March 1, 2003

The NMRA Ford Nationals event series is entering its 5th Anniversary Tour, and we are as excited as ever about the future of the Ford market. The '02 season was one of the most incredible in Ford drag racing, but it started out on a tremendous low. The loss of Pro 5.0 superstar Steve Grebeck, who tragically lost his life just one week prior to the NMRA opener at Bradenton, was a heavy blow for all of us to shoulder. Steve was one of those magnetic personalities who truly brought NMRA drag racing to life. He will live on in our hearts.

Despite such a tragic beginning to the season, the NMRA Ford Nationals series underwent tremendous growth in the '02 season, from both a spectator and participant standpoint. Not only did we have our biggest events ever in NMRA history, but car counts also jumped at almost every venue. More than 320 heads-up race cars competed at the NMRA '02 World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky-a new record for street-legal drag racing. In the NMRA Ford Auto Show & Shine, every event featured double-digit show-car increases, and most of the growth was non-Mustang-meaning the true-blue Ford faithful brought out plenty of traditional, classic, and nostalgia Ford muscle.

The reason for the success of the NMRA Ford Nationals series is clear-participants, fans, and staff who deeply care about Ford drag racing and Ford auto-show events. We are blessed to have such widespread support. We would like to specifically recognize some of the people who helped get Ford racing to the forefront. Jamie Meyer and Mike Galimi were there from the beginning and helped craft this dream into a reality. The NMRA and all of Ford racing owes a great debt of gratitude to these two men for their selfless contribution to this sport. Dale Metlika and Mitch Masten got the NMRA through the first two years with such attitude and dedication. Dale Vaznian and Mike Thermos of Nitrous Oxide Systems supported the NMRA when nobody else would take the risk. Paul and Shelley Rosner did anything and everything for the NMRA with a smile and a pat on the back! And finally, thank you to the NMRA racers who have endured all the mistakes, trials, and tribulations of a little Ford racing series trying to grow into a full-fledged national force in the racing world.

What does the future hold for the '03 NMRA Ford Nationals 5th Anniversary Tour? Excitement, incredible racing, packed grandstands, and bigger auto shows! It will all happen this season as we kick off another year of tremendous growth and fun that will be the tops for Ford-specific events. The new '03 NMRA schedule has been released, and it is bigger and better than ever, featuring two new great venues that NMRA fans have been screaming for since the foundation of this event series. Thanks to Matt Alexander and Billy Meyer, the NMRA brand will be expanding, and for the first time in our company's history we will be heading to the heart of Chicago and Dallas-two of the biggest drag racing markets in America. The Inaugural NMRA Ford Nationals will blow into the renowned Route 66 Raceway on July 25-27, while the NMRA will make its debut in the great state of Texas when the NMRA Ford National Series invades the spectacular Texas Motorplex on May 31-June 2.

For the '03 tour, the NMRA Ford Drag Racing Series has a new title sponsor, Jet-Hot Coatings. We welcome this tremendous company to the NMRA family. And the NMRA-Jet-Hot Ford Drag Racing Series, presented by Ford Racing Performance Parts, has a great partner for the next three years. Jet-Hot Coatings, a well-known name in the performance aftermarket, is one of the leading companies in aerospace coatings (under the name MCCI), working extensively with NASA and other major players! We would also like to extend a very special thank you to Holley for its tremendous support for the last two racing seasons and we wish the company the best for the future.

NMRA-Jet-Hot Ford Drag Racing continues to be the anchor of the NMRA. All the NMRA's major classes will be picked up for the '03 season, and the BFGoodrich Drag Radial class will be extended to the full eight-race season. In addition, the NMRA has introduced a new class for this year called Wild Street, a 30-mile ride-and-drive category similar in format to Fun Ford Weekend's popular True Street class. We expect Wild Street to be one of the most exciting and successful classes within the NMRA's '03 format. Wild Street will be hosted at the NMRA events in Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Reading, Pennsylvania; Joliet, Illinois; and Bowling Green, Kentucky.

We are all set to have a banner year at the NMRA Ford Nationals 5th Anniversary Tour! Please come out and join us at one of our eight events this year!Charlie HarmonNMRA Event Director