GAINESVILLE, Fla. – NHRA legend Kenny Bernstein was honored Saturday during NHRA’s 60th Anniversary celebration at the Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals as NHRA President Tom Compton announced that the dragstrip at historic Gainesville Raceway will now be known as ‘301 Bernstein Way’ in honor of the six-time NHRA world champion’s milestone 301.70 mph speed he set at the track back in 1992.
Compton presented a plaque to Bernstein and unveiled the brand new green street sign that is positioned near the starting line.
“Kenny’s monumental achievement here in 1992 of becoming the first drag racer to break the 300 mph barrier remains one of the single greatest performance milestones in NHRA championship drag racing,” Compton said. “We are thrilled to be able to forever memorialize that great day in motorsports for one of NHRA’s greatest drivers and ambassadors by naming the historic dragstrip at Gainesville Raceway 301 Bernstein Way.”
Bernstein, who continues to be active in the sport as team owner of the Copart dragster driven by his son Brandon, was emotional during the presentation.
“It’s a great honor, almost beyond explaining,” said Bernstein. “I’m very proud of it and all we accomplished on that day. To do it in Gainesville has always been a special place for us and always will be in our hearts because of what was accomplished on that day. When it happened we didn’t realize how big a deal it was; that didn’t hit me for two weeks.”
This is only the second NHRA owned and operated dragstrip to be named after a person, the first being Parker Ave. at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona named after Ralph Parker former police chief of Pomona.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2011. As the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States, NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA offers competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 8 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.