FT. WORTH, TX – Stacy Hall, a world champion in the PDRA’s sportsman ranks, appears on the cover of Drag Illustrated’s new Sportsman Special Issue, which was released on August 1. Along with Hall, the 12th annual Sportsman Issue includes features on numerous other sportsman racers, as well as tributes to a few of the people the sport has lost over the last two months.
Hall, who won the 2020 PDRA Top Sportsman world championship and recently won the Summit Racing PDRA ProStars race in Top Dragster, shares the stories behind his career in racing. He started as a teenager sweeping the floors at Gene Fulton’s Fulton Competition Engines during the week and bracket racing on the weekends. He’s since become one of the lead engine builders for Fulton, building engines and providing support for customers like three-time PDRA Pro Nitrous world champion Jim Halsey. Hall has also become one of the most respected racers in the PDRA’s increasingly competitive Top Sportsman and Top Dragster classes.
“Stacy Hall is the perfect example of the sportsman racers who make up the backbone of our sport,” said Nate Van Wagnen, editor-in-chief, Drag Illustrated. “Now 52, he’s been dedicated to drag racing since he was a teenager. He’s had incredible success behind the wheel, and as an engine builder, he’s had a hand in some of Pro Modified racing’s biggest moments. He’s stayed humble through all of this, and we’re proud to give him some well-deserved recognition on the cover of Drag Illustrated.”
NHRA CAMPING WORLD DRAG RACING SERIES HEADS TO TOPEKA FOR MENARDS NHRA NATIONALS PRESENTED BY PETARMOR
TOPEKA, KS – Known as the House of Speed, Heartland Motorsports Park is again set to host the exciting, must-see action of 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph racing from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series at the Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor on Aug. 12-14.
It is the 14th of 22 races during the 2022 season and the event will mark the first time since 1997 that all four NHRA professional categories (Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle) will be in action at Topeka. That guarantees a thrilling and memorable weekend at a facility known for record-breaking performances and monumental speeds, as fans get to enjoy a primetime nitro qualifying session on Friday, two qualifying sessions on Saturday, and final eliminations on Sunday.
With the Countdown to the Championship playoffs approaching, the race also comes at a pivotal point as race teams look to pick up a key win at Topeka’s House of Speed. Brittany Force (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock) won the 2021 event, and this year’s race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including live eliminations coverage starting at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 14.
Semifinal Appearance for Pruett and Dodge//SRT at Northwest Nationals to Close Out NHRA Western Swing
Kent, WA — Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) pilot Leah Pruett closed out the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) three-event Western Swing by taking her Sparkling Ice +Caffeine Dodge//SRT Top Fuel dragster from the No. 12 seeded position to a semifinal appearance at the Northwest Nationals near Seattle, Washington.
Pruett drove to a 3.897-second elapsed time pass in the final qualifying session to secure the spot on the eliminations ladder that paired her with No. 5 qualifier Antron Brown for the opening round. She kicked off eliminations by beating Brown on the tree by 0.003 seconds, then battling it out the entire length of the track before the Dodge//SRT dragster turned on the win lights with Pruett’s quickest run of the weekend, a 3.781-second pass at 325.69 mph to defeat her opponent’s 3.796 sec./320.81 mph effort.
In the quarterfinals, Pruett had another close battle with No. 4 qualifier Doug Kalitta whom she chased down with a (0.080-second reaction time) 3.818 sec./322.42 mph run to better his (0.075-second RT) 3.827 sec./316.67 mph pass and take the round win with a 0.0041-second margin of victory. That set up a semifinal match-up with Brittany Force against whom a loss of traction at the start of the lap sent Pruett’s chances to challenge the current Top Fuel points leader up in smoke and ended what has been a solid three week campaign for her TSR team.
KENT, WA – Rookie Pro Stock driver Camrie Caruso wrapped up the Western Swing with a quarterfinal finish at the NHRA Northwest Nationals today from Pacific Raceways outside of Seattle. The 24-year-old driver powered her Tequila Comisario Chevrolet Camaro past Cristian Cuadra in the first round before losing an incredibly close match-up with Troy “TJ” Coughlin Jr. It was the sixth time this season Caruso, who has Titan Racing Engine power under the hood, has raced to at least the quarterfinals in her young career.
