zMAX Dragway Becomes Drag Racing Heaven for NHRA Nationals

The fastest accelerating machines on the planet arrive at zMAX Dragway for the fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Sept. 15-18.

The six-race NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship postseason begins when the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to the Bellagio of drag strips. The event will showcase drag racing’s best, as well as fire performers, NHRA legends, Tommy Ivo’s “Showboat” four-engine dragster, track walks, 40-foot flame throwers and more.

Winning at zMAX Dragway a Good Omen
In both 2009 and 2010, three of the four winners in the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway went on to secure championships in their respective categories. Robert Hight, Mike Edwards and Hector Arana each took home a Wally from Charlotte, then went on to win championships in 2009, while Larry Dixon, Greg Anderson and LE Tonglet won titles after scoring the victory in Charlotte’s Countdown event in 2010.

Worsham, Neff, Anderson and Krawiec Lead Field into Playoffs
Top Fuel driver Del Worsham, Funny Car driver Mike Neff, Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson and Pro Stock Motorcycle driver Ed Krawiec are top seeds in their respective categories heading into the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, the first of the six-race championship playoffs. Worsham has earned his spot with six victories so far this season. Neff and Anderson each secured their fifth win of the season in last weekend’s U.S. Nationals and Krawiec has two wins this season. Worsham and Anderson scored wins earlier this year at zMAX Dragway in the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

The Night Time is the Right Time
Fire will rule the evening on Friday, Sept. 16, at zMAX Dragway during the only night qualifying session of the weekend. See 8,000 horsepower come to life under the lights as nitro Funny Cars and Top Fuel dragsters shoot six-foot flames out of the headers while they scream down the Bellagio of drag strips at speeds over 300 mph. Fire performers Srikanta Barefoot and Jimmy Pyro will thrill the crowd with performances throughout the day and on the track on Friday evening. Even zMAX Dragway’s twin scoring towers at the Top End will get in on the act as both will be outfitted with flamethrowers that will shoot flames 40 feet into the night sky signifying the lane with the best Elapsed Time for each nitro pass. Tickets for Friday start at only $20 and kids 12 and under get in for only $5 with a paying adult.

“TV” Tommy Ivo’s “Last Hurrah” at O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
Drag racing’s greatest showman and one of NHRA’s greatest drivers “TV” Tommy Ivo will be honored at the fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18, at zMAX Dragway in what Ivo claims may be his “last hurrah” on the East Coast. Ivo will be at the Bellagio of drag strips Friday through Sunday, Sept. 16-18, during the event weekend signing autographs for fans, as well as participating in the Legends Track Walk down the concrete quarter-mile on Sunday, Sept. 18. Ivo will also serve as the honorary starter. Joining Ivo will be his famous four-engine dragster, the “Showboat.” The dragster uses four Buick power plants, because Ivo, who upgraded from a two-engine dragster, decided that if two engines were good, four would be better. Fans with reserved-seat tickets for Sunday will have access for the Legends Track Walk.

Garlits and Gwynn to Revive Rivalry
Reviving a rivalry from the 1980s, two legendary drag racers, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Darrell “The Kid” Gwynn, will face off during the fourth annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18, at zMAX Dragway. The legends will pilot two specially-built, battery-powered dragsters, with paint schemes similar to the machines they raced in their heyday and will compete three times, once each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the event weekend.

9/11 First Responders Honored at O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals
A group of twelve 9/11 first responders will serve as Honorary Grand Marshals for the Sept 15-18 O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals and participate in pre-race ceremonies. Retired members of FDNY and NYPD, each of the men was among the first to respond to the scene following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tickets for the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals start at $20 and are still available or by phone at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Fans can buy three tickets and get one free for any day until Sept. 9.

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