International Hot Rod Association
The International Hot Rod Association, also known as IHRA, is the 2nd largest drag racing
Drag racing
Drag racing is a competition in which specially prepared automobiles or motorcycles compete two at a time to be the first to cross a set finish line, from a standing start, in a straight line, over a measured distance, most commonly a ¼-mile straight track....

 sanctioning body after the NHRA.

The Carrier Era

The IHRA was formed in November 1970 by businessman Larry Carrier. Throughout this period the organization was operated primarily in the south-eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 from its headquarters in Bristol, Tennessee
Bristol, Tennessee
Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 26,702 at the 2010 census. It is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia, which lies directly across the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. The boundaries of both cities run parallel to each other along State...

. The IHRA initially followed the NHRA's professional class structure of Top Fuel
Top Fuel
Top Fuel racing is a class of drag racing in which the cars are run on a mix of approximately 90% nitromethane and 10% methanol rather than gasoline or simply methanol. The cars are purpose-built for drag racing, with an exaggerated layout that in some ways resembles open-wheel circuit racing...

, Funny Car
Funny Car
Funny Car is a drag racing car class. In the United States, other "professional" classes are Top Fuel, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. Funny cars have forward-mounted engines and carbon fiber automotive bodies over the chassis, giving them an appearance vaguely approximating manufacturers'...

 and Pro Stock
Pro Stock
Pro Stock Drag Racing is a class of drag racing featuring 'Factory Hot-Rods'. The class can be known as "all motor," as the cars cannot use artificial induction such as turbocharging, supercharging, or nitrous oxide, and there are very strict rules governing the modifications allowed to the...

 until the 1984 season when it decided to drop the premier Top Fuel category, an arrangement that only lasted three years before the class was reinstated for the 1987 season. Carrier is also credited with initiating drag racing's long-term sponsorship association with the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
The R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company , based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and founded by R. J. Reynolds in 1875, is the second-largest tobacco company in the U.S. . RJR is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc...

's Winston
Winston (cigarette)
Winston cigarettes are manufactured by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company or its newer incarnation as RJR Nabisco and/or its affiliates.The brand was introduced in 1954, and became the best-selling brand of cigarettes in the United States...

 brand, which has ended.


IHRA headquarters briefly moved to Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas
Waco is a city in and the county seat of McLennan County, Texas. Situated along the Brazos River and on the I-35 corridor, halfway between Dallas and Austin, it is the economic, cultural, and academic center of the 'Heart of Texas' region....

 in 1988 after it was purchased by Texan racer and track operator Billy Meyer who made many changes to the organization, some of which proved controversial amongst racers such as completely restructuring the sportsman classes overnight. Another radical change came as a result of Meyer's ownership of the Texas Motorplex
Texas Motorplex
The Texas Motorplex is a quarter mile drag racing facility located in Ennis, Texas. Built in 1986 by former funny car driver Billy Meyer, the Motorplex was the first National Hot Rod Association "super track." It annually hosts the NHRA O'Reilly Fall Nationals each September, when hundreds of...

, considered then to be the premier drag racing facility in the world. The Motorplex had previously been the NHRA's flagship track but for 1988 it hosted two IHRA national events and was the site of Top Fuel's first 4 second run by Eddie Hill
Eddie Hill
Eddie Hill is a retired American drag racer who won numerous drag racing championships on land and water. Hill had the first run in the four second range , which earned him the nickname "Four Father of Drag Racing." His other nicknames include "The Thrill", "Holeshot Hill", and "Fast Eddie"...

. Other changes included the addition of a 'junior' Pro Stock class for small-block and V6 engines, named Factory Modified, which lasted until the end of the 1990 season. However, financial failure meant that Meyer's reign lasted just one year before the association was again sold on.

In 1990 an all new class, Pro Modified
Pro Modified
Pro Modified, also known as Pro Mod, is a class or division in the sport of drag racing used in the NHRA and the American Drag Racing League .-Overview:...

