GLENDORA, Calif. (July 2, 2013) – NHRA announced today that General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) and its Chevrolet Performance brand has signed a multi-year deal to become title rights sponsor of the largest and most prestigious event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
The event, which holds a place in NHRA history like no other, is traditionally held on Labor Day weekend with the 2013 Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals scheduled for Aug. 28-Sept. 2. The event features 11 hours of coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD, including six hours on race day, Monday, Sept. 2, from noon to 6 p.m. (ET).
“NHRA and Chevrolet Performance are iconic American brands,” said Gary Darcy, senior vice president sales and marketing, NHRA. “We can’t think of a better or more fitting brand to align with NHRA’s greatest and most prestigious event than Chevrolet Performance.”
General Motors and its brands are not unfamiliar to NHRA, having been involved in the sport since the beginning and winning its first NHRA Manufacturers Cup with Chevrolet in 1966. Between Chevrolet and other GM divisions, General Motors has won the NHRA Manufacturers Cup a record 43 times, the last in 2010. In fact, from 1966 to 2010, a General Motors brand won the award every year except 1970 and 1982.
“The heart and soul of Chevrolet Performance is on display in the staging lanes at the U.S. Nationals, making this partnership with one of the most historic races in NHRA Drag Racing all the more important,” said Jim Campbell, General Motors U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Our engineers are continually developing new engines and engine components for sportsman and professional racers; and events like the U.S Nationals are their proving ground.”
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals can define a drag racing career and past winners of the event comprise a who’s who of the sport, including its greatest legends: Nine-time winner Bob Glidden; ‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits, an eight-time winner; seven-time winner Don ‘The Snake’ Prudhomme, three-time winner Kenny Bernstein and Shirley Muldowney, the Top Fuel winner in 1982. Among active drivers, Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster, stands alone having won the event nine of the last 13 years.
The race is also the final event in the 18-race NHRA regular season and the top 10 fields in each of the four pro categories will be finalized there for the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six-race playoffs.
On the team side, General Motors has a long and storied history in the sport with countless driver championships and NHRA event wins in both the professional and sportsman ranks. Currently, the Chevrolet Camaro is competing in the Pro Stock ranks, led by the flagship team of Ken Black Racing and drivers Greg Anderson and Jason Line.
And Chevrolet’s involvement is not limited to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. In 2012, Chevrolet Performance introduced the COPO Camaro built specifically for the drag strip and to compete in the Stock Eliminator and Super Stock classes in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the marquee event held at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, which also features USAC sprint cars and SCCA road racing, among others. The oldest event on the NHRA circuit, the Chevrolet U.S. Nationals was first held in Great Bend, Kan. in 1955, before moving to Kansas City in 1956. For two years (1957-‘58) it was held in Oklahoma City before moving to Detroit for two years (1959-‘60). The race found its permanent home, Lucas Oil Raceway, in 1961, where many memorable finishes have been showcased over the years.