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Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals Friday preview

It's been three years since the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series has competed at Pacific Raceways, and there are a lot of win-hungry racers looking to once again make their mark on the Great Northwest on the opening day of the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals.
28 Jul 2022
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Race coverage
Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals

The last time that the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series pulled into Pacific Raceways for the final event of the Western Swing, it was 2019. That was just days before John Force would record his milestone 150th career win and before Top Fuel rookie teammate Austin Prock scored his first win of his inaugural season and, of course, before the global pandemic that forced cancellations of the event in 2020 and 2021.

Event sponsor Flav-R-Pac had been named the title backer in the spring of 2020 and will now finally see its event roar to life, and you can bet that their star Top Fuel driver, points leader Brittany Force, is itching to put the team’s David Grubnic-tuned Flav-R-Pac dragster into the winner’s circle.

Brittany Force comes into the event hot off of a huge win in Sonoma, where she reset both ends of the track record en route to her fifth victory of the season, reclaiming her points lead from Mike Salinas in the process.

Neither Force nor Salinas has won this event before, but a driver who has — four-time winner Antron Brown (2009, 2016-18) — could use his past history to make a big impact on his season with his first win as an owner and to propel himself into the Top 10 in points. Brown holds the track record set way back in 2019, and it’s a mark that may stand with high-90-degree temperatures expected during qualifying.

John Force has won this event more times than anyone — a record nine times — and would love to follow up his 2019 score with a repeat this weekend to also boost his championship hopes. The 16-time world champ sits fourth in points behind season-long leaders Robert Hight, Matt Hagan, and Ron Capps as he seeks his second win this season.

Hight locked up his berth in the Countdown to the Championship last weekend in Sonoma, and Hagan and Capps would love to add their names with a strong outing in the Northwest.

Matt Hartford, the Pro Stock winner at the 2019 event, would love to go two-for-three on the 2022 Western Swing, adding to his Denver victory with another score in Seattle. Of course, to do that he’s going to have to find a way to stop the dominance of points leader Erica Enders, whose only win at this event came a decade ago.

Enders has accumulated an impressive six wins in 10 events so far this season with teammateAaron Stanfield (two wins) and Hartford and Northwest favorite son Dallas Glenn each winning once to round out the scoresheet. This will be the first time that Glenn, a former Division 6 bracket champion, will compete in the Pro ranks at his hometown.

Track records: 
Top Fuel - 3.685 sec. by Antron Brown, Aug. ’16; 331.61 mph by Steve Torrence, Aug. ‘18.
Funny Car – 3.832 sec. by Del Worsham Aug. ’16; 334.15 mph by Jack Beckman, Aug. ’16.
Pro Stock - 6.488 sec. by Chris McGaha, Aug. ’15; 213.40 mph by C. McGaha, Aug. ’15.

2019 event winners: 
Austin Prock, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Matt Hartford, Pro Stock.

Most victories
Joe Amato, 5, TF; John Force, 9, FC; Bob Glidden, 6

Friday’s schedule: 
NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series qualifying and time trials starts at 9:45 a.m.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying starts at 6 p.m.

Saturday, July 30: FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 2 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, July 31: FS1 will televise one-and-a-half hours of qualifying coverage at 2:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, July 31: FOX will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 4 p.m. (ET).