For the first time since 2019, the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to Route 66 Raceway for the highly anticipated 23rd annual Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance. The event is the sixth on the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule and is jam-packed with activities.
When the final rounds were contested at Route 66 Raceway to close out the 2019 event, it was not known that the triumphant would be the last national event winner's crowned in Chicagoland for four years. Now eager to be the first victors in the return to Route 66 Raceway, nearly 500 cars are on the property chomping at the bit to make passes down the all-concrete dragstrip nestled between immense, stadium-style grandstands that will, presumably, be packed with race-hungry fans.
The most recent winners on the tour claimed their respective victories in Charlotte, and Austin Prock (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock), and Gaige Herrera (Pro Stock Motorcycle) will be aiming to repeat.
Prock picked up his first win of the season and fourth of his career in the Montana Brand Top Fuel dragster, edging Leah Pruett in the Charlotte final. With a steady car, Prock deftly won each of three quads on Sunday, including a smooth 3.686 in the first round when each of his contenders stumbled. He enters the event No. 4 in the standings, 55 points back from the top spot currently held by defending event winner Steve Torrence.
For the third time in his still-young career, Prock joined John Force Racing teammate Hight in the winner's circle. Hight scooped up his second victory of the year as he emerged the winner in each of his three quads on Sunday wheeling his Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet Camaro. In the final, Hight claimed trophy No. 63 on a holeshot over Alex DeJoria, who has quietly been charging towards the top in the category. Hight moved up to No. 3 in the Funny Car standings, 69 markers back from points leader Matt Hagan (a three-time Chicago winner), while DeJoria moved into the No. 2 spot, 58 points back from first.
Kramer shut the door on a nearly four-year winless drought in his GetBioFuel.com Camaro and sailed to his fifth career Pro Stock win with the quickest pass of the final quad. The Colorado native won the 2019 event held at Route 66 Raceway and is one of just three active drivers in the class to have grabbed a trophy at the facility: Greg Anderson — a two-time winner in Chicago — and Erica Enders, who picked up the first Pro Stock win of her career at the event in 2012.
Points leader Dallas Glenn's rising star was barely held back as he finished runner-up. With the win, Kramer vaulted all the way from No. 11 in the Pro Stock points to No. 4. Glenn has an 81-point advantage over No. 2 Matt Hartford, and Troy Coughlin Jr. is in the No. 3 spot.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle scene is under attack by rookie Herrera, who is a perfect two-for-two in his debut. He won each of the first two events – Gainesville and Charlotte – and was low qualifier at each aboard his Vance & Hines Mission Foods Suzuki. In the Charlotte final, he had the quickest reaction of the quad and made the best run of the event to lock down the win in impressive fashion. The points leader's teammate, Eddie Krawiec, is third in the standings, and the two are separated by 2019 Chicago winner Matt Smith (No. 2), with Angie Smith in the No. 4 position.
In addition to a plethora of Camping World and Lucas Oil series classes, fans will be treated to the PEAK Street Car Shootout, NHRA All-Star Pro Stock Callout, Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, and several spectacular exhibition classes at this weekend's event.
2019 EVENT WINNERS
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Tommy Johnson Jr., Funny Car; Deric Kramer, Pro Stock Matt Smith, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
MOST EVENT VICTORIES
Tony Schumacher, 5, TF; Tony Pedregon, 4, FC; Jeg Coughlin, 6, PS; Andrew Hines, 3, PSM; LE Tonglet, 3, PSM
Top Fuel - 3.677 seconds by Steve Torrence, June '18; 333.58 mph by Torrence, June '18
Funny Car - 3.851 seconds by Robert Hight, July '17; 334.73 mph by Hight, July '17
Pro Stock - 6.528 seconds by Drew Skillman, July '15; 212.39 mph by Greg Anderson, June '19
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.784 seconds by Matt Smith, June '18; 200.89 mph by Hector Arana Jr., June '18
Top Fuel - 3.623 sec. by Brittany Force, Sept. '19, Reading, Pa.; 338.94 mph by Brittany Force, Nov. ‘22, Pomona, Calif.
Funny Car - 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. '17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
Pro Stock - 6.450 sec. by Erica Enders, March ‘22, Gainesville, Fla.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ‘14, Englishtown, N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.665 sec. by Karen Stoffer, March ‘22, Gainesville, Fla.; 205.04 mph by Matt Smith, July ‘21, Sonoma, Calif.
FRIDAY, May 19
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series qualifying at 8:00 a.m.
Mountain Motor Pro Stock qualifying at 3:30 p.m.
Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown qualifying at 3:45 p.m.
FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying at 4:00 p.m.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying at 5:00 p.m.
SATURDAY, May 20
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series eliminations at 8:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.
Mountain Motor Pro Stock qualifying at 11:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.
Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown qualifying at 11:45 a.m. and 3:25 p.m., eliminations 6:50 p.m. FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying at 12:00 p.m. and 3:50 p.m., eliminations 6:30 p.m.
NHRA Pro Stock Call Out eliminations at 1:00 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 4:55 p.m.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying at 1:10 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
SUNDAY, May 21
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series eliminations begin at 11:00 p.m.
FRIDAY, May 19, FS1 will televise one and a half hours of qualifying coverage at 7:00 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, May 21, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying coverage at 3:00 p.m., one hour of the Pro Stock All-Star Callout at 4:00 p.m., and three hours of finals coverage at 10:00 p.m. (ET)
Or watch all day on NHRA.tv