[This article originally appeared on the NHRA website.]
The 29th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, which boasts the longest-running NHRA event sponsorship, will rock Bandimere Speedway this weekend with special guests and special pre-race activities.
Mopar will recognize two legendary drag racers at the Mile-High Nationals. Don “Big Daddy” Garlits will serve as grand marshal, and Judy “Miss Mighty Mopar” Lilly will serve as honorary starter. Both competed with Mopar power to build the brand’s storied motorsports heritage.
In 2001, NHRA proclaimed Garlits the greatest drag racer of all time by naming him number one of the top 50 drivers from NHRA’s first 50 years. He earned the majority of his 144 national event wins, eight U.S. Nationals championships, and 17 season championships while competing with a Mopar powerplant. Lilly, inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1998, is recognized as one of the female trailblazers in drag racing.
“Mopar’s long partnership with the NHRA and the Bandimere Speedway team has made the Mile-High Nationals the premier event for Mopar and our legion of fans,” said Sunil Lahoti, Mopar’s senior manager-marketing & strategy. “From Don Garlits and Judy Lilly who carried the Mopar banner in the past to our current Hemi-powered drivers, they demonstrate that the performance and reliability of Mopar parts has spawned quarter-mile success for generations of racers.”
Kicking off the Mile-High Nationals weekend, Mopar Nation will invade the downtown streets of Golden, Colo., for the Mopar Big Block Party Thursday, July 10, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.
There will be an autograph session for fans from 7 to 8 p.m. Scheduled to participate are:
- NHRA POWERade stars Gary Scelzi, Allen Johnson, Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Jerry Toliver, Melanie Troxel, Tommy Johnson Jr., Larry Morgan, V. Gaines, and Max Naylor
- Garlits and Lilly
- SCORE Desert Series drivers Brian Collins and Chuck Hovey
- Cindi Lux, Team Mopar’s driver in the Speed World Challenge GT Series
Team Mopar race cars and Chrysler LLC vehicles will be on display. For the fourth year, Chicago-based rock cover band Maggie Speaks will perform. Kenny Sargent, host of the Speed Freaks motorsports radio show, will emcee the event. Race Central TV and Race Central Radio’s host Kurt Hansen will bring his ESPN Radio program to the Mopar Big Block Party.