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An Open Letter From Houston Raceway Park General Manager Seth Angel

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.

Either way, I can speak with confidence in telling all of our future guests we will be ready to hold a very safe event, be it in June or in October. We have maintained our full staff here and we’ve spent a good portion of this down-time putting measures in place to make sure all public areas will be sanitized to the highest degree both before and during any future national events. In fact, we have contingency plans for many eventualities and I assure you we will meet and exceed any recommendations public officials may put in place for future gatherings of large groups.

I remain in regular contact with city and county officials and we will make absolutely sure the health and well-being of everyone entering our facility will remain the top priority at all times. When Texas Governor Greg Abbott and our leadership here in Chambers County says we’re good to go, that’s when we’ll get back to racing.

It’s important for me to thank Pennzoil, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Summit Racing Equipment and all of our others sponsors who remain totally committed to supporting the best drag racing action in the world here at Houston Raceway Park. I’m also pleased to tell you how serious all of the professional race teams have been in assuring us that no one will race again until it’s safe to do so. There are so many moving parts to hosting an event of this size and we have to be certain we can all get back to work in a completely safe environment.

As for the ticket situation, I again want to be very clear, we will always put our customers first. To that end, any ticket(s) already purchased for our event will be honored at 100% face value whenever the race is held. If the new dates present a conflict and you cannot attend this year’s race, the full value of the tickets can be applied towards 2021. Additionally, with so many people out-of-work or furloughed, if a refund is necessary, we can honor that request as well. I simply ask you to call our offices directly at 281-383-7223.

It is our express wish that the sweet smell of nitro will be hanging in the air at Houston Raceway Park very soon. Until then, we pray for the health and safety of you and your families.

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Seth Angel
General Manager
Houston Raceway Park

This story was originally published on April 17, 2020. Drag Illustrated

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