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Legendary Drag Racing Announcer Dave McClelland Passes Away At 85

Posted By: Steve Baur
Legendary Drag Racing Announcer Dave McClelland Passes Away At 85
 
One of drag racing’s legendary voices passed away on May 20, 2022. Best known as an NHRA announcer and broadcaster, Dave “Big Mac” McClelland died of natural causes, which initiated an outpouring of support and remembrances on social media.
 

Beginning his career behind the camera at a Little Rock, Arkansas, TV station in the ’50s, McClelland announced his first race at the close of that decade. In the early ’60s, he announced races and worked several broadcasting jobs, before managing racetracks and eventually joining the NHRA as a full-time employee where he served as an announcer and broadcaster from the ’70s through the ’90s.
 
“There remains nothing to be said, as he said it all. With grace, with gravity, with passion, and with a heart embedded in the sport,” current NHRA announcer Brian Lohnes said of McClelland. “How fortunate we were to have him as our voice.”
 
In 1978, McClelland departed NHRA and joined Argus Publishing where he sold advertising for Popular Hot Rodding magazine. There he spearheaded the creation of the wildly successful Super Chevy event series, but he remained active as the Voice of Drag Racing.
 

After he retired from announcing and broadcasting, McClelland became a regular on the banquet and awards circuits, where he served as master of ceremonies for events ranging from the SEMA Banquet to our own NMRA and NMCA awards ceremonies. 
 
“Early on in our series history, Dave McClelland was one of our biggest and most notable supporters,” said Steve Wolcott President and CEO of NMRA and NMCA. “Dave was the first announcer for our PRO-Edelbrock series (just before ProMedia acquired NMCA) and was the host of our PRI awards ceremonies. Dave’s constant words of encouragement and support meant a tremendous amount to our team in those early years. His ability to relate with our racers and sponsors, making everyone he met feel special, was something truly unique. There will never be another Dave McClelland.”
 
His memorial service will be private, but his family plans on hosting a public celebration of life. Those wanting to honor McClelland were asked not to send flowers, but rather to donate to Racers for Christ or the Drag Racing Association of Women.

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