Hagan Streaks To Gatornationals Victory

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 14 2023

Matt Hagan drove his Tony Stewart-owned Funny Car to victory in Gainesville on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

Matt Hagan continued his workmanlike ascent up NHRA’s all-time Funny Car wins list, and put on repeat smile on team-owner Tony Stewart’s face, with a victory in the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

Hagan’s win over J.R. Todd in the 2023 season-opener at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway was his 44th, placing the native of Virginia fourth on a list led by fellow-world champions John Force, Ron Capps and Robert Hight.

Recall that Hagan delivered Tony Stewart Racing its first NHRA national event victory last season, when the historic Florida facility was positioned in its traditional spot as the East Coast opener.

“It was great to win Tony’s first Wally here last year and this one is very special, too,” said Hagan, the Funny Car world champion in 2011, 2014 and 2020. “It’s different to start the whole season at Gainesville after decades at Pomona (and the Winternationals). But the crowd here was just spectacular. It took me two hours to get into the track on Saturday. It was a sellout.

“Winning my 44th NHRA national event is very special when you have legends like John Force, Ron Capps and Robert Hight in front of me. I’m younger than those guys but it feels great to have that many wins. For the past several years, it’s been those guys and several others for the title at the end of the year. Now, with this win, it’s a super-way to start the 2023 season.”

Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also emerged victorious at the first of 21 races during the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Hagan powered to victory via a 1,000-foot run of 3.926-seconds at 329.34 mph in his Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Hagan and Todd posted identical reaction times on the starting line, but Todd ran into trouble late in the run as Hagan blasted away. En route to the final, Hagan defeated Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III and Alexis DeJoria, making three straight runs in the 3.80s.

Hagan made his professional series debut in 2008, qualifying for the prestigious U.S. Nationals outside Indianapolis. After going his entire career without winning in Gainesville, Hagan now has posted back-to-back Gatornats victories.

“Can’t say enough about Dickie Venables (crew chief) and the crew today,” said Hagan, a 40-year-old resident of Christiansburg, Va. “It’s Dickie’s birthday and this win is a present for him. We had the entire crew come back this year, which is rare in motorsports. We have a new chassis which I had to get accustomed to with a different steering setup and clutch position in the new car, but testing helped me get used to it. We thought we had a good car after testing and it says a lot with Dickie’s experience and the crew’s effort.

“I knew it was going to be a good race, and honestly, J.R. poked out there in front of me. And then something happened over there to him and we drove around him and turn on the win light. I can’t thank Dodge and Mopar enough for their assistance with our TSR squad. The Direct Connection Dodge SRT Charger Hellcat ran awesome.”

Hagan qualified fifth on the 16-car ladder led by three-time/reigning Funny Car world champion Capps and his Toyota GR Supra the native Californian introduced last season as a rookie team-owner/driver.

“Every winter we look at what we can do better,” Venables said. “So, we looked at the equipment and we had a new chassis that was a different design. Plus, we had a few new engine parts, too. We came down to Gainesville to test and we made 14 runs. It showed a lot of promise and it finally came together at the end of testing. We thought we had something better than last year. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way.

“We know Matt will drive the wheels off the car and it’s a great way to start the season. Matt had to get used to a new chassis and so do we on the crew side. The timing into the final round was a little tight. They had a TV window they needed to get to and we had about 50 minutes before the final. Our guys just knocked it out of the park preparing for the final.”

Todd, who won at Gainesville in Funny Car during the 2021 season, defeated Blake Alexander, Hight and Chad Green to reach his 42nd career final. Todd won the 2018 championship in Ha-Ha Car and the 2014 Top Fuel title in his first season with Kalitta Motorsports.

In Top Fuel, Mike Salinas won for the first time in Gainesville and the eighth time in his career, edging four-time world champion Steve Torrence in the final with a 1,000-foot pass in 3.700-seconds at 330.31 mph in his Valley Services dragster. Salinas, who won a career-best four national events last year, impressed throughout eliminations by beating Justin Ashley, two-time/reigning world champ Brittany Force and Leah Pruett to reach the final.

