After a two-year absence, the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to Virginia Motorsports Park in the heart of historic Civil War battlefields for the Virginia NHRA Nationals.
The track was a mainstay of NHRA competition in the 1990s and 2000s and famously was the site of the first 200-mph NHRA Pro tock pass, but it fell off the schedule for almost a decade before returning to the tour in 2018 with a record-breaking weekend, both in on-track performance and from ticket sellouts.
New VP owner Tommy Franklin and his staff had performed a thorough set of updates and renovations, most obvious on the racetrack, which was leveled pool-table-smooth and quickly became regarded as the best surface of the schedule.
The pandemic forced a two-year break after the 1999 event, and teams are eager to get back to try their hand on the beautifully manicured racing surface. All of the existing track records are sure to be shattered this weekend as cool air will descend on the region. Points leaders Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will look to expand their leads.
Force recently won in Houston but gave up ground to Mike Salinas, who won in Charlotte to close the gap on her lead, and Hagan, also a two-time winner this season, will look to fend off resurgent John Force, who has four wins in Virginia, with the last coming in 2000, and fellow world champs Robert Hight and Ron Capps. Johnson is on a two-race hot streak with his Suzuki, having won in both Houston and Charlotte with impressive performances.
Top Fuel’s Steve Torrence won both the 2018 and 2019 events in NHRA’s return to the track, using that momentum to win world titles in both years. He’s won the last four championships in the nitro class, but the Texan is after his first win in 2022 in the loaded class.
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which features some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, Constant Aviation NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, Top Fuel Harley, and Mountain Motor Pro Stock, offering fans a wealth of thrilling racing action from a variety of classes all weekend. Plus, the can’t-miss “World’s Fastest Motorcycles Shootout” between Top Fuel Motorcycle standouts Larry “Spiderman” McBride and Dave Vantine will be a definite highlight. They will square off in a best-of-three matchup on Friday and Saturday, starting with a test hit on Friday.
2019 EVENT WINNERS
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Ron Capps, Funny Car; Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
3.749 seconds by Clay Millican, May 2019; 327.51 mph by Schumacher, June 2018.
3.899 seconds by John Force, May 2019; 326.32 mph by Robert Hight, May 2019.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
6.795 seconds by Hector Arana Jr., June 2018; 199.14 mph by Arana Jr., June 2018.
5.758 seconds by Steve Jackson, May 2019, 258.47 mph by Jose Gonzalez, May 2019.
Friday, May 14, FOX Sports 1 (FS1), will televise one and a half hours of qualifying coverage at 10:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 15, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 12:30 p.m. ET and three hours of finals coverage at 6:30 p.m. ET.