Mike Gittings is the NHRA’s new Chief Starter, the drag racing series announced Thursday.
Gittings is the fourth Chief Starter in NHRA’s 65-plus-year history and assumes the post after former Chief Starter Mark Lyle died in a drowning accident in March.
Gittings officially takes over the post starting with the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals, May 13-15 at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, GA.
“It’s emotional taking over this position because I stood behind Mark for all those years,” Gittings said in this NHRA story. “But I learned so much from him, and I know he would want me to do this. I have had involvement in the sport of NHRA Drag Racing at many levels, from being a grassroots racer to event worker to managing races and working with sponsors. I am looking forward to this challenge, and I want to do a great job and always remember Mark when I am out there.”
Gittings was the NHRA Northwest Division starter since 2012 and was a member of the Northwest Division certification team, a race master, and starting-line track-prep worker since 2007. From 2000 to 2007, he worked as the starter at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, and prior to that, he was a track employee there and the 1998 Pro category track champion.
“Mike worked very closely with Mark over the years, and we feel he is ready for the challenge,” said Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president of racing operations. “Through his years of experience as the Division 6 and Pacific Raceways chief starter, Mike has earned the respect of the racers and acquired the skills necessary to handle this very demanding and critical position.”