The California businessman’s basic black “Scrappers” dragster ran as quick as 3.669-seconds on race day. “I think we’re going to be really good all year long, but we’re fighting with the best in the world,” said Salinas, a 62-year-old resident of Morgan Hill, Calif. “The teams out here are no joke. You better bring your ‘A’ game every time, but everyone is beatable. It’s special what we have right now. These guys have taught me how to win and it’s a mindset. You appreciate wins like these because they’re so hard to come by.”

Torrence, of Kilgore, Texas, reached a final for the 82nd time in his family-owned Toyota dragster by trailering Scott Palmer, eight-time world champ and fellow-Texan Tony Schumacher and Doug Kalitta. The latter set the track’s E.T. record with a run of 3.646-seconds earlier in the day.

Troy Coughlin Jr.’s excellent Pro Stock experience ended with his first Gatornationals victory. Coughlin closed-out Sunday with a quarter-mile run of 6.637-seconds at 208.71 mph in his Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to defeat Mason McGaha. Coughlin, who qualified No. 1, earned his third career win by beating veteran Larry Morgan, Deric Kramer and Dallas Glenn to set up the match with McGaha.

“I was a little fired-up today,” said Coughlin, the 26-year-old son of two-time Pro Mod world champion Troy Coughlin and grandson of drag racing legend Jeg Coughlin Sr., all of Columbus, Ohio. Troy Jr. is among the seven fulltime drivers competing for Oklahoma-based Elite Motorsports, where five-time/reigning world champion Erica Enders is the team leader.

“At Elite Motorsports, it’s a little newer than the JEGS so-called legacy,” Coughlin said. “It doesn’t date back to 1960, but it’s the same type of honor to me. You look at Erica, she’s a five-time world champion and you’re driving for a team that wins championships. They have that same demeanor when they drive through the gates. They expect to win and we’re one big family. That’s the coolest thing about it. When one car is out, we all work together.”

McGaha, of Odessa, Texas, advanced by defeating Fernando Cuadra, Kyle Koretsky and five-time world champ Greg Anderson to reach his second final round.

Gaige Herrera delivered a statement Pro Stock Motorcycle victory for Vance & Hines, topped by a final-round victory over Angie Smith. Herrera covered the quarter-mile in 6.706-seconds at 202.15 mph aboard his Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki Hayabusa to beat Smith and her EBR. Herrera scored his first career Pro Stock Bike win in in his debut with famed Vance & Hines _ qualifying No. 1 and setting the track speed record in the process.

Herrera defeated Ron Tornow on his Victory, Vane & Hines teammate and four-time world champ Eddie Krawiec and Jianna Evaristo to reach the final. Herrera made the quickest pass of each session before finishing the job in the final.

“This is a dream,” said Herrera, 29, who is working with crew chief and six-time world champ Andrew Hines. “Vance & Hines is such an awesome team to work with. They help so much and it shows. I’m at a loss for words. I’m just out here having fun and I can’t believe I’m holding this Wally (trophy). To make this Vance & Hines team happy, it’s just an unbelievable feeling. To win out here and to do it in front of all these fans, it’s just amazing.”

A fourth-generation racer from La Habra, Calif., Gaige is following a career path blazed by grandfather Phil and father Augustine on the West Coast. Gaige enjoyed previous success in XDA’s Pro Street and Outlaw racing classes. He is a longtime Suzuki rider, holding the record for fastest Nitrous Suzuki Hayabusa in the country. He also has been a customer of Vance & Hines for the past five years.

Herrera qualified for four-of-six NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle events he entered last season, making his debut during the prestigious U.S. Nationals aboard the Stoffer/Underdahl Team Suzuki. He later scored points with the Vance & Hines hierarchy when he rode Krawiec’s Suzuki during a test at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October.

Angie Smith, wife of six-time/reigning PSM world champion Matt Smith, advanced to her second straight final in Gainesville and ran 6.845-seconds at 181.84 mph in the championship round. Angie defeated John Hall, Joey Gladstone and rookie Chase Van Zant earlier in the day.

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns with the NHRA Arizona Finals on March 24-26 _ final race scheduled at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Ariz.

