Star Staff Reports
The biggest event to take place at the Memphis International Raceway in seven years just got bigger as officials June 14 announced the addition of current NHRA Funny Car World Champion Del Worsham and “First Lady of Drag Racing” and four-time World Champion Shirley Muldowney to the lineup for the 2016 World Series of Drag Racing presented by Sunoco and the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, set for Aug. 26-27. Also announced was the addition of a VIP experience package that includes enhanced parking options and exclusive access to a driver Q&A session with food and non-alcoholic beverages on Saturday.
The announcement adds historical significance to the already talent-packed lineup for the event, including six-time IHRA Top Fuel world champion and local Drummonds native Clay Millican; current and two-time NHRA Pro-Stock World Champion and two-time K&N Horsepower Challenge winner Erica Enders-Stevens; “The King of Dragsters” Don “Big Daddy” Garlits; father-son duo Tim and Daniel Wilkerson; and three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon.
“We are excited about the lineup of talent that had come together for the 63rd World Series of Drag Racing and we know drag racing fans will excited to see these drivers here in Memphis,” said Pam Kendrick, president and general manager of Memphis International Raceway. “This will also be a really great event for anyone who has never experienced a drag racing event before to be introduced to the sport.”
Worsham has been added to the Funny Car category, bringing serious accolades to the lineup in this category. He is only the third driver ever to win the NHRA Racing Series World Championship in both Top Fuel and Funny Car categories. Worsham will be competing against father-son duo Tim and Daniel Wilkerson in what will be one of the most exciting races at the World Series of Drag Racing.
Muldowney, a 51-year veteran of the sport, was the first woman to receive a license from the NHRA to drive a Top Fuel dragster and has since earned a total of 18 NHRA national titles. She was the first person to win two and three NHRA Top Fuel titles. After receiving an initial stage-two lung cancer diagnosis, Muldowney recently underwent a successful surgery to remove the tumor, which was determined not to be cancerous after all.
She is in recovery and has been thankful for the support of her many faithful fans.
Other notable drivers previously announced for the August event included five-time Pro Stock champion and Super Gas world title holder Jeg Coughlin, and drag racing legend Bruce Litton, who will bring his famed Top Fuel dragster to Memphis.
With the top names in drag racing appearing in Memphis International Raceway for this event audiences will be drawn from all across the country to Memphis. This high profile lineup sets a precedent for years of world-class races at the Memphis International Raceway and the resurgence of this world-class tourist attraction in our community.
“The activity generated for Memphis by our raceway gives us an advantage over many destinations and offers us strong economic impact from another important travel segment for our community,” said Kevin Kane, president and chief executive officer Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The World Series of Drag Racing is the world’s longest continually running drag racing event and this year’s race will have the largest purse in its history. The event is being brought to the Memphis International Raceway for the first time with support from Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The weekend-long event will cater to race fans of all ages and degrees with fireworks and family activities, including a kid zone, as well as live entertainment and a beer garden for attendees 21 and older.
Additionally, four tiers of camping space will be available on the raceway grounds for those who prefer to stay in the middle of the action. To access VIP Experience tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com/World-Series-of-Drag-Racing-tickets/artist/9151 and use the code “VIP63” at the time of purchase. Tickets can also be purchased by calling 800-745-3000.