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IHRA World Series of Drag Racing Moves to Memphis for 2016

Marco Abruzzi

IRG Sports + Entertainment™ (IRGSE), a TPG portfolio company, Sunoco, and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau announced today that the World Series of Drag Racing is returning this summer, but to a new and larger facility in a major league sports market. The world’s longest continually running drag racing event will celebrate its 63rd year at the Mid-South’s premiere motorsports destination, Memphis International Raceway (MIR) August 26 – 27 with support from Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The transition to MIR moves the historic event to a centralized location that can withstand the growth potential and bring in even more racers, fans, vendors, live music and much more. The new facility will serve as a fitting showcase for the world’s fastest drag racing and focus on a fan and racer friendly atmosphere. The two days of nonstop drag racing action will include professional racers from around the country as well as local sportsman racers competing to become the next Champion of the World Series of Drag Racing presented by Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The IRGSE Board of Directors have a vision for the World Series of Drag Racing. The event will be home to all things related to drag racing and we thank Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau for partnering with us and sharing this vision,” stated IRGSE Vice Chairman of the Board and CEO Chris Lencheski. “The World Series of Drag Racing is a place where fans can walk through a swap meet, find drag racing collectables or images, bring the family and go RV’ing and camping, watch two days of incredible racing, and celebrate their favorite sport. We believe that “The World Series of Drag Racing” will become a lifestyle event similar to what Comic-Con is for fans of Sci-fi/Comics in San Diego. We plan to continue the existing traditions and add some new exciting elements to drag racing’s premiere fan event,” Lencheski continued.

“We are honored to be a presenting sponsor for an event that will feature some of the fastest drag racers in the world and the fans will be able to enjoy heart pounding action in a family-friendly festival atmosphere. Of special significance to us is that the grassroots sportsman racers who have been at the core of our business model as they will be participating at a track that has been a loyal partner to our brand,” commented Sunoco’s Vice President & General Manager of Performance Products Rob Marro.

The Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and Sunoco partnered with IRGSE to become the presenting sponsors of the historic race. The CVB is a big supporter of their hometown track and has partnered with MIR on various national events throughout the years. In addition, the Sunoco name is synonymous with drag racing and a proud supporter of IRGSE-owned facilities and the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA).

“We look forward to hosting race fans from across the country as the World Series of Drag Racing continues to grow in its new home at Memphis International Raceway,” said Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Drag racing has a long history in Memphis, and with the city’s central location and strong racing facilities, major racing events are always an economic success for the region.”

“With IRGSE looking to grow the World Series of Drag Racing, I was very pleased Memphis got the nod to host the event,” stated Memphis International Raceway GM & VP Pam Kendrick. “The World Series of Drag Racing has a long standing tradition that matches MIR’s tradition of top notch competitive and entertaining events, it’s a perfect marriage. Our fans have been looking for this type of an event since we opened in 2012 and I can’t express how excited the team and I are about it. We’d also like to thank Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau for their support. Two great partners that will make an impact on the overall success of this historic event. Make your plans today, it will be an event to remember.”

The World Series of Drag Racing attracts sportsman and professional racers from around the country to compete against each other. The top names in drag racing participate in exhibition runs, match racing, and competitive eliminator action in front of capacity crowds. Notable participants in past World Series of Drag Racing events include: IHRA President Mike Dunn, hometown favorite Clay Millican, ‘Big Daddy’ Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, T.J. Zizzo, Cruz Pedregon, Tony Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, Bruce Litton, Chris “The Greek” Karamesines, Warren Johnson, Larry Morgan, Dom Lagana, and many more.

The World Series of Drag Racing has a storied history with the first-ever event taking place in Lawrenceville, Illinois in 1953 and later transitioning to IRGSE-owned Cordova International Raceway (CIR). Since its conception, the event has featured the world’s best drag racing in a family friendly environment with vendors, good food and open access to the pit area for autographs and to meet the drivers. The tradition will continue at MIR with additional events and a star studded driver line-up.

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Tickets go on sale this Friday, March 4 at Ticketmaster or call (800)745-3000. Additional announcements will be made in the coming months regarding the professional driver line-up, live performances during the event and much more. Please check for pricing and schedule updates regarding the World Series of Drag Racing presented by Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau on August 26 – 27.

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