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Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals loaded with special events

From callouts to specialty races to exhibition races to 330-mph nitro action, the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by Peak Performance will have something for every racing fan when NHRA returns to Route 66 Raceway May 19-21.
03 May 2023
Posted by NHRA.com staff
Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals

From callouts to specialty races to exhibition races to 330-mph nitro action, the NHRA’s return to Chicago is loaded with excitement and something for every racing fan. With three full days of action, the Gerber Collision & Glass NHRA Route 66 Nationals presented by Peak Performance on May 19-21 also ensures the NHRA’s first visit to Route 66 Raceway since 2019 will be a big one.

Along with the stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle racing for the coveted Wally at the early-season event, the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout as well as the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in both nitro classes and Pro Stock Motorcycle offer something memorable on Saturday.

Plus, the NHRA will host a special “Drag and Drive” eight-car exhibition as part of the race, featuring standout names like Alex Taylor, Tom Bailey, Steve Morris, Bryant Goldstone, Clark Rosenstengel, Clint Sodowsky, Rick Trunkett, and Bob Hess Jr. These must-see street cars run in the six-second range and quicker at more than 200 mph, offering something else unique and thrilling for Chicago race fans.

Bailey owns Sick Seconds 2.0, a ’69 Camaro that has gone as quick as 5.77 seconds, making the only five-second pass in drag-and-drive competition.

“Our goal is to have as many fast street cars as we can gather,” Bailey said. “We might even have an all-six-second field, but at this point, we’re probably looking at a couple of seven-second cars, but it should still be a great show for the fans. I think the plan is to have every car run and then have a shootout at the end. I’m looking forward to showing [NHRA fans] what the whole Drag and Drive scene is all about. I hope they understand that we can drive these cars to the track, make just a few adjustments, and go out and run in the sixes or even quicker. It will be a great show.”
Taylor is a huge star in the sport, co-hosting Motor Trend’s Hot Rod Garage and making six-second runs at more than 200 mph in her full-chassis ’55 Chevy 210. She’s eager to make her NHRA debut as part of the massive weekend in Chicago.
“I’m really excited about coming to Chicago and making some runs along with the other [Drag and Drive racers]. I’ve never had the opportunity to race in front of an NHRA crowd before, so this is another big thing that I get to do,” Taylor said. “We’ve done a lot of work to my ’55 Chevy lately, and it’s been running pretty well. I’m hoping that we can come to Chicago and run sixes at over 200 mph on every run. It’s also important because Peak is one of my biggest supporters, and they are sponsoring this deal. I want to put on a good show for them and for the NHRA fans.”

It’s all part of a huge happening in Chicago when NHRA makes its first appearance at Route 66 Raceway in four years. Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won the most recent race in 2019, and this year’s event will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).

Torrence is the current points leader in Top Fuel, competing against defending world champ Brittany Force, Leah Pruett, Antron Brown, Justin Ashley, and Tony Schumacher. In Funny Car, Matt Hagan holds the points lead over a star-studded class that includes John Force, defending world champ Ron Capps, Robert Hight, and Alexis DeJoria.

Dallas Glenn leads the way in Pro Stock, while others to watch are defending champ Erica Enders, Greg Anderson, Deric Kramer, Troy Coughlin Jr., and Camrie Caruso. Gaige Herrera has won both races in Pro Stock Motorcycle, but other top names include Eddie Krawiec, defending champ Matt Smith, Angie Smith, and Jerry Savoie.

The Pro Stock All-Star Callout is a specialty race featuring eight top drivers, while the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge takes place in both nitro classes and Pro Stock Motorcycle, offering bonus money and bonus points. Both take place on Saturday.

The Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Peak Performance will also feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports and Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown will be in action during the weekend, as well as Mountain Motor Pro Stock and Top Fuel Motorcycle. Fans can also look forward to watching the “Hot Blade” Jet Dragster exhibition with Al Z and the “Walking Tall” PT Cruiser driven by “Nitromike” Kunz. 

Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into the nitro pits. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music, and much more.
Race fans at Route 66 Raceway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremony that introduces and celebrates each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan-favorite SealMaster NHRA Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Chicago. This opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family. 

Qualifying opens on Friday, May 19 at 5 p.m. CT, leading into qualifying at 1 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. Eliminations begin at 11 a.m. CT on Sunday, May 21. The opening round of the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout takes place at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, followed by the semifinals at 3:15 p.m. and the final round at 4:55 p.m. CT.

Tickets for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Peak Performance are on sale now at NHRA.com/tickets. All children 12 and under will be admitted free in the general-admission area with a paid adult.