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LIVING THE DREAM, PROCK RIDES A WAVE OF MOMENTUM

Chasing Victory at Richmond in Last Event Won by Mentor and Friend Eric Medlen

DINWIDDIE, VA – Driving virtually the same Cornwell Quality Tools Chevrolet Camaro SS in which Robert Hight won in 2022, the last time a Mission Foods NHRA tour event was contested at Virginia Motorsports Park, Austin Prock this week tries to become the fifth different John Force Racing Funny Car driver to raise the trophy in the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals.

A win would be particularly meaningful for the 28-year-old point leader insomuch as the Virginia Nationals was the last race won by the late Eric Medlen, with whom he had forged a strong bond prior to the 2007 testing accident that claimed the life of one of the sport’s brightest young stars.

“Eric was a great friend of mine, and a mentor to me,” Prock said. “He took me under his wing and took care of me and taught me (a lot). It’d be very cool for me to be able to join him as a Virginia Nationals winner.”

The hottest driver on tour, No. 1 qualifier in six of eight events, a finalist in five and winner of two, Prock is looking forward to a new set of challenges in an event featuring an experimental two-day format. Continue reading

TWO-TIME TOP FUEL CHAMP BRITTANY FORCE AFTER MORE VMP MAGIC AT PLAYNHRA VIRGINIA NATIONALS

DINWIDDIE, VA – The last time Brittany Force was at Virginia Motorsports Park, the Top Fuel standout was obliterating track records in Richmond en route to a victory in 2022 and, ultimately, her second world championship in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series.

Returning to the standout facility in 2024 for this weekend’s PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park, Force hopes to recreate some of that magic and return to the winner’s circle for the first time since her 2022 championship season.

The team made strides two weeks ago in Bristol, advancing to the semifinals, and she has plenty of good history in Richmond, going 3.654-seconds at 335.82 mph two years ago on her way to the winner’s circle. Force is preparing to race in warmer conditions in her 11,000-horsepower HendrickCars.com/Chevrolet dragster, as she also gets ready to tackle the unique, first-time schedule that will feature three qualifying sessions on Saturday.

“Our recent improvements, particularly at Bristol, have boosted our confidence and morale,” Force said. “We’re eager to build on that momentum and showcase our progress in Richmond. This weekend, Richmond is changing things up. It will be a 2-day event, which is something I’ve never done in my career. I’m interested to see the fan response for a Saturday and Sunday event, and we are hoping for a positive outcome.” Continue reading

HISTORIC NHRA GATORNATIONALS SET TO OPEN 2025 NHRA SEASON ON MARCH 6-9

GAINESVILLE, FL – The NHRA announced today the 2025 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series will open March 6-9 with the 56th annual NHRA Gatornationals at legendary Gainesville Raceway.

It marks the third straight year the Gatornationals will kick off the NHRA season, as the historic facility will open the 74th year of incredible NHRA racing. Tickets for the famed season-opening Gatornationals will go on sale on Aug. 19, and the full 2025 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series schedule will be announced soon.

The NHRA Gatornationals has been a historic weekend for more than five decades and that will continue to open the 2025 campaign, as all the top NHRA stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will look to start their season with a Wally and put on a spectacular show in the process.

“We are excited to announce the date of our 2025 season-opener in Gainesville and starting a terrific year of racing at the Gatornationals,” NHRA President Glen Cromwell said. “We’ve had great success starting our season at Gainesville Raceway the last two years and it’s something our race teams and partners have enjoyed as well. Starting in Gainesville gives us a lot of momentum to open the year and we’re looking forward to announcing the full 2025 schedule in the coming weeks.” Continue reading

TODD SET FOR SMITHSONIAN VISIT BEFORE HOT VIRGINIA WEEKEND

YPSILANTI, MI – The year was 2006, and J.R. Todd, then driving a Top Fuel car, made history. After that historic weekend, a new display was created at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes June 2-23, 2024 at the PlayNHRA Virginia NHRA Nationals in Dinwiddie, Va.

