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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.
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. The first national event winner in the NHRA was 25-year-old Calvin Rice of Santa Ana, CA.
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.
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.
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|
|Jeg Coughlin Jr.||66|
* Denotes retired or inactive drivers
- "The Wally: Drag racing's most prestigious trophy" “NHRA.com” retrieved February 25, 2010
- "NHRA, Kansas remember first national event" "NHRA.com", May 25, 2001, retrieved February 25, 2010
- "First National Championship Drags is highlight of tremendous 1955 season" "NHRA.com", retrieved February 25, 2010
- "Jack Jones", retrieved February 25, 2010