The matchups are set for the first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, which takes place at the upcoming and final NHRA Arizona Nationals on March 24-26 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge brings competitive racing to the qualifying schedule at 12 regular-season events during the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series campaign, pitting semifinalists from the previous race against each other in a pair of rematches, with the two winners then matching up in the final qualifying session.
With a bonus purse and bonus points for the Countdown to the Championship on the line, drivers are thrilled to get the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge started in Phoenix as part of the final race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
“To have a race on Saturday, it’s really exciting, and our guys are already talking about it,” said Funny Car star Matt Hagan, who won in Gainesville to open the 2023 season. “That’s how excited they are about it, and it’s huge for all of us. I’m pumped that NHRA was able to put it together [with Mission Foods], and I think it’s going to be a big thing for everyone.”
Hagan is one of 12 competitors taking part in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge across three classes (Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock) at the NHRA Arizona Nationals following the result of last weekend’s Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, which kicked off the 2023 campaign.
In Top Fuel, Gainesville winner Mike Salinas will match up with Leah Pruett in their rematch, while runner-up Steve Torrence will face off with Doug Kalitta, the No. 1 qualifier last year in Phoenix. Salinas is also eager for the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge, in part because he raced well at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park last year.
“I want to go race, and I want to have fun,” Salinas said. “We’re going to have fun, but we won Phoenix last year, and we run well there.”
En route to his Gainesville win in Funny Car, Hagan knocked off Alexis DeJoria in the semifinals, setting up a marquee matchup in the 11,000-horsepower matchup. The other semifinal included J.R. Todd, who put together a strong showing in Gainesville and was the runner-up, and Chad Green.
Pro Stock’s Dallas Glenn will have a chance to avenge his semifinal defeat against Troy Coughlin Jr., who drove to the win in Gainesville. The other matchup will feature veteran Greg Anderson and rising star Mason McGaha, who used a stellar reaction time to defeat Anderson in Gainesville.
Winners in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge in Top Fuel and Funny Car will earn $10,000 at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, while the Pro Stock winner will net $7,500. There’s also bonus points on the line, as each challenge winner will earn three bonus points that will be added to their point total to begin the Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The runner-up will get two points and the quickest losing semifinalist earns a point, adding another major incentive for race teams to chase a Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge victory.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 5 p.m. PT on Friday, March 24, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, March 25 at noon and 3 p.m. The Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge takes place at the end of final qualifying in each category on Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, March 25.
Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 9:30 p.m. ET. on Friday and noon on Sunday, leading into eliminations at 7 p.m. ET.
To purchase tickets to the final NHRA Arizona Nationals, fans can visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Children 12 and under are free in general-admission areas with the purchase of an adult ticket.
Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Matchups at NHRA Arizona Nationals:
Mike Salinas vs. Leah Pruett (Salinas won in Gainesville)
Steve Torrence vs. Doug Kalitta (Torrence won in Gainesville)
Matt Hagan vs. Alexis DeJoria (Hagan won in Gainesville)
J.R. Todd vs. Chad Green (Todd won in Gainesville)
Troy Coughlin Jr. vs. Dallas Glenn (Coughlin won in Gainesville)
Mason McGaha vs. Greg Anderson (McGaha won in Gainesville)