LVMS' 2005 NHRA drag racing champions

to be honored twice this month


Seven 2005 season champions from The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be honored twice this month. Chris Naffziger (Super Pro), Bob Coulter (Pro), Bill Dudley (Sport Compact), Dave Phillips (Motorcycle), Walter Shupe (Street), Luke Winters (Jr. Dragster Thunder) and Jett Dwyer (Jr. Dragster Lightning) will be among the local racers included in the inaugural "Night of Champions" dinner to honor Mel Larson on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

All proceeds from the dinner, which features four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon as keynote speaker, will go to The Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. Plans call for the event to be conducted on an annual basis, each year honoring a member of the community.

"This is a fitting tribute to Mel Larson," said Chris Powell, LVMS general manager. "Mel has worn many hats in the motorsports world, and he also was a pioneer in marketing in Las Vegas during his days with Circus Circus. Mel’s done it all, from driving, publicizing and promoting motorsports events to bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Las Vegas with his marketing innovations. Few have meant more to our community."

Division champions from LVMS' asphalt short track, the Bullring, also will be honored at the "Night of Champions" fete.

The "Night of Champions" event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m. The meet-and-greet, limited in number, with Larson and NASCAR’s Gordon is set for 7-7:30 p.m. with dinner and the program to follow. To purchase a table or tickets for this event, please contact Janae Melvin at (702) 632-8242.

The seven drag racing champions from The Strip’s Jerry’s Nugget Championship Drag Racing Series and Short Line Express Markets NHRA Jr. Dragster Series also will be honored at The Strip’s annual awards banquet, to be held Saturday, January 21, in the speedway's party room at 7:30 p.m.. Tickets and information for the drag strip banquet are available by calling Donna Joyner at The Strip at (702) 632-8213.