After Many Years, NHRA Finally Decides to Move Headquarters Out of California

A dozen years ago the National Hot Rod Association was considering moving its California Headquarters to Indiana. They’re finally doing it, at least in part. PowerNation, an auto-focused news outlet, in learning that the organization will relocate jobs to Indianapolis, introduced the story this way:

“Every morning we head to check the news, it seems as though we’re hit with more sweeping auto restrictions in California and businesses abandoning ship, packing up, and leaving the once Golden State. While any tax-payer leaving stings, this one is certainly an indicator of the times.”

“As the National Hot Rod Association reaches its 70th season, it’s moved past its infancy and reached adulthood, seeking greener pastures. The teams and body that make up the organization have shifted their focus to Indianapolis, Indiana. The current office, residing in Glendora, California, an undoubtedly beautiful area . . . wasn’t enough to keep them there. The headquarters, valued at $4.6 million, is currently for sale. For the time being, some executives and operations will remain, but who knows for how long.” See more PowerNation’s: California Pushes the NHRA All the Way to Indiana.

California’s new restrictions are too hostile for the diverse car culture, such as a recent regulation where modified ECU’s [Engine Control Units] will needlessly fail smog checks and punish vehicle owners. MotorTrend explains in California Smog Testing Will Now Sniff Out (and Fail) Tuned ECUs:

“Beginning July 19, 2021, Californian automotive enthusiasts have yet another item to add to an ever-expanding list of dos and don’ts (mostly don’ts) regarding their mandatory biennial visits to certified smog facilities. Up to this point, if your car was armed with modified programming (software) on its ECU, and as long as you passed a smog test, no one would raise an eyebrow. Come Monday, however, if your car’s ECU program isn’t verified as legal by a California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) Executive Order, then your car won’t pass smog, regardless of its emissions output [emphasis added].

It is unfathomable what California thinks it will gain with such a punitive regulation. The NHRA has about 40,000 drivers on its roster, many of whom have already moved out of California because of overbearing regulations.

Autoweek interviewed nitro driver and current Funny Car Team owner-crew chief Del Worsham, who mentioned the “gradual migration” of auto innovators he’s witnessed out of Southern California.

“’There were so many manufacturers there that if you were in the Orange County area, you could have a car built, your clutch built, an engine built. Basically, anything you needed was in Southern California. It just made sense to have your Funny Car there. Everybody was here. Not as much today,’” Worsham said” in NHRA Abandons Cradle of Drag Racing, Shifts From Southern California Base.

Considering that the NHRA started in Los Angeles in the 1930s, this is a loss of still another California legacy enterprise. Other companies born in the state or with decades of headquarters there and moved away include Bechtel Corp., Callaway Golf, Carls’ Jr., Charles Schwab, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lockheed, McKesson Corp., Northrop, Parsons Engineering, and Toastmasters International.

Jeffrey Young, NHRA’s vice-president of marketing and communications, confirmed that the organization will split its operations between Glendora and Indianapolis. Some personnel have already relocated to the Indianapolis area. “We are not planning to move the entire headquarters to Indianapolis,” Young said. That means part of it will move, so in future reports by Spectrum Location Solutions this will be categorized as an HQ2-inspired relocation.

The NHRA has approximately 200 jobs in its California headquarters, an undetermined number of which will be moved. The 28,335-square foot headquarters is for sale with a notation that the seller is willing to lease back part of the building “for short or long term.” Information from the IRS indicates the organization finished 2019 with assets of $50.6 million and revenue of $93.6million.

Spectrum Location Solutions conducts data-driven evaluations to identify optimum locations for company relocations, expansions or consolidations. To explore whether a location-related project makes sense for your company, contact Joe Vranich at 800-508-5138. The get-acquainted, no-obligation consultation will be completely confidential.