NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals Sunday preview

The Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance wraps up at Route 66 Raceway today with final eliminations for the sixth of 20 events in the 2024 Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series.
19 May 2024
Kevin McKenna, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Route 66

The Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance wraps up at Route 66 Raceway today with final eliminations for the sixth of 20 events in the 2024 Mission Foods NHRA Drag Racing Series.

Low qualiifers T.J. Zizzo, Austin Prock, Erica Enders, and Matt Smith will be among the favorites to take home titles today at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

In Top Fuel, Zizzo is the low qualifier for the first time in his career. The local pro, who is competing in his first event of the season, drove to a 3.735 on Friday night and that run was not bettered during the rest of qualifying. Zizzo’s reward for the top spot will be a tough round one race against three-time NASCAR champ and Top Fuel rookie Tony Stewart, who qualified on the bump with a competitive 3.852.

Perhaps the most anticipated battle of the round will feature reigning world champ Doug Kalitta and incoming championship leader Justin Ashley, who also won Saturday’s Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge.

Other key match-ups in the opening round of Top Fuel include a father-son battle between Billy and Steve Torrence and defending event champion Clay Millican will face Kyle Wurtzel in a race between the No. 2 and No. 15 qualifiers.

Prock has looked like anything but a rookie in his first season in Funny Car and here in Joliet, he captured the top spot in qualifying with a strong 3.907 second run in his Cornwell Tools Camaro on Friday. Prock, who is also the championship leader, takes on veteran Jack Wyatt in round one.

Ron Capps and Matt Hagan, who have combined to win seven world championships in Funny Car, are scheduled to race in round one with Capps having lane choice by virtue of his quicker (3.93 to 4.01) qualifying time.

J.R. Todd, who won the Mission Challenge on Saturday, finished qualifying in the No. 12 spot and faces a tough challenge against Toyota teammate Alexis DeJoria in the opening round.

The entire Pro Stock field is separated by just .067-second with sid-time champ Erica Enders leading the way with a 6.548 in her JHG/Melling Camaro. Enders, the winner of the Gainesville season opener, takes on chassis builder John DeFlorian, who is making his first start in the Pro Stock class, but is also driving a new car owned by Matt Hartford.

Greg Anderson came into Route 66 Raceway as the leader in Pro Stock and carried that momentum to a win in Saturday’s Mission Foods Challenge. Anderson will face Deric Kramer’s GetBioFuel Camaro in round one.

Gaige Herrera had qualified No. 1 in 16 of the last 17 Pro Stock Motorcycle races but the reigning world champion was bumped to No. 2 by Matt Smith, who rode his Denso Buell to a 6.708 for the top spot. Smith will have lane choice on Sunday when he takes on bump spot qualifier Lance Bonham in round one.

Herrera, who clocked a 6.733 on his RevZilla Vance  & Hines Suzuki, will race against Wes Wells in the opening round while another noteworthy match will pair veteran Steve Johnson against Chase Van Sant, the reigning NHRA Rookie of the Year.

Sunday’s eliminations will also crown champions in the Congruity Pro Mod Series, Holley EFI Factory X class, FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown, Pingel Top Fuel Motorcycle, and seven Lucas Oil Series Sportsman categories, as well as the special PEAK Street Car Shootout.
Clay Millican, Top Fuel; Tim Wilkerson, Funny Car; Dallas Glenn, Pro Stock; Gaige Herrera, Pro Stock Motorcycle

Top Fuel - 3.677 seconds by Steve Torrence, June '18; 334.82 mph by Brittany Force, May ‘23.
Funny Car - 3.831 seconds by Robert Hight, May '23; 335.07 mph by Hight, May '23.
Pro Stock - 6.510 seconds by Dallas Glenn, May '23; 212.39 mph by Greg Anderson, June '19.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.672 seconds by Gaige Herrera, May ’23; 202.45 mph by Herrera, May ’23.

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, Ennis, Texas; 205.04 mph by Matt Smith, July ’21, Sonoma.


SUNDAY, May 19: Sportsman eliminations begin at 8:30. Pre-race ceremony, 10 a.m.; Professional eliminations at 11:00 a.m.


SUNDAY, May 19: FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 1 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, May 19: FS1 will televise one hour of finals at 4 p.m. and two hours of finals at 10 p.m. (ET).