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Houston Raceway

Revised NHRA schedule adds championship implications to Houston’s Mopar Nationals

BAYTOWN, TX – The positioning of the 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil as the second-to-last professional event of the revised 2020 season will likely turn Houston into drag racing’s title town for the first time in history.

Due to the continued fallout of COVID-19, the sanctioning body of drag racing released its final slate of six national events Wednesday with venerable Houston Raceway Park positioned to hold its traditional speed-fest on October 23-25. With the regular playoff system scraped for the year, it’s highly likely that one or more of the four professional championships up for grabs could be secured in Houston.

“Our family decided we really needed to be a part of this season,” said Seth Angel, vice president and general manager of the facility. “We feel strongly that our loyal fans and sponsors deserve this race and although it’ll be different than what we’re used to, we’ll all be able to get our nitro fix and enjoy the world’s fastest motorsport together.

“The timing of our race towards the end of the schedule gives us a very unique chance to crown NHRA champions right here at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil. We’ve traditionally been a springtime stop on the schedule so this will be a special treat for all of us.”

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Houston Raceway Park to transform into drive-in theater for first NHRA race since lockdown 

BAYTOWN, TX – Houston-area drag racing fans hankering for some live action will get their first chance after 137 days of quiet on July 11-12 with a Texas-sized drive-in watch party and car show at Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil.

The track will broadcast the NHRA’s first professional national event since February live from Indianapolis on a giant 20×30 foot screen. Adhering to all the guidelines for safe social distancing, fans can watch the race on the movie screen and pick up the sound in stereo via the track’s private broadcast station on 87.9 FM.

“Our regular race has been moved to October 23-25 but we just couldn’t wait that long to get together with our racing family,” said Seth Angel, general manager and co-owner of HRP. “We thought a watch party in the grand style of a drive-in movie theater would be a really cool way to engage our loyal fanbase and give some much-deserved exposure to our marketing partners, who have loyally stayed with us through this unprecedented time.”

In addition to the racing action from Indy, car enthusiasts are encouraged to bring their hot rods and display them in the “Car Corral.” On Saturday, guests also will be allowed to cruise down the actual drag strip where Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars routinely eclipse 330 mph, and even pause at the starting line for pictures.

On Sunday, with the elimination rounds from Indy playing on the screen, local racers are invited to add some “roar” to the party with an open test-n-tune session. Tech cards allowing for unlimited runs will be available for just $20.

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An open letter from Houston Raceway Park General Manager Seth Angel

Baytown, TX – Fellow drag racing fans, as most of you know, this weekend was the original date for the 33rd annual Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil, the single largest sporting event in the Greater Houston Area. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic altered all our plans quite dramatically so I wanted to take a moment to catch everyone up with what’s been happening since the start of this worldwide crisis.

Very early on, heeding the advice of local, state and national government officials, we postponed our race and immediately began working with NHRA executives to secure a new spot in the revised 2020 schedule. Although it’s been an unprecedented moment in history, we can all clearly see the health benefits of avoiding any large gatherings to help limit people’s exposure to COVID-19.

Although we are extremely hopeful the tide will turn and things will return to normal before our new race weekend of June 12-14, I want to be as transparent as possible in saying there is a chance we will not be allowed to race by then. Should social distancing remain in order past the point where we can safely hold a race in June, NHRA has a second make-up date set aside for our event on Oct. 9-11. Like you, we hope that one won’t be necessary, but it’s good to know it’s there if we need to push the schedule back again.

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Houston Raceway Park ‘Making the Switch’ to Pennzoil

BAYTOWN, TX – Houston Raceway Park (HRP), the iconic drag strip located in the Houston suburb of Baytown, is “Making the Switch” to Pennzoil® through a new multi-year relationship that changes the name of the 30-year-old facility to “Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil.”

“Today’s announcement with Pennzoil marks another exciting chapter in the history of Houston Raceway Park,” HRP Vice President Seth Angel said. “The commitment Pennzoil has made to the sport of NHRA drag racing, specifically through its association with Don Schumacher Racing, is a testament to its faith in the future of our sport. We couldn’t be more thrilled to ‘Make the Switch’ to Pennzoil as we head into the 2019 race season.”

The agreement with Pennzoil includes naming rights, designation as the Official Lubricant of Houston Raceway Park powered by Pennzoil, logo placement on numerous buildings throughout the facility — including the left-lane scoreboard and the VIP Tower Suites — as well as all of the high-traffic areas within the pits.

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Further improvements on tap for Royal Purple Raceway’s NHRA SpringNationals, April 20-22

BAYTOWN, TX – As workers race towards completing the recently announced track resurfacing and return road upgrades, Royal Purple Raceway General Manager Seth Angel announced Tuesday additional enhancements that should be eagerly received by spectators attending the upcoming 31st annual NHRA SpringNationals at the historic facility just east of Houston.

Forever looking for new ways to enrich the fan experience, the staff at Royal Purple Raceway is adding a first-of-its-kind “Staging Lane Terrace” RV park, where spectators spending the weekend at the NHRA SpringNationals in recreational vehicles or buses can get an up-close and personal view of their favorite drivers and teams as they make final preparations for each qualifying and elimination run. The staging lanes also serve as the winner’s circle at the conclusion of each event, further entertaining the “Staging Lane Terrace” crowd.

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Royal Purple Raceway to reopen March 2 with new race surface

BAYTOWN, TX – After five months of serving as a massive storage facility for tens of thousands of flooded cars in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Royal Purple Raceway, site of the annual NHRA SpringNationals, will reopen March 2 with a brand-new race surface among many other facility upgrades and improvements.

“We’re very happy to reopen in March for the 2018 race season,” General Manager Seth Angel said. “In this extended offseason we had a great opportunity to complete a series of major facility projects, most importantly the repaving of our race track.”

Construction crews removed and installed more three inches of new asphalt material from the 660-foot, mid-track mark to 200 feet past the quarter-mile finish line. Laser-guided equipment was utilized to make the entire surface as perfectly smooth as technologically possible.

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Royal Purple Raceway suspends racing to help with hurricane relief efforts

Royal Purple Raceway, site of the annual NHRA SpringNationals, will suspend all drag racing activities through the end of the year to help in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Utilizing its gigantic footprint in the Houston suburb of Baytown, Royal Purple Raceway will become a temporary storage facility for cars, trucks, boats and construction equipment destroyed by the largest recorded storm in U.S. history.

The track will resume its regular racing schedule in the New Year.

“Some things transcend racing and when you see half of our city underwater, you obviously have to prioritize your energies and resources,” Vice President and General Manager Seth Angel said. “Our focus and priority over the next few months will be on helping our community rebuild and get back on its feet.

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