NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Racers, fans geared up for exciting new format at PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series returns this week to Virginia Motorsports Park for a unique two-day event format where, for the first time in NHRA history, all Professional categories will take part in three qualifying sessions on Saturday of the PlayNHRA Virginia NHRA Nationals. 
17 Jun 2024
Posted by NHRA.com staff
 PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals

The NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series returns this week to Virginia Motorsports Park for a unique two-day event format where, for the first time in NHRA history, all Professional categories — Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle — will take part in three qualifying sessions on Saturday of the PlayNHRA Virginia Nationals leading into Sunday's final eliminations. The event is the ninth of 20 races during the 2024 season.

As part of a loaded two days, fans will get the chance to see 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph nitro machines in action three times on Saturday, as well as the thrilling Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge for the first time. The specialty race brings competitive racing to Saturday qualifying to Richmond – as well as a bonus purse and bonus points – and will take part during the final two qualifying sessions on Saturday before all the NHRA stars look to win on Sunday on one of the top track surfaces on the NHRA tour.

The 2022 Virginia NHRA Nationals had Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) take home titles. This year, the event will again be broadcast on FS1, with shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Force, a two-time Top Fuel world champion, claimed the Virginia NHRA Nationals back in 2022, obliterating track records in the process. While she is still seeking her first win of the 2024 season, she’ll be ready to hit the track and take on the other competitors in the class, including points leader and reigning world champion Doug Kalitta, Justin Ashley, Shawn Langdon, and former champs Steve Torrence and Antron Brown. Fans at VMP can also watch racing legend Tony Stewart make his Richmond Top Fuel debut.

Austin Prock took over Funny Car driving duties for Hight at the start of the 2024 season and has enjoyed instant success, picking up two event wins so far this season. He’ll look to keep rolling along in an absolutely loaded field that features Virginia native and four-time world champ Matt Hagan, 16-time world champion John Force, Gainesville winner J.R. Todd, Bob Tasca III, three-time world champion Ron Capps, Alexis DeJoria, Daniel Wilkerson, and Paul Lee.

Returning to Virginia in 2024 is the Pro Stock category, which is led by points leader Dallas Glenn, but there’s a host of standout competitors, including reigning and six-time world champion Erica Enders, five-time champs Greg Anderson and Jeg Coughlin Jr., winner of the tour’s most recent event in Bristol, as well as standouts like Aaron Stanfield, Cristian Cuadra, Epping champ Troy Coughlin Jr., Matt Hartford, Jerry Tucker, and Deric Kramer.

Former Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Smith will be seeking another win from Virginia Motorsports Park. In 2022, he took down Steve Johnson to take home the Wally. Last year had the reign of current champion Gaige Herrera. He won 11 races last year and is undefeated so far this season, with four race wins to his credit. Others to watch include Chase Van Sant, Angie Smith, Hector Arana Jr., and Richard Gadson.

Back again in Richmond will be the Congruity NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by LearnEV+. The fan-favorite class will take to the track in their doorslamming hot rods and will be joined by top competitors in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, the Pingel NHRA Top Fuel Motorcycle Series, and Johnson's Horsepowered Garage Mountain Motor Pro Stock, providing nonstop entertainment all weekend long in Richmond.

Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which is the main entertainment hub in the pits, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music, and much more. Race fans at Virginia 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. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Richmond. 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, an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.

NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series qualifying features three rounds of action on Saturday, June 22 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 5 p.m. ET, with eliminations beginning at noon on Sunday, June 23.

Television coverage begins Saturday with a qualifying recap at 1 p.m. ET then with a second show on Sunday at 1 p.m. Finals coverage starts at 5 p.m. on Sunday on FS1.

To purchase tickets to the Virginia NHRA Nationals on June 22-23 at Virginia Motorsports Park, visit https://nhra.com/tickets. All children 12 and under will be admitted free in the general-admission area with a paid adult.