, was introduced which has since become a feature at IHRA events and has become one of drag racing’s most successful classes enjoying popularity in both North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

. During this period Pro Modified became the IHRA's main asset in its recovery from the 1988 season that had nearly destroyed it.

However, the nitromethane
Nitromethane is an organic compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest organic nitro compound. It is a slightly viscous, highly polar liquid commonly used as a solvent in a variety of industrial applications such as in extractions, as a reaction medium, and as a cleaning solvent...

 powered Funny Car
Funny Car
Funny Car is a drag racing car class. In the United States, other "professional" classes are Top Fuel, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. Funny cars have forward-mounted engines and carbon fiber automotive bodies over the chassis, giving them an appearance vaguely approximating manufacturers'...

 class was dropped for the 1991 season only the be reinstated for 1992 before being dropped again, not to return until 2006. In 2009 IHRA dropped the funny car class again due to sponsor problems caused by a deep recession in the American economy.

Bill Bader and Clear Channel

In 1998 the organization was purchased by Bill Bader who significantly expanded the promotion in the Great Lakes from his headquarters in Norwalk, Ohio
Norwalk, Ohio
At the 2000 census, there were 16,238 people, 6,377 households and 4,234 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,950.3 per square mile . There were 6,687 housing units at an average density of 803.1 per square mile...

. He sold the IHRA to Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications
Clear Channel Communications, Inc. is an American media conglomerate company headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. It was founded in 1972 by Lowry Mays and Red McCombs, and was taken private by Bain Capital LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP in a leveraged buyout in 2008...

, but remained as president until his retirement in October 2004. The headquarters remain in Norwalk, which was once the site of the IHRA's flagship World Nationals event.

The IHRA is currently owned by Feld Entertainment, who bought the Motor Sports division of Live Nation
Live Nation
Live Nation is a live-events company based in Beverly Hills, California, focused on concert promotions. Live Nation formed in 2005 as a spin-off from Clear Channel Communications, which then merged with Ticketmaster in 2010 to become Live Nation Entertainment....

, itself a spin-off of Clear Channel's live event business.

Outside the Continental USA

In addition to tracks in 30 states in the continental United States, IHRA oversees tracks in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, and Aruba
Aruba is a 33 km-long island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea, located 27 km north of the coast of Venezuela and 130 km east of Guajira Peninsula...

. Despite the "international" in its name the IHRA was for years based solely in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. However, in recent years the organization has made significant inroads north of the border. The IHRA's first major event in Canada was a one-off in 1992 at Toronto Motorsports Park
Toronto Motorsports Park
Toronto Motorsports Park is a dragway and 3 kilometer roadcourse racing facility in Haldimand County, near the town of Cayuga, Ontario, Canada....

 in Cayuga, Ontario
Cayuga, Ontario
Cayuga is an unincorporated community and county seat in the province of Ontario, Canada located at the intersection of Highway 3 and Munsee Street and along the Grand River in Haldimand County. Cayuga is about a 20 minute drive from Lake Erie and 30 minutes south of Hamilton and 115 minutes south...

 but it wasn't until later in the decade that Canadian events became the regular fixtures they are today.

The IHRA is now the premiere motorsports sanctioning body in Canada, holding three national drag racing events. One event is hosted in the province of Ontario (Grand Bend) and one in Alberta (Edmonton).

In addition to Canada, there are IHRA tracks outside the Continental USA in Hawaii (Hilo Dragstrip
Hilo Dragstrip
Hilo Dragstrip is a ¼-mile dragstrip located just southeast of Hilo, Hawaii at . It is also called the Pana‘ewa Drag Strip. Hilo dragstrip opened in 1978, and is now operated by the County of Hawaii....

), Alaska (Alaska Raceway Park
Alaska Raceway Park
Alaska Raceway Park is a 1/4 mile IHRA dragstrip conducting summertime races from April to mid-September near "the Butte" a few miles south of Palmer, Alaska. Located near the Knik River and Knik Glacier at Mile 10.4 of the Old Glenn Highway, it is about 40 minutes away from Anchorage, Alaska...

), and Aruba (International Raceway Park Aruba).

External links

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