“It was good to get another first round win,” said Caruso. “We have our confidence back and I feel like we have our race car back. We fixed a few things and we are in a good place. We are back to making solid progress. We are going to be good and we’ll keep getting better over these last two regular season races.”
In the opening round facing Cuadra for the third time in her career Caruso was giving up lane choice but not confidence. The rookie driver from Denver, North Carolina, knew her team had used the information gathered from their three qualifying runs to put the Tequila Comisario Camaro in a great position to win. As both cars staged it was Cuadra jumping the start for a redlight disqualification as Caruso launched and made her quickest run of the weekend. The 6.610 second pass was one of the quickest runs of the first round and improved her head-to-head record with Cuadra to 3-0 on the season.
Tony Schumacher Returns to NHRA Winner’s Circle; Maynards Score First Victory in Debut Weekend as Top Fuel Team Owners
KENT, WA – The winningest Top Fuel driver in NHRA history returned to the winner’s circle on Sunday afternoon at the NHRA Northwest Nationals, the final event of the three-race Western Swing. Tony Schumacher’s Seattle victory was his first since returning to full-time competition ahead of the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, fifth at Pacific Raceways, and 86th overall. Making the victory extra sweet, the hard-fought triumph allowed him to deliver a Wally trophy to Joe and Cathi Maynard in their debut weekend as team owners after Don Schumacher Racing announced the Maynards would be assuming a majority ownership stake in the team last Sunday.
Aboard the DSR Performance-powered Okuma Top Fuel dragster, Schumacher kicked off his Seattle campaign by clocking the third-quickest run of the weekend’s first qualifying session before posting the second-quickest pass of the third round to earn the No. 3 qualifying position, his highest-seeded start to-date in 2022. On Sunday, Schumacher battled tricky track conditions to defeat Scott Palmer and fellow world champ Shawn Langdon before outlasting Justin Ashley in a wild pedalfest to reach his 155th final round. Against current Top Fuel point leader and arguably, the category’s toughest challenger, Brittany Force, Schumacher’s quick reflexes allowed him to nab the starting line advantage. His 11,000-horsepower machine started dropping cylinders early into the run, but Schumacher was able to hang on and power the Okuma dragster to the finish line stripe first for the win while Force fought traction issues in the opposite lane.
KENT, WA – Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota GR Supra Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria returned to Pacific Raceways for the first time since 2017 and enjoyed a strong start to the NHRA Northwest Nationals race weekend. While other teams struggled to adapt to the hot and tricky track conditions on Friday and Saturday, the DC Motorsports team never missed a beat. Right out of the gate, DeJoria impressed. She was the first driver on the Kent, Wash. property to clock a three-second pass when she unleashed with a 3.994 E.T., which held up to be one of only three sub-four-second passes during the weekend’s qualifying rounds.
Starting from the No. 2 seed, DeJoria faced Jim Campbell in the opening round of eliminations on race day where she used her starting line advantage coupled with a 3.964-second pass to take the early lead, and never trailed for the win versus her opponent. In round two, DeJoria lined up opposite Funny Car point leader Robert Hight who made a clean pass for the win while DeJoria’s machine lost traction near the 330-marker. While DeJoria would have preferred a long day of going rounds, she is pleased with the team’s overall performance on the grueling three-race Western Swing.
“Another Western Swing in the books for our DC Motorsports team,” said DeJoria who had found previous success at the Pacific Northwest facility when she raced to the winner’s circle in 2011 while competing in the Top Alcohol Funny Car category. “We gained some good points this weekend, and our car was consistent. We qualified in the top half of the field at all three events and went to the semis last weekend in Sonoma, and to the quarterfinals here in Seattle today. This is the time of the year when you really have to start going rounds. Of course, we would have loved to have walked away with a trophy, but going rounds is key and we want to be as high up in the standings as possible by the time Indy wraps and we’re battling it out in the Countdown.
KENT, WA – With only two races remaining between the NHRA Northwest Nationals and the U.S. Nationals, the final event of the NHRA’s ‘regular season,’ the Ron Capps Motorsports team used Seattle’s three qualifying rounds to help prepare them for the upcoming Indianapolis event and the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The reigning world champions know that the key to Countdown success is consistency, and they opted for a ‘big picture’ approach this weekend at Pacific Raceways.