Canadian Justin Bond opened the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season with a victory for mom, defeating J.R. Gray in the final of the Gatornationals. The event was the first of 10 races during the 2023 season in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports.

Bond ran 5.732-seconds at 250.74 mph in his Bahrain 1 Racing 1969 Chevrolet Camaro to trailer Gray’s Camaro and pick up his fourth career win. Bond also defeated Dwayne Wolfe, Doug Winters and defending world champ Kris Thorne to reach the final, posting reaction times of 0.016-seconds or better during the first three rounds.

“It’s my mom’s birthday and she’s 82 today,” said Bond, a resident of British Columbia. “I’ve missed her last five birthdays while Pro Mod racing. My kids flew in on Friday and we always do good when they come. When made a little video this morning for mom and this win is for her.”

Gray beat Paul Daigrepont, Mike Thielen and Mike Castellana to reach his fourth career final.

Pro Mod will return to action on April 28-30 as part of the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

Final finishing order (1-16) at the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida. The race was the first of 21 events on the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule:

Top Fuel _ 1. Mike Salinas; 2. Steve Torrence; 3. Leah Pruett; 4. Doug Kalitta; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Tony Schumacher; 7. Antron Brown; 8. Austin Prock; 9. Josh Hart; 10. Shawn Langdon; 11. Clay Millican; 12. Justin Ashley; 13. Doug Foley; 14. Spencer Massey; 15. Scott Palmer; 16. Keith Murt. 

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan; 2. J.R. Todd; 3. Alexis DeJoria; 4. Chad Green; 5. Bob Tasca III; 6. John Force; 7. Ron Capps; 8. Robert Hight; 9. Blake Alexander; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Paul Lee; 12. Tim Wilkerson; 13. John Smith; 14. Terry Haddock; 15. Cruz Pedregon; 16. Dave Richards. 

Pro Stock _ 1. Troy Coughlin Jr.; 2. Mason McGaha; 3. Dallas Glenn; 4. Greg Anderson; 5. Matt Hartford; 6. Deric Kramer; 7. Kyle Koretsky; 8. Jerry Tucker; 9. Aaron Stanfield; 10. Fernando Cuadra; 11. Bo Butner; 12. Cristian Cuadra; 13. Chris McGaha; 14. Larry Morgan; 15. Camrie Caruso; 16. Erica Enders.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Gaige Herrera; 2. Angie Smith; 3. Jianna Evaristo; 4. Chase Van Sant; 5. Joey Gladstone; 6. Eddie Krawiec; 7. Matt Smith; 8. Ryan Oehler; 9. Steve Johnson; 10. Kelly Clontz; 11. Hector Arana Jr.; 12. John Hall; 13. Marc Ingwersen; 14. Ron Tornow; 15. Chip Ellis; 16. Richard Gadson.

Pro Modified _ 1. Justin Bond; 2. J.R. Gray; 3. Kris Thorne; 4. Mike Castellana; 5. Mike Thielen; 6. Jerico Balduf; 7. Dmitry Samorukov; 8. Doug Winters; 9. Kevin Rivenbark; 10. Manny Buglinga; 11. Sidnei Frigo; 12. Khalid alBalooshi; 13. Dwayne Wolfe; 14. Paul Daigrepont; 15. Mason Wright; 16. Billy Banaka. 

Final Pro and Sportsman class results from Gainesville Raceway:

Top Fuel _ Mike Salinas, 3.700-seconds, 330.31 mph def. Steve Torrence, 3.754-seconds, 333.82 mph. 

Funny Car _ Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.926, 329.34 def. J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 4.141, 239.95.

Pro Stock _ Troy Coughlin Jr., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.637, 208.71 def. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.765, 207.94.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.706, 202.15 def. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.845, 181.84.

Top Alcohol Dragster _ Julie Nataas, 5.147, 276.18 def. Cody Krohn, 5.213, 277.77.

Top Alcohol Funny Car _ Matt Gill, Chevy Camaro, 5.511, 266.69 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 7.084, 143.40. 

