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NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals Saturday Preview

Day two of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals holds much promise as drivers prepare to chase coveted Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge titles. Qualifying today will set the field, as well, at "America's Racetrack," Summit Motorsports Park.
29 Jun 2024
Kelly Wade
Race coverage
Summit Motorsports Park

Top Fuel

Points leader Doug Kalitta and his Mac Tools dragster have been part of Sunday afternoon winner's circle celebrations three times so far this season, and Kalitta — last week's winner at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals — has been to the final round in each of the most recent three events. He's the provisional low qualifier here in Norwalk, to boot. One thing he hasn't yet done this year, though, is win the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. He'll get another shot today with a head-to-head match with Dodge Direct Connection/Mobil 1 dragster driver Tony Stewart. Three times this season, Stewart has punched a ticket to the semifinals and also earned a spot to race in the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.

The opposite side of the #2Fast2Tasty ladder features two-time 2024 race winnerShawn Langdon and his Kalitta Air Careers rail. Most recently, Langdon was runner-up in the Bristol Mission Challenge. He will race fellow Virginia semifinalist Antron Brown in the first round of the bonus event that pits the previous event's semifinalists against one another for bragging rights and bonus points that will come into play when the Countdown to the Championship begins. Brown, driver of the Matco Tools dragster, won the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge in Las Vegas and was runner-up in Charlotte.

Kyle Wurtzel (3.801) is on the bump heading into the final two rounds of qualifying, and Spencer Massey, Josh Hart, and Travis Shumake will each be looking to surge past and gain access to a spot in the 16-car field.

Funny Car

Provisional No. 1 qualifier, points leader, and new track-record holder (3.863)Austin Prock, flying the flag for AAA this weekend on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car, will be aiming for his third consecutive Mission #2Fast2Tasty win and fourth overall on the year. He'll be racing Matt Haganand the Dodge SRT/Direct Connection entry in the first round of the Challenge. With two event wins on the season and back-to-back semifinals appearances, Hagan is hoping to put a stranglehold on his first #2Fast2Tasty victory and bank the valuable playoff points in the process.

On the other side of the ladder, Bob Tasca III and his Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang will be making every effort to repeat the winning #2Fast2Tasty performance they enjoyed in Charlotte. He'll have to race Blake Alexander, in the strikingly bright Schaeffler Ford, who is the defending event champion here at Summit Motorsports Park. Alexander was a finalist in the Epping #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.

As for qualifying, Prock's record-setting run is bookended by No. 16 Chris King's 5.554.

Pro Stock

Last weekend, 2017 Pro Stock champion Bo Butner made a cameo appearance in the class as he filled in for Fernando Cuadra Jr., who was away on business. Butner reached the semifinals, which means that the quickest quarterfinals loser will take his place in this weekend's Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. Dallas Glenn will race Butner's replacement, defending series champion Erica Enders, while Richmond event winner Aaron Stanfieldwill race five-time Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson, who is flying the colors of Summit Racing Equipment on his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro this weekend.

JHG/Melling representative Enders has so far claimed three #2Fast2Tasty wins in 2024, while RAD Torque Systems-backed Glenn has raced in nearly every Challenge this season and came away with the Epping #2Fast2Tasty win.

Anderson, currently No. 2 in the Pro Stock points with two wins on the season, scored his first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge win last weekend in Virginia. He's off to a good start as Friday's provisional low qualifier on a 6.592. Larry Morgan's 6.674 is the bump with 16 cars on the property.

Stanfield and his JHG Chevrolet were runner-up to Glenn in the Epping Mission Challenge, and today he will be looking to seal the deal for the first time this season in his fourth #2Fast2Tasty appearance.

Pro Stock Motorcycle

The Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge will set up a Richmond rematch ofHector Arana Jr. vs. Richard Gadson, with Gaige Herrera and John Hall on the other side of the ladder. Arana, rider of the GETTRX Buell, has enjoyed good recent history in Norwalk; he is the defending Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals winner, and both he and his crew chief/father Hector Arana Sr. have claimed titles here.

Arana's match with Gadson will give him the opportunity to avenge the loss he experienced last week in the semifinals at the Virginia Nationals.RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki rider Gadson, currently No. 2 in the Pro Stock Motorcycle points, has been to the final round in three prior Mission #2Fast2Tasty events this season and is looking for his first win in the specialty race.

Points leader and reigning champion Herrera's incredible season aboard his RevZilla/Mission/Vance & Hines Suzuki has included two Mission #2Fast2Tasty wins to complement the five wins in five main events he's etched so far this year. He defeated Hall in the Richmond semis last week, but Hall could easily break through with his Denso/B.R.A.K.E.S. Buell; he's collected consistent round wins on raceday this season.

Six-time world champ Matt Smith and his Denso-backed V-Twin reset the Summit Motorsports Park track record for elapsed time on Friday with a 6.748-second blast. Smith comes into Saturday as the provisional No. 1 qualifier with 14 riders jockeying for position.

2023 EVENT WINNERS

Leah Pruett, Top Fuel; Blake Alexander, Funny Car; Matt Hartford, Pro Stock; Hector Arana Jr., Pro Stock Motorcycle

MOST EVENT VICTORIES

Steve Torrence, 3, TF; Jack Beckman, 3 FC; Greg Anderson, Erica Enders, 3; PS; Andrew Hines, 5, PSM

TRACK RECORDS

Top Fuel - 3.666 seconds by Brittany Force, June '22; 58 mph by Mike Salinas, June, '22
Funny Car - 3.863 seconds by Austin Prock, June '24; 334.65 mph by Robert Hight, June '17
Pro Stock - 6.523 seconds by Erica Enders, July '14; 212.63 by Enders, July '14
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.748 seconds by Matt Smith, June '24; 201.58 mph by Matt Smith, June '21

NATIONAL RECORDS

Top Fuel - 3.623 sec. by Brittany Force, Sept. ‘19, Reading; 338.94 mph by B. Force, Nov. ‘22, Pomona
Funny Car - 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. '17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Hight, July ’17, Sonoma
Pro Stock - 6.450 sec. by Erica Enders, Mar. ’22, Gainesville; 215.55 mph by Enders, May ’14, Englishtown
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.627 sec. by Gaige Herrera, Oct. '23, Gainesville; 205.04 mph by Matt Smith, July '21, Sonoma

EVENT SCHEDULE

SATURDAY, June 29: Lucas Oil Series eliminations at 8 a.m.; Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car qualifying at 10 a.m. and eliminations at 2:45 p.m.; Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown and Holley EFI Factory X qualifying at 10:45 a.m. and eliminations at 12:30 p.m.; NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 30:Pre-race ceremony, 10 a.m.; eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

TELEVISION SCHEDULE

SUNDAY, June 30: FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 2 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, June 30: FS1 will televise one hour of round one eliminations coverage at 4 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, June 30: FOX will televise two hours of finals coverage at 5 p.m. (ET)