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Tue, 4 Sep 2001, 08:31 AM

PRO Presents 50th Anniversary Guardian Angel Award to NHRA Safety Safari
Courtesy of Mike Lewis

CLERMONT, Ind. -- The Professional Racers Owners Organization (PRO) presented the NHRA 50th Anniversary Guardian Angel Award to the entire NHRA Safety Safari during pre-race ceremonies for the Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals. Most of the 50 current PRO members participated in the starting line presentation at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

Surrounded by the owners and drivers of NHRA Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock teams, PRO President Bob Vandergriff, Sr. issued the following statement in making the presentation:

"NHRA has achieved many milestones during its 50-year history. Those achievements and many great people have been recognized during this 50th Anniversary season, but to the PRO drivers who climb in these 200 and 300 MPH race cars, the most important people at an NHRA event are the men and women of the Safety Safari."

"The Professional Racers Owners Organization salutes the original Drag Safari members Bud Coons, Chic Cannon, Eric Rickman and Bud Evans who toured the country to set up the first organized NHRA races in the 'fifties. It was Steve Gibbs who established the modern-day Safety Safari in the 'seventies, constantly upgrading the equipment and personnel at NHRA events through the 'eighties and 'nineties. We're sure tomorrow's Safety Safari will continue to improve its work under the direction of Graham Light and Randy Robbins."

"The real heroes of the NHRA Safety Safari are the unsung heroes, the full-time and part-time members who put on their red shirts and dedicate every ounce of their energies to provide these drivers a safe race track for every run. They know that anything can happen in this sport and they're on the scene in seconds in an emergency situation. They don't do it for the money, they do it for the love of NHRA Drag Racing and there's no better safety and response team anywhere in motorsports."

"On behalf of all PRO owners and drivers it's an honor to present this 50th Anniversary Guardian Angel Award to the entire NHRA Safety Safari."

The Guardian Angel Award plaque lists the names of all full-time NHRA Safety Safari members and will be placed in the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, CA under an eight foot color banner showing the Safari in action. Commemorative pins were distributed to all past and present Safari members.

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