Fans will determine greatest moment in year-long program tied to NHRA’s Facebook page…….

From a simple signature on March 13, 1951 by NHRA founder Wally Parks to a far more complicated, championship-clinching comeback by John Force on Nov. 14, 2010, NHRA has seen its share of Great Moments in its first 59 years.

And as the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2011, NHRA officials have narrowed the many hundreds of memorable moments to a list of “60 Greatest Moments.” The complete list, which can be found at the bottom of this release, is officially being unveiled for the first time today.

The list includes such seminal moments in NHRA history as Don Garlits’ debut of the rear-engine dragster in 1971, Shirley Muldowney’s groundbreaking first win by a female in Top Fuel in 1976, Kenny Bernstein breaking the 300-mph barrier in 1992 and Tony Schumacher’s “The Run” in 2006, to name a few.

Moving forward, NHRA fans will have the chance to relive each of the “60 Greatest Moments” via a soon-to-be-released DVD, and they’ll also be given the opportunity to participate in a year-long program to determine the 20, 10 and five Greatest Moments before ultimately identifying the moment they believe is the Greatest in NHRA history.

Beginning on Monday, March 10, which opens race-week for the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals that will serve as “Official Kick-Off Party for NHRA’s 60th Anniversary Celebration,” NHRA will begin posting each of the 60 Greatest Moments (2-to-3 per week) on its Facebook page and fan ‘likes’ will be tallied to determine the 20 fan favorites.

After the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, the 20 moments will be identified and, just as the Top 10 drivers will be determined at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, the fans’ Top 10 Moments will be as well. Fans will have from the Monday after Brainerd to the end of the U.S. Nationals to vote and the 10 Moments with the most fan votes will be identified.

The Greatest Moments voting will then have its own playoffs, as one moment will be eliminated at each playoff race, leaving five moments still in play entering the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals. Fan voting will close prior to the start of the Auto Club NHRA Finals and the fans’ Top 5 will be unveiled during the Finals weekend.

Here is a snap-shot look at the list of the 60 Greatest Moments in NHRA history (chronological order). A more detailed account of each moment will be released as each is posted for fan-voting throughout the course of the season.  

  1. Wally Parks founds NHRA (1951)
  2. First NHRA sanctioned event (1953)
  3. Founding of NHRA Safety Safari (1954)
  4. 1955 Indy Top Eliminator: Calvin Rice wins the first U.S. Nationals
  5. National DRAGSTER founded (1960)
  6. U.S. Nationals moves to permanent home at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indy (1961)
  7. Christmas tree introduced (1963)
  8. End of nitro ban returns fuel to sport (1964)
  9. “Big Daddy” Don Garlits cracks 200 mph barrier (1964)
  10. Shirley Shahan first woman to win NHRA event (1966)
  11. 1967 Indy Top Fuel: Big Daddy shaves
  12. Wally trophy introduced (1969)
  13. Funny Car class introduced (1969)
  14. Mattel sponsorship opens door to corporate involvement (1970)
  15. 1970 Indy Top Fuel final: The Crash
  16. Garlits wins in debut of rear-engine dragster (1971)
  17. 1971 Indy Top Fuel final: The Burndown
  18. Jim Dunn wins in rear-engine Funny Car (1972)
  19. Mike Snively makes first five-second Top Fuel pass (1972)
  20. Winston partnership (1975)
  21. Garlits’ 5.63 at 250.69 at World Finals considered by many greatest run ever (1975)
  22. Don “The Snake” Prudhomme records first Funny Car five-second run (1975)
  23. Shirley Muldowney first women to win in Top Fuel (1976, Columbus)
  24. Prudhomme wins seven of eight national events (1976)
  25. Muldowney first female world champ (1977)
  26. Bob Glidden unbeaten for calendar year (1978-79)
  27. 1978 Indy Funny Car final: Mongoose bites Snake
  28. Allen wins dramatic 1981 Top Fuel crown by two mph
  29. 1982 Springnationals Top Fuel final all-female final
  30. Don Prudhomme first 250-mph Funny Car pass (1982)
  31. Connie Kalitta vs. Shirley Muldowney (1982 U.S. Nationals)
  32. Prudhomme makes arguably greatest Funny Car run of all time (1982, Indy)
  33. Big Daddy makes his return to Indy (1984, Indy)
  34. Building of Texas Motorplex, first stadium dragstrip (1986)
  35. Glidden first to reach 50 career wins (1986)
  36. Don Garlits’ big blowover (1986, Englishtown)
  37. Entire national event schedule on television for first time (1986)
  38. Gene Snow records first NHRA four-second run (1988)
  39. Joe Amato edges Gary Ormsby in closest Top Fuel finish (1990)
  40. Pat Austin first double winner (1991 Topeka)
  41. Kenny Bernstein breaks 300-mph barrier (1992, Gatornationals)
  42. First Hot Rod Reunion organized (1992)
  43. Jr. Drag Racing League founded (1992)
  44. 4-second, 300-mph Funny Car barriers broken on same weekend (1993)
  45. Kurt Johnson (6.988) records first Pro Stock six-second run (1994)
  46. Kenny Bernstein first to win championships in Top Fuel and Funny Car (1996)
  47. John Force first NHRA driver named Driver of the Year (1996)
  48. Warren Johnson (200.13 mph) records first Pro Stock 200-mph run (1997)
  49. NHRA Museum opened (1998)
  50. Coke partnership (2001)
  51. Bernsteins first father-son share winner’s circle (Las Vegas 2001)
  52. John Force’s 100th victory (2002 Houston-2)
  53. Andrew Hines (6.991) records first Pro Stock Motorcycle six-second run (2005)
  54. Lucas Oil becomes NHRA Sportsman Series sponsor
  55. Tony Schumacher wins title with “The Run” (2006, NHRA Finals)
  56. Ashley Force Hood wins first career race in Atlanta (2008)
  57. Schumacher breaks all Top Fuel season records (2008)
  58. Countdown introduced (2007)
  59. Four-Wide national event at zMAX Dragway (2010)
  60. John Force comeback, wins 15th championship (2010)