Competition Eliminator _ Jim Greenheck, Chevy Camaro, 7.599, 169.51 def. Joseph Arrowsmith, Pontiac GTO, 7.939, 164.79.

Super Stock _ Peter D’Agnolo, Chevy Camaro, 9.566, 130.92 def. Kevin Helms, Oldsmobile Achieva, 9.332, 143.93.

Stock Eliminator _ Jeff Strickland, Chevy Camaro, 9.269, 144.03 def. Brenda Grubbs, Camaro, 9.901, 123.27.

Super Comp _ Mike Robilotto, Dragster, 8.880, 178.35 def. Kent Hanley, Dragster, 8.863, 174.44.

Super Gas _ John Taylor, Dodge Dakota, 9.923, 162.55 def. Jeffrey Jensen, Chevy Corvette, 9.914, 166.70.

Super Street _ Colby Fuller, Chevy Camaro, 10.928, 136.58 def. Dan Fletcher, Chevy Nova, 10.924, 127.53.

Top Sportsman _ Doug Crumlich, Chevy Corvette, 6.595, 209.39 def. Mark Buehring, Chevy Cobalt, 6.845, 193.68.

Pro Modified_ Justin Bond, Chevy Camaro, 5.732, 250.74 def. J.R. Gray, Camaro, 7.070, 144.18.

Factory Stock Showdown _ Joseph Welch, Dodge Challenger, 7.638, 185.18 def. Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 8.309, 134.70.

Final round-by-round results from Gainesville Raceway:


ROUND ONE _ Tony Schumacher, 3.722, 332.02 def. Josh Hart, 3.693, 335.40; Austin Prock, 3.706, 331.53 def. Clay Millican, 3.705, 325.85; Brittany Force, 3.692, 333.99 def. Keith Murt, 4.100, 227.46; Leah Pruett, 3.686, 334.15 def. Doug Foley, 3.804, 304.12; Doug Kalitta, 3.646, 333.82 def. Spencer Massey, 3.804, 270.70; Steve Torrence, 3.689, 334.32 def. Scott Palmer, 3.871, 310.48; Antron Brown, 3.706, 326.87 def. Shawn Langdon, 3.704, 333.49; Mike Salinas, 3.669, 334.82 def. Justin Ashley, 3.754, 330.88;

QUARTERFINALS _ Torrence, 3.741, 328.22 def. Schumacher, 4.348, 216.38; Pruett, 3.731, 325.92 def. Prock/Broke; Salinas, 3.699, 334.32 def. Force, 3.758, 332.75; Kalitta, 3.716, 334.32 def. Brown, 7.799, 78.90;

SEMIFINALS _ Torrence, 3.779, 328.14 def. Kalitta, 5.773, 148.33; Salinas, 3.727, 332.67 def. Pruett, 4.379, 218.27;

FINAL _ Salinas, 3.700, 330.31 def. Torrence, 3.754, 333.82. 


ROUND ONE _ J.R. Todd, Toyota Supra, 3.893, 331.04 def. Blake Alexander, Ford Mustang, 3.953, 323.04; Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.865, 332.84 def. Alex Laughlin, Dodge Charger, 3.993, 320.51; John Force, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.527, 99.27 def. Dave Richards, Mustang/Broke; Ron Capps, Supra, 3.855, 334.57 def. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 6.478, 90.28; Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.843, 334.98 def. John Smith, Charger, 4.477, 201.07; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.879, 335.82 def. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.233, 221.63; Chad Green, Mustang, 3.943, 327.27 def. Paul Lee, Charger, 4.137, 253.95; Alexis DeJoria, Supra, 3.900, 334.32 def. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 8.424, 89.00;

QUARTERFINALS _ Hagan, 3.882, 329.67 def. Tasca III, 3.922, 328.14; DeJoria, 3.931, 330.47 def. Capps, 9.617, 74.27; Todd, 3.913, 329.99 def. Hight, 23.626, 59.96; Green, 3.934, 321.19 def. Force, 3.942, 329.91;

SEMIFINALS _ Todd, 3.903, 332.43 def. Green, 3.967, 325.69; Hagan, 3.896, 330.39 def. DeJoria, 3.912, 327.19;

FINAL _ Hagan, 3.926, 329.34 def. Todd, 4.141, 239.95.