When Todd became the first African American driver to win a Top Fuel race in 2006, his fire suit was donated to Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. On Friday before the Virginia NHRA Nationals, Todd will visit the National Air and Space Museum and will see his fire suit on display for the first time.

“I think for any drag racer to have their gear in there is a pretty cool deal,” Todd added. “I’ve never been to the Smithsonian so I’m looking forward to going there to check that place out. I’ve been getting pictures from fans who have gone there and seen it over the years so that’s pretty neat.” Continue reading

CONFIDENT SHAWN LANGDON READY FOR RICHMOND RETURN, HEAT

YPSILANTI, MI – Shawn Langdon enters the season’s ninth race in third place in the NHRA Top Fuel point standings 48 points behind the points leader, his teammate Doug Kalitta, and confidence breeds confidence. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes June 22-23, 2024 at the PlayNHRA Virginia NHRA Nationals in Dinwiddie, Va.

Langdon has two wins in three final rounds this season and is clearly looking for more at each race. His complete confidence in his crew chief, Brian Husen, and the rest of the Kalitta Air Careers Toyota team, makes him feel he’s a threat to win at every race.

“We definitely get more and more confident when the car’s running like it is,” the 2013 Top Fuel champion said. “We’re looking forward to going to Richmond – the Franklin family does a great job with the facility; it’s probably the smoothest track we have on tour. It’ll be interesting going to a two-day event, and I’m all for it. For the last couple of years, I’ve felt that, potentially, it’s a move they’ve needed to look into. I’m excited to get there and try out the two-day weekend. Hopefully it goes well, and they’re able to get the fans there and pack the stands. Continue reading

DOUG KALITTA THROWS FIRST PITCH, READIES FOR RICHMOND RETURN

YPSILANTI, MI – Eight races into the 2024 season, Doug Kalitta is back where he was at the end of last season – atop the point standings leading the Top Fuel class, but last week, the reigning champ took time out to live a dream millions of kids have every day. The 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Season resumes June 22-23, 2024 at the PlayNHRA Virginia NHRA Nationals in Dinwiddie, Va.

Kalitta threw a ceremonial first pitch prior to the Washington Nationals vs. Detroit Tigers game on Wednesday, June 12. As a lifelong resident of the Detroit area, Kalitta was thrilled to have the opportunity. He sought assistance from a trusted source and took the advice of a new contact to prepare.

“My daughter (Avery) helped me practice a little bit,” Kalitta said. “One thing that really helped, the guy who met us and took us down to the field was adamant, ‘Do not hit the dirt with the ball.’ For whatever reason, that’s frowned upon. We managed not to do that, and the guy caught it so that was positive. It was a little wide to my left, but he caught it so that was a victory there. It was definitely cool. I grew up down the road from there, and my grandfather was a big Tigers fan so it was really special. I appreciate everyone that helped make that happen for me, and they put a nice sign up on the scoreboard out there so yeah, it was cool.” Continue reading

Hagan and Stewart Head to Virginia for the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

North Dinwiddie, VA – The Play NHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in North Dinwiddie, located just south of the state capital in Richmond, hosts the ninth event on the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series’ 20-race calendar in 2024. Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) brings its two full-time entries – one in Top Fuel for Top Fuel rookie Tony Stewart and one in Funny Car for 51-time Funny Car winner and four-time champion Matt Hagan.

Coming into Richmond, Stewart is ninth in the Top Fuel standings, 253 points behind leader Doug Kalitta. Hagan is fourth in the Funny Car standings, 117 points behind leader Austin Prock.

Direct Connection is the primary partner of Stewart and Hagan this weekend in Richmond. With muscle car enthusiasts looking for “ready to run” parts, Direct Connection serves as the source for high-performance parts and technical expertise straight from the factory.