After treating Seattle’s three qualifying rounds as test sessions, Ron Capps and the NAPA AUTO PARTS crew found themselves in the eighth position on the Funny Car ladder heading into race day and facing a tough first-round competitor in Robert Hight. Against the current point leader, Capps moved first to give himself the early advantage but his machine lost traction as he neared halftrack while Hight made a clean pass in the opposite lane for the win, ending Capps’ day after the first round.
“As a team owner, I do not care if we go out and smoke the tires when Guido (crew chief Dean Antonelli) is trying to run low E.T.,” said Capps of his first-round contest. “We knew Robert Hight and (crew chief) Jimmy Prock were going to run a low 3.90 today, and you can’t expect to beat them unless you run that number, which is what we were after.
KENT, WA – Antron Brown and his AB Motorsports Matco Tools team were solid throughout qualifying at the NHRA Northwest Nationals near Seattle, clocking the third-quickest pass of the second session (3.844 E.T.) before improving upon their time in the final session where Brown posted a 3.837 E.T. to secure a position in the quick-half of the Top Fuel field.
Starting from fifth, Brown drew Leah Pruett as his first-round competitor on race day. The former teammates were nearly even leaving the starting line and kept pace down the 1,000-foot stretch in an exciting side-by-side race. Unfortunately for Brown, despite taking his Matco Tools Top Fueler on its best run of the weekend, the three-time world champ found himself on the bad side of a good drag race, falling to Pruett by a mere 18-thousandths-of-a-second.
“It was almost that ‘get healthy’ weekend this Matco Tools team needed for Toyota and Lucas Oil and all of our loyal partners,” said Brown, a four-time Pacific Raceways event winner. “We ran great on Saturday with two good laps that put us in the number five spot for race day and we had a tough draw against Leah Pruett again in round one. That team is running great with Neal Strausbaugh and Mike Domagala at TSR, and it was a close one. We ran a good lap at 3.79, but it was just a tad off from their 3.78. Our Matco Tools machine was really good to the 330-foot mark and then we had a clutch issue. The results may not show it on paper, but I really do think we turned the corner this weekend. I wish we were going straight to Topeka (Kan.) and qualifying in five days. But, the guys do need a break after the Western Swing. It’s a long three weeks. We’ll go back to Indy, regroup, and come out swinging hard at Topeka and Brainerd (Minn.)”
ROBERT HIGHT AND AUTO CLUB CHEVY MATCH CAREER BEST SEASON WITH WIN AT FLAV-R-PAC NHRA NORTHWEST NATIONALS
KENT, WA – Robert Hight landed the Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car in the winners circle for the sixth time this season Sunday at the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. Brittany Force and the Flav-R-Pac / Monster Energy team had their 33rd career final round appearance, John Force took the PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Chevy to the semifinals and Austin Prock and the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist dragster had a first-round exit.
Robert Hight’s 59th career victory is his second at Pacific Raceways and matches his career best season that came in 2019 (six wins and a championship), with still nine races left in the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season
Robert Hight with the Auto Club Chevy and John Force with the PEAK Chevy both opened up race day with monster matchups. Hight would take on reigning champion Ron Capps while Force would battle it out with Funny Car veteran Matt Hagan.
Kent, WA – The Mac Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster and driver Doug Kalitta had a strong day at the NHRA Northwest Nationals racing to a quarterfinal finish. Through two days of qualifying Kalitta earned three qualifying bonus points after posting the second quickest pass of the second session and the third quickest pass of the final session. Heading into elimination Sunday Kalitta was facing a first round race against Alex Laughlin.
The veteran driver grabbed a starting line advantage with a .065 reaction time and never trailed in the race. His Mac Tools dragster made another quick run lighting up the scoreboard with a 3.837 second pass at 322.11 mph for the win.
In the second round Kalitta was once again first off the line with a strong 3.827 second pass, his quickest of the weekend, in a losing effort. The perennial championship contender took the positives from the weekend as he wrapped up another Western Swing.