Get live timing, scoring, multimedia and the latest news updates from every NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.nhra.com. Visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
•ABOUT LUCAS OIL RACEWAY AT INDIANAPOLIS: One of five motorsports facilities owned and operated by NHRA, Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis sits on 267 acres of land just west of Indianapolis in the town of Clermont, and features three race courses: a championship drag strip, a .686-mile paved oval and a 2.5-mile, 15-turn road course.