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NHRA’s Youth & Education Services Program presented by the U.S. Army, the first and only program of its kind in the world of motorsports, is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2009 and continues to inspire and provide career guidance to thousands of high school students all across the U.S.

Created in 1989 as way to connect education and drag racing, the Y.E.S Program is a one day event held at 16 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events each season. It is motorsports’ first and only full-time program devoted exclusively to educational programming. The Y.E.S. Program demonstrates to young men and women the variety of career opportunities within motorsports, the U.S. Army and the automotive industry.

The central themes of the Y.E.S. Program are: the need for continued education; the value of job-specific training; the relevance of establishing clear, attainable goals; and awareness of the variety of career options surrounding motorsports.

“NHRA is very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish through the Y.E.S. Program during the last 20 years,” said Gary Darcy, senior vice president of sales and marketing, NHRA. “It has been a very important tool for the NHRA that helps us reach out to today’s youth and offer some guidance and direction as they begin to make choices for a career path, including the importance of education, goal-setting and good citizenship. The U.S. Army and our outstanding group of YES partners have been extremely important in helping to implement the mission of the program and we want to thank them for all they’ve done over the years to enhance and contribute to the program’s success.”

Since 2000, the U.S. Army has partnered with NHRA to present the Y.E.S. Program. The U.S. Army offers a variety of experiences for NHRA fans of all ages from the Army Strong Interactive Zone displays in Nitro Alley to its marquee series of special programs offered at the track and in the classroom focused on teaching area youth the value of education and the importance of embodying the Army Strong characteristics of mental, emotional and physical strength. With the U.S. Army’s involvement, NHRA is able to provide more than 23,000 youth around the country the opportunity to participate in the Y.E.S. Program each year.

Joining the U.S. Army as key partners in the Y.E.S. Program include: Wyotech, Universal Technical Institute, Mercedes Benz, Beat the Heat, AAA, Skills USA, Lincoln Technical Institute, Lincoln Electric and B.R.A.K.E.S.

While attending the Y.E.S. Program at an NHRA Full Throttle Series event, students visit the interactive midway that includes booths set up by career- and education-focused partners. They also attend a short panel discussion that is headlined by six-time Top Fuel world champion and U.S. Army Top Fuel driver Tony Schumacher and others from the NHRA community.

Speakers encourage students to think about how the decisions they make today will affect their career opportunities later in life. When the panel discussion is complete the attendees are encouraged to stay and watch that day’s racing.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 24 national events through its NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. NHRA has 80,000 members and 140 member tracks. The NHRA-sanctioned sportsman and bracket racing series provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels.

The NHRA develops the stars of tomorrow by offering the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, 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.

Here is a full schedule of dates and times.

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