If you go anywhere near Palm Beach International Raceway this week, you'll hear the rumble of the nitro cars but you can't get in the gate. Not unless you are a team member or track employee, of course! That all changes on Friday, Jan. 18 and Saturday, Jan 19 when the public is invited in to hear and feel the rumble and smell the nitro of more than 20 Top Fuel and Funny Car teams.
The NHRA's finest began taking to the track in the past few weeks, taking the time to test out new ideas and equipment, and generally get the rust off after a short off-season. By the time the public gets in Friday and Saturday, the teams will have a book of information and know how to tune the cars on the quarter mile, smooth concrete strip.
The lineup of professional drag racing teams already committed to the event include: John Force, the 15 time NHRA Funny Car champion and his daughter Courtney Force, who went on to be named the 2012 “Rookie of the Year” after racing against her father for the first time ever at the PRO Winter Warmup in January, 2012. Also in the staging lanes will be Tony Schumacher, a 7 time NHRA Top Fuel Champion and son of racing legend and team owner, Don Schumacher. Reigning 2012 Top Fuel Champion, Antron Brown and 2012 Funny Car Champion Jack Beckman will both make a return to PBIR. Other drivers participating include John Force Racing’s teammates Robert Hight and Mike Neff, Don Schumacher Racing’s drivers Ron Capps, Matt Hagan and Johnny Gray, Kalitta Motorsports drivers Doug Kalitta, Dave Grubnic, Del Worsham and Alexis DeJoria. Additional elite drivers include Bob Tasca III, Cruz Pedregon, Terry McMillen and Bob Vandergriff Jr.
Bennett Auto Supply has partnered with Palm Beach International Raceway to become the presenting sponsor of the preseason professional drag racing event. The two-night event will feature side-by-side runs and a shootout between the two quickest Top Fuel Dragsters and the two quickest Funny Cars. Gates will open at 4 p.m. both Friday and Saturday with runs scheduled between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. After 7:00 p.m. each night, the drivers will be available for autographs.
“Bennett Auto Supply is proud to grow our relationship with Palm Beach International Raceway,” said Bennett Auto Supply Marketing Director, Tyler Reeves. “We are excited about presenting the PRO Winter Warmup to bring the action of professional drag racing to thousands of race fans in South Florida.”
For more information on PRO Winter Warm-up and to purchase advanced tickets, please visit their website . Fans are encouraged to use the promo code DGF2013 and $10 of the ticket will be donated to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. For all of the latest PRO Winter Warmup updates follow Palm Beach International Raceway on Twitter or on Facebook.
The Darrell Gwynn Foundation will also hold a Bump 50/50 Drawing during the Pro Winter Warmup. Race fans and DGF supporters will have a chance to win prizes such as cash and memorabilia by purchasing drawing tickets at the racetrack or online . The proceeds from the drawing ticket sales will benefit the Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s Wheelchair Donation Program. The Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s mission is to SUPPORT people with paralysis and PREVENT spinal cord injuries.
“This is a great opportunity for South Florida race fans to see the fastest cars on earth, win some great prizes and support a great cause,” said Darrell Gwynn, president of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation. “The pro Winter Warm-up is such a cool experience for race fans and this year you have the added bonus of the drawing and witnessing the magic of a wheelchair donation.”
Race fans can visit the Darrell Gwynn Foundation Merchandise Trailer at the racetrack to purchase drawing tickets or locate DGF volunteers wearing red shirts walking the grounds and grandstands selling drawing tickets. Drawing tickets cost 1 for $5, 3 for $10, 15 for $20 or 100 for $100. The drawing will be held on Saturday, January 19 during the final round of testing at the Pro Winter Warm-up. The first prize winner will win the cash prize charity split. Second and third place winners will when racing memorabilia from the Kenny Bernstein and Darrell Gwynn collections. You do not have to be present to win the drawing.
Using proceeds from Bump 50/50 Drawing Ticket sales, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation will donate a $17,000 custom wheelchair to Christine Kent of Fort Lauderdale. Christine sustained a spinal cord injury five years ago when she was assaulted and run over by an SUV in her driveway during a violent crime. Her current wheelchair provided by her health insurance does not meet her health needs and causes her lot of pain. She is not eligible for a new wheelchair from insurance for several more years. The new wheelchair donated by DGF will ease her pain and give her the gift of mobility to continue her community activism with Women in Distress, the Center for Independent Living of Broward, Broward Spinal Cord Injury Support Group and the Oakland Park Police Department.
Stay tuned to this column for increased coverage of the NHRA in the run up to the 2013 season, including interviews with Top Fuel champion Antron Brown AND MORE!
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