NHRA released its 23-race, 2006 POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule Aug. 4, immediately following a press conference outside Richmond, Va., where officials from the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body announced its premier drag racing series will return to Virginia Motorsports Park in 2006.

After a five-year absence, the stars of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series will return to Dinwiddie, Va. for the inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals, Oct. 6-8, 2006. NHRA conducted national events at the facility when it opened in 1995, through the 2000 racing season.

“We are excited to welcome back Virginia Motorsports Park as an NHRA Member Track,” said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. “In addition to receiving an NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event, the facility affords a great venue for our NHRA racers in the Mid-Atlantic region to participate in the many sportsman programs available including the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Summit Racing Series.”

NHRA boasts seven divisions throughout the country of which Virginia Motorsports Park will be classified as a Division 1 (Northeast) NHRA Member Track. The facility also is scheduled to host an NHRA Sony Xplod Sport Compact Racing Series event in the spring of 2006.

The schedule is highlighted by a return of all 2005 drag racing facilities, beginning with the 46th running of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals at historic Pomona (Calif.) Raceway, Feb. 9-12. The series concludes at the famed quarter-mile track Nov. 9-12, with the 42nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals.

“Pomona Raceway has arguably the richest history of any of the facilities where the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series visits,” said Compton. “NHRA fans, both young and old, come from throughout the United States and Canada to visit the raceway and the adjacent Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum.” What is now Pomona Raceway, originally opened in 1950 as a way to encourage street racers to compete safely and was built with the combined efforts of the Pomona Valley Timing Association, Pomona Police Chief Ralph Parker and the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds.

The world’s most prestigious drag race, the 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 4 at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Earlier in the month, Brainerd International Raceway will celebrate its 25th consecutive year, when it hosts the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Aug. 10-13.

The series will make two stops at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the spring for the seventh annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals, April 6-9, and the sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Oct. 26-29, and a one-time visit to Route 66 Raceway (June 8-11) outside Chicago, for the ninth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals.

All NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events will feature competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock. Pro Stock Motorcycle will again be featured at 15 events, including: Gainesville, Fla.; Houston; Commerce, Ga.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Englishtown, N.J.; St. Louis; Denver; Sonoma, Calif.; Brainerd, Minn.; Indianapolis; Reading, Pa.; Memphis, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Pomona, Calif.

ESPN2, a part of the ESPN network, the worldwide leader in sports, will once again provide exclusive television coverage, on a same-day basis, of all 23 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series events.

2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Schedule

46th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals Pomona, Calif. Feb. 9-12
22nd annual Checker Schuck’s Kragen NHRA Nationals Phoenix Feb. 24-26
37th annual Mac Tools NHRA Gatornationals Gainesville, Fla. (PSM) March 16-19
19th annual O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals Houston (PSM) March 31- April 2
Seventh annual NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals Las Vegas April 6-9
Sixth annual O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals Bristol, Tenn. April 28-30
26th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals Commerce, Ga. (PSM) May 4-7
42nd annual Pontiac Performance NHRA Nationals Columbus, Ohio (PSM) May 18-21
18th annual O’Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals Topeka, Kan. May 25-28
Ninth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals Chicago (PSM) June 8-11
37th annual K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals Englishtown, N.J. (PSM) June 15-18
10th annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals St. Louis (PSM) June 23-25
27th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals Denver (PSM) July 14-16
19th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals Seattle July 21-23
19th annual FRAM-Autolite NHRA Nationals Sonoma, Calif. (PSM) July 28-30
25th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Brainerd, Minn. (PSM) Aug. 10-13
19th annual O’Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals Memphis, Tenn. (PSM) Aug. 18-20
52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals Indianapolis (PSM) Aug. 30 – Sept. 4
22nd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals Reading, Pa. (PSM) Sept. 14-17
21st annual O’Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals Dallas Sept. 21-24
Inaugural Virginia NHRA Nationals Richmond, Va. Oct. 6-8
Sixth annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals Las Vegas (PSM) Oct. 26-29
42nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals Pomona, Calif. (PSM) Nov. 9 -12
(PSM) = Event will include Pro Stock Motorcycle

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