The Wally

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The Wally is the trophy awarded to winners of an NHRA national event. They have been handed out at national events starting with the 1969 NHRA race season. With an antique brass plating over a standard metal mix and a solid walnut base, the "Wally" (named after NHRA founder Wally Parks) is 18 inches tall and weighs 12 pounds. Contrary to popular belief, the Wally trophy does not feature Parks himself, but is rather modeled after Top Gas racer Jack Jones.[1]

Background[edit]

The NHRA was formed by Wally Parks in 1951 in an effort to promote the sport of drag racing while keeping young people from racing on local roads. The first national event was held in 1955 in Great Bend, Kansas on an abandoned air strip.[2] The first national event winner in the NHRA was 25-year-old Calvin Rice of Santa Ana, CA.[3]

In the June 30, 1995 issue of National Dragster, Jack Jones said, "Believe it or not, Wally Parks called me at my job and asked if I’d do him a favor, pose for pictures that would be used as models for the trophy." The Wally was modeled after the images taken of Jones during a photo shoot at Pomona Raceway in California in 1969.[4]

Variations[edit]

Variations of the Wally exist for other special purposes. Some of which include the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Wally, a scaled down replica of the national event Wally. The NHRA National Dragster Challenge Wally, awarded to NHRA Summit Series E.T. Bracket racers, is the same size as the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Wally but with a pewter finish. Beginning in 1994, a full scale Wally with a square base was first awarded to NHRA Junior Drag Racing League national champions. A variety of special awards including plaques and glass etched trophies integrate the image of the Wally.

Most victories[edit]

The table below outlines the drivers with the most NHRA national event victories in professional and sportsman categories. (As of Dec 27, 2010)

Driver National Event Wins
John Force 140
Warren Johnson 97
Frank Manzo 91
Bob Glidden* 85
Pat Austin 75
David Rampy 74
Dan Fletcher 70
Kenny Berstein* 69
Jeg Coughlin Jr. 66
Tony Schumacher 66
Greg Anderson 65
Larry Dixon 60
Joe Amato* 57
Bob Newberry* 50
Don Prudhomme* 49
Dave Schultz* 45
Edmond Richardson 44
Gary Scelzi* 43
Tony Pedregon 43
Angelle Sampey 41
Jeff Taylor 41
Jay Payne 39
Peter Biondo 39
Kurt Johnson 39
Ed VanDerKooi 5
Braydon Benko 2
Mark Simmons 2
Jean-François Blais 2

* Denotes retired or inactive drivers

References[edit]