NHRA 60th anniversary, Garlits to hit Chicagoland

Sunday, June 26, 2011

NHRA’s season-long celebration of its 60th Anniversary season will hit the upper Midwestern part of the United States when the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series rolls into Route 66 Raceway July 7-10 for the 14th running of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago.

Throughout the year, NHRA is bringing its rich tradition to fans around the country in the form of many of the sport’s great legends, and fans in the upper Midwest, from St. Louis through Iowa and Wisconsin and into Chicagoland, will be treated to none other than “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, the man who was named No. 1 on NHRA’s list of all-time greatest drivers.

In addition to his renowned competitiveness and driving skills, Garlits famously changed the course of the Top Fuel class in 1971 when, after being seriously injured when the engine in his slingshot dragster exploded, he reengineered the Top Fuel dragster to move the engine from in front of the driver to behind the driver.

His engineering skills were ahead of the game, to be sure, as he developed one incarnation of his popular Swamp Rat after another, ending his career with an estimated 50 Swamp Rat dragsters. He was also one of the first to have a nickname, “Big Daddy,” and it preceded an era of racing in which nicknames such as “Snake,” “Mongoose,” and “Cha-Cha” became synonymous with NHRA Drag Racing.

Garlits will participate in scheduled meet-and-greets and autograph sessions with fans Friday and Saturday, and Sunday he will participate in what has become one of the most popular and must-attend events for fans all season, the Track Walk with a Legend.

Fans attending the 2011 O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals will also be treated to the JEGS Allstars bonus race for Sportsman competitors.

The O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals will mark the 11th stop in a yearlong celebration that will pay homage to the evolution of the hot rod, the impact of the sport’s legendary racers, and the lifeblood provided by the many millions of loyal and passionate NHRA fans.

To purchase tickets to the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals , log on to www.route66raceway.com/nationals

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