Highlighting raceday at the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, Mile-High Nationals winners Clay Millican, Matt Hagan, and Gaige Herrera will try to continue their respective attempts to join the short list of drivers to sweep the Western Swing with consecutive wins in Denver Seattle, and Sonoma.
Only eight drivers have accomplished the feat and it hasn’t been done since 2009, when Antron Brown pulled it off in Top Fuel. It’s been accomplished five times in Top Fuel -- Joe Amato (1991), Cory McClenathan (1997), Larry Dixon (2003), Tony Schumacher (2008), and Brown (2009) -- and Millican would certainly love to become the sixth and he’s qualified in good position … sixth. He draws Leah Pruett in round one, so not the easiest time.
John Force is the only Funny Car driver to sweep the Swing (1994), and Hagan would love to become the second. Since Force pulled off his sweep nearly 30 years ago, only Cruz Pedregon has come close, winning in Denver and Sonoma and reaching the semifinals in Seattle before losing to Tommy Johnson Jr.
Force, of course, led the Funny Car field and, like Top Fuel low qualifier Mike Salinas, he’ll get a bye in the opening round as he seeks a record 10th Seattle victory.
No Pro Stock Motorcycle rider has swept the Swing but that’s because – other than the 2021 semi-Swing that included Denver, Sonoma, and Pomona – the bikes have never had the chance largely because they’ve never run at this race.
Herrera certainly looks ready to win the second leg, winning Saturday’s Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in what appeared to be effortless style and qualified No. 1, despite losing what could have been an amazing run in Q2 with a broken transmission before the finish line.
He’ll face a tough gauntlet that includes his teammate, Eddie Krawiec, and Angie Smith, who made Seattle’s first (and still only) 200-mph Pro Stock Motorcycle pass, as well as perennial threats Hector Arana Jr, Steve Johnson. and Matt Smith.
2022 EVENT WINNERS
Tony Schumacher, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car.
Tony Schumacher and Joe Amato, 5, TF; John Force, 9, FC.
Top Fuel - 3.685 seconds by Antron Brown, August ’16; 332.43 mph by Brittany Force, July ‘22.
Funny Car – 3.832 seconds by Del Worsham, August ’16; 334.15 mph by Jack Beckman, August ’16.
SUNDAY, July 23
Pre-race ceremony, 9:45 a.m.
Camping World Series eliminations begin at 10:30 a.m.
Sunday, July 23, FS1 will televise one-and-a-half hours of qualifying coverage at 1:30 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, July 23, FOX will televise three hours of live finals coverage at 4 p.m. (ET).
To purchase tickets to the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, fans can click here or call 800-884-6472