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Drag racing tracks prepare for 2014 season and beyond

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As the 214 racing season gets underway, track owners and operators all across the country are busily making needed changes to personnel and management in anticipation of a busy year. These changes are generally made in the best interest of the participants and fans, and will, if successful, lead to a better on track experience for everyone.

Memphis International Raceway (MIR) recently added Shayna Keller as Director of Public Relations and Marketing. For anyone who followed the career of NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, that name might seem a bit familiar. That is because most recently, Shayna worked at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates as Media Relations Manager in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

"Memphis has always been one of my favorite places to visit and watch races. I can remember first coming here in 2006 and when the opportunity presented itself to join the team, I immediately accepted," Keller remarked. "I'm looking forward to being apart of the MIR team and helping them take it to the next level."

She brings with her over 10 years of experience in the motorsports industry with a background in marketing, sales, account management and communications. Shayna graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in business and a minor in marketing. She recently relocated from Mooresville, NC to join the MIR team.

"The team at MIR is looking forward to having Shayna join the team and playing a key role in our growth," said Pam Kendrick, Vice President and General Manager. "Shayna is a leader in the motorsports industry and has the credentials we were looking for to take MIR to the next level. By adding Shayna to the team, we will continue to move in the right direction to ensure the success of the MIR."

As the staff of the Memphis Motorsports Park continues to be refined, other facilities in the country have recently come under entirely new management.

Thunder Road Raceway Park, located in Gilliam, Louisiana, was recently leased to Nelson and Marla Hoyos, owners of the Driven2Win Drag Racing School. Encompassing 180+ acres and currently has an NHRA sanctioned ¼-mile Drag Racing Track (4050 ft. from starting line to end of shut down area), Compulink timing system, a 3-story Tower/Race Control with 8 VIP/Sponsor suites overlooking the starting line, lighting along the entire drag strip for exciting side-by-side night racing, grandstand seating for more than 7,500 race fans, a large commercial concession building and permanent bathroom facilities, the facility still has room for expansion and improvement. Aside from the existing drag racing facility, the remainder of the property has enough land for the future addition of a Kart Track, Road Race Course and Mug Bog area.

"We are both extremely excited to get started and can't thank David Strong and Hollis Witherington, the owners of Thunder Road Raceway property, enough for this extraordinary opportunity," said Nelson Hoyos. "We look forward to growing the various programs that NHRA offers, as this racing facility has seen thousands of competitors through its doors over the years hosting NHRA sanctioned races." For 2014, NHRA has scheduled a Divisional Race (Div. 4) for Sept. 12-14 at the facility.

Thunder Road Raceway Park will now become the new corporate headquarters for the Driven2Win Drag Racing School. The School will continue to have a presence at Palm Beach International Raceway in South Florida and will soon be announcing an expansion into other racing facilities in key markets nationwide. "Our Driven2Win Drag Racing programs are designed to allow the novice driver/rider to experience the thrill of drag racing in a safe, fun and controlled environment and allow the experienced driver to fine tune their skills with more track time," said Marla Hoyos. The School will also create several youth initiatives to help address two of the biggest barriers in the sport of Drag Racing: Driver Responsibility and Street Racing. "Our slogan of 'Keep it off the streets and take it to the track' hits the problem right where it starts, on the streets," said Marla.

"We're going to provide our customers the opportunity to enjoy our new track on a regular basis with Test & Tunes, Bracket Racing and Track Rentals at a reasonable cost," noted Nelson.

Professional Driver and Drag Racing Champion Nelson Hoyos will visit local High Schools, Community Colleges, and Vocational/Technical Schools with show cars, simulators, and promotional materials supporting local law enforcement agencies and promoting the Motorsports Park, educating young adults on the perils of street racing. The Park will offer affordable track time to young adults to help eliminate illegal street racing. Members can enjoy their performance vehicles & motorcycles and practice their skills while spending time with like-minded individuals that share a passion for speed and adrenaline. Club members will also be offered in-depth comprehensive programs to help educate enthusiasts and competitors on the many facets of drag racing. “Nelson’s experience in the sport of drag racing will allow students to learn from someone who has had success as a professional driver in the sport," said Marla.

"We are thrilled to have the Thunder Road Raceway Park property become a catalyst for Caddo Parrish tourism and recreation while supporting statewide educational and economic development programs," said Nelson.

For Sponsorship and Promotional opportunities at Thunder Road Raceway Park, please call (318) 299-RACE (7223).

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