"We're framing it as Dave McClelland’s in-person concept, but molded it into something that anyone can enter from anywhere," Lohnes told us. "It will be done remotely as to include as many people as we can in the program."
Lohnes proposed the project leading into the off-season and just prior to 2022.
"We kicked around concepts and ideas and ways to execute it that were manageable. It should be fun to participate in, and I'm really proud of the fact that it's free to enter."
The NHRA D.R.A.G. school will consist of video (Zoom) classes, with each focusing on a different topic, and each of them will be recorded so users can watch them at a later date.
"There will be guests from around drag racing involved, and there will be an opportunity for one-on-one video coaching," Lohnes explained. "The video coaching part of this is a big deal. It's going to be tough for people to sit in front of their phone or computer and be critiqued. This is not a program to teach those involved to speak like me or anyone else. It is designed to bring out the best in each student so they can be the most successful version of themselves possible."
Lohnes has been announcing drag racing events for over two decades and also draws from a plethora of experience in video/television hosting and podcasting. Beyond Lohnes' personal attributes and experience, class content will include the aforementioned guest speakers, and also cover what announcers should be doing before, during, and after the events.
"Most people get in on announcing when a microphone falls on their lap or is shoved in their hand by a track operator," Lohnes told us. "This program is designed to teach people the role an announcer plays at a facility, which goes far beyond calling the runs. We're going to teach them how to prepare at their local track, which is way harder than being a national announcer. As a national event announcer, a lot of what we do is the same from event to event, but a local track announcer might be calling an import race one weekend and something completely different the next weekend. You need to be prepared to handle all of those."
The NHRA D.R.A.G. school will kick off its Zoom-based school towards the end of June, with each recorded class being available online for watching at a later date.
"We initially asked track operators to get word out to their announcers, but later decided to open the program up to pretty much anyone who wants to join and has motivation to better themselves as an announcer, or even learn what's needed to take the step and become one at their local track," Lohnes said. "I've noticed that there should be more of us doing this. There's never really been a training program or course for them. They don't know how to start or don't know how to advance themselves in the business. Now that I've been out on the road with the NHRA, we should have some of these people out there and help them grow."
According to Lohnes, interest in the new program is already buzzing.
"It's going crazy and we have a lot of people that have never announced before that are interested. Even if you've thought about it and never had the confidence to do it, this is the program for you."
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