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Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals/Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge Saturday preview

The final day of qualifying for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals will set the fields for Sunday eliminations, and it will also include two of the highly anticipated specialty events: the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout.
20 May 2023
Kelly Wade
Race coverage
Funny Cars on the starting line at Route 66 Raceway

The final day of qualifying for the Gerber Collision & Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals will set the fields for Sunday eliminations, and it will also include two of the highly anticipated specialty events: the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge and the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout.

The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge pits the semifinalists from the previous event in a series of rematches for cash and bonus points with runs that also count towards qualifying. The winners of those two semifinal rematches will square off in the final qualifying session for bragging rights and a tidy payout. In addition to the bonus purse, valuable bonus points for the Countdown to the Championship will also be awarded.

In Top Fuel, Justin Ashley will have the opportunity to be the first repeat winner in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge following his Pomona sweep. At the Winternationals, Ashley picked up the win in the specialty race en route to qualifying No. 1, then went on to win the main event on Sunday. He will race Pomona semifinalist Antron Brown in the first round of the challenge, and on the other side of the ladder, it will be a head-to-head battle between John Force Racing teammates Austin Prock and reigning world champion Brittany Force.

After a single Friday session in Chicago, Ashley is qualified No. 3 with a time of 3.717-second at 332.10 mph. Brown enters the day perched in the No. 11 position on a 4.207, 201.37. Prock, paused in the No. 2 spot, leads the group of Mission #2Fast2Tasty Top Fuel runners with a very efficient 3.694, 331.20 while Force is on the outside looking in after she was unable to make a clean pass down the track on Friday.

Provisional No. 1 qualifier Mike Salinas is not competing in the challenge but will be aiming to protect his position and seal up the 12th low qualifier award of his career.

After a tough round of qualifying for the Funny Car brigade, points leader Matt Hagan is positioned mid-pack in the No. 7 spot on a 7.133. The Pomona winner will take on Terry Haddock, who upset his way to the semifinals at the Winternationals to earn a shot at the Mission #2Fast2Tasty title. Haddock also struggled in Friday qualifying but was a bit quicker than Hagan for the No. 6 spot on a 6.960. Bob Tasca III's 7.803 run on Friday was disqualified after he had an issue with the body latch, so he is not yet in the field – he will, however, retain his right to race in the bonus event. He will face reigning world champion Ron Capps, who was runner-up at the Winternationals and is No. 10 on the Chicago sheet with a 7.746. 

Robert Hight set both ends of the track record with a stunning 3.831, 335.07 and will be working to preserve his possession of the pole. He is seeking the 78th No. 1 of his Funny Car career. 

There are 12 competitors racing for Mission #2Fast2Tasty glory – four drivers in three classes – and in addition to Top Fuel and Funny Car bonus events, the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders will be competing for the title for the first time. Points leader Gaige Herrera has been the low qualifier at each of the races so far contested in the 2023 version NHRA's Camping World Drag Racing Series, and he is carrying the No. 1 into Saturday's activities on a bold 6.677, 202.45. The Gainesville winner will meet Jianna Evaristo, who is not yet in the Route 66 Nationals field, in the opening round. The other side of the ladder includes Gainesville runner-up Angie Smith, who sits No. 5 in Chicago qualifying with a 6.80, and rookie Chase Van Sant, who is No. 6 for the main event at the moment on a 6.812.

The loaded lineup for the NHRA Pro Stock All-Star Callout features points leader Dallas Glenn, who selected reigning world champ Erica Enders for his first-round opponent; Matt Hartford, back-to-back low qualifier awards at the most recent two events, vs. Gainesville winner Troy Coughlin Jr.; Kyle Koretsky, who called out fellow second-generation racer Aaron Stanfield; and young guns Cristian Cuadra and Camrie Caruso. The Callout will take place in conjunction with the two qualifying sessions on the Saturday schedule, with one round between the sessions. 


Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Tommy Johnson Jr., Funny Car; Deric Kramer, Pro Stock Matt Smith, Pro Stock Motorcycle.


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 - 3.831 seconds by Robert Hight, May '23; 335.07 mph by Hight, May '23

Pro Stock - 6.522 seconds by Bo Butner, May '23; 212.39 mph by Greg Anderson, June '19

Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.677 seconds by Gaige Herrera, May '23; 202.45 mph by Herrera, May '23


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.



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.


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