Three-Time Winners in 2023 Add Veteran Nicky Boninfante as Co-Crew Chief
MOORESVILLE, NC – The 2024 drag racing season unofficially kicked off last weekend in Bradenton, Florida, during the PRO Superstar Shootout, and Rick Ware Racing (RWR) served notice that the speed it displayed last season in the Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series with three Top Fuel victories courtesy of driver Clay Millican would continue in 2024.
Millican promptly set fast time in the first round of qualifying at the PRO Superstar Shootout with an elapsed time of 3.688 seconds and a speed of 336.49 mph, and then remained atop the leaderboard by securing the No. 1 qualifying position. Millican advanced all the way to the final round, a stout performance that highlighted an expanded role this season by longtime partner Parts Plus on the No. 51 Top Fuel Dragster and the addition of NHRA veteran Nicky Boninfante as co-crew chief.
RWR’s first full NHRA season in 2023 featured three Top Fuel event wins – in May at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago, in July at Bandimere Speedway near Denver, and in October at World Wide Technology Raceway near St. Louis – doubling Millican’s career total in the series dating back to 1998. Millican debuted the No. 51 RWR Top Fuel Dragster in September 2022 at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
YPSILANTI, MI – Dayco is the newest member of the Kalitta Motorsports family of corporate partners, and Kalitta Motorsports is the newest distributor of Dayco belts, the team announced today. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series begins March 8-10, 2024 at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
Through this new partnership, Dayco will have branding on J.R. Todd’s DHL GR Supra Funny Car, and Kalitta Motorsports is now the exclusive at-track distributor of Dayco 11 mm racing blower belts for nitro engines. Dayco and Team Kalitta will work together to expand the available Dayco blower belt offerings in the near future.
The Dayco 11mm blower belt is specially engineered for Top Fuel and Funny Cars with nitromethane engines. Featuring a hybrid carbon cord encapsulated in custom rubber compounds and patented low friction PTFE tooth fabric, the belt offers one of the highest load ratings in racing and has helped numerous teams cross the finish line first. That success is due in large part to the Dayco team’s utilization of real-world track data to enhance its belt designs. Additional information about Dayco’s commitment to motorsports is available here.
San Diego, CA — GOVX, the online shopping platform exclusively for current and former military, first responders, emergency medical professionals, and other government personnel, announced today an official partnership with three-time NHRA Top Fuel world champion and AB Motorsports team owner/driver, Antron Brown.
GOVX will feature prominently as a key sponsor, with logo placement on Brown’s Matco Tools Toyota Top Fuel dragster, team uniforms, racing suits, and Pit Side Experience hospitality pavilion, beginning with the NHRA Gatornationals at historic Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Florida, March 8-10th, and extending through the entirety of the 21-race NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series circuit.
As an ambassador for the GOVX brand, Brown will be featured within national marketing campaigns, including an upcoming TV commercial produced in partnership with fellow ABM sponsor, and official coffee of the NHRA, Fire Dept. Coffee.
YORBA LINDA, CA – It was announced today that Off Road Campers based in Pittsboro, Indiana has been named the latest partner of John Force Racing. Signed on for a multi-year deal beginning in 2024, Off Road Campers (ORC) is dedicated to creating campers that excel in both comfort and durability.
“At Off Road Campers, we’re passionate about the great outdoors and all the experiences it has to offer. That makes our partnership with John Force Racing important. The team and the fans who support them share the same love for outdoor thrills and creating family memories,” said Chief Dove, COO of Off Road Campers. “I’ve known John and his team for a long time and I’m excited to be working with him for the next several years. Having his team as ambassadors for Off Road Campers is ideal for the growth of our company.”
NHRA YOUTH AND EDUCATION SERVICES (YES) PROGRAM TO TAKE PLACE AT 21 NATIONAL EVENTS, ALONG WITH TWO PILOT PROGRAMS
INDIANAPOLIS – NHRA officials are pleased to announce the NHRA Youth and Education Services (YES) Program will host 15 live events during the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season, as well as six virtual programs during the summer portion of the upcoming season.
The NHRA YES Program will also hold two “Pilot Program” events during the 2024 season at a pair of NHRA Member Tracks: April 15 at Kansas International Dragway in Wichita, Kan., and May 17 at Toronto Motorsports Park. The pilot program events will allow the two NHRA Member Tracks to host YES Programs for local schools in the community.
The event at Toronto Motorsports Park also marks the first NHRA Yes Program that will take place outside of the United States.
The NHRA YES Program is the only full-time education program in motorsports providing quality educational content and activities for schools and youth organizations nationwide. The YES Program invites students to NHRA national events to see first-hand the career chances within the motorsports field, bringing thousands of students to the track each year, while the pilot programs offer those same opportunities at tracks without a national event.
