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Host of new and returning drivers coming to highly anticipated 2024 season

The start of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series is more than two months away, but excitement is already brewing, in part thanks to several drivers set to make their 2024 debut, as well as a host of competitors returning to NHRA Drag Racing.
20 Dec 2023
Posted by NHRA.com staff

The start of the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series is more than two months away, but excitement for the 55th NHRA Gatornationals at historic Gainesville Raceway on March 7-10 is already brewing, in part thanks to several drivers set to make their 2024 debut, as well as a host of competitors returning to NHRA Drag Racing.

After an incredible, record-setting year of side-by-side racing across the professional ranks in 2023, these drivers add even more talent to the loaded fields, setting the stage for what will be an epic season of competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle in 2024.

Here’s a look at some of the new drivers, familiar faces returning to the professional ranks, big moves, and who is switching classes for the 2024 NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season:

  • Tony Stewart, Top Fuel: The legendary driver will debut in Top Fuel next season, as his wife, Leah Pruett, will step out of the seat as the couple plans to start a family. The former NASCAR and IndyCar world champ was successful in the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks last year and is set for another huge move in 2024. 
  • Shawn Reed, Top Fuel: Reed is returning to the Top Fuel ranks after several years away. He’ll be a full-time driver in 2024 as the owner/driver of Shawn Reed Racing, but it’s not the only big step in his career. Reed will also have a technical and advancement alliance with three-time world champ Antron Brown, giving Reed a strong path for success next year.
  • Ida Zetterstrom, Top Fuel: The European Top Fuel champ is making the move to NHRA in 2024 and will do so as a part of JCM Racing. The Finnish standout will run a limited schedule next season – with the plan to go full time in 2025 – and she brings a huge amount of fanfare and excitement with the announcement. Zetterstrom is already a popular name in the racing world, bringing plenty of anticipation for her 2024 debut in the NHRA ranks.
  • Jacob McNeal, Top Fuel: McNeal made his Top Fuel debut in 2023, racing four times with Scott Palmer Racing, but he took it a step further this offseason. McNeal is now a Top Fuel team owner and is set to compete at eight races next year. He purchased the Top Fuel operation of Buddy Hull and will work with crew chief Mike Guger in a move he called a dream come true.
  • Jasmine Salinas, Top Fuel: A successful driver in the Top Alcohol Dragster ranks, Salinas announced her move to Top Fuel earlier this year and is slated to make her debut in 2024. It’s an exciting step for Salinas, who will race alongside her father, Mike, in a talent-heavy Top Fuel category, with her sister, Jianna, a standout in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
  • Travis Shumake, Top Fuel: Shumake took a number of big steps in his career this fall, earning his Top Fuel license, taking delivery of his truck and hauler, and moving into a race shop in Indy. It put Shumake in a great position to end the year, and he’s expected to debut in the Top Fuel ranks in 2024.
  • Buddy Hull, Funny Car: After starting his NHRA career in Top Fuel, Hull is making the switch to Funny Car. The energetic and fan-favorite driver was named the new driver for Jim Dunn Racing, as Hull will race a full season for the first time and has a great opportunity in front of him.
  • Jeg Coughlin, Jr., Pro Stock: The legendary driver and five-time Pro Stock world champion is back again, coming out of retirement to run a full season in Pro Stock with Elite Motorsports. It’s one of several changes for the highly successful team, as Bo Butner will also move from Pro Stock to the Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Mountain Motor Pro Stock category.
  • Sienna Wildgust, Pro Stock: A new driver for KB Titan Racing, Wildgust, who turns 18 in 2024, is currently in the licensing process in the class. There isn’t a definitive date for her debut, but there’s plenty of ambition from her and the team to make it happen next year.
  • Chris Bostick, Pro Stock Motorcycle: Bostick will join crew chief Tim Kulungian and the White Alligator Racing team for the 2024 season, a group that also includes 2023 NHRA Rookie of the Year Chase Van Sant.
  • Mike Stavrinos, Pro Mod: Stavrinos will make a big step up in his burgeoning career, racing for Mike Janis Racing in 2024 on the NHRA Pro Mod circuit. It’s the biggest opportunity in Stavrinos’ career, and he joins one of the strongest teams in the loaded NHRA Pro Mod ranks.
  • Lyle Barnett, Pro Mod: The popular driver, who won the prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals in 2022, is returning to NHRA Pro Mod after a year away as part of Scott Tidwell Racing in 2024.

These aren’t expected to be the only big news items, either. More driver debuts, changes, and returns are slated for the 2024 season, with those announcements likely set for early next year as anticipation continues to build for the upcoming 2024 campaign in the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series.