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Don 'Big Daddy' Garlits, the Father of Drag Racing, to Serve as Grand Marshal for the 2016 World Series of Drag Racing

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Just under 150 days from the biggest event to take place at the Memphis International Raceway (MIR) in nearly seven years, raceway officials today announced six premier drivers who will compete in the 2016 World Series of Drag Racing presented by Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, slated for Aug. 26 and 27. These drivers are among the many who will compete in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Nostalgia, U.S. Pro Mods and Fortune Hunter Big Buck Series categories. Don "Big Daddy" Garlits will serve as this year's grand marshal.

"The King of Dragsters" and patriarch of Top Fuel Drag Racing, Garlits will lead the highly anticipated event featuring drivers such as current NHRA world champion and two-time K&N Horsepower Challenge winner Erica Enders-Stevens, who will race five-time Pro Stock champion and Super Gas world title holder Jeg Coughlin. Enders-Stevens is the first female Pro Stock champion and took home the U.S. nationals title in Indianapolis last year, and Coughlin is ranked ninth among the best drag racers of all time.

Six-time IHRA Top Fuel world champion and local Drummonds, Tennessee, native Clay Millican will be on home turf to race drag racing legend Bruce Litton, who will bring his famed Top Fuel dragster to Memphis. After racing in four NHRA events this year, Millican is currently in fifth place in the point standings; just 65 points out of first place.

And, father and son team Tim and Daniel Wilkerson are set for a rematch against each other in the Funny Car category. Tim Wilkerson claimed one of the biggest wins to date this year in Funny Car racing after defeating 16-time world champion John Force in Chandler, Arizona at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals last month.

The champion lineup continues with three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion Larry Dixon scheduled to make an appearance, and Memphis International Raceway officials expect to release additional exciting announcements in the coming weeks as other industry-leading drivers are confirmed for the event.

All of the excitement will be headed by the sport's beloved Garlits who holds 17 world champion titles, eight U.S. national championships and a total of 144 national event wins. His racing career surpasses four decades and includes record firsts, like being the first dragster to top 270 MPH and the first to reach 200 MPH in the 1/8 mile.   

"The level of talent in this year's race speaks to the continued caliber of this event as we celebrate its 63rd year in August," said Pam Kendrick, vice president and general manager of Memphis International Raceway. "And, as we're still developing plans, we are exciting about announcing all of the wonderful things we are lining up for this event."

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. The historic event will encompass all things drag racing.

The World Series of Drag Racing presented by Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau was built for the fans, by the fans. It 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, 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 is a historic event that the IRGSE Board of Directors and TPG have an expansive vision for and this is just one of the many elements we are announcing over the course of the next few months," stated vice chairman of the board and CEO Chris Lencheski. "With our partners Sunoco and the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, IRGSE is looking to make Memphis International Raceway the destination for all things drag racing this summer. We look forward to celebrating the sport of drag racing with the fans and racers at this one-of-a-kind weekend event."

The World Series of Drag Racing is the world's longest continually running drag racing event and holds the record for the largest single-day purse in the sport. 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. To purchase tickets, call 800-745-3000 or visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/World-Series-of-Drag-Racing-tickets/artist/9151?tm_link=artist_artistvenue_module
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