Steeped in history, the iconic NHRA Summernationals again returns to storied Old Bridge Township Raceway Park on June 8-11 for the 48th heart-pumping rendition of one of NHRA’s original seven national events.
It is the tenth of 24 events during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and it comes during a stretch of four straight races. Long regarded as one of the Northeast’s most revered drag racing facilities, Raceway Park has seen its share of incredible performances. Today’s top NHRA stars will look to make that happen again in 2017 as fans will witness the amazing, adrenaline-racing excitement of ground-shaking 10,000-horsepower machines.
Teams in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will again battle for victories and world championship points as the season nears the halfway mark. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 6:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, June 11.
Torrence won the Summernationals for the second time in Top Fuel last year and has been red-hot as of late in his Capco Contractors dragster. He has won back-to-back races to jump into the championship conversation and will look to keep that hot streak going against a star-studded class that includes points leader Leah Pritchett, who has three wins in 2017, back-to-back world champion Antron Brown, eight-time world champion Tony Schumacher, who fell in the final round to Torrence last year, Epping champ Brittany Force, Shawn Langdon and two-time event winner Doug Kalitta.
Capps’ second victory at the facility in Funny Car helped spur his championship run as the veteran also claimed his first world championship a year ago in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. That momentum has carried over to 2017 as Capps has won three straight races to take over the points lead in the loaded Funny Car class. Trying to track him down are a host of worthy challengers, including three-time 2017 winner Matt Hagan, four-time Summernationals winner and 16-time world champ John Force, Robert Hight, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman.
Anderson’s Pro Stock dominance at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park continued in 2016 as he won for the seventh time at the track, the most of any driver in NHRA history. Anderson will look to make it three straight Summernationals wins, but his competition will be fierce. Points leader Bo Butner currently sits atop the pack while other top challengers include 2017 winners Jason Line, who is Anderson’s longtime teammate and the defending world champ, rookie Tanner Gray, Shane Gray, as well as Epping winner Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Sampey’s first Pro Stock Motorcycle victory since 2007 came at last year’s Summernationals, as it marked the 42nd win for the winningest female in NHRA history. Sampey will look to get her 2017 season on track at the race after a slow start this year. However, competition won’t be easy in a talent-laden field that includes defending world champion Jerry Savoie and L.E. Tonglet, who has posted back-to-back wins. Others to watch include current points leader Eddie Krawiec, Andrew Hines, Joey Gladstone, Steve Johnson and Scotty Pollacheck
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes its sixth of 12 stops in the 2017 season in Englishtown and the event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the spectacular Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters sponsored by Florida Tech and Matrix System. Jet cars are thrust driven machines propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
Along with the exciting on-track action, the NHRA Summernationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 3:45 and 6:15 p.m. on Friday, June 9 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, June 10, at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 11.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Old Bridge Township Raceway Park at 732-446-7800. Tickets also are available online at www.etownraceway.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult.