NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals Sunday preview

After a successful three-session Saturday, it’s time to crown champions at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. The event is the eighth of the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.
23 Jun 2024
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Race coverage
PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

After a successful three-session Saturday, it’s time to crown champions at the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park. The event is the eighth of the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season.

Yesterday was a sweltering test of the drivers and crews, and today will be no different at temperatures are again expected to be in the high 90s. The only difference today is that success will be predicated on four successful runs instead of three.

Pro Stock Motorcycle frontrunner Gaige Herrera could make more history today as the reigning world champ is currently tied with legendary Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden for the most consecutive wins and round wins in NHRA history, picking up his ninth straight win – and 35th straight round win – during his victory two weeks ago at Bristol Dragway. If he can beat Chris Bostick – who didn’t make it down the track under power on three tries Saturday – and then reach the winner’s circle, he’ll stand alone.

His toughest opposition no doubt will come from six-time world champ Matt Smith, who is on the opposite side of the ladder. Smith has to race his wife, Angie, in round one, but her bike also was troubled in qualifying.

Top Fuel low qualifier Shawn Langdon, who won two of the season’s first three events, will be looking for his first victory since the Phoenix event. The driver of the Kalitta Air dragster got close with a runner-up in Chicago then stormed to the No. 1 spot in Saturday’s final session after two unsuccessful previous runs. 

Langdon draws part-timer Lex Joon in round one and will be hoping for a long day that ends with a final-round match with his teammate, reigning world champ and current points leader Doug Kalitta, who is on the other side of the ladder and begins his day against Cameron Ferre.

The first round has another intriguing power battle between four-time word chap and perennial frontrunner Justin Ashley, as well as a fight between the class’ two female drivers, two-time world champ Brittany Force, who won Saturday’s Mission Challenge, and class rookie Jasmine Salinas.

No Funny Car driver ran in the threes in qualifying, but No. 1 qualifier Bob, Tasca III ran three 4.0-second passes, the only one of 16 qualifiers to do so. He faces off with Dave Richards in the opening frame.

Points leader Austin Prock, who won the Mission Challenge yesterday, qualified third and will take on two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon while his teammate, John Force, will take on Terry Haddock. The power duo could meet in the semifinals.

Pro Stock world champ Erica Enders qualified No. 1 and will lead the field into battle today, starting with a first-round race against the class’ most veteran driver, Kenny Delco. Greg Anderson, who won his first Mission Challenge Saturday, will take on another multi-time world champion in Jeg Coughlin Jr. In what is a rematch of their recent final round race in Bristol two weeks ago.

Points leader Dallas Glenn will face off with Mason McGaha while surprise No. 2 qualifier Eric Latino draws Brandon Miller.

FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 1:00 p.m. ET and three hours of finals coverage at 5 p.m. ET

Brittany Force, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car; Matt Smith, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

MOST EVENT VICTORIES: Cory McClenathan, 4, TF; John Force, 4, FC; Warren Johson 4, PS; Matt Hines, 2, PSM


  • Top Fuel – 3.654 seconds by Brittany Force, May '22; 335.82 mph by Force, May '22.
  • Funny Car - 3.853 seconds by Matt Hagan, May '22; 335.82 mph by Hagan, May '22.
  • Pro Stock - 6.509 seconds by Mike Edwards, Oct. '09; 215.36 mph by Greg Anderson, Oct. '09.
  • Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.703 seconds by Gaige Herrera, June '24;  201.37 mph by A. Smith, May ‘22


  • Top Fuel - 3.623 sec. by Brittany Force, Sept. '19, Reading; 338.17 mph by Brittany Force, Nov. ‘19, Las Vegas
  • Funny Car - 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. '17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma
  • Pro Stock - 6.450 sec. by Erica Enders, March ’22, Gainesville; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown
  • Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.627 sec. by Gaige Herrera, Oct ‘23, Dallas; 205.04 mph by Matt Smith, July ‘21, Sonoma