ROUND ONE _ Deric Kramer, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.559, 208.84 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.577, 210.44; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.575, 209.10 def. Cristian Cuadra, Ford Mustang, Foul/Red Light; Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.553, 209.82 def. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.578, 210.05; Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.529, 210.47 def. Camrie Caruso, Camaro, 8.169, 119.79; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.558, 210.47 def. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.543, 210.90; Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.564, 210.21 def. Fernando Cuadra, Mustang, 6.553, 208.71; Jerry Tucker, Camaro, 8.125, 120.22 def. Erica Enders, Camaro/Broke; Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.560, 211.26 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.595, 206.80;

QUARTERFINALS _ Anderson, 6.625, 208.65 def. J. Tucker, Foul/Red Light; Coughlin Jr., 6.564, 210.41 def. Kramer, 6.571, 209.14; M. McGaha, 6.595, 209.14 def. Koretsky, Fou/Red Light; Glenn, 6.547, 209.92 def. Hartford, 6.550, 210.67;

SEMIFINALS _ M. McGaha, 6.607, 209.72 def. Anderson, 6.610, 208.52; Coughlin Jr., 6.586, 209.43 def. Glenn, 6.579, 209.75;

FINAL _ Coughlin Jr., 6.637, 208.71 def. M. McGaha, 6.765, 207.94.


ROUND ONE _ Eddie Krawiec, Suzuki, 6.763, 200.20 def. Hector Arana Jr., EBR, 6.858, 198.17; Angie Smith, EBR, 6.793, 202.58 def. John Hall, Buell, Foul/Red Light; Jianna Evaristo, Suzuki, 6.828, 196.50 def. Marc Ingwersen, EBR, 6.920, 196.33; Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.870, 194.91 def. Chip Ellis, EBR/Broke; Gaige Herrera, Suzuki, 6.704, 201.52 def. Ron Tornow, Victory, 7.161, 191.51; Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.813, 196.85 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, Foul/Red Light; Chase Van Sant, Suzuki, 6.809, 198.61 def. Richard Gadson, Suzuki, Broke/No Show; Matt Smith, Suzuki, 6.780, 200.29 def. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 6.844, 196.30;

QUARTERFINALS _ A. Smith, 15.908, 47.59 def. Gladstone, Foul/Red Light; Van Sant, 6.795, 198.58 def. Oehler, 6.915, 195.70; Evaristo, 6.846, 196.22 def. M. Smith, 6.864, 199.49; Herrera, 6.708, 201.73 def. Krawiec, 6.814, 199.94;

SEMIFINALS _ A. Smith, 6.882, 199.52 def. Van Sant, 6.962, 189.71; Herrera, 6.742, 200.89 def. Evaristo, 6.883, 193.21;

FINAL _ Herrera, 6.706, 202.15 def. A. Smith, 6.845, 181.84.


ROUND ONE _ Mike Thielen, Chevrolet Camaro, 5.806, 243.85 def. Kevin Rivenbark, Camaro, 5.771, 246.71; Doug Winters, Chevy Chevelle, 7.765, 121.52 def. Mason Wright, Camaro, Foul/Centerline; Mike Castellana, Camaro, 9.544, 90.44 def. Billy Banaka, Camaro/Broke; Dmitry Samorukov, Camaro, 5.803, 246.75 def. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 6.585, 146.30; Kris Thorne, Camaro, 5.764, 232.63 def. Manny Buglinga, Camaro, 5.862, 226.28; J.R. Gray, Camaro, 6.044, 236.30 def. Paul Daigrepont, Camaro, 9.014, 131.47; Justin Bond, Camaro, 5.726, 249.67 def. Dwayne Wolfe, Camaro, 6.909, 139.49; Jerico Balduf, Chevelle, 5.721, 254.71 def. Sidnei Frigo, Chevelle, 5.948, 200.14;

QUARTERFINALS _ Gray, 5.818, 246.89 def. Thielen, 5.875, 241.58; Thorne, 5.857, 246.62 def. Samorukov, 9.418, 97.17; Bond, 6.038, 212.59 def. Winters, Foul/Centerline; Castellana, 5.760, 248.16 def. Balduf, 8.112, 113.79; 

SEMIFINALS _ Gray, 5.769, 249.95 def. Castellana, 9.666, 91.82; Bond, 5.759, 248.89 def. Thorne, 5.981, 192.49;

FINAL _ Bond, 5.732, 250.74 def. Gray, 7.070, 144.18.

