Qualifying is complete, the ladders are set, and raceday has arrived at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. With a bit of tricky weather potentially in the forecast, eliminations have been bumped up to a 10:00 a.m. start at Summit Motorsports Park, and drivers in all four Professional categories are armed and ready to chase Wallys and the famed and coveted Summit Motorsports Park ice cream scoop trophy.
Last year's winners will be looking to defend their respective titles, including Scrappers Racing Top Fuel driver Mike Salinas, Robert Hight and his AAA/Cornwell Tools Funny Car, and Johnson's Horsepowered Garage Pro Stock driver Erica Enders. The Vance & Hines Mission Suzuki team, including riders Eddie Krawiec and No. 1 qualifier Gaige Herrera, will be working to defend the title they earned last year with Angelle Sampey.
The nitro cars were afforded three rounds of qualifying in Norwalk, but Mother Nature played a mean card on Friday, and wet weather washed away the possibility of qualifying passes for the Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors. They'll be entering raceday with just two runs on the board but a feverish desire to take the data that they accumulated and turn it into a long and fruitful day.
Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier Leah Pruett will launch into eliminations with a first-round meeting with Kyle Wurtzel, and she is on target for her first win of the season in her Dodge Direct Connection dragster. Salinas will race Antron Brown, who came up just one win light short of victory two weeks ago in Bristol. Doug Kalitta, the 2015 winner here, will take his Applied Innovation-branded Mac Tools dragster to the starting line for a first-round meeting with Dan Mercier, who is starting from the lucky 13 spot after qualifying a career-high No. 5 in Epping. Tony Schumacher, the 2007 Norwalk winner, will meet Charlotte winner Austin Prock in round one.
On the other side of the ladder, the most winning driver in Norwalk – Steve Torrence, with three previous victories – will race Doug Foley. Points leader Justin Ashley, currently the hottest driver on the circuit with four wins in four final rounds so far this year, drew Chicago winner Clay Millican as an opening round opponent. Ashley's father, Mike Ashley, won this race in a nitro Funny Car in 2007. Brittany Force and her Monster Energy dragster will go head-to-head with 2016 Norwalk winner Shawn Langdon and the vintage-look Connie Kalitta "Bounty Hunter" Top Fueler; both drivers are still looking for their first win of the season.
Josh Hart and the R+L Carriers dragster will meet Spencer Massey, who won here in 2012. Hart was runner-up at this event last season.
Funny Car low qualifier Bob Tasca III is still high from winning the New England Nationals, which were raced to completion at Bristol Dragway two weeks ago. Tasca won this race in 2019 in his Motorcraft Quicklane Ford, and he'll look to repeat with a first-round meeting with young Bobby Bode. It will be a rematch from the Bristol Thunder Valley Nationals, in which Bode got the nod over Tasca in a smoky pedalfest. Chad Green, who has reached six semifinals in the first eight races, is slated for a meeting with Cruz Pedregon, the 2021 Norwalk winner.
After she reached the final round in Bristol two weeks ago, Alexis DeJoria is set to go one round further, but she needs to get past Paul Lee in the first round. Tim Wilkerson, the 2010 Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals victor, qualified in the No. 5 position and will race Blake Alexander and his Pronto Funny Car. Alexander's first Professional win came at this facility in 2018, when he was wheeling the Pronto Top Fuel dragster.
Reigning Funny Car champion Ron Capps will kick things off on the opposite side of the ladder. Fresh off a win in the Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge Saturday, Capps, who just barely missed the No. 1 spot, will meet Jim Dunn-tuned Alex Laughlin in the first round. J.R. Todd and his DHL Toyota will race the most winning driver in NHRA history, John Force. Force won here in 2014, but Todd is seeking his first Norwalk win. Matt Hagan and his Dodge Direct Connection Funny Car is the 2018 winner, and he will begin his hunt for another Norwalk ice cream scoop trophy with a first-round rally with Dale Creasy Jr. Defending event champion Hight will race Mike Mcintire Jr.
Matt Hartford and his Rottler/Total Seal Chevrolet Camaro Pro Stocker claimed a third No. 1 of the season – and of Hartford's career. He'll start his day with a match with Fernando Cuadra. Deric Kramer has been to four consecutive finals, and on Saturday in Norwalk, he collected his first Mission #2Fast2Tasty NHRA Challenge win. He'll square off with KB Titan Racing teammate Camrie Caruso. Aaron Stanfield had a car that could have won in Bristol with his Janac Bros Chevrolet, but a mysterious break at the starting line halted his roll in the quarterfinals. Here in Norwalk, he's qualified in the No. 4 spot and will race 2019 Summit Racing NHRA Nationals winner Chris McGaha.
Greg Anderson and Enders are tied with the most wins in Norwalk – they have three a piece – and he'll launch into a quest for No. 4 with a match with KB Titan teammate Kyle Koretsky. Both drivers are looking for their first wins of the season. Five-time champion Enders and Eric Latino, who is making his Pro Stock debut, will square off in round one.
Dallas Glenn, the incoming points leader, has three wins in four final rounds so far this year, and he and the RAD Torque Systems Chevy will be in the lane opposite Johnson's Horsepowered Garage campaigner Bo Butner, who is awfully hungry for his first win in two years and won the trophy here in 2017. Troy Coughlin Jr. made good moves in his JEGS.com Chevrolet in qualifying, and he'll start from the No. 3 position and race Mason McGaha in round one. Cristian Cuadra, a two-time semifinalist this year in his Corral Boots Chevy, will race Elite Motorsports teammate and rookie of the year contender Jerry Tucker.
Reigning Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Matt Smith, driver of the DENSO Suzuki, and Eddie Krawiec, who wheels a Mission Foods-branded Suzuki out of the Vance & Hines camp, are the only two currently competing riders who have won this event before. They each have three – and the only rider to have ever claimed more wins here was Andrew Hines, Krawiec's crew chief. Krawiec will race John Hall, and Smith will race Chris Bostick this morning. No. 1 qualifier Gaige Herrera and his Mission Suzuki will take a bye run in the opening round.
Team Scrappers rider Jianna Evaristo and Flyin' Ryan Oehler will rendezvous in round one, as will Bristol's surprise winner Steve Johnson and rookie of the year hopeful Chase Van Sant. Marc Ingwersen and Kelly Clontz will line up next to one another for the first time this season, as will Hector Arana Jr. and Wesley Wells. Angie Smith, winner of the Norwalk Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge aboard her pink DENSO V-Twin, will race Ron Tornow.
2022 EVENT WINNERS
Mike Salinas, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock; Angelle Sampey, Pro Stock Motorcycle
Steve Torrence, 3, TF; Jack Beckman, 3, FC; Greg Anderson and Erica Enders, 3 each, Pro Stock; Andrew Hines, 5, Pro Stock Motorcycle
Top Fuel - 3.666 seconds by Brittany Force, June '22; 338.58 mph by Mike Salinas, June '22
Funny Car - 3.865 seconds by Matt Hagan, June '17; 334.65 mph by Robert Hight, June '17
Pro Stock - 6.523 seconds by Erica Enders, July '14; 212.63 mph by Erica Enders, July '14
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.782 seconds by Matt Smith, June '21; 201.58 mph by Matt Smith, June '21
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.
SUNDAY, June 25
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series eliminations begin at 11:00 a.m.
SUNDAY, June 25, FOX will televise three hours of finals coverage at 4:00 p.m. ET
Or watch all day on NHRA.tv