YPSILANTI, MI – Doug Kalitta picked up right where he left off in November when he won both the In ‘n Out Burger NHRA Finals and the 2023 NHRA Top Fuel championship. After qualifying second at the inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout in his Applied Innovation dragster, Kalitta blasted through the eight-car field to win the special event and its $250,000 winner’s prize Saturday night in Bradenton, Fla.
Following pre-season testing at Bradenton Motorsports Park, the PRO Superstar Shootout was a special event with an eight-car field hosted, planned and implemented by the Professional Racers Organization (PRO), a trade consortium comprised of NHRA team owners and drivers. Kalitta will begin defense of his championship when the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series begins March 8-10, 2024 at the Amalie Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
Kalitta defeated Justin Ashley in the first round after both cars lost traction. In a rematch of the November final round in Pomona, Calif., the 2023 champion defeated Leah Pruett with a 3.709-second effort at 330.63 mph. In the final round, Kalitta left the starting line before No. 1 qualifier Clay Millican and never looked back blasting to the finish line with a 3.706-second pass at 325.14 mph to turn on the win light and claim the $250,000 prize.
Leah Pruett Advances to Semi-Finals in Top Fuel in Her Lone 2024 Race
Auburn Hills, MI – Reigning and defending NHRA Mission Foods World Funny Car champion Matt Hagan drove his Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) Johnson Horsepowered Garage Dodge//SRT® Hellcat machine to the runner-up spot Saturday in the inaugural SCAG Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park.
Hagan, the four-time NHRA World Funny Car champion, kicked off his 2024 drag racing campaign by winning two rounds of action under sunny Florida skies and advancing to the final round against rookie Funny Car racer Austin Prock, who replaced Hagan’s arch-rival Robert Hight in the John Force Racing car.
Hagan, who scored six NHRA national event wins in 2024, defeated J.R. Todd in the first round and Bob Tasca III in the semi-finals to go against Prock in the final round. Unfortunately, Hagan, who had a quicker reaction time, ran a 3.872 to Prock’s 3.845 and lost by a close margin.
Despite the final round defeat, Hagan was upbeat after the event as his TSR Dodge/SRT Funny Car team had some solid testing runs as they prepared for the Amalie NHRA Gatornationals set for March 8-10 in Gainesville, Fla., in the opening 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series event.
BRADENTON, FL – The stars of John Force Racing joined their toughest competition at the inaugural PRO Superstar Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park. The event, an invitational match race aimed to promote drag racing in a new and fan-focused way, used social media and support from PRO (Pro Racer’s Owners Organization) to enhance fan experience both at track and watching on FloRacing. A private three-day testing session acted as a preview for the week. Each of the three JFR Chevrolet race teams led their respective leaderboards at different times during the time trials.
Qualifying for the PRO Superstar Shootout consisted of four rounds, with an evening session on Thursday night, followed by three additional rounds on Friday. In both the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes, eight teams advanced. Austin Prock, driving the Cornwell Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, achieved the class-best speed with a 3.825 ET at 337.41 mph. John Force, piloting the PEAK Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, attained the third-best qualifying result with a 3.849-second elapsed time at 332.59 mph. A random chip draw determined Austin Prock to compete against Alexis DeJoria and John Force would match up with longtime friend and rival Cruz Pedregon.
Brittany Force, driving the Monster Energy Chevrolet Top Fuel dragster, posted a best qualifying effort of 3.736-seconds at 330.39 MPH, ranking eleventh overall, but did not qualify for the main event. Teams that did not advance into the PRO Superstar Shootout competed in a unique cross-class competition that paired both Top Fuel and Funny Car teams on track against one another for the newly formed Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award.
BRADENTON, FL – Today at the inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout multi-time Top Fuel winner Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers narrowly missed racing into the final round in the Top Fuel versus Funny Car competition for the Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award. After four rounds of qualifying Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers team found themselves with a consistent Top Fuel dragster posting competitive times from 3.729 to 3.774 seconds. Unfortunately, they were not able to crack the top eight to compete for the $250,000 top prize at the inaugural SCAG Power Equipment PRO Superstar Shootout.
“We really tested aggressively, and I have never made this many runs in a week before,” said Hart, the defending big money Pep Boys Top Fuel Allstar Callout winner. “Once the PRO Superstar Shootout started, we got down to business trying to get one of those eight spots. The level of competition was very tough, and we wound up 10th. Ron Douglas and the team works their tails off and we were looking forward to putting on a good show for the fans today.”
Hart joined Brittany Force and both Steve and Billy Torrence as the Top Fuel competitors taking on Funny Car drivers Chad Green, Ron Capps, Dave Richards, Daniel Wilkerson, and Blake Alexander for the Don Schumacher Nitro Superstar Award and $10,000. The quickest Top Fuel dragster and quickest Funny Car would square off in the final round. Hart drew full-time Funny Car rookie Daniel Wilkerson as his exhibition run opponent. Both 11,000-horsepowered nitro machines launched together and Hart hazed the tires at the top end slowing to a 4.212 second run at 208.78 mph.