Challenges were made and accepted on Friday at the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals as the top drivers in the class made their first-round callouts for Saturday's specialty race, the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout in Chicago.
Dallas Glenn, the No. 1 qualifier for the inaugural NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout, earned the first selection and called out No. 7 seed Erica Enders.
"I talked with all the crew chiefs, so it was kind of a group decision, but we want to put on the best show we can for the fans, too," said Glenn, driver of the RAD Torque Systems Chevrolet Camaro. "It's no secret that I have the best car I've had in my entire career right now, and that definitely plays into it. But I've always believed that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best – and there is no one better than who's carrying the No. 1 right now. Erica Enders."
Enders, after accepting the challenge, suggested that they sweeten the pot for the winner of their first-round match.
"We've struggled this year, but we've definitely. Put in our time testing in Tulsa all last week, and we definitely feel like my JHG Melling Performance car is acting a little more appropriately," said the reigning series champion before inviting Glenn to a side bet in which the driver defeated in their meeting would pay the other $2,500.
"Alright," said Glenn. "Let's do it."
No. 2 seed Matt Hartford called out Troy Coughlin Jr. as his first-round opponent, and the two agreed that the winner between them would get a bottle of expensive wine.
"I just want to race," said Coughlin. "Let's go now."
Next to take the stage in front of the crowd at Route 66 Raceway was Kyle Koretsky, whose family took ownership of Maple Grove Raceway last season.
"We did some testing last week, and we found a bunch of stuff – so we're ready," said Koretsky. "I think the right thing to do would be to pick the driver whose father drove for my dad in Pro Stock a few years back: Aaron Stanfield."
Stanfield, whose father, Greg Stanfield, drove the Nitro Fish Pro Stock car owned by Koretsky's father, Kenny, to the U.S. Nationals win in 2010. Another side bet was made between these two as Stanfield agreed to spend an hour working the concession stand at Maple Grove Raceway during the national event this fall if he should be defeated, and Koretsky agreed to wear Stanfield Racing apparel for a whole weekend at a future race if he should fall.
"It's going to be cool," said Koretsky. "I'm sure both of our dads are going to be screaming at the TV over who's going to win."
The two racers left standing after the first three callouts will race one another: Cristian Cuadra and Camrie Caruso.
"I'm really excited, and I'm ready to go for it," said Cuadra, who claimed the first the No. 1 qualifier award of his career at the same event where Caruso earned the first win of her career, the 2023 NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix.
"I think it'll be great. We're just going to go up there, make sure our racecar goes down the racetrack, and have fun with it," said Caruso.
The first round of the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout will take place on Saturday at Route 66 Raceway during the event's second qualifying session.