NHRA's 60th anniversary season will begin the turn for home when it kicks off its six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff with the fourth annual running of the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18, at the famed Bellagio of Drag Strips, zMAX Dragway.

With its state-of-the-art track and fan-friendly amenities - such as comfortable stadium seating, spacious campgrounds including trackside camping options, two pedestrian tunnels to enhance fan movement, and always helpful staff - zMAX Dragway has elevated itself as one of the must-attend tracks for drag racing fans regardless of the race.

But when you add to that a marquee list of the sport's greatest legends, and all of the drama and consequence and intense racing that comes with this being the opening race in NHRA's six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff, you have the ingredients for a truly memorable experience for fans.

"We're really pleased to be able to add such tremendous value, on and off the track, to what is already one of the most coveted tickets in motorsports," said Gary Darcy, NHRA senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Highlighting the season-long Legends program will be one of NHRA's most colorful characters, TV Tommy Ivo. The charismatic Ivo will be on-site throughout the weekend to meet-and-greet fans, sign autographs and copies of his book, and show off some of his legendary cars, including the four-engine Showboat, in the Pavilion located near the Pro staging lanes behind John Force Grandstand.

The weekend will also feature Don Garlits-Darrell Gwynn "Match Races" in specially-designed dragsters and the increasingly popular Legends Track Walk on Sunday. All fans that purchase a Sunday ticket will be invited to walk beside, and listen to stories told by, one or more of these famed NHRA Legends prior to pre-race.

In honor of NHRA's 60th anniversary, fans can purchase two tickets to any day of the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals for a total of only $60 and receive a choice of a free upgrade: two 60th anniversary hats; two 60th anniversary shirts; two beer vouchers; or two Coca-Cola soft drinks and two hot dogs. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.zMAXDragway.com.

Meanwhile, on the track, the motorsports-savvy fans at zMAX Dragway will get the first look at the Countdown to the Championship playoff fields, which will have been set Labor Day weekend at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals.

They will be introduced to NHRA fans for the first time prior to the first rounds of qualifying.

The drivers, led by defending Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson from nearby Mooresville, N.C., will then pair up and begin their quest for the

2011 NHRA Full Throttle Series championships. The other defending Series champions are Larry Dixon (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

The O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals, Sept. 15-18 at zMAX Dragway, will mark the 17th stop in a year-long celebration that will pay homage to the evolution of the hot rod, the impact of the sport's legendary racers, and the lifeblood provided by the many millions of loyal and passionate NHRA fans.

The celebration will continue throughout the remainder of the year as the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series winds its way through to Dallas, Reading, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Pomona. NHRA drag racing fans from across the country will be treated to special events designed to give them the chance to personally interact with the men, women and vehicles that have made the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series the great sport that it is today.

Race fans can frequent NHRA.com or simply 'like' the NHRA Facebook page to receive updated news regarding details of the many 60th-themed ticket promotions being offered, and specific activities planned, at each of the remaining six events on the 2011 schedule.

The virtual tour through the first 60 years of NHRA drag racing extends beyond the track to the desktops, laptops and handheld devices of NHRA fans via the NHRA Facebook page. Throughout the 2011 season, NHRA will enlist the expertise of the fans of the NHRA Facebook page to help determine the greatest moments from the first 60 years of NHRA drag racing. Beginning Sept. 6, fans will have the chance to go to the NHRA Facebook page to select the Moment they believe is the greatest from among the remaining 10 Moments of the original 60.

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. Two NHRA-sanctioned bracket racing series provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels: 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.

Connect with zMAX Dragway and stay up to speed with all the happenings at the Bellagio of drag strips on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zmaxdragway and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/zmaxdragway.