The adrenaline-filled excitement of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park for the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, which take place Feb. 23-25 at the facility just east of downtown Phoenix.
The event is the second on the 24-race schedule in 2018, meaning all the stars of the NHRA have a chance to grab early-season momentum. The high-stakes action will include plenty of 10,000-horsepower and 330 mph thrills, entertaining fans at an event that has become a fixture for Southwest race fans since 1985. The year’s duel in the desert will be just as memorable, delivering another sensory-filled experience high in intensity and incredible moments.
The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will look to get off to a hot start at the circuit’s annual visit to the Valley of the Sun. Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will once again be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 25.
In Top Fuel, Pritchett will look to continue her good vibes at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and seek her third straight victory at the race. Her first career Top Fuel win came at the track in 2016, while Pritchett’s win a year ago capped off a stretch where she won the first two races of the season. Continuing that streak in Phoenix won’t be easy, as Pritchett will face off with a host of stars, including reigning world champion Brittany Force, who met Pritchett in the finals in 2016. Doug Kalitta kicked off the season with a victory at the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com with the hopes of getting his first title. He's chasing his second Phoenix Wally.
Like his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Pritchett, Hagan won the first two races of 2017, claiming victory at the NHRA Arizona Nationals for the second time in three years. The two-time world champion will look to keep that momentum going after winning the season-opener in Pomona. To do so he’ll have to get past the likes of eight-time track winner John Force, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps, who each have three wins at the track, Courtney Force, J.R. Todd, class newcomer Shawn Langdon, Tim Wilkerson, who won the race in 2016, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Cruz Pedregon.
Greg Anderson went 14 years between Pro Stock wins at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, breaking through for the second time at the track a year ago. It was the first of four wins for the veteran, who just missed out on a fifth world championship to KB Racing teammate Bo Butner, who won in Pomona to clinch his first world title. Butner went on to open the season with another victory at historic Auto Club Raceway and will look to grab a second-straight win by earning his first Pro Stock Wally in Phoenix.
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.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:30 and 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 24, also at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 25.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.