Founder’s Award

Steve Earwood’s reputation, as one of drag racing’s most innovative promoters, as reflected in the fact that while he twice was honored as the IHRA’s national promoter of the year (2001 and 2008). He also is a member of the NHRA Southeast division Hall of Fame and in 2015 was named promoter of the year by the ADRA.

No matter the acronym, few individuals have had a bigger impact on the straight-line landscape, then has the NHRA’s former National Media Relations Director. A founding member of the North Carolina Motorsports Association, Earwood also serves on North Carolina’s Governors Motorsports Advisory Council. Is a voting board member of the National Fire Protection Association, which drafted document 610, that serves as a fire safety guideline for all forms of motor racing.

Being a former member of the board on the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, Racers for Christ International, and Godspeed Ministries; Earwood settled in the Carolinas in 1992 following his purchase of Rockingham Dragway.

Prior to that, he directed NHRA’s National Media Program for 10 seasons, was Marketing Vice President of Billy Myers Texas Multiplex, Vice President/General Manager/Co-Owner of Atlanta Dragway, and PR Consultant to Raymond Beadle’s Blue Max team. Which won NASCAR’s Winston Cup Championship in 1989.

Over the last quarter-century, his creativity and tireless effort in keeping “The Rock” viable in and ever-changing marketplace have not gone unnoticed. Steve was recognized in 1994 as the “Man of the Year”, in NHRA’s Southeast Division and in 2010 as Richmond Counties “Citizen of the Year”.

Although he never raced competitively, Earwood grew up in a motor racing family. His late father, Charles Earwood, served as Chief Steward for the SCCA’s Trans Am series, among many others. His brother Terry, is a former US Nationals Champion (1973); who went on to success in road racing and as a professional driving instructor.

It is while he was attending West Georgia College, the Earwood first began to utilize his public relations skills in the organization and operation of the Southern Pro-Stock Circuit. A one-off opportunity to promote the Gatornationals in 1975, was so successful that it resulted in a full-time gig at the NHRA. In 1976 Steve was recognized as one of Car Craft Magazine’s “Hi-Risers”.

Earwood transformed “The Rock” from the track that once contested just to events year, to one that today, is among the nation’s most active. It continues to offer one of the most diverse schedules in the nation. Hosting races in the American Motorcycle Racing Association all Harley Aeries. It also hosts manufacturer specific events including: The Super Chevy Show, Mopar’s at the Rock, and the Fun Ford Weekend. There are premier bracket races like the Big John Memorial Day Weekend Championships, Powerfest. Also, outlaw street races like the Rausch Yates Spring and Fall Sportsman Wars. Then there is the specialty event Rugged Maniac Series, which features people power on an obstacle course, instead of horsepower on the drag strip.

In addition to his success in track operation, Earwood also successfully promoted IMSA Camel GT races, SCCA Trans Am events, and the SCCA National Runoffs. He also has represented individual race teams in drag racing, NASCAR, Trans Am, IMSA, and the World of Outlaws.