The Virginia NHRA Nationals will mark Stewart’s ninth career Top Fuel start and his first at Virginia. For Hagan, the Virginia NHRA Nationals will be his 341st career Funny Car start and his fifth at Virginia. Continue reading

Franklin Father-Daughter Duo, Steding Father-Son Pair Earn Father’s Day Weekend Double-Up Victories at PDRA North vs. South Shootout 

Morton, Davis and Whetstine also victorious at Maryland International Raceway

BUDDS CREEK, MD – Racing on Father’s Day weekend at the PDRA North vs. South Shootout presented by Performance Polish, father-daughter duo Tommy and Amber Franklin and father-son duo Kurt and Ethan Steding earned double-up victories in their respective professional categories Saturday night at Maryland International Raceway. The family-focused wins capped off an unpredictable day of racing at the Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series’ fourth of eight races on the 2024 schedule.

Tommy Franklin won in Switzer Dynamics Pro Nitrous, Amber Franklin won in PDRA Pro 632, Kurt Steding won in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive, and Ethan Steding was victorious in Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco Racing.

Memorable victories in the pro classes also went to Elijah Morton in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition, Brayden Davis in Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle, and Dan Whetstine in Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports. Continue reading

HAGAN CATTLE COMPANY TO SPONSOR DRAG RACE BRACKET BONANZA DURING VIRGINIA NATIONALS

DALLAS – Hagan Cattle Company, founded and operated by 4-time NHRA Funny Car Champion, Matt Hagan, has been named presenting sponsor for Drag Race Bracket Bonanza (DRBB), the first dynamic bracket competition for drag racing fans, during the Virginia Nationals. The sponsorship will be leading up to and during the Virginia Nationals, which takes place June 22-23, at Virginia Motorsports Park. Hagan Cattle Company, which raises Angus cattle on 3,000 acres of rolling hills in Southwest Virginia, will be prominently branded across all Drag Race Bracket Bonanza social media platforms as well as DragRaceBracketBonanza.com. They will also be featured on the Densy’s Deets tip sheet delivered Friday in advance of the race weekend. Hagan Cattle Company will be utilizing the growing fanbase of Drag Race Bracket Bonanza players to promote their beef, steak and top-notch cuts, handpicked and delivered straight to customers.

“Matt Hagan has been a great supporter of Drag Race Bracket Bonanza, and it was a perfect opportunity to promote Hagan Cattle Company to our DRBB fans,” said Elon Werner, creator of Drag Race Bracket Bonanza. “Hagan Cattle Company is an ideal marketing partner for our players across the country and around the world. The quality of their beef is amazing and we are excited to share their Burger Bonanza Jr. package with our event winners.” Continue reading

King, Halsey, Huffman, A. Franklin, Grothus, Kasper and Whetstine Claim No. 1 Qualifier Spots at PDRA North vs. South Shootout 

BUDDS CREEK, MD – Pro Modified veteran Steve King secured his first career No. 1 qualifier award in WS Construction Pro Boost presented by P2 Contracting and Ty-Drive Friday night at the PDRA North vs. South Shootout presented by Performance Polish at Maryland International Raceway. King recorded a 3.64-second pass at 205.19 MPH in the second session to lead a handful of first-time No. 1 qualifiers at the fourth of eight races on the 2024 Red Line Oil PDRA Drag Racing Series tour.

Four-time Switzer Dynamics world champion Jim Halsey qualified No. 1 for the fourth time in as many races, while past PDRA Pro 632 world champion Amber Franklin qualified No. 3 for the third time in four races. Brunson Grothus scored his second career No. 1 qualifier in Drag 965 Pro Extreme Motorcycle. The other pro class No. 1 qualifiers – Jeremy Huffman in Liberty’s Gears Extreme Pro Stock presented by AED Competition, Ty Kasper in Menscer Motorsports Pro Street presented by Afco Racing, and Dan Whetstine in Afco Racing Super Street presented by Menscer Motorsports – all earned their first career No. 1 qualifier awards.

After one qualifying session on Thursday evening and two more sessions on Friday, the No. 1 qualifiers in the sportsman classes are Tim Molnar in MagnaFuel Elite Top Sportsman presented by PAR Racing Engines, Frank Falter IV in Laris Motorsports Insurance Elite Top Dragster presented by Greenbrier Excavating & Paving, Dan Hill in MagnaFuel Top Sportsman 48 presented by Corbin’s RV, and Tisha Wilson in Laris Motorsports Insurance Top Dragster presented by Younce RV. Continue reading

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