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NHRA returns to Firebird Motorsports Park for NHRA Arizona Nationals

After a banner event in 2023, NHRA officials and teams were prepared to bid goodbye to the fan-favorite NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix. But the track has returned in a major way, with the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series set to take place at Firebird Motorsports Park on April 5-7.
01 Apr 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
NHRA Arizona Nationals

After a banner event in 2023, NHRA officials and teams were prepared to bid goodbye to the fan-favorite NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix. But the track has returned in a major way, with the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series set to take place at newly renamed Firebird Motorsports Park on April 5-7.

The “Duel in the Desert” has always been a highlight on the NHRA circuit. When plans began to add it back to the schedule, officials, fans, and race teams were thrilled to return to the track for the NHRA Arizona Nationals, an event that has delivered countless drag racing historical moments for nearly four decades.

Last season had massive crowds as well as phenomenal racing from the stars of the NHRA, and fans can expect more of that this year at one of the top tracks on the NHRA circuit. The 39th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals marks the third stop on tour for the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season and features a full dose of action, including qualifying on both Friday on Saturday, the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge on Saturday, and eliminations on Sunday.

Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), and Camrie Caruso (Pro Stock) all collected Wallys in Phoenix in 2023. This year’s race will again be broadcast on FS1, including eliminations on Sunday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET, as all the top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock look to pick up an early-season win in Phoenix.

Ashley took out Shawn Langdon in the final round of last year’s NHRA Arizona Nationals. That win was one of six in his 2023 campaign. To repeat this season, Ashley will need to again bypass Langdon, who kicked off 2024 with a win in Gainesville, the reigning Top Fuel champion Doug Kalitta, as well as Steve Torrence, Antron Brown, Brittany Force, and Top Fuel rookie and racing legend Tony Stewart.

Hight defeated Ron Capps last season to pick up his third NHRA Arizona Nationals win. This season, Hight has stepped out of his Funny Car and passed driving duties to Austin Prock. With a runner-up finish and No. 1 qualifier to his credit in Gainesville, Prock has already shown he’s ready to take on the likes of reigning Funny Car champ Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca III, John Force, Capps, Chad Green, and Gainesville winner J.R. Todd.

Caruso captured her first career Pro Stock win last season in Phoenix when she took down NHRA veteran Bo Butner in the final round. In order to repeat her victory, she’ll need to get past reigning champion Erica Enders, who won in Gainesville to open the year, Matt Hartford, Troy Coughlin Jr., Greg Anderson, Aaron Stanfield, and Dallas Glenn.

This year’s race will have some bonus racing as the final rounds of the rain-delayed Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals will be contested during the event’s final qualifying session Saturday. In Top Fuel, Ashley will face off against Tony Schumacher, while Hagan will take on Force in the Funny Car final and Enders will square off with Glenn in Pro Stock.

This year’s NHRA Arizona Nationals will also feature the exciting Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge. The semifinalists of the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona will meet for a rematch in Phoenix, bringing competitive racing to both Friday and Saturday. The winner in each class will walk away with bonus points and bonus money. A year ago, Kalitta (TF), Alexis DeJoria (FC), and Coughlin (PS) won the Challenge in Phoenix.
The NHRA Arizona Nationals also includes thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+, featuring some of the top racers in the country. It also marks the debut of the NHRA Pro Mod category in Phoenix, which adds another definite highlight to the weekend. Fans can also expect exciting performances from Team “Muy Caliente” and Curt White "Iceman" in their Jet Cars.
All weekend long, fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into the nitro pits. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music, and much more. Race fans at Firebird Motorsports Park can enjoy the special pre-race ceremony that introduces and celebrates each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan-favorite SealMaster NHRA Track Walk.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Phoenix. This opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.
NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 4 p.m. PT on Friday, April 5, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 6 at 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge take place Friday and Saturday with the Winternationals completion closing Saturday’s racing. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, April 7. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9:30 p.m. ET. on Friday and 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, leading into eliminations at 6:30 p.m. ET.
To purchase tickets to the final NHRA Arizona Nationals, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general-admission areas with the purchase of an adult ticket.