Point standings (top-10) following the 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway:

Top Fuel _ 1. Mike Salinas, 115; 2. Steve Torrence, 99; 3. Doug Kalitta, 79; 4. Leah Pruett, 77; 5. Brittany Force, 67; 6. Antron Brown, 54; 7. (tie) Austin Prock and Tony Schumacher, 52; 9. Clay Millican, 34; 10. Josh Hart, 33.

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, 114; 2. J.R. Todd, 90; 3. Chad Green, 73; 4. Alexis DeJoria, 72; 5. John Force, 64; 6. Ron Capps, 62; 7. Bob Tasca III, 60; 8. Robert Hight, 57; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 33; 10. (tie) Blake Alexander, Paul Lee, Tim Wilkerson, 32.

Pro Stock _ 1. Troy Coughlin Jr., 121; 2. Mason McGaha, 97; 3. Dallas Glenn, 77; 4. Greg Anderson, 76; 5. Kyle Koretsky, 54; 6. Deric Kramer, 53; 7. (tie) Matt Hartford and Jerry Tucker, 51; 9. Erica Enders, 42; 10. (tie) Bo Butner and Aaron Stanfield, 36.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Gaige Herrera, 128; 2. Angie Smith, 94; 3. Chase Van Sant, 82; 4. Jianna Evaristo, 74; 5. Matt Smith, 57; 6. (tie) Eddie Krawiec and Ryan Oehler, 52; 8. Joey Gladstone, 51; 9. Steve Johnson, 42; 10. Chip Ellis, 34.

Pro Modified _1. Justin Bond, 117; 2. J.R. Gray, 101; 3. Kris Thorne, 78; 4. Mike Castellana, 75; 5. Jerico Balduf, 54; 6. (tie) Dmitry Samorukov and Mike Thielen, 52; 8. Doug Winters, 53; 9. Khalid alBalooshi, 35; 10. Kevin Rivenbark, 33.


March 9-12 _ 54th annual Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway: Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Troy Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock), Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle), Justin Bond (Pro Modified); Josh Hart (Pep Boys NHRA Top Fuel All-Star Callout).

March 24-26 _ 38th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Chandler, Ariz.

March 30-April 2 _ 63rd annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif.

April 14-16 _ 23rd annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

April 28-30 _ 13th annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.

May 19-21 _ 23rd annual Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance, Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, Ill.

June 2-4 _ 10th annual NHRA New England Nationals, New England Dragway, Epping, N.H.

June 9-11 _ 22nd annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol Dragway, Bristol, Tenn.

June 22-25 _ 17th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk, Ohio

July 14-16 _ 43rd annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA Mile-High Nationals, Bandimere Speedway, Morrison, Colo.

July 21-23 _ 34th annual Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, Pacific Raceways, Kent, Wash.

July 28-30 _ 35th annual DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway

Aug. 11-13 _ 34th annual Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor, Heartland Motorsports Park, Topeka, Kan.

Aug. 17-20 _ 41st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway

Aug. 30-Sept. 4 _ 69th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals, Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park, Clermont, Ind. The event also will include the Pep Boys NHRA Funny Car All-Star Callout.


Sept. 14-17 _ 38th annual Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa.

Sept. 22-24 _ 15th annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.

Sept. 29-Oct. 1 _ 12th annual NHRA Midwest Nationals, World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, Ill.

Oct. 12-15 _ 38th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals, Texas Motorplex, Ennis

Oct. 26-29 _ 23rd annual NHRA Nevada Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Nov. 9-12 _ 58th annual NHRA Finals, Pomona Raceway, Pomona, Calif.

(Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, March 14 2023
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