Despite the 49th annual NHRA Summernationals being all set to run this June at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, track officials there announced mid-January that effective immediately the facility would no longer host drag racing events. The unexpected news out of Englishtown, NJ, not only ended nearly five decades of tradition at one of the most storied and prestigious events on the NHRA trail; it threw the premiere schedule for the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body into sudden disarray.
Step forward Tommy Franklin, who last October with his wife, Judy, purchased Virginia Motorsports Park (VMP), with an offer to take over the June 8-10 race dates at a facility that last hosted an NHRA national event nine years ago.
“Basically, when the Englishtown race dropped out we reached out to NHRA at the same time they were looking for something to fill the hole, so it was just great timing,” said Franklin, who also is co-founder and now principal owner of the all-eighth-mile Professional Drag Racers Association (PDRA). “When we got involved with VMP, we knew it would take something like that for us to even have a chance at bringing NHRA back on the schedule here, but we definitely didn’t plan on it.